Everyone, please meet Rainy (“Right As Rain”).

Rainy is my Percheron x Paint/Quarter Horse gelding. He’s about 5 years old, 16 hands tall, and 1,400-some-odd pounds. Rainy loves water, carrots, oranges, and belly scratches. He is a sweet-natured, pushy, friendly kind of character. Not a mean bone in his body. But he’s young and “green” (not highly trained). He can spin quickly enough and run fast enough to avoid being eaten by the lions he imagines are lurking in the bushes.

Some of my upcoming posts are going to be about applying Aikido to riding and horsemanship, so you might as well know who I’m talking about. :-)

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Enjoying the first beautiful, quiet morning of a 4-day holiday weekend. No classes for a few days, but the two last night were so rich it may take 4 days for everything to sink in. The first offered a powerful new perspective on familiar techniques, and the second taught calm focus under pressure. I am so lucky to have such amazing teachers.

I’ve been much more relaxed, and really enjoying training, having discovered and let go of my energy on testing. Last night when Sensei was walking around watching our practice I was still trying to get it right, of course. But instead of worrying that he’d notice my mistakes when I made them, I was hoping that he would. He did, of course, and provided very useful feedback and clarification. So grateful for amazing teachers, and for being able to take responsibility for my own attitude about learning.

And now, a few days with my sweetie pie, family, and friends, puttering in the yard, time with the critters, and riding Rainy for the first time since starting Aikido.

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Soft eyes, quiet mind.
Notice thoughts and let them go.
There! Feel it and move.

Great seminar today, about getting off balance, returning to center, discovering what’s possible now, and acting on that. How wonderfully appropriate (and enjoyable). I’m left with noticing when I’m thinking, planning, and trying to direct, rather than just seeing what’s in front of me, and doing what’s available.

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I can’t resist sharing this video. This is the technique we worked on tonight in class. First time I’d seen it “live”, as best I can recall*. Our versions were a little less dramatic, but still fun to do.

Watching this reminds me all over again how excited I am that I’ll be participating in a seminar with Tissier Shihan next month. He has been practicing Aikido since the same year I was born. I am not a young ‘un. It’s hard to imagine the level of expertise one could develop in Aikido, or anything, by practicing it for my entire lifetime.

*Please see another post, updating this statement: “Iriminage – A Duh Moment”.

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