Aikido training in Japan

Lesson 30: See the Cycle

I’ve been here before.
As sure as the cycles of the moon, I just realized tonight during training that I have come back to where I was between a month and two months ago: an extremely strict and tightly strung mindset. Last time I wound myself up into this self-ultimatum setting-agro-self destructive mindset, it all came undone and shot me to careless excess. Somewhere after that I guess I got out of it to find middle ground, only to shoot straight up towards glass towers again at the first sign of light. Now I’m holding on so tight that if I let go I feel like I’ll fall for miles until I slam into the ground again. This time around it’s been facillitated by being sick. Here’s how the equation goes: I’m getting ready for my first weekend to go on a trip which I haven’t had in a long time, so it’s really special, but I get myself sick just before I go. I take mediocre precautions before-hand, and cold increases during trip. I still had a great time, but I was also sick the whole time. I came back home, got more sick, and I am as busy as ever at school and this month it’s testing month at the dojo so it’s extremely important I make it to everything that I’m doing. Because I want to do everything possible to get better as fast as possible, I’m am trying to get lots of sleep, take lots of vitamins, and drink lots of tea, as well as not participate in things that will make my cold worse. The only problem is, I want to do those things that will not make my cold heal quickly. So, I take the disciplinarian route and hold back, but it’s made me extremely ansy. Now I’m taking that same attitude to aikido, and while my mind is extremely attentive, it is completely clouded with my illusions of purity. Sensei saw my attitude tonight, like I really wanted to do something serious, so he gave me a nikkyo (particular wrist lock) that really shocked my elbow and sent me to the ground. This is how I feel all of my excessive mindsights take me. I get in a mood where I have to take it to the very end no matter what, build up speed the whole way, and then crash full on with my fastest speed at the last moment before impact.
Now that I see this cycle going round and round, what am I to do? I feel like I’ve been given a map and compass and have a good wind, but it’s all in Japanese and nobody will help me to figure it out. And so, alone in my ship as captain, firstmate, deck hand, and whatever other positions they have on boats, I am trying every switch and direction to see what happens. I guess I wouldn’t want it any other way. After so much time here in Japan having to figure so much on my own, make so many repeated mistakes over and over again on my own, and find myself alone over and over again, the last thing I want is for someone to give me an answer or hold my hand.
I’d like to ease up and just find that perfect balance between soft and hard, but when I try to see it or imagine it, it all seems empty, and I can’t flail my arms in the air like a puppet because of some idealistic proverb I read.
I see the cycle. Good job. Now what?
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