As we approach to the end of December, we prepare for the New Year by wondering what the coming year will be like.
Optimists or pessimists, visionaries or realists, proactive or passive… The future flows towards us and we will have no other way to face it except in everyday life. In that here and now that should be well known to those who follow the path of a martial discipline.
Here are four tips for making the most of this here and now that 2024 will be made of.
First: more listening
Do you recall that phrase that goes something like this: “The reason we have two ears and only one mouth is that we have to listen more and talk less”? It is by a Greek philosopher from 2300 years ago, Zeno. Poor Zeno, honorary president of the Club of Unheard Dispensers of the Obvious!
Aikido is learned, of course, by doing. But also -and above all- through receiving. Knowing how to receive in turn teaches how to give. Knowing how to listen, in addition to lowering the volume of conversations, helps us to better understand what we are experiencing. And maybe it helps us discover that the solution to many problems requires just a little more silence.
Second: more loyalty
Nothing hurts us more than receiving indifference from people we are close to. But before we go on crusades to change the world, let’s ask ourselves how much indifference we pour on ourselves.
It’s true: our days are not easy. Studying and working are hard tasks, there are many things to pay attention to. We live like tightrope walkers without a safety net.
And we slowly put ourselves outside of our own to-do-list. We spend so much time keeping up with so many situations that we feed ourselves only with waste and indifference.
We can reverse all this. We can rediscover the flavor of loyalty to ourselves in the little things, in the routines, in the perseverance to live moments of construction of our person.
And usually this also brings with it happier relationships with other people.
Third: more intensity, less resilience
The last few years have deafened us with terms like resilience. To which perhaps the time has come to say it’s enough. Because often the uncertainties of the system in which we live have slowly accustomed us only to resisting, waiting for the current storm to pass. They have made the muscles of our creativity, of desire, of the ability to aspire to high goals increasingly weaker.
So let’s go back to squeezing what we have, to the fullest. Because if you keep it there, locked in a drawer waiting for who knows what better times, it will be lost.
Of course, it doesn’t mean becoming a raving mad who starts training twenty-seven hours a day. Nor the self-harmers who will attack in a rambling way whoever comes in front of them.
Rather, we rediscover that we possess something inside. Something that the more you use it and the more you give it, the more it regenerates and the more it grows. In Japanese culture, this something was called ki – 気.
Fourth: more freedom, less individualism
The discipline we practice aims at freedom. And it aims at building free women and men within society. May the new year help us every day to remember that the origin of every expressive gesture, of every form that we define as free on the tatami, comes from a constant formal practice.
That a mature self never denies that complex of balances that regulates a greater us. That the atmosphere in a group, in a Dojo, in society, is ruined both when the individual is not allowed to express himself, and when the expression of the individual only hides his selfishness.
May the new year be full of “here and now” lived to the full!
Happy new year!
Andrea and Sara
Disclaimer: picture by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels