We've started some additional training with another aikido club and I set off by myself in the car, directions on the passenger seat and looking forward to class. I've only been there once before, but I'm normally fairly happy finding my way around places without sat nav. My challenging journey that night has made me realise that focus is great, but without flexibility we can easily become bogged down and stuck. Driving along, I saw signs that said 'road closed ahead' but assumed it wasn't the main road as there wasn't any details of a diversion route. I happily bimbled along and eventually found that it was the main route. For some reason, I'd been feeling a bit more emotional that day than normal, and that seemed to be the last straw! In disbelief, I tried to find a parking space to pull into so that I could have a look at the map to find an alternative route. It wasn't just me as cars were going round the roundabout, pulled up on the side in the way and no spaces were available, so I found a suitable side road to stop in.
I realise now that I was a bit outraged at the road closure, "How dare they close it?!" It was the only route I'd considered and I don't know the area at all. I sat for a short while and decided to drive back out and try another way to get past the closed section of the road. Off I went (fuming) and twice tried this tactic, only to successively manage to get further up the road but still thwarted by the roadworks. Then trying to think a bit more logically, I headed back out to eventually find some diversion signs. I followed these for a while, but turned round as it was taking me too far in the opposite direction and I would've ended up back home.
By this time, I had calmed down but had been driving so long that I needed the loo. I pulled into a space in the station car park and then noticed a pub right behind me that I didn't notice earlier in my strop. After a toilet break, advice about directions and a brief chat with my husband, I was ready to go. For a brief moment, I was tempted to just go back home but after some self-talk of, "So, you're just going to give up and go home? I tried to get to class, but the road was closed and I couldn't find my way??! Hmm, not going to happen! I may have missed some of class already, but I was closer to my destination than home. Somehow that seemed to bring me to my senses and the way to go was very easy as it was so busy for a tiny lane at that time of night.
I got to class and after a short warm up I really enjoyed my practice as normal. Before getting onto the mat, I visualised my route back and it worked like a charm as I found my way home quite easily. My travelling time that night was nearly three hours, which means I got an hour of training for my time but it was still definitely worth it. I struggled with the fact that I had to change my plans without much notice, and I think if I'd accepted this more easily I would've found the whole experience easier.
Once upon a time, I'd joke with my husband that he says, "It's a bit like aikido..." fairly often, but over time exactly the same thing has happened to me. My experience that night can be compared to ukemi practice and if you're not ready to change direction or follow where the movement is going, you can get yourself into trouble. Stubbornly deciding on where you're going to go isn't following your partner, and at a higher level of training means you could get hurt due to lack of awareness from being too committed in the wrong direction! In the past I used to be determined, but it could be with gritted teeth and mainly sheer willpower alone. It sure doesn't sound like much fun to me now, and I think getting frustrated with my route to class was a good reminder to not be too rigidly fixed in my attitude.