Paraphrased from Sensai…words spoken Friday evening. 
The farmer does not harvest the wheat that is standing straight up and stiff, with its heads in the sky.  He looks for the wheat in his fields that is bowing…softened by the weight of its full rich fruit.  I don’t want to resist…it’s the very thing I hear.  I recently observe, as Eckhart Tolle’s book reiterates, that much of what has motivated me in my lifetime is my ego…but there is a space between the world and me that is the core of my SELF…it is who I truly am.  This is what I am in touch with in the practice of karate. 

David Akutagawa

This weekend has been focused on a karate clinic.  Even with a cast, I was able to participate right up until the last half hour today.  And during that half hour, I collected some awesome photographs.

I was most inspired last evening with Sensai Akutagawa’s words…he is a humble person and inspires humility.  I need to sit with his words now…and reflect on all I have experienced since meeting this very special man.

I have gathered a short biography here…from http://www.answers.com/topic/renshikan

Renshikan is a style of Karate founded in 1997. It loosely translates to "a group of people studying together". It was started by David Akutagawa, a 6th degree black belt Chito-ryu and 8th degree black belt Shito-ryu.

David Akutagawa first came to Canada after receiving a degree in Economic Science from Kohnan University in Kobe, Japan. At this point his background was in Shito ryu, and Shotokan. Around 1967, Akutagawa began to instruct martial arts to the RCMP. In 1966 He began studying Chito-Ryu, becoming the Vice-Chancellor of Canadian Chito-Ryu in 1970. After resigning from his Vice-Chancellorship in 1996, he founded the Renshikan.

Renshikan is committed to the study and preservation of traditional karate from Japan, with Shito-Ryu and Chito-Ryu being the main focus. As well, Akutagawa and many other Renshikan instructors are Christian, and instill Christian values into their teaching.

The Past Recedes

"The Past Recedes"

1, 2, 3, 4
And then the past recedes
and I won’t be involved
The effort to be free
Seems pointless from above
You’re looking down at me
I’d rather stay below
Than have you staring up at me
It is nowhere I want to go
Ay, this business of how long we try to stay alive
Why to be here you first got to die
so I gave it a try
And what do you know
Time was so long ago
And things come back you see
To where they don’t belong
and every drop of sea is the whole ocean
I lied to the greatest thieves
about anything and everything
I’m a figure of forgotten speech
I’m out of reach
I can’t play it safe
But I might just in case
I’m disguised as a reaching hand
I’m a working man
I don’t understand why clockout
come so slow everytime
That’s one line I stay right behind [x2]

[Thanks to frusciante_guitar@hotmail.com for these lyrics]

Seasons of our Lives!

I woke this morning to snow.  It was a ‘magical’ gathering of sister-friends last evening…a time to chat and debrief and share Vietnamese food.  I made my way home on slippy roads and curled up to watch the boxed set of The Sopranos. 
I hope like heck I never ‘become’ Anthony’s mother! (this makes me smile as I recall her line spoken again and again, ‘I wish the Lord would just take me.’)  Lately, with the loss of another relationship, (yeah, I know, how can best friends break up? and what the heck happened there anyway?) I have been more than a wee bit cranky and unhappy.  I sent out to the universe yesterday, one last snippet of hope for a reconciliation, but having been rejected again, realize that it is time to recover and move forward, regardless of the huge blast of emotional wind that wants to tip me over.  I’ve decided just to walk into that tumult (how freakin dramatic) again…and create my best life.
I don’t typically blog ‘the stuff of life’ and sometimes I think that people get the wrong idea about me.  While I sometimes talk about painful topics…the state of the environment…the loss of children, I rarely go into the struggles, but focus in this forum on the beauty…the magic.
This morning, with the ten inches of snow that cover the spring garden, I am feeling braver about life.  I have the intellectual sense to know that painful events are a part of the magic of life as well.  I have learned over this lifetime that I am resilient and while this is another huge chasm for me to cross (it once took me 15 minutes to reach my hands across, while tethered to a rope,  to cross a 500 foot chasm in the mountains), I will be able to make much of this new knowledge.
The manner in which this break up happened taught me more than the three years of sharing.  And I find that remarkable…because it was such a beautiful and life-giving relationship.  Primary to my learning in all of this is the notion of honesty.  I hope to never lose my inherent inclination for utter and complete honesty,  even though it has become evident over my lifetime that honesty is not rewarded, contrary to popular belief.

World Without End

I just finished reading Ken Follett’s sequel to the Pillars of the Earth, World Without End.  I really enjoyed this one too, perhaps not as much as the first, but certainly I would have been happy on a warm beach, having nothing to do but drink lime margaritas and read this one!
As I read this one, I revisited the idea that over so many years, the experiences that one lives are varied and filled with both joy and sorrow.  I was pleased about the eventual union of Merthin and Caris.  I was astounded by the Caris’ strength while the plague diminished the populations of the surrounding area.  I was filled with disdain for Ralph.  Needless to say, Follett has a way of creating characters that we relate with and question, both.
I strongly recommend both books for each of you…easily understood…historical contexts and dynamite character development!


River Walking

It is good that today my heart is filled with love and today, by the river, I was thinking about the people most precious to me.
Laurie-dog was with me at the edge of the Bow River and he barely made it down the regular pathway to our sitting spot.  Again, I remembered so many times when he would come down and play tag with the Magpies.  I imagined that he thought he was a Magpie as well.  It was so funny to watch.
Another game he played in his youth was a wild and strenuous charge through the wild rose bushes to capture a male pheasant as he kited from the top of the ridge.  Inevitably I would have to remove fine thorns from the pads of his feet, but the game never changed. 
We used to play hide and seek with him in the tall grass.  James or Cayley or Erin would call for him and then nip down low in the grass.  He would find them and then come bounding back to me as I would call his name enthusiastically.  Back-and-forth he would go, full of energy and happiness.
Today, as I sat with him at the bottom of the ridge, I knew that this would be his last full loop with me.  I am going to have to take him for summer walks along the ridge….but not down to the river.  He was straining in his hips and struggled to make his way back up to the top.  I felt as though we cried together…knowing full-well that time passes and history changes us.  It was a difficult time, but we captured some ‘magical’ pictures along the way.

The Moon

The Freedom of the Moon
Robert Frost
I’ve tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I’ve tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.
I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I’ve pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and saw the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

Quiet Places

I am sitting here in a dark room…white print whispering across a dark blue background.  It has been nearly impossible to sleep tonight, apart from two hours after putting down my ‘read’ and turning off the bedside lamp.  Warm milk consoles me for now, but I know that as the day opens up, I will be regretting that I couldn’t quiet my mind enough to sleep. 
There are so many things on my mind right now and I have been trying to wedge six months worth of living into a one-month box.  It is time to slow down now and to imagine that over my lifetime, things will shape themselves as they are in my imagination…and that the picture doesn’t need to land in front of me, on its feet, just as it is in my head.
I have enjoyed recent conversations with my parents and my sister and my friends and children…and I know that all is well…so I will sip these final bits from my mug and try for a rest before dawn.