Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This is not the mountaintop, and I am not the first to pioneer this direction.
In any case, I was never interested in it, or anything to do with Zen, status, flatus, or any of the accompanying baggage.

I am not here, to dance circles round the Sun.

I am just here to Train.
My soul is only rewarded by Shugyo, the simple fact of training which brings us all together in the holy communion of sweat and honest effort.

I only seek a venue for this simple expression of soulful effort.
Perhaps the stars, thorns, sparks and thunders of life can find their way into discipline, through our simple efforts.

It seems so astonishingly miraculous to me, that this so old discipline, can give so much to people so far removed from its origin.

In any case, I will glad and proudly take my place on our little Island of Misfit Toys, no one knows us, no one wants us, but if they are paying attention, they may start asking questions.

Now, we are at this point, and for myself, I find the tight, risky, bare trembling of new beginnings right under my hunter's nose.. you stand, or you don't.

When I know it's right, I stand like the steel I know how to sling.
When I know it's wrong, I stand ready to cut without prejudice.

you can't change the world,
you can only change yourself.

Everyone who has lost someone, is living on a great expanse of empty.
We are all searching for equilibrium.

The fact is, that every plus needs a vacuum, and every vacuum needs some kind of positive energy to fill it.

Trust me,  I have lost the linchpin of my life, of my brother's life, even more so than my own.
Every emptiness begs something to fill it.

Fill it with what sustains you.
I got a personal trainer who is constantly astonished at my bloodthirsty hunger for the heavier weight. "Yeah, you might want to hand me a heavier weight. Yeah, you might want to hand me a heavier weight.. " I have friends in budo who show up at the house and want to train. We practice one of the most painful forms of jujutsu I have ever had anything to do with.
Training as sempai to a gifted kohei, I give the attack best I can, I know it's going to hurt, and I'm OK with it. In these days, this constructive pain is a gift, it is not a pain of loss, it is a constructive pain, and I will take it, gladly, and I will rebound like something mad and rabid, and walk into the pain again and again, because it is a glad, voluntary, constructive pain, and it takes me away from the wildly deconstructive pain of grief, loss, rage and insanity I am dealing with in my deepest levels of emotional control and management.

The other factor is, that I was raised in insanity, and therefore raised to walk into pain.
So in my life, I resolutely walk into pain
again and again.

So I am rewarded by Shugyo, dancing with pain, and dealing with technology.

My body makes me lame, it makes me slow and not able to express the things I know, the things I have been shown, and I fight it.

In combat with my own balky body, I have found ways to make it work.

I call in colleagues, and I ignore pain.
Pain is my friend, pain is the mindkiller, pain is the motherfucker.
Fuck pain. Pain in the am, pain on walking, pain on stretching, pain on sleeping. Typical heel spur/fasciitis. Victim's fault? oh goodie, that's a lot of help.

I am pain, I work through pain, pain is my friend.
This, when my US colleagues can't resolve it.

I am looking forward to the EU visit, see what the perspective is.

some rationality in a world full of morons.
I did the deep work already, don't ask me again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I feel like I'm sitting in a corner, with several ways to go.

The one that leads straight down into despair, is the one I am NOT taking. Dad would be decidedly disapproving, and he has given me so many signs that he is having fun observing and making fun of the living, that I am not so concerned about him, as he may be about me.

Since I got back from Austin, I have been scrupulous about my support.

And yet, I find myself in frequent tears of crisis, and not wanting to burden my mate.
My grief for my father, a tremendous icon in my life, is gone, and my feelings well uncontrollably. I don't want to tell him, all the time, that I miss my dad. It's a constant, not a comment. Chuck knows that. He knows, at least I hope he does, that it's another spear in my heart, one I will never recover from, and having lost loved ones, I just enter a little more solidarity..

In some ways, Dad is more with me, than he was before he was dead. I left Texas over 10 years ago, and have been dealing with his physical absence at least that long. This is of course different from knowing that he is alive and well, and has opinions, and being able to ask about them.
Now, he can sit with me in the kitchen as I cook, I can serve him a drink at his place (the one I am sitting in now) and no one is the wiser, we can nod and smile at one another, depending on how much I have had to drink, or how insane I am feeling, we can have an actual conversation.

My father never understood my budo practice.
And yet, he raised me to be a budoka.

There's your conceptual dichotomy of the day.
For me, it's just practice.

To my delight, I am not alone.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Horror.. absolute horror..

that is what we entered into, and what we have still not resolved.

What do you do with a man who is too broken to continue.
You let him go.

I'm still living with the horror of the whole procedure, from the lying across his broken breast, listening to ruined lungs, to telling him that there's no way out but UP, to having the staff pull the tubes out, and watching him go.

If anyone has to go like that, someone should hold them.
My brother and I held our dad.

We held him.

