17 Days Left! EP Family, Aikido / by Melanie Ida Chopko

Today I thought I'd write more about another bright spot in my EP family, or, in this case, my creative process in general. I've been training in Aikido for 2 years now, and lately I've been taken with it on a whole new level. This week I've been thinking about the practice of bowing, and reverence.

We bow alot in Aikido, which was a totally new practice for me in the beginning. We bow to enter the dojo, the practice space, we bow when we step on and off the mat, and each time we begin or end with a training partner. At first I did this in a sort of automatic, automaton way, but in the past six months I was invited to view it as an act of mindful reverence - I bow to the mystery of this spiritual practice that anchors my beloved bipolar mind (more on that, here). I bow to the courage and dedication of the person in front of me who has show up to train with me, to support me in finding my edges and learn beyond them. 

But what is wild is that now, I've noticed that my body prepares to bow in places that are unrelated to Aikido. It's like my body is wanting to bow to the sacred everywhere: When I enter the home of my mentor, Shilpa, or enter the circle of changemakers at a YES! Jam. When I stand in front of a friend and listen to them share their questions, their commitments and confusions. When I enter my money class each week and sit with people dedicated to using the energy of money with grace and mindfulness.

I remember reading once about one of my musical heroes bowing to the piano after he was on a meditation retreat, and I want to start bringing even more reverence there as well. I want to bring this physical expression of reverence to the great mystery of music, the voice of transformation, grief, joy and beauty.

You can learn more about my project, here, and give to make it possible.
https://igg.me/at/lkiV-sPvr-s . In the 10 days since I started this fundraiser, we've reached 30% of the total project goal, exactly on track to bring it across the finish line.