I’m staring at the computer screen.

Whenever I get up and go away, I am compelled to sit down and write, yet as I sit here nothing comes to mind. It all flitters away the second the bootup sound hits my ears.

All of a sudden, nothing to say, nothing to share. No experiences from the last week to reflect upon, just an overwhelming urge to search the internet for reasons why my girlfriends phone doesn’t reliably send text messages.

Someone else’s problem to solve, to distract me from my own. Distract me from the feeling that I have spent so much time practicing, that I no longer know what to do with myself when I am not?

Is that it? Not sure, still searching for the reason perhaps.

This week was a draining one. Often working till 8 or 9 at night and, unlike last week, only got to meditate 3 times. This was partly due to being hungover mid week…which btw was a horrible idea, despite my claims to the contrary. That morning was great, possibly.. but then 2 hours later I realized I had to stay awake for the rest of the day…oops.

Today I got some practice in at the park, 15 minutes of meditation along with several forms. The final form was very yang, very explosive as I dug out that suppressed energy from the weeks haul, but overall the term I would use to define the forms was sluggish.

I got some 48’s in just to make sure i kept it fresh. Tomorrow will be the 83, aiming for 2 run throug’hs chiming in at an hour or so of practice at least.

Wading through several days of built up mental stress caused the forms to feel a bit like I was mentally trudging through knee high mud. Though, it felt great to be out there. The sun was out and there was sounds of laughter from the kids learning to ride their bikes and playing on the playground.

Seriously missing my afternoon practice. I have been breaking off around 3 every other day to do some Qigong with a coworker, but we only do about half an hour. Perhaps next week I will start to throw an hour or so of form work at night to get rid of the days stress.

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Fit Is Not Healthy: A Shaolin Monk’s Guide To Exceptional Wellness — shifuyanlei

A great article about a balanced approach to fitness. I have always has a similar feeling to my fitness, trying to keep a balance of all the aspects related to health as opposed to heavily focusing on a single element of it.

Brought to you by a Shaolin Monk 🙂

In the age of social media, many people train for a body they perceive looks attractive to other people. When I was training at the Shaolin Temple, we didn’t even have a camera. Nothing was documented. We trained to conquer our mind and body and become the best we could in our chosen art form. Since […]

via Fit Is Not Healthy: A Shaolin Monk’s Guide To Exceptional Wellness — shifuyanlei

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.

HolyFirepanel1

The Hunger Games

Hunger is probably my biggest nemesis when it comes to distraction. As soon as the hunger drum strikes with that deep empty sound, all abstract and logical thought drains out of me faster than water out of a busted dam.

Waking up hungry is even worse, it puts me in a state of unfocused zombie like wandering, much like from night of the living dead.I find myself unsure of what to do with myself or how to direct myself into what my morning routine is.

That friends, is where I find myself this morning.

I tried to eat first thing, but didn’t have much in the kitchen that wasn’t going to take some time to cook. Boiled eggs is where I settled, so I put some water on the burner to boil. While that did its thing that water on a burner does, I began practicing the 83 form.

I was focusing on the part of the 83 I had gone over yesterday in a private lesson, where I realized that I was waaaay behind the rest of the class and my ability to learn new moves has been reduced to a trudge through a muddy marsh.

I am about 10 moves behind from the rest of the class, due to assorted absences and teaching other students the 24, work getting in the way, etc, etc…  Needless to say, the feeling that I have been slacking is acutely present in me today and compounded by the fact that my brain is fuzzy with hunger and exhaustion from the late night at work, frustration abounds.

The 83 this morning was a struggle to focus on. To say the least.

I would go through the moves once with great difficulty, stuttering as I went seeming to forget what the next move was until my mind cleared a little. At the end of the moves my mind would immediately wander somewhere else, usually back to my stomach and the eggs that were still cooking. This went on for 7 more times and it didn’t get much easier.

Even after the eggs were shoved in to my face my brain still had the after effects. I had reached the dreaded hunger zone where it left a residual after effect of general lethargy and confusion. The danger zone as it were.

