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Throughout our lives, we develop many relationships in different social spheres—the workplace, our friendships, families, volunteer groups and our children’s activity groups.
We are learning daily how to engage with different personalities and with people from different backgrounds. I, like anyone, have experienced the ups and downs, success and failure in my life and business ventures.
Much of my work has been with women; they are my people, my tribe and the source of much of my success. And yet, I’ve also experienced first-hand what happens when a group of strong, intelligent women turn vengeful, jealous and spiteful against their teammates.
I’ve had to ask myself, “How do I handle this?”
This kind of conflict can happen in any group of people with independent thoughts and opinions. Now after years of trial and error, I’ve learned to utilize the Aikido principles to attune my mental perspective into supporting the flow of positivity, teamwork and prevention of breakdown.
The founder of Aikido, Ueshiba, referred to as O-Sensei (venerable teacher), developed Aikido to engage in a physical practice, including and not limited to throwing, striking, sword and knife weaponry, but also to develop internal spiritual integrity promoting self-development. Aikido builds character in order to surpass “dualistic conflict.”
Through applying the Aikido principles of Gaining the Mind of the Budo (martial Way), I can navigate conflict, and have more ease and flow in my life and relationships.
1. Ki, life force, is the path that unifies all paths of the universe throughout eternity.
My body, your body, are a part of the universe’s nested system, life force. This includes: atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs and the body we each inhabit. With this in mind, when I sense conflict, I do everything I can to first establish homeostasis before I take action.
I ground myself by imagining that I am standing in the center of the earth. In this center, I drop a cord, like a fishing line, which gives me a foundation upon which I can move and make decisions from. Staying connected to my body and to the energy of the universe reduces the perception of separation and conflict between myself and others.
2. Aikido is truth taught to govern the Self in our lives on this earth.
By maintaining consistent principles and philosophies across life and work, I gain confidence in my decisions. One principle I use to be mindful, is to first be aware of the breath. If it is short and shallow, I know I am not in relationship with Self, but when my breath is deep and steady, I know I am grounded, relaxed, aware and utilizing energy.
Sometimes I find that I’ll drive somewhere, only to arrive and realize I do not remember the entire drive. I was not present whatsoever. I try to remember to take a deep breath when I get into my vehicle, in order to be present throughout the journey. Through following my truth of mindfulness of the breath, I gain immense power, confidence and peace in my life and decisions.
3. Aikido is the principle and the path to aligning the mind.
When I allow joy, peace and love to guide my choices and decisions, I stand strong in my conviction, even if the people around me are resentful. To do this, I allow myself to think with my whole body, tapping into life force energy which in its essence is love.
Through looking and seeing the mountains around me, smelling and breathing the fresh air, hearing and listening to the sounds of the city, tasting and nourishing the gourmet food in front of me, touching and sensing the floor in my practice, I use not only logic, but listen to the voice of my senses, to my body. Through my body, I am attuned to the universe, allowing compassion and love to guide my decisions.
4. Aikido will come to completion when each individual, following his or her true path, learns correctness for themselves.
This is why I have chosen not to aggressively “sell” people throughout my life.
As the co-founder of a non-impact, body-mind movement practice, I believe body and life training is a deeply personal choice. When I began to develop my fitness practice in the 1980s, others around me did not understand my choice to take my shoes off and dance barefoot. Meanwhile, it felt completely right to me. Likewise, only an individual knows when they are ready and willing to take the leap to join a class or training, and break into the depths of their greatness.
Understanding each individual has their own path, skills and pace is key to communication and the flow of work.
5. Aikido is the path to aligning with Universal principles, leading to the infinite perfection and ever-increasing glory of God.
You may not believe in a God, but this concept can be communicated in many ways.
For instance, many crave “god-like” perfection: the sense of peace, achievement and dynamic ease. In my life, infinite perfection is the sensation of being okay with anything that is. One may not feel that things are perfect, yet to harmonize with all that is, means to accept what is.
When my second husband fell in love with somebody else, I didn’t want to accept it and yet, when I accepted what was, I opened myself up to experiencing sacred divinity in everything, to experiencing the glory of God. Perfection is discovered on a path of strength and compassion, and just like Aikido, sometimes you get thrown. Do you stop? No. You learn and keep going. Aligning with acceptance leads to experiencing infinite perfection.
Women, men, leaders, mothers, fathers, teachers—we all must make choices, big and small. Allow these Aikido principles to guide you. Tap into truly experiencing your sensations, your breath and ground yourself in accepting what is happening for you now. Gain more ease in your day to day interactions, and always note, learn and grow from your mistakes.
Author: Debbie Rosas
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own