Holiday Madness

Thank goodness that’s over. I was barely inconvenienced or annoyed by The Holidays. I enjoyed a nice, low-key visit with family, and that was it. But man, the things I saw some of my friends going through. Living up to family expectations, suffering from loneliness, going mad trying to decorate and cook… Feeling bad about not sending cards, for heaven’s sake. And some of these friends are sick or healing from injuries, dealing with fresh grief, or just Not Wanting To Bother… All of this against a background of endlessly cheery music and TV shows and signs and greetings telling us how lovely it’s all supposed to be. Feh.

So now we can put it behind us for another year.

Time for the New Year. *whew* For me the end of the year is a time for reflection. Did I do what I meant to do in the past year? Was it time well-spent? Am I moving in the right direction? I’ll be doing a lot of thinking about those questions over the next week.

One thing I’ve gotten somewhat better at in recent years, due in combination to age, experience, and my Aikido practice, is noticing where my actions are out of alignment with my intentions. Sometimes I’m able to correct, sometimes not. It’s said in budo – the martial arts – “true victory is self victory.” I take this to mean making conscious, non-habitual decisions – moving forward with intention. it’s not easy. I have a lot of work to do in this area.

It’s a subject worth examining in all areas, at any time. I just got to thinking about it in the context of the holiday madness. Maybe something we can all take a look at, and apply the learnings to coming years. Are we really spending our money, effort, attention, and time (the most precious of all our possessions) in the best way? And where we aren’t, can we summon the courage to change? 

Solstice Haiku for Mark Harrington

I was recently chatting with my one of my Aikido buddies on the other side of the country, Mark Harrington. We’ve been checking in from time to time as we both progress through our respective ranks in different organizations. Mark is a bit ahead of me. Anyway, we got to talking about holiday gift giving (or not). If I recall correctly, I promised him a solstice haiku. So here it is, on the first day of Winter. Enjoy.

“Hey! How’s it going?”
We call across the distance.
Friends on the same path.