Marinate for 24 Hours

So,  I am finally ready to admit something to myself. I am in a yin phase in my training and I am ready for a break.

I was going fast and hard for several months there, not allowing myself any mental downtime and I am ready to just coast to let all that knowledge just marinate inside the brain.

The universe is telling me it is time and I am ready to listen.

September will be a month of madness, I have a 8 day trip to Mexico planned as well as a bachelor party and wedding on two different weekends (Not Mine). If I tried to cram training in as well, I would probably go completely mental. So, I am dialing it back to something a little more reasonable for that month.

I will keep my morning practice and only hit class twice a week, skipping the weekends, since I wont be around anyway. I still have two weeks of normal practice left that will be focused just on well, practice, instead of intensely trying to learn something new.

New classes start first week of October, which brings about a new schedule and structure to programs. It really is the perfect time for a little break before the workload changes.

So onward to an extended vacation!

Focusing on no stress, recovery and light (extremely light) practice.

Not stopping all together, that would just be boring, but not cramming new information or training ideas while I go travel around and visit friends.

This weeks practice\lessons:

This week has been a fairly low key practice week. Just focusing on the drills and meditation to keep my mind relaxed through a high stress work week.

I did make a little breakthrough in the structure of my hips however.

As you may, or may not remember, I was having some knee issues a while back. I was able to narrow it down to several things back then, but found another movement that was causing stress on the framework of my right leg.

As I transition my weight from a right horse stance to a left one, I tend to allow my right knee to turn inwards putting a great deal of stress on the inside of my knee. In order to correct that, I have been keeping that knee\hip rotated outwards as I shifted left, allowing the weight to travel through the center of the leg instead of getting caught at my knee and straining the ligaments.

This new motion has activated muscles that are not used to moving and is shifting the alignment on the underlying structure. I can feel a difference in structure quality and my knee has been popping and shifting a bit as I try to make the movement a habit.

Overall, the result has been less pressure on the knee in general. It even lets me get into a deeper horse stance.

marinade-crop

Get the Memo

This weeks lesson is;

No one’s agenda matters but my own. No matter how much it may suck, or how far it gets my neck out there.

Its too easy for me to get caught up worrying about other people’s feelings, thoughts, or agendas.I will get so involved with other people’s schedules, needs, desires that I can end up losing my own in the process.

Last couple weeks have been a struggle.

I have been so worried about other people’s crap that I lost all the things I have done to keep me centered.

Welp, the line has been drawn.

I am getting back to my center and doing what I know works to get the extra static out of my head so I can think clearly again.

My resolve was slowly diminishing each week, thats how it gets me every time, one little thing after another slips. Then one day I wake up an energetic mess unable to think straight due to  the clutter.

I have been seeing a phrase pop up on me the last couple weeks that has been my saving grace:

“It’s ok to slow down, just don’t stop”  

Well, I have been listening universe. I have maintained a very minimalist practice everyday despite the madness.

Each day I have been doing one set of the 24 form and spending my train time meditating as I head in to work. Just enough to keep a toe in the training door.

Made it to a qigong class monday for the first time in 10 days and it reminded me why I go to those classes. It completely resets my brain. I know most of the moves, so I can focus just on the motion itself and let the monkey mind run off and away with that boom box on its shoulder.

I come out feeling refreshed and clear headed ready to take relax into the rest of the evening…. Totally going to start trying to find a way to do some of that mid day as I roll out my own agenda at work.

Kind of a disjointed blog post this time around… Been feeling really short and to the point lately. Not time for extra chatter 🙂

Todays Practice:

Morning

  • 24 form x1 this morning
  • 15 min train surfing
  • 10 minutes meditation

Evening

  • 1.5 hours beginning tai chi
  • 24 form x3
  • 30 minutes teaching the 24

2015-01-03

Shapes in the Plaster

Yes! I have time to write today!

Not just physical time, but mental time, so I am sitting with the dog on the couch and dumping thoughts.

Mmmmm…what to write about.

Took the whole week off Tai Chi classes to spend some extra time at work to shore up some of the weak points. Now at least I have a general grasp on what needs to be done and a task list I can follow. Not completely out of the stress weeds…. but working on it.

