Friends, I have to confess that I have been a little bit lazy, and intentionally so. Part of posting pictures (and I still have at least 3 rounds to go) is that I have been trying to verbalize what I learned in training.
It is odd. I have come back a different man from when I left. The difficulty seems to be that I cannot fully verbalize how I am different.
Oh, I learned more about the art - mostly what I do not know. I learned that I have a much farther road than I ever dreamed of before I get there. And I learned that I have chosen to get there.
Which brings us to the first point in my learning: Conscious Choice.
One thing that I did come back with is the sense of consciously choosing - in this case to go to training and (apparently) continue to pursue the art at higher levels. It was just a thing that I arrived back in the US with. I cannot tell you the point at which it happened, just that it did happen.
My life, for the most part, has been a series of unconscious choices. Most things I have managed to blunder into or start as a lark - for example, Iaijutsu itself (I cannot even remember where I found it online) or cheese making or throwing or the harp (Walking by the music building: "Learn to play the harp." Okay...) or a plethora of things that have happened to me. But just as easily I have chosen things essentially unconsciously at well - The Firm (yes, I consciously chose to do it but unconsciously chose not to consider the consequences) or financial decisions (multiple) or simply the amount of items that currently crowd my house, things I thought I might like to pursue and then decided not to or hobbies tried once and then abandoned.
But when I came back I was possessed by a sense of consciously choosing - initially my art, but extending to more and more aspects of my life.
Randomness has a certain thrill to it, but randomness does not allow one to increase one's skill level or decrease one's clutter in life. And I am past the point where more activities or more things are going to create the thrill they once did.
The outcome? I am choosing what I allow into my life and what I choose to practice. Ultimately it will decrease the amount and number of items there, but I have come to understand that then everything that is in my life is there because I consciously desired it to be in my life, not just because "it sounded like a good idea".