He says to me now, Stop crying, I'm okay now.

He doesn't want me to forget that.

And I don't want him to forget, that I'm OK too..
I just miss my Dad..
and I'm still Listening.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The little pink bandaid on my right index knuckle has a cute design, something for girl-children who know they are girls.

On my rough, working hand, this material has cracked and frayed, just in one short afternoon, after multiple replacements.

I turn my hand over, and I see a powerful yet gracile structure, single-jointed fingers of great sensitivity, frayed cuticles and flattened knuckles from my work. When I am training enough, keels of callus also rise. But not now.

I am a workman, I don the overalls of the Japanese monk or crafter for a reason.

These blunt fingers, this blunt mind, I like to solve problems.

The tracery of scars from bones, to skin and gristle, only helps me understand my subjects better.

My father beat his body to make our living. I have made my life's work, a way for people like him, to not be so trapped in that battle.

I have already done the work I needed to do, to reconcile.
I just did not consciously acknowledge that I was doing it.

I knew I needed to be ready. I just didn't know it would be so soon.
The means still sticks in my heart like a crossbow bolt..

I'm caught in the swirl of events, waiting to land with my own two feet, sharpening my talons for what I need to get them into.

I also have to sort through a multitude of hometown issues.. besides the broken heart and the lost icon and my family..

I have a spine of spring steel, teeth like chipped diamonds, and my heart is Pele's best friend.. I have all the resources to survive this.

It's just the steps I need to take, to really make it count.
That's hard.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

For my brother..
We are in mourning, no way to deny it.

We were both close to, and crazy about our dad.
And he was crazy about us. As a proud father should be.
We are rarely gifted, with a personal relationship with our dear ol' Dad.
We are rare and dearly lucky.

He was taken from us in a particularly brutal and traumatic way, and you took the brunt of it.
The moment you told me "it's bad" and "you need to be here" I knew exactly what I was walking into. I will never forget that Jersey nurse saying "It's pretty rough in there" and me swallowing my horror, and saying "yes, I know" and walking in to be who and what I needed to be, for you, and for Dad.
Nothing else mattered to me, but that I be the powerhouse my heart can give me, from the love of my family.

One of the songs I love, by Guy Forsyth, is "If I was Sick, and I couldn't get Well"
one of the lines was "would you wait with me"
"wings made of needles, crash into the ground"
"would you take a stand.. "
"I would hold you forever, or at least until"
"I would wait with you"

We did take the stand we needed to take.
Dad gave us the legal tools we needed, to do what we needed, for him.

One of the most healing conversations I had with one of my dear clients, an Air Force medic who has been there in far, far worse situations than either you or I can imagine (she cannot attend barbeques), she was so adamant that we had done the right thing, she couldn't repeat it often enough.

"Honey, your mind may play second guess games with you, but never doubt your heart, you did the right thing, you did the best thing, and your daddy is so grateful and proud of you"

Of course I fell apart then, and I fall apart now, but in the company of those who face death and dying in the worst possible times, there is no shame.

I'm lucky, I have spent time in the company of chaos.
I know what it is to lose a good life, in a good cause. Or just to lose a life to stupidity.

Losing a life so close to my own, with the cloud we are still under.. it it always uncertainty that hurts the worst.

I am still waiting, with you.
We have, and we are, the future.

