Would be nice if this was the new normal, University shut down and students gone, not much in the way of traffic this morning as I drove to With the Grain, my usual morning cafe. That first sip of Grainer’s Gold, a special blend from Guelph’s own Planet Bean roastery is pretty good. Somehow it’s always better in the cafe than when I make it at home.
This first paragraph was brought to you by the merchants of Guelph.
And the rest of the essay is brought to you, as usual, by SDKsupplies.com. Provided of course, if I can find something to write about.
It’s minus 16 C but the sun is shining so it’s nicer than it could be. I only hope this sun is shining on the cabin. You know, that’s sort of what my life is, cabin, cafe, budo. Not that I’m complaining, I like the idea that I don’t have to hunter-gatherer to scratch enough food to live. That I live in the First World where all I have to complain about is stuff that doesn’t really matter, things that are, as they say, First World Problems.
I like not getting wound up too much. This morning I noticed that I haven’t been stretching, that my feet have been going nerve-dead from tight muscles I suspect. Too much clench and not enough relax can create unsuspected problems. This week between Xmas and New Years Drunk is one of the few places where all the busy people can unwind a bit, hence all the New Year’s Resolutions, all the “hey it isn’t all that bad, maybe I’ll make it better” shows up. About the middle of February, things will be nicely wound up again as we realize we’ve been shovelling snow for about ten years now and it’s still cold as a witch’s treat.
A few deep breaths, a bit of stretching, maybe an hour or three a week of being somewhere else than the busy life would be nice. Maybe make a deal with the family that they can do what they want for a couple of hours as long as you can go to your martial art class for a couple of hours. Some time away from those awful people who don’t put the dishes in the sink in the right way, and finsh the milk without replacing it. Away from those co-workers who are complete idiots, the ones that might as well not be in the office, you gotta do their work anyway. Away from those furriners who can’t drive, the help-line people who can’t speak your language, the shopkeepers who don’t have your size and the televsion producers who cancel your favourite show.
We all find time to go to the Therapist, to the Doctor for our dozen or so daily medicines, let’s maybe find the time to get to class, every class. Maybe a bit of regular, dependable exercise would help reduce the need for the therapist and the medicine.
If you do that, if you come to class regularly, I promise I’ll try not to forget the important thing. That it’s not about me. That it’s not about preserving the culture of Japan or Korea or wherever the art came from. That it’s not about the art, that you don’t have to sit in seiza for iaido if your knees are shot, that you don’t have to do flying breakfalls in aikido if you’ve got a bum shoulder, that it’s not about producing kick-ass fighters or the next world champion or creating someone who will hop to it and do what I say. That it’s not even about producing someone who can self-defend themselves.
It’s about the space:
The dojo, which is clean and simple.
The people around us who are all doing the same thing with each other, not against each other.
The time we take to do that same thing together.
It’s about making the week between Xmas and New Years happen each and every week. It’s about having the space to unwind, to relax the tightness.
It’s about getting back to normal.