This morning and yesterday I did get a full 24 in though. I still wake up early enough to have a bit of spare time and gotta spend it somehow! The last class, Saturday, we focused pretty heavily on a couple parts and I didn’t want to completely forget what we were talking about.

When I was a kid, until I was about 22, I lived life with very little inhibitions. I used to stare up at the clouds for hours letting them morph before me. I formed them into different shapes and creatures as they drifted, an almost endless array of forms dancing before me. There was no intention towards them. It was like it was nature’s television, pulling the thoughts and feelings straight from my brain and projecting them on the sky.

This concept showed up on other things as well.

The bumps on a spackled wall, the stains on the floor, the random groupings of fibers on a carpet pointing in different directions. I would find myself lazily focusing on these surfaces and forming cartoon faces, animals of bizarre proportions, and all sorts of crazy things. There was a subtle desire to give them life. Find some way to create them in the real world, but never had the patience to sit down and try to capture them. Too busy keeping myself entertained with all the whacky creations to communicate it to others.

Then went to art school.

In the beginning, the drawing classes had us do a lot of quick sketches, 30 second gesture drawings. One of my favorite things to do was to scribble some lines on the paper then doodle with it until it was some sort of face or creature. I have notebooks filled with these scribbles, it was so much fun.

At some point, however, I began to force myself into a more structured approach to drawing. As I was shown more techniques, I figured I needed to employ them so that I could become a more skilled artist to communicate my ideas. I had to become part of the land of the employed. I no longer had time for these silly flights of fancy. I had work to do.

What happened was exactly what I had intended. My brain shut off that part of my mind. Walling it up and limiting access to it because it “wasn’t the proper way” or “There wasn’t time for this absurdity”.

As the years went by, I got farther away from it. Favoring of a more technical aspect of art and ending up specializing in character rigging leading to lots of programming and technical setup. I got really good at it, but I have always felt kind of a loss for that abstract freedom I used to have. Aware only now, that it not only affected how I saw things, but the flows and direction of thoughts I had.

About a year and a half ago, I started drawing again and also took up tai chi.

The drawing started to melt that wall.

All the tension and rigidity that had been built up for the last 10 years started to melt away, very slowly. I got really in to inks and brushes and was starting to become free again.

I have only recently remembered that part of my life. Those aspects of my day to day, the freedom and unrestricted thought that used to be so easily accessed. It has been one of my main goals to get back to.

I know I am on the right path because a couple weeks ago, I started to see shapes in the plaster again.

IMG_20140515_201606_nopm_

The Scales Have Tipped

There is just doesn’t ever seem to be enough of it.

I have re-written this post several times. I cant seem to get into the groove so I will just go into what’s been going on in the last several days.

I find myself being pulled in different directions. There was just big round of layoffs at work and the shift of responsibilities has been causing me a great deal of stress. Change can always be stressful but I have become relatively used to these kinds of changes.

I have become used to a schedule that allows me to focus the majority of my outside time on Tai Chi. I got into a routine, now I am looking at a potential routine change. One that I am trying to figure out if I want to allow.

My work forces a lot of context switching. I switch from one workflow to another and try to make sure that the artists on my team are able to work as effectively as they can. This requires me to put myself in their shoes and see how they work so I can attempt to predict ways of making things easier for them in the future.

Busy days can be nuts, I sometimes have to go through 5 or 6 people solving their issues and juggling the other tasks I have on my plate. If one artist is stuck, that is my first priority.

It can be a really fun job, but it also has the tendency to wear me out pretty early in the week if the department is really pushing hard.

I guess what I am trying to say is, now I feel am going to have to do even more and I am trying to figure out if I have it in me.

The last several days, I have been tired. Profoundly tired and it has nothing to do with my physical body. It all has to do with the amount of attention and focus I have been devoting to the different aspects of my life. I had achieved a nice balance, a maintainable one between work and life. It was a balance that was so finely tuned that it was easy to tip from one side to the other. Right in that perfect sweet spot.

Last week, essentially a ton of bricks dropped on to the work side of the scale.

I don’t really have a resolution yet. This week I have to find new boundaries and make sure that goes well with the rest of the schedule.

Onward and upward. Wish me luck.

Put this on in the background. Great lecture on time management.

Time Management

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