When we have healed, let us fly like he meant us to.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Posting from Austin, Texas, where I've been since late September.
Our dear ol' Dad was in a drastically terrible auto-tractor/trailer accident on September 27, and my brother and I acted on his living will and directives, and pulled the ventilator on October 1, 2011, and held our dear father as he died.
I'm sure my dad wanted it to be another way, he wanted to be eaten by coyotes, or hogs, or somehow or another to go out on a quieter note.
My biggest regret is that my father's last days were painful, emotionally difficult, and that he was, while intubated, unable to communicate precisely. My brother and I spent every possible waking hour talking to him, guessing for him, reading to him (mostly the 23rd Psalm,  I wish I could say he responded well to Thoreau and Bassho, but he didn't) and just being with him.
One of the things my father gave me, through standing up to him, was a kind of fearlessness.
I always knew I would lose him, and I always feared, that I would fall completely apart when I did. I was afraid I would howl like a coyote at the funeral, but our dear cousin Butch and his coy-dog and German Shepherd and I had several good howls, just for fun, and it totally cleared my heart. I was afraid that I would howl for days. I may yet..
I had to be very clear and present for my brother, for the family, and I had to Get Things Done, and there is nothing for the hunter but to have a quarry.
I knew, when I got on that airplane, with the health power of attorney tucked under my arm, that I was going to have to guide my brother and I through the process of letting our father go. I had very clear direction from my father, not just that, but very clear intention, and my only regret is that we waited as long as we did, and subjected to our Dad to that much more pain and privation. The dying suffer for the wants of the living. Our father spend four days in pain and unknowable privation, a proud, independent, fastidious man, unable to do a thing for himself, in incredible pain, unable to communicate, with his children obviously in distress and caring for him, drying his tears, reading to him, holding him (and holding him down, in my case). After I filed the health power of attorney, the staff was very responsive to what I felt and saw as my father's needs. His broken clavicle/scapula was incredibly painful, and after 16 hours of ineffective Lidocaine patches, I got him some Fentanyl, and he was much more comfortable, though headed down the Exit Express..
If the living really want to respect the dying, we need to learn to let them go faster, sooner, and we need to stop being so selfish.
That was what I understood from the trauma staff.. those people live to fix lives, not to prolong pain and suffering. They made it very plain to us, and I said to my brother, "we have been selfish enough" and I took his hands in mine, and we looked into each others' eyes, and I asked him the question I knew I had to ask.. "are you ready".
My brother, sick of suffering, and brave, said "Yes".
I could have never done it, without him.
Ol' Pat played some jokes on us, even on the way out. He is still making himself known, he is giving us gifts and communications.
Dad is our favorite Poltergiest, and we welcome his jokes, tricks, lessons and free and playful spirit.
I am still free, clear and present, but that great vast emptiness that is grief, is such a huge part of my life right now.
My dad would be very proud of our 10-year wedding anniversary, I'm sure he had something planned for it, we had a nice Greek dinner together with Patrick, Megan, and Mombi, and I think he would have been thrilled about that. All he ever wanted, all that made him happy, was to have as much of his family around him at one time, as was possible.
In this event, I'm sure he knows that we have been together more, and bonded more, than his wildest dreams. This extends to our dear Unka Bubba's son P (Taz) and we are talking about what older parents need to do, to leave their children free and clear to care for them, and let souls go as needed. Please go to NOLO.com, and get it done.
The blood on the tracks so far, says that that's the easier path.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In 1989, I finally made my way into formalized Japanese martial arts training. I was 19.

It was an optimistic year, I had finally gone back to college, and bundled Aikido into my community college semester, against my parent's wishes, telling them it would help me study.

It wasn't easy, I cried a lot inside, I got sick and I had to sit on the side, and I was ill-suited and had a bad attitude and I wore the wrong clothes and had a brown belt someone had given me, which I had bleached white.. I don't remember much else about this semester.

I was stiff, arrogant, stupid and stubborn.

Maybe I still am.
Now, I just know that this doesn't help me learn.

Now that I am not quite over that proverbial hill, but still playing with the young and vital, those young people who show up in your life, who persist and keep the faith with you, and they still consent to play with the broken so that we can all learn something, I am gaining the perspective I saw in the people  trained with, back when I was the springy young buck in the equation.

Thanks to some of the best bodywork on the planet, this pile of scratch and dent is still training. The twice separated shoulder is glued back together, thanks to Dr Robert Wagner, friend of my dear friend Cosper Scafidi. He said I would be back to 100% this month, and I had a moment of deep sadness, for a man who could not understand 100 of 500%.
At this point, I give him 85, which is Not Shabby At All!

Dr Robert, and his associate whose name I forget, injected a variety of biological superglues into my ruined left shoulder over a series of three sessions last year.
This year I have vastly greater stability, but in shihonage, and the big kotegaeshi throws, I hold onto that arm like it cost me 1500 bucks, which it did.

The other complicating factor is the cervical disc disease and the bulging disc in my neck, which means that impact of any kind is simply OUT.

I choose to minimize it. I don't reject it, I just find ways to train honestly, and minimize.
I'm going to tell you, not to bang me around.

Most people won't listen, so I mostly don't bother.

Everyone has the responsibility to train with their partners in a compassionate, constructive, and responsible manner. I'm nowhere in the leagues of the people who have written articles on this problem, but I have been in the trenches since 1989, and all I can do is call for awareness.

I can learn, I do learn, and I will never be "shiny" but in the end, I will be the one who has to work the hardest to remember, and pass it on. We are the ones who make the notes, write the books, and have to work hard to remember every move.

You know better, than to ignore the slow ones. At least I hope.
Otherwise, we need to renegotiate.

 a learner in a learning world;
no better place,
no leaner space.
Desire is universal,
detail is not.
Spaces are more common

We live in
not in
what fills it. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

a cool morning in August.. something I dreamed of back home!
crickets chirp sleepily, a jay creaks, and the cool air is so sweet. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There is the question of belief.

I don't believe in anything.
I may have the experience of anything.

My life is so open to What Is.

I choose not to limit myself, by Belief.

I don't accept the existing limitations.
I never have, and I never will.

What everyone believes, they're not giving up.

I am not even sure of what I am working on, but I am sure it is within rational grasp..
If it was not, it would not be worth grasping.

