The other day at work I was struggling what to do with a certain drug and alcohol client of mine who just didn't quite seem to get the idea of showing up for appointments on time...if even at all. I was deeply enmeshed as to how to get this person to change and trying to find ways to motivate this person to stay clean and sober. Then that little voice in the back of my head screamed at me, "Hey...you are not in charge of the Universe! Just let it be."
At that moment I was just able to kick back and have a good laugh at myself...and let go. Here I was again trying to control life rather than just going with the flow. In the martial arts, as most of us know, the best techniques flow with what is given, rather than what is forced.
It is no different in the dojo than out of the dojo. When I again did meet with this client I engaged him where he was in his life and applied some conversational aikido, taking what he gave me and returning it to him so he could see what he was doing. This pumped up his motivation for change rather than me lecturing at him. No matter how long I have been counseling, it's amazing how at times your desire for quick control makes you lose focus of good interviewing skills.
The same applies in learning self-defense skills. As a martial arts teacher it is important to me to remember that every student has his/her own story and will mature at their own rate. It reminds me of an old saying, 'You can't make the corn grow by pulling on it.' You just have to have trust and let life flow. Clients and students will grow; my job is to just provide a nourishing environment and let go.
I am also thankful for this client as he helped me validate to listen to that little voice in the back of my head that screams at me.
Hands palm to palm,