Soothing the Soul

The single most pivotal\profound experience in my life happened in a dream.

It left me feeling like there was something within me that I needed to share with the world. A feeling so strong that it drove me to separate from everyone and everything in my life and change directions.

At the time I was working construction and generally just being a bum. I was partying constantly, was usually on some sort of drug and spent my hours writing or dancing.

The morning after this dream, everything inside me changed. The lack of motivation I had always felt was gone. The need to communicate something was so strong, so fierce that it was the only thing that mattered any more. I HAD to find a way to let whatever that was out.

So I started going to school, community college to get my head back in the mode of studying and I started to separate myself from the crowd I was hanging around. That was the hardest thing, as I think about it now I have a pain in my heart, I still feel like I abandoned them.

These weren’t just my friends, they were my family. I spent every second with them, but it was the only way I knew how to get away from what I saw as a black hole. A life path that held nothing for me, I could see where it was going and it was no where good.

From there, I tried to just follow my passions. I had no idea what I needed to do and for the most part I had no idea what I was doing. I had no plan, just what was immediately in front of me.

Get the pre-reqs done at community college, go to another college… get degree… then what? A job? Then what? Family?

I ended up going to and art school, fitting now that I think about it, but at the time I was paralyzed with the decision between that and an engineering school.

Paralyzed because I knew I would do fine on either path, but I had no idea which one was the right one, which one was the one that would get this out of me.

Animation and game design ended up being my focus. I have always had a strong inclination toward movement. I could always FEEL movement, I could experience it through dancing and felt I could tap in to something beyond myself when I did.

My specialty ended up becoming, hilariously, optimizing and enhancing artists workflows.

12 years later, I have had three jobs in the gaming industry. One could say I have found success, but to me it still feels like just a beginning.

Like those twelve years were just to prepare me for what lies deep within me, the need, the drive, the command to help.

To communicate something, to help people succeed, to help people find themselves.

I feel I am closer now to this than ever.

Like whatever it is, is on the tip of my brain.

Whatever it is, a part of it is my my journal from 10 years ago which I randomly open up last night.

A writing that I pleaded myself to get out in to the world, but have yet to do.

It is perhaps the closest thing I have to the writing I used to do.

There was a journal I had in my early twenties that I would write in all hours of the night, stories about finding true meaning, about exploring the soul, about tapping in to the eternal knowledge within us and getting out of our own ways to live through it.

I lost that journal in Paris France. I left it on a train that I had rushed off trying to make my stop.

Years of writing and self exploration lost.

To this day, that is the single most profound loss I have ever had. But when I search deep for an answer to why I let that happen, the answer is always:

“You weren’t ready.”

Am I now? I have no idea.

But, for some reason or another I opened my replacement journal directly up to that page last night and I read it.

It floored me. The entry was so clear to me despite remembering writing it and feeling like it was completely unintelligible.

It touched me to the core, validated my journey and gave me a jolt of passion to help try to push me through this next wall of fear and self doubt.

As I search for a reason I happened to open my journal to the ONE spot, the only answer I get is, “It’s Time”.

So, whatever that means, I guess it’s my answer.

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The Dream Machine

I have been having crazy dreams lately.

The more I pay attention to my dreams the more involved they get. Im not talking about like a 5 minute random dream where all this crazy shit happens. I am talking about all three lord of the rings extended edition. A full story arc as well as continuing characters following a continuing story line.

I checked my facebook memories and apparently 5 years ago today I wrote;

What does it mean when you have episodic dreams everynight, and everytime you hit the snooze button you fall right back in to them where you left off… Kind of makes me not want to wake up…”

How is that for crazy? Maybe its something to do with the moon or something…Or maybe its because I have been meditating more and writing down my dreams… Most likely I am completely clueless.

That said, lets talk about my practice for a bit. Seems like it has been a while since I have mentioned what I am working on.

 

The Chakra class has introduces a new type of meditation that I have added to my weekly practice. I have been alternating between the standing Zhan Zhuang meditation and the sitting “Rooted” Meditation through the week and after each session I have been writing down what I experienced and any thoughts that come up and over all it has been helping me to process quite a bit.

It is pretty enjoyable to mix things up like that, it has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of meditation and that it has the potential to have limitless applications or approaches. The two forms have increased my awareness of different areas of my body and where I hold tension, as a result I have been conscious of a deeper level of tension I hold in my body. Through breath I am able to relax it and some of the aches I had before now melt away.