If you spend so much of your energy, imagining things, you abdicate reality.

Spend your energy becoming sensitive to what is.

In the words of Emily Dickinson, "to simply live, is so astonishing, that it leaves little room for anything else"

I deeply, and truly live by my namesake's statement, in the times and spaces I have to do so.

I have lived with death in the room.
I have lived with deep uncertainty.

I have lived, in places where I could stay another day, hour, or month, and no more.
I have lived in some of the safest places in the world.

The place I live now, is not one of them, and will never be, due to local wilfullness and stupidity.

We have, can, and will make that place work for us.

Monday, August 01, 2011

A kerfuffle has emerged, on my father's side of the family, yes, America's worst nightmare, rednecks with a little bit of money..  anyway someone wants to move things around and get buried in the family plot, and my dear old dad, just wants them to ask him for permission. 

You know, for those of us NOT concerned with our earthly remains, I can't think of anything worse, anything stupider and more useless, to get filled with wax and formaldehyde, and made up in some kind of hideous "lifelike" Lovecraftian simulacron, nothing would horrify my existential self more. 

Take this hard-working, startlingly functional carcass, and first of all, take what other people need. Take my beautiful menisci, which in my late 30s, were described as the menisci of a teenager, despite a lifetime of crazy budo. 
Take the corneas and retina of my incredibly well-functioning eyes. Take my taxed liver, give my kidneys to my friend Brad Wye, if it's a match. If it's not, find some kid who needs a second chance. 

One of my dad's disappointments, was that, when he reached a certain age (76 this September) he couldn't be an organ donor any more. 

I don't have a lot of patience with people who get hung up on useless remains. 
Make them useful. Fish, or cut bait. 

"Believing in this living, is a hard row to hoe.." (Angel from Montgomery)

I run into these obstinate vendettas, and just shake my head, while understanding my own obstinance within it.
I do believe in living. I believe in contributing to living. 

"I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down".. (Dixie Chicks)
My mother and I have driven around with this amazing CD in the car, both of us in tears, both of us understanding each other, and both of us wanting to somehow reach beyond the vendettas. 
"They say, time heals everything, but I'm still waiting".  (Dixie Chicks)

At some point, someone, usually the same 20 percent, who has been giving more all along, has to create a controlling interest. 

That said, those in the position to give, are usually the ones who have kept better track of their resources all along. This creates resentment in those, who have not. 

I have been there, and I have felt that. 
I have also learned, that it was my own fault. 

Of course it's hard, when things don't come easy, but little worth having, does. 
If you are afraid of work, you are afraid of life. 

My teachers taught me that knowledge is transmitted via sweat, and I took it to heart. I have no fear of work, perseverance (shugyo) and even blind exhaustion. 
I am older, my endurance is shorter, but I will never stop trying to extend it through simple cardiovascular and weight training. I don't want simple physical limitations to stop my inquiry. 
My profession is geared to erasing physical limitations, and I rely on it myself. Granted, since I left Germany, the work I get is not as amazing, but it does still help.. oh, who am I kidding. One hour on my teacher PS's table made me Superwoman, until I fell down a hill six weeks later, and disorganized my pelvis again. 

Since then, I just feel like I need to get back to Europe, to get my groove back. Last time I returned to the EU, I just felt like I woke from a bad dream in which I was stuck in the USA..  

Bury me not on the high prairie, but take my parts and pieces, give them away. Burn the rest, and bury it under a wild rose-bush. 
In my waking hours, my willing time, let me go back to an orderly society, where health care, pension, and security has something like a guarantee, where manual therapy is not a gutter idea, rarely recompensed, looked down on, and shunned.. 

I'd like to live in a more rational world. 

Just sayin'. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

in my private, claustrophobic world, I am in the Bavarian woods, I am open and venturing under the sheltering skies of pines and spruces. I am finding Pfifferlinge, blueberries, cranberries, and stashing them in the freezer for future use..

I am the beloved daughter of Bavaria, making use of her wares, I am protected and secure.
The grandmothers and fathers of Bavaria, love me and protect me, I am doing their work.

Then, I hit the epic fail that is the American public land use not-a-system.

Part of the reason I have not been out in the Appalachians, has been lack of a mentor, lack of time, lack of.. just lack of initiative.

I know it's a rich environment, I know it's all there.. and I know that I have clients who literally cry when I can't see them.

This is why I need retreats like our dear Young's place up in the 'Dacks'.
I can do a few sessions on that beautiful deck on Canada Lake, just for the sheer joy of the place. But I need to rest, sketch, sail, canoe, kayak and have a life, too.

