SomaNews – November/December 2013
The Sword Cut
"Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."
― Miguel Angel Ruiz
In the beautiful martial art Aikido, a bokken (wooden sword) kata features movement that steps forward and to the side. In our own lives, we can make a metaphorical "sword cut" to take a stand and powerfully step into a situation. This sword cut is a strong, deliberate move – such as making a bold statement – to get our own or another’s attention.
It quickly cuts to the chase.
In challenging situations, many struggle with an automatic reaction of acquiescing, moving away, disappearing, or pushing against. When I acquiesce, I give my effectiveness away – which does not support me or others in possible growth. Instead of these habitual responses, we can use the sword cut to move toward and speak words that are clear, strong, authentic, dignified, and compassionate.
How to use the sword cut
Instead of shrinking back, ignoring, disappearing, or any other move that doesn’t serve you, do this:
Ground and center yourself – and turn toward the energy. Take a stand for who you are and what you want to become. Don’t allow someone or something to bowl you over.
It’s not from a place of aggression, but from dignity, compassion and strength. It comes from a grounded, connected place to enter into conversation rather than confrontation.
When to use the sword cut
Though the sword cut is not always the best first move to make, depending on the circumstances, it is often the necessary move to make.
Is there someone doing or not doing something that is causing you damage or pain? Perhaps you’ve asked a team member at work to keep you informed about a project, but they don’t – and you have had the "nice" conversation already, maybe more than once. The sword in this case may be a swift, clear explanation of how their behavior affects you and the team – and that there are consequences if the behavior continues.
Are there people in your life who speak or act inappropriately to you? Instead of laughing, cringing or ignoring, step in with dignity to cut off the bad behavior.
Is there a particular situation that is keeping you small? Use the sword cut to quickly detach from it.
Have you given in to your commitment to be healthy by eating a pint of ice cream? Instead of turning away in defeat, get centered, turn toward the ice cream and say firmly, My commitment is to be healthy.
Have you given away your power to someone because you were afraid of conflict? Ground, center, and move into that much-needed discussion.
The first time I heard about this metaphorical sword cut, my body did not have the ability to raise the sword, let alone move it through the air and point it in the direction of the cut. But by practicing, I gained wisdom and strength.
Continued practice is key to keeping our metaphorical swords clean and sharp to maintain dignity and compassion when using such a powerful tool. If we let our sword get dull, the result isn’t effective – and we’ll find ourselves going back again and again to the situation.
This one-day retreat centers around creating and embodying practices to support your intentions, such as losing weight, writing a book, being able to say no, becoming a better leader. We’ll explore using ceremony, ritual, creative expression, guided imagery and other tools to help build connection with self and community.
This fun and rejuvenating retreat gives you the freedom and space to draw on your imagination and creativity. As a powerful reminder of your commitment, you can choose to create a representative symbol — such as a staff, shield, spirit box, necklace, or collage. No artistic skills required!
If you’re interested in bringing this custom retreat to your area, please contact me.
Somatic Bodywork and Coaching Services
I will be in the St. Paul, Minnesota area January 21-25. If you’re in the area and interested in working with me, please contact me via email.
I’m available for hands-on Somatic Bodywork and coaching for those in the Petaluma/San Francisco area. I'm here to support you in any way I can.
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Not in Petaluma or within driving distance? That's not a problem. We can talk by phone or Skype. Please get in touch if you'd like to explore working together "remotely."
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Madeline Wade is a certified Master Somatic Coach with a private practice in Petaluma, California. As a master coach, she helps people increase their effectiveness and unlock their potential by integrating intellectual, emotional and physical components into embodied practices. In her work as a deeply-experienced Somatic bodyworker, she supports clients in overcoming historical patterns to build a self that can gracefully face change.
Madeline has studied for 15 years at the Strozzi Institute and has more than 25 years of business experience.