Monthly Archives: June 2017

Courage and Trusting Life

By   June 28, 2017
Don’t just do something, stand there…… take a breather from the internet, infomercials, the dramas and challenges.  Go for a walk, take some space, sit in silence to connect to the real web ………and then do something.

The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all of one’s heart.”

We all seek the experience of being connected and alive. The difficulty is that to find the connection we desire, we must not be afraid of it. Courage is not as much about going off to fight dragons as it is about facing our demons, tolerating our feelings, and not reacting so quickly, in order to hear what our emotions are trying to tell us. Empathy requires a profound fearlessness to listen to and even embrace what we do not know, sometimes for a long time. Sometimes it takes great courage to not do anything and just listen.

One day a young woman in her mid-20s, Joanne, showed up at our door. She was strung out, suicidal, and wanted help to kick her heroin addiction. Judith and I knew her a half dozen years earlier as a bright, loving, and capable friend. Now with her mind and body compromised by drugs, she was fighting for her life. Joanne spent the next month at our house. Never completely clean, her ability to be honest with herself was patchy. Several neighbors helped where they could, but none of us had much experience with this sort of thing.  We called on our friend Peter, an ex addict now clean for 30 years who surely had some understanding of what Joanne was up against.  Peter wept as he told us of people he had known, befriended and tried to help that had died and his fear of putting his heart back on the line once again with someone who might go back on the streets and self destruct. This being true, the next day he offered to go with Joanne to Narcotics Anonymous every day for the next 30 days if she would commit to it!  He cared. Her courage to fight moved him; his courage to help moved her. When last we spoke, Joanne was on a healing path! Peter, died recently and the mark he left most on me and the people who knew him is the courage he had for authentically being his caring, playful, jokester, artist self.

Carl Rogers, the founder of humanistic psychology, said, “What we are most ashamed of is often what is most common.” We’re wired to tell our stories, and even though our mother culture teaches us not to reveal our imperfections, this is where we can deeply connect. Common sense tells us that we are all in this together and this being the case there is a collective processesing and learning we are a part of.  Living our lives more courageously honest and transparently is an essential shift towards healthy community. Through the years in our workshops, there is nothing more moving than when someone who is afraid to reveal his or her self musters the courage to speak out and does so for the sake of genuinely connecting and contributing to the others in the room.

When someone courageously risks vulnerability against all his or her imperfections, it opens the hearts of those near by. Surprisingly, people who are considered the least likely leaders can end up inspiring us the most. Everyday people and everyday acts of courage and heart change everything

Trusting Life
“The eyes of the future are looking back at us, and they are praying that we might see beyond our own time.  They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come.
To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.  Perhaps the wildness we fear is the pause between our own heart beats, the silent space that says we love only by grace.
Wildness, wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands”.
                                                                                               Terry Tempest WIlliams, Bioneers 2014

Our passages from childhood into adulthood, committing to life long relationships, becoming parents and entering elder hood are moments  that ask us to look inward.  Initiatory rites of passage in elder traditions honor such thresholds from one stage into the next. When our eldest son, Devin turned 15, over the course of a 7 month period he met with an extraordinary group of men who gathered regularly to guide and ready him and his peers for their solo vision quests, a rite of passage into responsible adulthood. Drawing from the Lakota tradition, each of the young men went “up on the hill” for inner guidance and vision, alone in the wilderness and without food for several days and nights. The process was life changing and meaningful for all who touched it. You see, these young men leave the village to face death, to find their own truths, and then return, all for the sake of enlivening the whole community. Such rites  speak to a gaping hole in modern culture’s lifestyle, a wanting and needing that honors the unique gifts that every stage of life contributes to the circle.

In our culture of consumerism there are endless possible things we can buy or do to distract or fill ourselves up in order to “fix” the emptiness and pain inside of us. Maybe “Life” is truly awesome, and that is why it feels overwhelming to go fully into it.   Life has an elegance that surpasses by far anything we might devise. Wisdom lies in knowing when to sit back and allow the unfolding.  Too hurried an activism may lead to lesser consequences and, more importantly, may cause us to trust ourselves instead of learning to trust life. Our bodies put us in direct contact with life.  Originally we chose the name, Liminal Somatics for our company because a “Limin” is the threshold of a door, and somatics is the integration of mind, body and spirit. To  cross thresholds of life, we must engage our whole selves. This is a core principle in all our trainings at Liminal Somatics.

Let us know if you would like to host a workshop in your area. Stay tuned, David’s book on Practices for Embodying Nonviolent Communication and Judith’s book on Connective Culinary Arts are both in their final edits!

love and light,
David and Judith Weinstock

2 new candidate peace dojos!

By   June 28, 2017

I am delighted to share this excellent news with you. The Peace Dojos International network is pleased to welcome two new Peace Dojo candidates.

In order to facilitate the access of new dojos to the Peace Dojos International network, the steering committee changed the recognition procedure to become a peace dojo. A new intermediate step has been put in place, that of Peace Dojo Candidate.

Once a member of the steering committee contacts a dojo cho who has explicitly expressed his intent to establish a peace dojo and finds that both the practice and the spirit of the dojo are oriented toward greater peace, the steering committee member may recognize the dojo as a Peace Dojo Candidate. This first step opens the door to the “more formal certification” that will take place and will be declared by the steering committee.

Jack et Christian, Pennsylvania 2017

That’s the approach I followed. In April 2017, I met with Jack Richford in the United States. I had known Jack for years and I was eager to get acquainted with him in his dojo. There, we chatted, we had discussions, we practiced, and we did plenty of brainstorming about how to make Aïki practice a practice of reconciliation and peace.