I love to hear the loons in the morning, I grew up knowing there were loons, and always wanted to hear them. I always wanted to wear a sweater in the evening. It's the fantasy of every native Texan, and part of the reason I approach any part of Bush citizenship in TX as total fiction: they could always retreat to Martha's Vineyard in the heat of summer.
The rest of us were stuck in three-digit hell, from late May through October.

No Texan worth their salt, balls, or bones, dodged each and every Texas summer. I only dodged a week or so of my last few, and weathered many of them without aircon.

At some point, I would just go mad, and refuse to spend the weekend in Bastrop County.
I went into town and hit the swimming holes Deep Eddy and Barton Springs, swimming laps until I cooled down, or go with family and friends to whatever was fun and cool.

End of August, I was half-mad or more and grumpy, my hair was falling out, and I was just a little further on my way to psychotic.

This acting-out found its way into, fortunately, many constructive activities, which led me into my escape from the clay oven, which is the Texas major season.

I escaped from many other things, at the same time.

I also became beholden, to things I am still trying to understand.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I have to take it back to the beginning, an American in a spare room in Munich.

I was there on a skinny slip of fate, my terrified Texan self adrift in a Schwabing penthouse.
A little kid was yelling at me one evening as I dragged my bike into the back parking area, about cats getting in, pissing and stinking up the place. He was about 7-8 years old, and incredibly articulate. I knew exactly what he was saying, but had neither the skill nor the vocabulary to reply.
I developed that later.
He had no idea that I was a stupid American, and while I understood about the cats, I had no idea about how the doors or anything else worked, other than getting in, locking up my recalcitrant bike, and getting up a thousand flights of stairs to study in my rented room.
This kid was the son of my future Rolfing teacher, Peter Schwind.

Of course I had no idea, and the kid had no idea, that anyone didn't speak German.

The fates laugh at me now, but I was occupying a spare room in the same building as my eventual, most influential teacher.

I met the ambassador from Brazil to Germany, in my very best pajamas.
I was studying, and my hostess insisted that I come out and meet the fellow. He suffered from hirsutism, and was one of the most elegant humans I have ever had the honor to meet. He made me feel like royalty, in my PJs, whilst on a visit to his cultural teacher, in another country. Seriously, that's chops.

That's what I miss, here.. that kind of elegance.
That, and the grainy practicality I grew up with.

I am literally between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Life is suspended animation here.. some kind of halfway point.

Who knows, what the resolution will be. Not me.
I can guess.. I may well seek asylum, eventually. 
So the adventure continues, and the doors and windows open down the road.

Friends are continuing their lives together, and I am searching my heart, to find things to share with them.

You already know, that you must risk everything for love.

No one can tell you who to love, when, how, what or why.
Love finds its own way, and it is up to us, to plumb its mysteries.

Just because we love one person, does not mean that we can't love anyone else.
In fact, the best love is commutative, it links up, and joins people together.

I love so many people, sometimes it just boggles my mind.
I am not sure, how I can make room in my heart for all of them.. and then, I realize, that my love, makes more room in my heart.

My heart can always expand, it can make room for more loved ones.
This is a bigger heart, it is a better heart, and more love, and more to love, just makes my life better, bigger, and gives me more ways to grow.

So I choose, to live by love. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

So we had a jujutsu class yesterday.

There was some kind of mutual respect, some kind of understanding, and eventually, a real meeting of mind and intention.

Someone with the compassion, skills, intellect and depth, to grasp what my teacher is trying to do.

It was one of the most fun training sessions I have ever had the privilege to participate in.

Honestly, I am pretty verklempt about just getting back into jujutsu at all, but with this particular person, I am really having to reach into my roots, to keep my center as anything like a sempai. Fortunately, my motto has always been "don't do as I do, do better than me" and everyone always has.

It's not my main talent, my gift and leaning is with weapons.
However, with my understanding of the body, my interest in jujutsu is persistent. I just need people to train with, who understand that years of indiscriminate training has damaged me, and I can only participate in a very specific, discriminate way.

The class left me unharmed, invigorated, and very, very happy.
I am happy to say, it did the same for our new student, who is also our teacher, in another paradigm.

I am not sure how it all ended up here, but I am just so grateful for a chance to get back to some real basics, and this exploration of the principles of martial movement, in this particular paradigm, that I don't even care that we get up before the sun does, to do it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm a bit lost in space, in terms of my martial arts career.
I'm unhappy about not pursuing Kokoro Ryu, but am really enjoying SMR and the people we train with.

Neither of us know how much of it we can still do, but neither of us has really ever asked the question, physically, either. I have continually worked to improve.

I can't remember enough Kokoro Ryu, to do it justice. Other students have better memories, and more talent. I mentored them, but I can't do it by myself.

SMR is probably the more comprehensive, understood and acceptable path. Not my usual thing, but the signs are all good and easy, and I find myself leaping though steps most often hallmarked by hesitation.

