Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ukemi ... the art of falling .... Surrendering.

I recently began working with a new trainer. A trainer who is also a friend and a colleague and who has inspired me to move forward into a new chapter in my life .. an exciting new journey of somatic coaching. Last night we met. He is also an aikido practitioner. I tried aikido almost 20 years ago. I remember loving it and feeling how so much of it resonated with me on so many levels. Last night he taught me ukemi, the art of falling. He demonstrated for me the 'back fall'. As I watched I found myself mesmerized. Effortless. Flowing. Circular. Then he asked me to try it. Not so flowing and effortless :).

He told me, philosophically ... ukemi is about surrendering. He shared an article with me written by Richard Strozzi, "The Aiki Way: The Art of Falling" ... " ... falling requires surrendering to gravity, the energetic field of our lovely planet. To live a conscious, evolving life surrender is a requirement at every stage of growth. When we surrender we fall into a larger luminescent, unknown space. Falling is the practice of surrendering ..."

Almost 30 years ago, I surrendered to my inability to control my drinking. Surrendering was my first step in acknowledging I had a drinking problem. I find myself reflecting on surrendering ... the different levels and layers of surrendering. Letting go. Am I really surrendering? Am I really letting go? How do I find balance in feeling grounded and centered, and surrendering to the fall ... to gravity? Trusting in the fall and the journey; trusting I will land, or I will fly.

I remember when I was playing competitive racquetball. As I would get ready to take a shot, I would some times lift my head and look at the front wall which is turn would alter my form and the direction of the racquetball. My coach would tell me, 'Trust me .. the wall won't move." In competitive sports I was taught to look through my mind's eye, to visualize.

Today, I hold the following question in my heart and in my body ... What do I need to surrender to? What do I need to fall into?

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