I haven’t been doing a lot of writing lately, or really any creative mental work… although I have been doing a lot of handcraft stuff, so that counts for something! But while I haven’t been feeling the itch to blog per se, I do feel like getting back into a little more regular writing practice… and since I actually seem to still have a reader or two (thanks, my friends!), the Pagan Blog Project seemed like a pretty low-stress way to do that (I expect I’ll be on the every-other-week schedule).
So – this week’s prompt is “A”. When I think of “A” related things in terms of my spiritual practice, the most important has to be Aikido. I have been training for almost six years now, and it has come to be possibly the most spiritual thing that I do; it keeps me grounded in my body and its connection to the physical world, as well as to some of my more strictly spiritual aspirations (re-grounding was, in fact, the most prominent of these, but my desire to be a peacemaker is also reinforced and facilitated by my Aikido practice).
Aikido has also given me both the impetus and the tools to finally undertake a significant transformation in my relationship to my body and to food, to the tune of about 70 pounds lost in the last two years (with more to go, of course). Given my history, I think it highly unlikely that I would have taken these important life steps without the quasi-external driver of wanting to improve my aikido to a level that would never have been possible with all that extra weight, and the lack of fitness that went with it.
On a somewhat related note, I am an anime/manga fan (although hardly to the extent my daughter is, and certainly not otaku*-level); anime and manga don’t really play a part in my spiritual life as such, but there are a few decidedly pagan-friendly titles that *feel* similar to how my spirituality has evolved over the last couple of years, and I thought I’d share them here.
Note that I am not talking about just the Shinto or Buddhist “trappings” that are everywhere in anime (miko, monks, battle spells, and so on…) – I’m limiting this list to that handful of titles I’ve found that actually seem to have a spiritual message that I find resonant.
(NB: if the following looks familiar, it’s lifted from a post on my old blog that’s so old I assume everyone has forgotten about it :)
Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro – There’s not much to say about the spiritual aspects of Spirited Away that hasn’t already been said… and while Totoro works on a much simpler level, the underlying Shinto-based message that the Divine is present, accessible and local in nature as well as manifesting as (what we in the West think of as) Gods speaks to and reinforces an important aspect of my spirituality. (There are moments in the anime series Kamichu that do this as well.)
*otaku = obsessive fan