When my teacher puts the research he so frequently talks about, into action, and finds out what he was taught, and does something with it, that will be interesting.

The path is hard, narrow, and without reward. But it is the path, and it will guide the seeking soul who beats and follows its way along, with curiosity.

I shall Remain Curious. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's been a week I would have sold my soul for, back in Texas.
Days breezy, highs in the 80s.
Nights breezy, sometimes stormy with rain, worrying about managing overflowing rain barrels.

Nights with fans, just out of sheer indulgence.
Sleeping under a light down comforter.. in later June.

In my old Texas life, an unaffordable luxury. My waterbed unheated, a cold shower with mint soap, going to sleep under the highest ceiling fan speed possible.

Yeah, life is different.

Shadows rise up again, and again, and many times they are just echoes I should learn to develop some kind of iron equanamity for.

They say that when the student is ready, a teacher shall appear.
This is not my exact experience.
My experience is that the avid student must scare teachers out of the woodwork, seek them out, bend their life to the teachers', and just generally make it work.

Woody Allen was right.
80% of life, is just showing up. 
I am such an unimaginably lucky girl.

At the beginning of my life, I was so hungry, so in search of something.

I was not in any position to understand my own quest.

I was Ronin, I was a starving coyote, I was raw bones, sinew, and attitude.

One man took me on, he took me in hand, and polished my raw aggression against his own compassion. Another of my teachers knew him, and handed me over, like some kind of hot brick or other liability.

Brendan took me on, took me as a student, and took it into his head to civilize me.

He took the wild live steel that was me, for a year or more, nights after practice, bounced me around the mat, Sanshiro-Sugata style, dragging my ragged self around, and off, the mat, with never an ounce of pain, harm, or damage. It was like being in a moon bounce, with a friend who helps you bounce, and get up again, except that your brain cells will never be the same. At some point, you have to let them know, that you can't play anymore.
That was the point I really had to re-evaluate my own heart.
Because, up to now, no one could break me.
Now, I am broken. It was an accident.
It was many accidents..
I can't do what I did, I can't be who I am.
I have to live in this curious half-life.
I am not here.
I am not there.
Three feet of steel, is my heart, it is my existence.

Three feet of steel, four feet of oak.
The singer sings, I am stung between bitter, nasty cultures.. one, I kill you, other, I kill you another way.
My heart is broken, that I must kill anyone, anyway. It's not my way, or my wishes.

The solution, is obscure.

There is nothing, there is no way. We like nothing.
We survive.
I am such an unimaginably lucky girl.

At the beginning of my life, I was so hungry, so in search of something.

I was not in any position to understand my own quest.

I was Ronin, I was a starving coyote, I was raw bones, sinew, and attitude.

One man took me on, he took me in hand, and polished my raw aggression against his own compassion. Another of my teachers knew him, and handed me over, like some kind of hot brick or other liability.

Brendan took me on, took me as a student, and took it into his head to civilize me.

He took the wild live steel that was me, for a year or more, nights after practice, bounced me around the mat, Sanshiro-Sugata style, dragging my ragged self around, and off, the mat, with never an ounce of pain, harm, or damage. It was like being in a moon bounce, with a friend who helps you bounce, and get up again, except that your brain cells will never be the same. At some point, you have to let them know, that you can't play anymore.
That was the point I really had to re-evaluate my own heart.
Because, up to now, no one could break me.
Now, I am broken. It was an accident.
It was many accidents..
I can't do what I did, I can't be who I am.
I have to live in this curious half-life.
I am not here.
I am not there.
Three feet of steel, is my heart, it is my existence.

Three feet of steel, four feet of oak.
The singer sings, I am stung between bitter, nasty cultures.. one, I kill you, other, I kill you another way.
My heart is broken, that I must kill anyone, anyway. It's not my way, or my wishes.

The solution, is obscure.

There is nothing, there is no way. We like nothing. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

I can't change the world.. I can change my Self..
yeah that's me.. 
I'm sitting here with a glass of ouzo and three feet of rusty, battered steel. 
I handed it over to one of the first Westerners to end up in Japan, learning budo. Mortified about the condition of the blade, and the sageo.. I got it back without a single extra shaving in the saya, and shook it out, before I cleaned it, utterly embarrassed.. I cleaned it, and bought a new sageo, just so discomfited that my little indulgence had become the instrument of a great teacher.. too late as usual. 

The bones of my hands are dented, you can feel the lumps. 
The veins are broken, where they got hit, again and again. My knuckles are deformed from trying to punch a horse, who ran into me. My body is deformed, and I need help, to not walk in circles. 

