Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Gift of a Black Belt

Last Saturday I tested for my shodan in aikido and was awarded a black belt. People asked me how it feels. To be honest, I feel no different because getting a black belt was not my aim. At the same time I feel deeply touched because I have devoted myself completely through sunshine and rain, and in a sense, to have come this far without giving up along the way is what I’m most proud of.

Looking back there were numerous times I questioned my sanity when things got tough. Especially when it came to the aikido forward roll. I was never talented at being up-side down nor I enjoyed it very much. The forward roll seemed to me like purposefully tossing myself onto the ground and hoping my body will be round enough to carry me through so I can make it to the other side and be back on my feet again. In a way, I thought I had to be at least a little crazy to attempt such a stunt. I was – a little crazy – priding myself as a good athlete I didn’t want to back down from such a challenge. Wanted to protect myself I often closed my eyes, held my breath and prayed I won’t get hurt. I suppose my teachers were amazed at times that I’m willing to try and other times I would tremble in fear while everyone else proceeded before me. There were times I walked out of it all together. Not to mention injuring my right shoulder a few months into the training when I tossed myself too high off the ground with my eyes closed, and later only to discover that I have landed on the weakest part of the shoulder that was not meant to support such weight. I cried my tears and swore I would never put myself through another ordeal again yet somehow there was another force quietly pushing me forward.

The Aikido Forward Roll

Four years have gone by that I rarely missed any training at all. I selflessly worked on anything else the dojos needed from mopping the mats, updating the website, hosting oversea guests, to teaching the kids class. There was never a day went by I didn’t at least think of aikido. Why? I really can’t say. After years of training my goal-oriented ego has been washed away slowly. I could no longer say I train so I can look good in other people’s eyes because I no longer care. I don’t do it for the money, I don’t do it to gain approval, I don’t do it to even be physically fit. Unknowingly the subtle flow slowly pushed me forward through my sadness, through the obstacles, through sunshine and rain and somehow I found myself on the other side of the forward roll – landing on my feet continuing to walk forward.

What did I give up? A lot. I had to give up fear. I had to give up aggression. I had to give up the need to be perfect. I had to give up indulging in my neurosis. I had to give up forcing a particular outcome to suit my needs. I had to give my limited view of separation of humanity. … The list goes on.

What did I gain? Even more. I gained true self-confidence. I gained a disciplined mind. I gained the awareness when I’m acting from ego. I gained the ability of acceptance and peace. I gained a keen sense of focus amid emotional turmoil. Most importantly I gained love and compassion for myself and the ability to expand that love outward.

The truth is, the black belt itself has no meaning, yet this black belt is a symbol of my perseverance. This black belt reminds me to stick to my path through thick and thin – knowing I will land on my feet and walk forward again each time I fall.

September 29, 2012 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Death & Rebirth, Self Realization, Tears, World Transformation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How to Survive The 2009 Holiday Season by Listening With Your Heart

Flo Li Holidays

Looking forward to your holiday dinners but not the holiday blues?

How to Survive The 2009 Holiday Season by Listening With Your Heart

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San Diego, CA (PRWEB) November 25, 2009 — The holiday season is a very stressful time for most Americans. Family relationships during the holidays have often triggered conflicts, agitations, and unhappy memories. Within hours of being together, peace and joy can quickly be tossed out of the window. Upon the release of her new book Happiness by Definition, relationships expert Flo Li shows us that we can bring happiness and joy into our everyday lives to transform family dynamics from fizzle to fab.

“The key to a successful relationship is to recognize underneath all the nagging, demands and scrutiny, there is only love.” In her book, Li helps readers to take notice that happiness and love is natural and always exist underneath the clutter of mental conflicts. To some, doubts might linger as they wonder why so many loving individuals still suffer the holiday blues? “Lack of understanding,” says Li. According to the author, so many of us wish to be understood instead of willing to understand. Wishing to be understood can only bring endless headaches because we can never change someone’s mind by forcing a point of view. She advises, “to develop a healthy long-term relationship takes more than just timely communication but also the willingness to see from the other person’s perspective. And to form a healthy family dynamic, it is best to listen with your heart, be honest but tactful, and don’t react.”

The book guides the readers to listen with their hearts and tap into the boundless power of compassion. It magnifies the idea that people can be happy and affectionate by opening their hearts, by listening without reacting and imposing the need to be right. Happiness by Definition creates more opportunities to communicate honestly with oneself as well as another and by taking the other person’s feelings into consideration. For sure, it is simple but it will not be easy. Just like carving a turkey, the first time might be a mess but the more practice, the more graceful a healthy communication will become. And yes, this holiday season can truly be peace and joy without all the drama of the holiday blues.

More about the book, check out http://tinyurl.com/happinessbd

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Choices | , , , | Leave a comment