Happy Mother's Day, all you moms. I remember now on my own to call people on these sorts of days, at least, even if I flake on sending cards and stuff. I must be getting all grown up.

Aikido is such a wondrous thing. Today I got to train with a couple of really advanced people who attacked me faster than I could think. It's gratifying to know that I'm successfully drilling into my head that the automatic reaction is to do something to step off the line of attack--if someone throws a punch, get off to one side or the other. Don't just step back, and certainly don't just stand there (unless you're looking to get hit). But when an attack comes fast, I tense up and freeze, and it's impossible to have useful reactions when you're tense. Stepping off the line gives you a precious half second to let a technique come to you.

I also got my shoulder tweaked a little bit, but nothing major or lasting. I re-pulled my chronically pulled back muscle on Thursday, mainly because I'm an idiot (unsurprising cause of pretty much all my injuries): I showed up for Adam's test, but before I had a chance to really stretch, the test started, and then we just had five or ten minutes of freestyle training, which meant a bunch of falls I was too stiff for. But, Cyndy hammered on it yesterday and today, and I did a lot of conscious relaxation last night and this morning. I think one of the reasons I resist relaxing everything is that sometimes in the past I've then felt all floppy and my joints don't feel like they're holding together well and can get uncomfortably separated. So relaxing is either faith that that won't happen, or the decision that relaxing can't make things worse (I run this same equation when I decide to trust people and open up a bit more with myself and my life, too). Well, my back was already hurt, if pain-free, and I knew that being stiff while training would make it hurt, so I decided to just relax, and that worked quite well and my back is still pain-free. A hot tub and a hot epsom-salt bath helped too.

I worry a lot, and it's very easy for my mind to snag on something to worry about and just get caught in a pointless loop thinking about it, and I lose my focus on the moment and what's happening now, and I can get all worked up over nothing.

Fortunately I've worked out an excellent way to handle this anxieties: I ignore them. A lot of this consists of keeping my face and shoulders relaxed; it's quite effective and I'm much happier now. I mean, they're good things to look at, and if something feels particularly strong or crops up really often, it might be a genuine concern, but most things are safe to ignore.