This lesson comes from my aikido practice but it is true for many things in life. So, when I am practicing a technique in aikido against a person who is using some resistance, if I am not correctly aligned, responding to their action will be difficult and require me to use strength. It is one of the advantages of being a female aikidoka. Males, being generally stronger, can often use strength to get techniques to work, and consequently not take advantage of the full magic of the practice.
One of my favourite experiences during training is when I am struggling to do a technique, and then the tiniest, subtle adjustment can shift things from feeling really hard, to completely effortless. This is the magic of aikido. This can also be true for life — which I’m in the process of making happen. There are a lot more variables in life, but the principle is the same. I’ll let you know when I get there :).
ai — harmony
ki — spirit
do — way/path
The way of harmony with spirit. The way of effortless action. I believe this experience of the ‘sweet spot’ demonstrates the essence of aikido.
This lesson comes out of the book ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers, though I’ve heard many variations saying the same thing.
Saying ‘Yes’ to your universe invites you to not only accept everything that happens to you, but to welcome it. It requires you to trust that you live in a loving universe.
In a similar vein is the idea of ‘loving the ropes’ — the ropes being those things that you feel are restricting you or causing you pain. When you ‘love the ropes’ they disappear.
Essentially, this all points to the power of our mind in how we experience any situation. Byron Katie’s book ‘Loving What Is’ and practice of ‘The Work’ gives a structured approach for turning around your thoughts and seeing what feels like your reality differently.
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”
― Albert Einstein
‘A rising tide lifts all boats’
As we move toward a more healthily balanced society (as opposed to the imbalances of the patriarchy) I am seeing, particularly with women, how as we lift up others, we all rise. Many women have grown up not trusting other women and experiencing jealousy, comparison and destructive competition. Perhaps it goes back to the times of witch burnings where women were encouraged to dob in each other, or maybe it goes back even further to women being all but written out of sacred texts such as the bible. Female genital mutilation is still today done by females. Women can be vicious with each other. But this is an old paradigm that is finally starting to fade. It is time to lift up our sisters and celebrate their success, rather than see them as a threat or competition.
This support and uprising of women offers hope for both humanity and the planet.
Doing the Wealth Dynamics quiz I came out as a Dynamo / Creator type. This process was very validating and inspiring to me as I had done so many jobs that did not use my strengths. This test has helped me to to focus more on my strengths and to see the jobs that are out of alignment.
Wealth Dynamics (AKA Talent Dynamics) is a system that shows you where your natural talents lie. When you are operating from your natural talents you are able to be in flow which is where you are able to have the biggest impact, feel the most joy, and experience ‘wealth’.
This system overlays many different systems including the I-Ching, the seasons, the five Chinese elements, and much more.
Apart from describing where your strengths lie, it also describes the two other profiles you need on your team to operate most successfully.
I highly recommend this system to understand yourself better.
In 2014 I was early in my journey of setting up a business, but I was struggling. I came across a free ebook that described the nine personality types of the Enneagram in terms of being a business person. I printed off the ebook and started reading through the descriptions starting with ‘type 1′. When I got to ‘type 5’ — the investigator — I was blown away. I read about aspects of myself that i had felt were what was wrong with me — the things I’d felt ashamed of, like holding back, being a loner, endlessly studying and searching .. and realised I wasn’t alone — that there were huge numbers of people who thought and felt like I did.
This was the start of a deep journey in which I learnt about all of the types and for the first time I started to understand people. As I lay in bed at night, thinking about all these types, and piecing together a lifetime of interactions and confusion, I felt like my life was a massive puzzle that was falling into place.
One of the biggest gifts of learning about the Enneagram was that, in understanding myself and others more clearly, I could feel love and appreciation for what each person, including myself, was experiencing.
What followed was a journey back to the world, as I had removed myself from the world and ‘society’ to an extreme degree.
The best way to learn about the Enneagram is, much like I did, to read the descriptions of each of the types and to see what resonates.
The Enneagram describes a path of spiritual evolution.
In the past year I have started to learn a completely different way of understanding the Enneagram that precedes the personality structure approach. This is Fourth Way teachings and the Enneagram describes a process of evolution which I am beginning to study as ‘an objective way of awakening’.
This ancient symbol has a lot of depth and is something I expect I will be studying my whole life.
Anyway, this is a very simple (overly simple) introduction. I LOVE the Enneagram and I recommend it as a powerful tool for self awareness and guidance.