Leadership Coaching

Mastery: Finding Center Again

When I first began to watch and learn Aikido, I thought Aikido was about waving my arms around.  Now when I watch my teacher, Sensei, and other aikidoists, I notice that their arms follow and accentuate the movement that originates from their centers.  Aikido, I’ve now learned, is actually not about arms waving but about moving from center.
There are days in my life when I feel like my choices and activities look more like arms flailing than this graceful extension from center.  I feel overwhelmed—there’s that word—out of balance, with a resulting irritation and loss of perspective.  I’m reacting rather than acting from the center of who I am.
Mastery in aikido is not about being centered all the time, because that really is not possible.  Mastery is the ability to know immediately when one is off center and how to return quickly to center.
So, let’s revisit center for a moment:
Take a breath. Allow your shoulders to relax and your belly and lungs to expand.  Notice your energy expanding up and out like the branches of a tree.  Now allow your exhale to flow through you, slowly, like a ribbon of light into the center of the earth.  Be aware of the space around you.  Now, drop your attention to the spot below your belly button. Notice this area expanding with your inhale and relaxing on your exhale.  Ask yourself this question:  What would it be like if I could be a little more centered in this moment?  Return to this question often throughout the day.