The effect lasts quite some time unfortunately, so I figured I would meditate instead of trying to go into the silk reeling exercises I really wanted to do.

My original goal this morning was to go for a full 30 minutes however, my mind had other intentions.

My thoughts were so scattered and unmanageable that it was all I could do to just focus on sending waves of relaxation through my body. Sections of my body were not cooperating however, areas that were just relaxed would tense up again as soon as the intention left the area and it was as if they stopped existing at times. Causing me to really breath deep and relax again just so I could sense the muscles again.

I maybe had about 5 minutes of actual mediation before my brain completely gave up on me. Ending my meditation at about 26 minutes. Not a bad session, but it was certainly an uphill battle the whole way.

So, I decided to just write the experience down while it was fresh in my mind. There are days like this, it happens, it’s just kind of the way it is. There is so little time in the day to do everything I desire to do. I pack my day so full that the offset of one thing just screws up the timeline for the rest of the week. Its really hard for me to accept that at times.

Part of me wishes I was kind of a robot, so I could just plow through all the things I want to learn and do. Not having to worry about balancing all my different systems and aspects of my personality in a way that allows me to stay energized.

But, i’m not, and TBH its kind of beautiful when you can get to the point where you achieve an understanding of how you are. When you start to realize when to eat, what you should eat, the types of activities that drain you, the people that drain you, the people that energize you, the places you feel at home and the cultivation of it all.

Those to me are the true purposes of my training and my time here on this earth, to learn the balance of the life I have around me and truly be in it at every moment not missing a beat because I truly see and feel what is going on and who I am.

Todays practice:

  • 26 minutes Zhan Zuang Meditation
  • section of the 83 7x
  • 1.5 hours dynamic qigong (Hopefully)

Killer Mutant Snow Goons

I am amazed some form of this is not taught in western schools. Actually….come to think of it…our education system is pretty terrible so not that surprised. But it should be!

Remember how I was going to take yesterday off? Well I kind of lied.

After work I got bored and headed to the afternoon silk reeling class, and I am glad I did. We got a full list of silk reeling exercises as well as went over a new format for classes. I was still tired, I was expecting to just practice but ended up leading for a bit. I got out of it as soon as I could though so I could focus on practice. 😀

That is one thing I am starting to realize. My classes are starting to become focused on learning how to lead and is taking me a little away from the practice itself. That’s totally fine, it’s just something to adjust to. That just means that my morning practice is going to be even more important going forward.

Continued study is the key to being good practitioner of anything, IMO, nothing is more annoying than someone who takes a weekend class on something and is suddenly and expert. Tai Chi\Qigong are extremely deep arts, so deep there really is no end to their study. I will have to be both leading AND practicing in order to truly embody this art and go as deep as I feel I need to. Let me tell you…that is pretty deep.

Today’s practice:

Today was a great morning! Got up super early, didn’t check the phone…and just started a full workout sequence. I blame yesterday’s recharging for the amount of energy I have. Now to just remember that next time I make myself take a break :). The body signals are becoming pretty clear when it is time for a break though. So in theory… It should get easier to take a break right? I just have to remember to listen.

  • x3
    • 6 pull ups
    • 30 squat presses
    • 20 single leg squats
    • 30, 20, 20 push ups
  • ? Min standing meditation
  • 40 min Silk Reeling

Umm…Say What Now?

I was asked teach a new student yesterday. I knew I would need to eventually, but I thought I had a bit more time to mentally prepare before being cast into the fire.

We did the usual warm ups, 30 minutes of silk reeling, then the bomb was dropped.I was to take the new student to the other studio and teach the first move of the form. My brain had a mini aneurism. It was as if every ounce of what little knowledge I obtained had packed up and headed straight for the door. Suddenly, I was just some Joe off the street again, what business do I have teaching someone?? I had to struggle just to remember the form during warmup!

There was almost a haze in my vision as I struggled internally to calm myself. After several deep breaths I, barely, was able to grab the coat tails of my fleeting knowledge and drag it back into the entryway. It’s still fixing to leave…but at least I had a hold of it.

