Updated: Mar 2, 2020
One of the most common statements I hear from students, visitors, friends, and family is that I somehow naturally enjoy rigid structure to my day and that this somehow explains how I manage my time to be on the mat more, achieve more, and be more present. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Don't worry, this won't be a long post - but somehow, I think it might have a stronger impact than a drawn out preparation before a "big revealed truth".
Self Awareness. One of the common realities we all share is that our lives are subject to a 24 hour rigid structure. We don't impose it, it's imposed on us. We think of laziness as our default behavior when in fact, for most people, it's learned. Think back to when you were a child, or better yet, notice how children behave when out and about - they are naturally rambunctious, exploring, investigating, often to a degree that we, as adults, try to lessen for safety reasons (and maybe sometimes for sanity).
In other words, our default behavior is to "go with the flow of the universe", and I mean that in a very real physical sense. Our circadian rhythms, natural desires to be active and to investigate the world around us; this lends itself strongly to a so-called "rigid habit" schedule of living.
Most actively or unknowingly fight this, but when you simply give in to it, you realize that you can become an active participant, guiding these habits into things like: "committed time with family", "healthy eating", "exercise", "a regular dojo schedule". All this without the burden of feeling like you are "missing out" or "not spending enough time" on something or someone.
Just as with the techniques we practice on the mat whether in Aikido or any martial art, it's not magic, it's physical, it's based on an interaction that depends on our ability to be present, engaged, and accepting of the reality we find ourselves in at each moment without resisting to the point of ultimate fatigue.
My challenge to my students and really anyone is to think about this when you go through your day and consider what joy you would find in your life if you brought structure to your day, week, month, year, and beyond.
Be blessed. See you on the mat.