slightly better.

Thinking a lot today about attachment, focus, remembering that I have to live for myself alone, and convincing myself that everything will be okay. It will, I know: I'll find some way to support myself (even if I have to dip into savings I want for retirement or [madness, I realize] buying a house someday), the gaping emotional hole in my chest will heal, and I'll find my way out the other side somehow. Remembering that there is enough time, there's no rush.

The current thing to work on is to act clearly and with more integrity where sex is concerned. My track record of how I treat people that way is pretty dismal.

We did a fun thing in aikido today where we felt just how easy it is to knock someone down if you just push or pull them in the right direction. The aikido stance is called hanmi, "half-body", a triangular stance where the front foot points forward, and the back foot is mostly sideways, angled a little bit forward. If you bend your knees and sink into your center (hara, a few inches below your navel), balanced on both legs, you are very stable against any pushing or pulling forward or back, along the axis of your front foot. Now, imagine that your shoulders form one side of a roughly equilateral triangle. That gives you the "third point" or "empty point", the spot where you lose your balance. Have someone stand behind you and pull your shoulders or collar into your third point: no matter how big you are, you will lose your balance with a very small amount of force.

Tonight was also the dojo holiday party, which was a lot of fun and went really well. Several non-aikido people asked for a demonstration, which was kind of to be's hard to imagine you could get a bunch of aikidoka and their friends together and have some mats out and have no one doing any aikido. So Kayla-sensei talked a bit and threw Brandon (the senior black belt) a bit, and then someone requested that she beat the crap out of him, so they went at it pretty hardcore, which was fun to watch. Then they did reversals (I forget the Japanese term), where they find weak points in each other's techniques, essentially switching the uke and nage roles back and forth until finally someone ends up on the floor. Kayla's mom wanted to see a full-on randori/multi-person attack, so she took on Brandon, Cynthia, and Carolina, all black belts, and her stepson Grant, and that was just surreal. We've done freestyle and lightweight randori practice, but generally pretty slowly. This And unlike in the movies, there's no rule that only one person can attack at a time. So I watched Sensei throw Brandon while Carolina attacked from behind, who got thrown while Cynthia ran in, on and on. If any of them could get a grip on her, it didn't last very long. It's no trick, either: many times I've attacked Sensei with a lot of force, and she takes herself off the line of attack almost as soon as it happens, so I'll either lunge forward into empty space, or find she's redirecting the energy of the attack to take me down.

Last night was a really martial practice, with some more practical modifications to our standard techniques--relatively small things, like changing our body position or our grip on the opponent so that we're safe from punching or kicking. We also did a great thing where our partner just threw alternating punches at our face at close range, and all we did was keep our balance and shift out of the way, letting the punch go by. I feel a lot more comfortable having a fist go past my head now, which I think is the safest place for it to go--I've discovered aikido tends to put you close in to your opponent, connecting and blending with them. Getting out of the way rather than blocking or challenging.

The voice that I use to tell people with the force of cosmic truth, "Your life will not always be as it is now. Everything resolves. You'll be okay."...that needs to get louder in my mind. What I'm discovering is that if there's something wrong in my life, that I worry about how I've behaved or that there's stuff that needs communicating or whatever, it creates a blockage in my mind, like a big rock in my shoe while I'm trying to walk, and much of what I'm learning to do is identify those blocks and do what I have to to resolve them (which usually involves talking--ugh). Sometimes I really want to withdraw from human contact.