The session actually ended up going just fine. I was certainly nervous and spent the first several minutes fumbling around my descriptive imagery, but eventually came through and was able to teach the rest of the first move. The lead up to it however, left a disturbing unfamiliar residue on the hallways of my mind that I’m not quite sure what to make of.

I can’t recall anything similar to that experience in my past, nor can I remember reading anything that sounds similar. That makes pretty much a full week of new experiences and situations…. I am venturing into uncharted territory my friends. Let’s hope I packed everything I needed.

Sunday’s practice:

1.5 hours primordial Qigong

30 min silk reeling

30 min 24 teaching

Today’s practice:

24 form x4

83 form x1

2 hours silk reeling

The Funky Chicken

It’s amazing how much a full night’s sleep will help. I just got a full 11 hours of sleep last night and it felt absolutely amazing.

In the spirit if taking a break when I need one, I skipped advanced Tai Chi last night and went home instead. Made a quick dinner, put on the first lord of the rings, and was out before Frodo left the shire. Got up this morning at 6 and headed to the park to practice with the other students. Man, do I feel refreshed and ready to go.

I was able to get to the park early and began doing 30 minutes of silk reeling exercises. I am currently working on learning both the 30 min warm up exercise routine and the 90 minute full Silk Reeling class routine. The idea being that eventually the certificate students will be able to lead the classes and free up our teacher to roam around for corrections and allow him to spend some energy on other school related things.

There are times when I remember the whole routine and times where those spots in my memory have been walled up and I get no access to them at all. The closest I can figure is that it’s a matter of my level of relaxation.

I find it’s usually harder to remember after a long day at work. I have been experimenting with ideas on how to fully decompress between work and Tai chi and so far the closest thing I have found to full decompression is if I can get about 20 minutes of meditation in before class. Generally it helps get me fresh again… But there are times it is difficult to fit that time in with work needing so much of my attention.

Thursday’s practice:
Didn’t get much sleep the night before. Woke up exhausted and dragging. Took the day off and just focused on getting through work until I could get home and sleep.

Today’s practice:
30 min dynamic qigong
24 form x2
83 x1
Lots of form discussion today

Burning the Candle

I have been pretty exhausted lately. I think I may be burning the candle from both ends a bit….seems like every spare moment I have I am reading or practicing something Tai Chi related, couple that with a brain intensive job and a tired person I be.

It’s tough when there is so much I want to do! Hard to kind of remember to sit back and relax and let it all happen in its own time. There is just so much knowledge out there I want to absorb and incorporate in to my practice. For instance, I just started reading the Tai Chi classics today in my spare moments at work. I am only a couple of pages in and there is already so much that I wanted to start practicing it immediately. II was mentally practice where I stood and quickly realized that wasn’t the best type of practice I could be doing, I was only partly present in the practice and had several other things on my mind.

I will try to include a little bit of it in tomorrow mornings practice however. It is hard to keep myself in check as I read more about the art but, There is a natural progression and process that needs to happen in my body, as my teacher keep reminding me, that I need to respect and allow to occur. Forcing these things could cause injury which could end up taking me out for days or weeks.

So with that in mind I think the next couple days I will allow the new knowledge to soak in and incorporate itself. No more new knowledge for a spell.

It is also about time for a phone cutoff. Been slipping a bit on keeping facebook and instagram in check :). Its all a process, I have been checking it less, but it is definitely creeping back up on me.

I got my first edition of tai chi magazine today!! That is part of the reason I have been so stoked and been cramming information in. If you haven’t heard of it here is the address. Its super cheap for a year subscription and has TONS of good info in there.

Anyway, keeping this post short tonight so I can get to sleep early. Going to get up at 6 again to start my full routine. There has been several interruptions the last couple days that has prevented me from doing the full routine as I would prefer. Back to the routine!!

Todays Practice:

I had another dental appointment today so I didnt get a full morning session in again.

  • 20 minutes silk reeling
  • 15 minutes Zuan Zhuang meditation x2 (one before class at night)
  • 1.5 hours advanced tai chi (83 practice form)

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