We have finished the 83 Form in class, it is still extremely rough for me, but none the less the whole thing is locked away in the brain somewhere. I, regrettably, have not been practicing as much as I would like in the mornings so the routine is kind of gnarled in several areas. It seems like the on practice I am able to get in lately is practicing in my head at bus stops or when I am cooking dinner.

Train surfing has become ridiculously easy. I have even started doing it on crowded trains with no worry of running in to anyone anymore. Using a forward horse stance is still a little dodgy, but I picked up a fix for a bad habit of raising my kua in the forward stance which has really helped me stabilize it more and allowed my to stand a little more solid.

Played a game of ping pong the other day, I usually get pretty caught up with it once the points start going and I start to get uprooted. This game was different though, I was able to stay rooted and relaxed and was able to return balls and react quickly. I sometimes went too far on the relaxed side and didnt go for the ball at all… but gotta find that balance right? So I think I may start to use that as a training bit for push hands.

Meditation and kua work have really leveled up the last several weeks. I feel a little more aware of my hips and dantian which is allowing me to correct a little more accurately.

Oddly, my awareness of the dantian has shifted locations, or rather maybe its just a new area of numbness. Since I have been able to feel my hips and waist more, there is an area deeper in my core that has no awareness what so ever. Maybe that’s the dantian? Or maybe it’s just the next area that needs to wake up.

One day maybe the picture will be complete…but until then, onward!

 

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The Paper Man

The paper man, assembled from every expected aspect of the canned society. Written down and stored in a box.

A box stored in the heart of the man.

A man who does all the things “expected” of every man of the age. He goes to work, he pays his taxes, he chases women.

Doing what he can to pass the time until death comes.

But there is a dark spot in the man. A spot he fears to enter. The time between the script of his created self and the next day.

A place where there is nothing. A hole that exists in where there are no tasks to be completed. No smiles to put on. No hands to shake.

Thats where it shows itself and he dare not ever enter it.

So he fills that gap with booze, with drugs, with women. It blurs the gap, fills it with a hazy memory, easily forgotten.

For that, that is the spot where dreams lay and he dare not dream. For dreams are unwritten, unscripted.

Dreams are unknown.

Dreams could be fire. Fire could burn this paper man, leaving nothing but the horrors that live in the boundless wasteland of the imagination.

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All About the Form

The knees are a talking.

Last couple weeks I have been noticing some aches and pains in the knees. More acutely in the right knee, but the left has been creating a bit of a racket as well.

For the last couple weeks I have been trying not to hold back during my practice. Allowing myself to get much deeper when sinking and really pushing the horse stances making sure I am going all the way down.

This has really brought to light the fact that I am just plain moving wrong.

After analyzing my form as I practice, the first thing I noticed was that I am allowing my knees to go past my toes in those deeper stances, a very common mistake while doing squats.

In order to correct that, I have to push my butt back farther and keep my weight directly over the center of my foot. In doing this it,  it also points out my ankles are still fairly inflexible, so pushing back strains the ligaments/tendons a lot. Need to stretch more 🙂

That I can work on, but keeping my weight over my foot immediately relieves the pressure that was on my knee and keeps the aches from happening during the movement.

The second thing is that I have been rotating my knees out FROM the knees in my stances. I was told that my knees tend to collapse while doing the form, which is dangerous and can cause injury. So I have been trying to correct it, but was doing it improperly.

I was putting my mental intention on the knees and forcing them outward from the joints, this is completely wrong and extremely dangerous. Now that I am aware of it I can feel the difference, but what I should be doing is rotating my thighs out FROM the hips, or open the kua. This may be hard to visualize, but the more I experiment with different points of movement, the more I realize that where I THINK I am moving directly affects where my body actually moves.

Now that I have recognized these bad habits I need to work on fixing them. Unfortunately, I have already gotten to the point where my knees hurt. So I will have to allow them to recover first.

Going to spend the next several weeks letting them rest. When the pain eases off I will do a couple of test movements just to see how they feel and that will be my gauge for when to commence some of the harder movements.

Until then, much easier workouts. Not as deep in the stances and paying close attention to the subtle weight shifts in the movement itself. Listening to how it feels in a less extreme pose will make the deeper ones later on a little easier when it’s time to shift. But overall, the key during this recovery is NO PAIN!

Practice overview!!

Been a couple days since I have posted. It’s been pretty busy over here!

Saturdays Practice

  • 1.5 hours dynamic qigong
  • 1.5 hours form practice\analysis
  • 2 hours push-hands

Sunday

  • 1.5 hours hunyuan qigong
  • 1.5 hours forms practice

Todays Practice

  • 2 hours 24 form practice
  • 1.5 hours dynamic qigong

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