This article on gratitude within Aikido is from Linda Keogh, from the Northampton club. It was written in December 2019.
As a new year looms, I find myself inclined towards some reflection. Especially as I am now well into my 3rd year of Ki Aikido. I think back on lessons learned and reasons to celebrate a mere 3+ years of my life. Those years have seem tremendous changes – instigated by my practice.
As I contemplate this, one particular theme keeps coming up – and that is gratitude.
Not merely in the sense of appreciation of my club mates and their endless patience and support. Or my wonderful Sensei for his seemingly limitless, kindness and compassion. Especially when I tell him for the 100th time I don’t get something. Its more inclusive than that, even though these things are very important to me.
Gratitude, learned through these acts of consideration on the mat, filters through into my view of daily life. In that, rather than becoming upset by my life’s ups and downs, I am developing a genuine thankfulness for the small things in life that have positive value. Things that several years ago I would have missed. Like noticing a beautiful sunset or an unexpected smile from a stranger. In that way I am continuously practicing, even though I am not on the mat.
Even if a do find a situation that brings genuine sadness or worry, I am slowly learning to ask myself a question. “What do I have to learn from this?”. In the same way, sometimes I am unable to move my uke during practice. Rather than assume they are just being awkward, I ask myself “What is it I have to do differently to make this exercise work?”. I may not see the answer straight away. It may not be for quite some time. But through the confidence slowly instilled in me through consistent practice, I know I will get there eventually. But isn’t that life anyway?