Before we enter the training mat, we briefly center ourselves. Our feet are firmly connected to the ground.  We are aware of the power that emanates from the physical center of our body.  

This week we are looking at the some of the lessons from The Way of Aikido by George Leonard.

We start walking onto the mat. George writes: how we walk will have a lot to do with how the match turns out. We move in a way that is both “relaxed and powerful, both well controlled and open-hearted.”

We’ve come to an important moment in this process.  As we step onto the mat, we say to ourselves: “This is my mat.”

We pause and let our eyes take in the entire area.  As we do so we take ownership for everything involved – the condition of the mat, the temperature, the light. Since we “own the place,” we can be “a gracious host” – welcoming everyone present. We are especially welcoming to our opponent.  “He or she is our guest, someone who has come to help us play the game.”  

The better the opponent, the better our game.

This mindset has its obligations. We must be all-in. George quotes Elizabeth Barrett Browning who said of love, “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height/ my soul can reach…”  

Taking ownership applies to all aspects of our lives. From entering a restaurant, a performance hall, an adversarial business meeting, or a courtroom. Taking ownership has bigger implications – for our relationships, our finances, our health, and our spiritual life.

We don’t deny challenges or obstacles. Instead, we center ourselves in a way that represents true strength. We blend, extending through or past the attacker, toward the possibility of a positive outcome.

George tells us when the match is over, the experience has less to do with winning or losing than with the quality of the game.

But, don’t be surprised if we win.


Reflection: When in the past have I taken total ownership for a situation? 

Action: Experiment today with owning my world. 

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