Mostly a non-day, although not unpleasant for some reason. I did stop by Semifreddi's, but the cafe part was closed and there were no signs of life, so I decided to wait until tomorrow, so I could talk to the managers for both distribution and retail. Both of those will involve getting up way earlier than I want to for way less money than I need, but things are what they are.

As I write this, we're getting our first winter storm, and it's wonderful. The wind is blowing hard, pushing the rain through my screens and making it impossible for me to open my streetside windows to hear everything (my side window seems to be okay with not letting water in, so I'll leave it). It's refreshing to have a definite change of weather, although it's been overcast recently.

Hmm. I asked the universe for something good to happen, since nothing actively good has been happening; I had in mind something like getting a job. If this is it, I have to express my feeling that it's pretty lame on the universe's part, since it was going to rain anyway. It's like giving someone a sweater for Christmas that you pulled out of your box of stuff going to Goodwill.

There's some really complex stuff happening with my shoulders, some combination of stress and general tightness. They're definitely crunching a little bit more when I move them, but there's this nerve-pinching happening that correlates strongly with higher stress. Of course, it's hard to get any kind of baseline because I'm essentially stressed constantly: money problems are always on my mind, overshadowed from time to time by the...challenging...state of my internal and interpersonal lives. And, of course, this nation which I love (yes, Virginia, I am an extremely cranky patriot who thinks the United States is more than a flag and the attitude that we're better than everyone else) is now controlled on all sides by people hell-bent on American self-immolation. It's hard to have faith that everything will, somehow, eventually, be okay. Especially when I'm expecting them to dismantle the Clean Air and Water Acts and legalize automatic weapons for grade-school students--"builds moral character and family values".

    11:37 <dr.pox> cool!  fed lowers rate by a half-point
    11:38 > it'd be a great time to buy a house if I could figure out how
    +     I'm paying rent for January.

Through it all I can feel this change happening in me, something good and powerful and quiet and irresistible. When the smoke clears and my life settles a bit, I'll get a better sense of what's happened; but it feels like a lot of important lessons are being learned and absorbed, and I'm coming back to being who I want to be. And as much as I might want to be someone else sometimes, the person I am is a whole lot of good things: smart, intuitive, generous, nice, and engaged. Also arrogant, noncommunicative, dissociated, and emotionally oblivious. But who's perfect?

A lot of the physical motions in aikido is about extending your body: opening the chest, lowering the shoulders and elbows, spreading out the hands and fingers ("letting energy flow from the tips of your fingers to the ends of the universe," as the founder O-Sensei said and Kayla-sensei has been repeating recently). This extension makes it possible to blend with your opponent, to match your body and your energy to theirs. Rather than hunching up and waiting for them to reach you, relax, extend, engage, and move to meet them. What I felt tonight as I did a few low rolls is that my shoulders are stretching out, slowly, crunching a little bit, but loosening all the time. Similarly I can feel myself extending out and moving to engage the world, not just tightening up and waiting for it to get here. It's slow, but it's happening.

Ah, that we should all have such an endless font of metaphor as aikido.

You can't really attack someone with aikido (well, I can't--I'd be reduced to using the attacks I learned in kung fu). You can do all sorts of damage if an opponent makes any move toward you, but it's difficult otherwise (which is fine, because then you can find a way out that doesn't involve fighting).

"Did you hear about the aikidoist who got mugged? He told the mugger, 'I don't have any money, but you can take my watch,' and offered his wrist to the guy--even though he wasn't wearing a watch."

It's so easy to take someone's balance if they grab your wrist with any force--wrist-grabbing is the elemental aikido practice that everything else is built on--that "grab my wrist" is kind of a joke, like "pull my finger" with some thought behind it.

Maybe something good will happen tomorrow.