My neck is a neurological experiment, my left shoulder has been ripped up twice, and glued back together in three sessions of needle hell. The last one, they drew my own blood, spun out the fibrinogens, and shot it back into me, at the hands of a slender young man, who apologized, and told my husband I was "tough as nails" without ever understanding that the man I love understands toughness on a scale not often comprehended by the living. 
I appreciated the sentiment, and live forever in the shadow of Chuck's perspective, of a simple dumb needle in the shoulder compared to the Mumford, a hip replacement, and everything that ever happened to our military sistren &; brethren. So I got a 3-inch needle in my shoulder. I asked for it. I wanted it. That's different. 

I kill varmints without fear or regret. 

So that's my life, amongst the animals. 

There's not much I need. 
I need a garden. I need some meat.. can grow, trade or hunt. 
I need to work, I need to do my work. I need to make my way, doing this Work. It is bigger than I am, like my training. I went looking for things bigger than me, and boy howdy did I find them. 
I need to train. I need a budo, I need a Way. I need something to do with my Self and my Intention.

There is always some kind of negotiation. 
I must train, but I must also not incur any more damage. 

I cannot tell you, what the new day feels like, but it feels pretty gottamn good to a grrrl who has been looking for her kind of heaven for half a decade, since her teacher lost his groove for good. 

I am here, because I spent 20 years on things which did not suit me. and 10 on those that did, but did not survive. 

I am here, to work on something that survives.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Coming up on a weekend of intense training, I find myself in focus. 

Not so many words, many experimentations in my own attitude. 

I have been doing budo since I was 19 years old. I wanted to study when I was about 13, but my parents just laughed at me. In any case, good teachers of classical arts, were in short supply in Austin, TX when I was 13. 
I will be 43 this year (2011). The Japanese sword was, and has always been, my first love (after lightsabers of course). 

My study of SMR Jodo, is to me, like a study of the opposition. It's a fond, interested study, and I love the depth and range of the art. Like Heinlein, I believe that specialization, is for insects. 
If I had not met the people I have met, who were also interested in this art involving four feet of oak dowel, I might not have found such an interest. 
Interesting people, generate interest. 

I know that my own presence, as a native sword devotee, improves the practice of the poor sods stuck with me. 

I have spent my entire adult life, studying three-foot razor blades, and various types of physical conflict. 

In all honesty, it has made me a far more chilled-out person, than many who have not explored the concept in the depths I have. 

There is no place, like the training place. 
Three feet of razor steel, hone a person to a place of simple honesty, simply because of the difficulty of properly using the instrument. 

If you are in the right place, all movements are both bold and minimal. 
There are no gestures.. no movement means nothing. 
Everything is culturally, ryuha, family, group correct. 
There are no individual movements. 
Everything you do, every movement you make, tells people who your influences are. 
Everything else is an accident, until you make it Work. 

This is Japanese Budo. 
It is a puzzle, for the Westerner, of embodiment. 
To become so completely spacious and empty, to embody this culture so far from our own, in everything from language, to culture, to strategy, requires an effort from the practicioner, which much come from their very soul. 
This is, if I understand, true of native Japanese, as well. 

For myself, orphaned on several different continental areas at once, I shall strive for curiosity.
That is the lesson I am carrying with me, along with as much empty space as I can bring with me, to learn more. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

in the arms of the angels, fly away from here.

Wish I could.
Wish we could.

Thanks Sarah, most of what I find in comfort here, is your voice, and friends who think like you do.

The best I can do is..

bring the reality I knew..
to the reality I am now trying to overcome.

I would rather be in the arms of your angels.. but they don't come around here..

My reveries involve silence and enlightenment, few and far between.

Even my strategies in Texas, were easier to deal with.
Now, I just have to work on me.. I can't blame it on anything but me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

As a budoka, these days, most of my thoughts appear to me, to be in past tense. I live in a cultural maelstrom of past, recent past, and more recent, so it's all blurry, at best.

It's not that I am no longer doing budo.
I just feel like I am.. at some kind of halfhearted neutral right now.

This grrl used to show up for 3-6 days a week of mat pounding and abuse, and I picked on the instructors intentionally, to make it worse. If I could move after class, I was disappointed.
The instructor I mention later, used to mop the floor with me for at least 30 minutes after class twice a week, if I was lucky. I showed up at 4:30, he showed up at 8:30. I trained straight through. This is aikido and judo training, not a lot of standing around, generally.
I really thought I could get him, once or twice. I landed on his head once. He thought that was pretty funny (so did I).

Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying Shinto Muso Ryu.

It's just that..
A few weeks ago, Chuck and I did something from Kokoro Ryu, and I trained on that level, for the rest of the evening. Pat, ever alert, cranked it up for me.. and we ended up negotiating.. I don't know how to tell these guys who I am and how I roll, without making an ass of myself. After almost two years, and we have all been working so hard on trusting one another, and I do love the jodo boyz, but still there is something that needs to get kicked over, to get to the level of training we all need.

