Staying Present

Yesterday, Election Day, I led the first evening class at the dojo, after we’d all voted, but before the polls closed. We had no idea what the results would be. We could only wait. It was a small group, and some were obviously anxious about the direction the country might take. I considered simply holding an hour-long meditation session, but the schedule says Aikido, so …

I started up my playlist of positive, good-energy music, and we got busy training. We started with slow, flowing, gentle warm-ups, settling into the sensation of the ground supporting us, moving freely and breathing deeply. We work on some techniques from a couple of grabs, then a fun game that helps teach awareness of balance. We continued on to do slow, easy multiple-attacker freestyles, all the while staying with the music, and reminding ourselves to be centered and relaxed.

Some stayed for the second class, others went home to watch the election returns. Eventually we all learned how it went.

One of the principles of Aikido is to perceive what’s actually happening and actively work *with* it, not close our eyes and hunker down in denial. With that in mind, instead of wishing it weren’t so, or hiding out in the pillow fort of #NotMyPresident, it’s time to actively engage and look for openings to move things in a good direction.

Taking care of our bodies and spirits with friends, music, and movement can be part of that. Staying present and focused are good strategies in any work.

Feel the ground.

Feel your breath.


I am heading to the dojo, as always, this afternoon. Visitors are always welcome. If anyone is looking for a community dedicated to a physical and philosophical practice of peace – a practice that extends into daily life – come join us: Aikido of San Diego. If you’re not in the area, find a dojo near you.