Don Levine et Christian, Paris 2008

And at the beginning of June I met with Jean-Rock Fortin, who was spending a few days on vacation in Paris. Amazingly enough, it is in the Luxembourg Gardens that we talked and even practiced some exercises. This was amazing because nine years earlier, to the day, at the very same place, I met with Don Levine, the founder of Aiki Extensions .

Jean Rock Fortin et Christian, Paris 2017

For me, meeting Don Levine was an extraordinary opportunity to discover that I was not alone in the world in my quest to adapt aikido applications to daily life. Nine years later, I was back in Paris myself, in the position of welcoming another sensei to introduce him to the existence of a network of dojos desiring to go beyond mere physical practice to contribute to a better world.

The first Peace Dojos International Peace Dojo Candidate is  SHAMOKIN AIKIDO KAI.

Led by Jack Richford and assisted by Ted Kendris, this dojo is located in a former church in Shamokin, Pennsylvania (USA).

Jack Richford is committed to sharing the values ​​of dialogue, listening, and respect through his aikido classes for adults and children. Jack is an avid researcher of what his martial art can bring to those who practice it.


The second Peace Dojo Candidate is located in Quebec (Canada) and is directed by Jean Rock Fortin, shihan. Jean Rock defines himself as a globetrotter for both business and pleasure, a martial arts instructor (Ki-Aikido), an artistic knife maker, and an author. He is also a consultant in sustainable development. His dojo, the KI-AÏKIDO-KAÏ QUÉBECalready bears the label of peace dojo, clear evidence of how the dojo is oriented towards listening to oneself, working with Ki in its dimension of reunification of body and mind, and practicing aikido for more harmony in all the dimensions of one’s being.

On behalf of the steering committee, I would like to welcome these two new members of the Peace Dojo International network. Their new status as Peace Dojo Candidate opens the doors to invite them in and show us their dojo and their project. Their dojo presentation will be submitted to the Steering Committee to begin the certification process..

2 nouveaux candidats dojos de paix !

By   June 26, 2017

(This paper is translated in english)

C’est avec un grand plaisir que je vous partage cette excellente nouvelle. Le réseau de Peace dojo International s’étoffe de deux nouveaux candidats Dojos de Paix.

Dans le but de faciliter l’accès de nouveaux dojos au réseau de Peace Dojo International, le comité directeur a changé la procédure de reconnaissance des dojos de paix. Désormais, une étape intermédiaire a été mise en place, celle de candidat dojo de paix. Ce nouveau stade a pour but de faciliter l’entrée de nouveaux dojos.

Dès lors qu’un membre du comité directeur entre en contact avec un responsable de dojo manifestant son intention de devenir dojo de paix et qu’il constate que tant dans la pratique que dans l’esprit, les critères de dojo de paix sont appliqués et respectés, il peut reconnaître le dojo en tant que candidat dojo de paix. Cette première reconnaissance ouvre la porte de la “certification plus formelle” qui interviendra et sera prononcée par le comité directeur.

Jack et Christian, Pennsylvania 2017

C’est la démarche que j’ai suivie. J’ai rencontré en avril 2017, Jack Richford aux Etats-Unis. Je connaissais Jack depuis quelques années et j’étais impatient de le découvrir dans son dojo. Nous avons parlé, échangé, pratiqué, devisé et réfléchi comment encore faire de la pratique Aïki une pratique de réconciliation et de paix.

Don Levine et Christian, Paris 2008

Et c’est au début du mois de juin que je suis venu à la rencontre de Jean-Rock Fortin qui venait passer quelques jours de vacances à Paris. Etonnement, c’est dans les jardins du Luxembourg que nous avons échangé et même pratiqué quelques exercices. Etonnement car 9 ans auparavant, j’y faisais la rencontre de Don Levine, le fondateur de l’association Aiki Extensions.

Jean Rock Fortin et Christian, Paris 2017




Le premier candidat dojo de paix est le SHAMOKIN AIKIDO KAI. Dirigé par Jack Richford est situé à Shamokin en Pennsylvanie (Etats-Unis). 


Jack Richford a à coeur de transmettre des valeurs de dialogue, d’écoute, de respect et de dialogue au travers de ses cours d’aïkido qu’il prodigue à des adultes comme à des enfants.

Jack est un chercheur assidu de ce que son art martial peut apporter à celles et ceux qui le pratiquent.




Le second dojo est situé au Québec (Canada) et est dirigé par Jean Rock Fortin, shihan. Jean Rock se définit comme un globetrotteur par affaires et pour le plaisir, un instructeur d’arts martiaux (Ki-Aïkido), un coutelier d’art et un auteur. Il est en plus consultant en développement durable. Son dojo, le KI-AÏKIDO-KAÏ QUÉBEC porte déjà le label de dojo de paix, c’est dire si la pratique est orientée sur l’écoute de soi, le travail du Ki dans sa dimension de réunification corps esprit et la pratique de l’aïkido dans le but d’oeuvrer à plus d’harmonie dans toutes les dimensions de l’être.

Je souhaîte, au nom du comité directeur, la bienvenue à ces deux nouveaux membres du réseau de Peace Dojo International. Leur nouveau statut de candidat dojo de paix leur ouvre la porte et nous les invitons d’ores et déjà à nous faire découvrir leur dojo et leur projet. Cette présentation sera soumise au comité directeur en vue d’entamer le processus de certification.