To their credit, they are figuring me out, they are testing me, ever so gently, but always asking for more, which I could not be more flattered by.
But I am guilty of hanging back, I am guilty of not pressing forward.

Because of who I have trained with, and who I am, quite simply, I am always operating with the kid gloves on. I understand that we all do that, for one another, it's just the trick of finding that terribly scary, sweet sweet spot, where we can scare the crap out of each other, trust each other, and we drive each other to that Higher Ground.

I had a long, sweet, deep conversation with the person I consider my closest original teacher for aikido and judo.. the bond we have is truly incredible. There are not many people I will tell my troubles to, he is one, and we always have a laugh, however rueful. Regardless of anything, he will always be a touchstone for me, simply for the honestly of his approach.
I have literally placed my life in this person's hands, with the manic sincerity of my attacks. The only other person I have done that with, is the man I married, but we haven't trained for the last three years.

Our conversation made me realize, that I need to get to this level, with anyone I train with, for any kind of intensity.

I need real intent. I need real salvation.
I need for the people I train with, to really know what they are doing, to really trust their technique, to save them from a minor wacko like me. I can stop anything, I am a technical expert, but I need training to bring be beyond that, and through it.

I need people who are going to stop me, and say, If you really want to kill me, you will do it This way.. they will also express their expectations of control.

Because those are the people who really love you, and those are the people who really trust themselves and their technique.

Those are the people I need to train with.
I train with liberated men, who don't give me unnecessary breaks.
I would hate them, if they did.

I am going to go ahead and say it.

Women in martial arts, are mostly women on their own.
We are annoyed by the limitations imposed on our gender, in general.
We don't have time, or interest, in the opinions of small-minded people, about what we are capable of.  It's not any of your business, so leave it alone.

We will do what we want, and there is nothing you can do, about it.
We can, we will, and we are able.
You may not be.
That's your problem.
'Nuff Said.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hold on, hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell
Hold on, hold on to yourself
you know that only time will tell
what is it in me that refuses to believe..

this isn't easier than the real thing..
My love for you is strong and true..
Am I in heaven here, or am I..
at the crossroads I am standing..
and now your're sleeping peaceful, i lie awake and pray
that you'll be strong tomorrow,
and you'll see another day and we will praise it.
and love the fate that brings another smile across your face.. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

The nitty-gritty becomes comical..
I am darting down the alleyway to get a license number of a car engaged in truly odd suspicious behavior at the criminabe's.. it's snowing, I've got my snow boots on and am in my warmups, basically my PJs, otherwise. I greeted a suspicious character on the porch, and ran around the back to catch the license plate number.
The good neighbors called me after I got back, sort of to compliment me on my nimble sprint down the alley.
We keep trying to tell them.. who we are and what we do.. but it took my little trot down the alley, to see that this middle-aged chickie can move a bit. Granted, I'm in bodywork for a reason, and I was so beat-up at age 30, that I was Jackie Chan in the morning, cracking and creaking to the bathroom.
Now, thanks to the bodywork I've gotten involved with, I can get up cold, and trot out in the snow to check a license tag, and just worry that I might slip around the corner (which I took like Scooby-Doo on meth) and the neighbors are wondering what the hell.
Well, we keep trying to tell them, and old Possum Whacker has made it up out of the basement, to find a place amongst the possible whacking implements.
Meanwhile I am skidding on my snow boots around the corner, memorizing a plate and writing it down on the top of a local Chinese menu card..
The basics of this kind of thing are so very basic, that it just makes me laugh in a rueful kind of way, and not mind getting out on a snowy night, because our neighborhood flatfoots are out in it all the time.
Having Possum Whacker out comforts me, in a way.. that thing was so indestructible, through so many varmints, I am comforted to have it in my hands again. Three feet of battered, warped red oak, in the shape of the Japanese sword, bought in 1985.. almost a quarter century ago.
Possum Whacker was my weapon of choice against the legion of opossums who raided our compost and our chicken coop, back in Texas.
I came up with a "two-stroke" system with the warped, battered wooden sword after my trusty Marlin 22 failed to kill a particularly recalcitrant "Possum" after 7 shots into its furry body, and I had to do it in with butt-strokes from same 22, as it charged me.

I learned to walk up to the offending marsupial in a kind of wake-game, edge ever closer, and go from a brief hasso-gamae to two snap strikes: One to the neck, the second to the skull. This double-tap immobilized the animal, and allowed for the only strike capable of killing these prehistoric critters.
I've got nothing personal against them, it's just that they threatened our personal economy. As long as they didn't transgress, they were safe.
If they did, and I caught them, they were dead.
Pretty simple equation.. one I still live by. As much as Maryland allows.

I was awarded a "Hard Bastard" by the late Bill Mears, for this.
Not sure why, but I do drink a toast to the late, great Bill every time this story comes up.