Once again I have been on a writing hiatus. It has led me to realize that I am unable to multi-task on many levels. I have always understood “multi-tasking” to mean the ability to do more than one specific task at a time. I am sure I have already mentioned in previous postings that this is very difficult for me to do. My brain and my body just don’t function well in multi-tasking mode.
I am always so amazed when I walk by my husband when he is working at his computer. I really should say “computers” – plural, because, although he has one computer (on his main desk – I’ll explain in a minute!), he has two screens and sometimes he is multi-tasking between the two and sometimes he is also multi-tasking on each screen. My brain just cannot hold that! It’s way too mind-boggling for me.
Apart from his main desk, he also has a secondary desk which holds another computer and recording equipment which he uses to create his “podcasts”. When he is all set up to record in that space, it looks rather like an old-fashioned radio show. He wears headphones and has a microphone in front of him and I almost expect him to break out into acapella singing. Since he has been indulging in this activity, which is all linked to his web page work, (www.windowsobserver.com), I sometimes think of the computer room/office as a recording studio too.
The lessons I have learned about myself in the last couple of months are myriad. I have lost three friends in that time frame. Two were “expected”. Is death ever expected? The two people, although unconnected in any other way, had actually been struggling with the same lung disease over several years. The third friend’s death came out of left field and left me, and many other common friends as well as his wife, completely mind- and heart-slammed. The first friend, died on 26th October 2011, the second friend died about mid-November, and the third friend died 16 December.
In other words, just as I was absorbing the news of one death the second occurred, and so it was for the third. In the meantime, as death was occurring, life was going on. Normal everyday events, commitments, and activities continued on despite what was going on in heart and mind. Meetings were attended, friends were attended to, school and its accompanying homework had to be dealt with, volunteer commitments were kept, I participated in a retreat, Thanksgiving came and went as did Christmas, and on and off, in the back of my mind, was the little nagging voice that said “I need to write”.
As I look back, I realize that I was actually multi-tasking in general across the board of all these events. Just to be able to deal with everyday life as well as grieve, and support others who were grieving, was a huge multi-tasking effort of its own, and I am so grateful for my relationship with God and my strong support network of spiritual friends who help me to get through tough times such as these and still stay sane.
But to hold all this together and allow the Muse of creativity to come forward is, for me, an impossible task. I have to put great energy into honoring and dealing with difficult situations and emotions such as death and grief, and there is little energy left for anything else. And I need to honor myself and where I’m at in all of that and allow the various processes to sweep through me. It is all important to my personal and spiritual growth.
So now, as I sit here and look out my window (no working on the lanai today, we had a near-freeze last night!), I feel some of the tension surrounding these recent events slipping away. Even though it is too cold to sit outside right now, the sun is shining brilliantly, the sky is that crisp, clean, light cerulean blue that only winter can bring forth, and I am breathing deeply and easily as I notice the hawks circling above the pine trees, the other birds swooping across and into the garden, and the squirrels frolicking on the backyard fence. Muse is creeping slowly back into my heart, honoring and respecting where I have been and gently inviting my fingers to once again play across the keyboard and put the words on the screen.
This is another catch-up which I referred to in my posting Freedom- Also a Loss. I had my Qigong experience in Orlando back at the end of April this year. I read Natural Awakenings, a free monthly newspaper that is mainly geared to health and alternative health practices and modalities. For three years I had seen the advertisement for the Qi-Revolution event in Orlando in this newspaper and my curiosity was peaked. But each year by the time I got around to checking into it, I already had another commitment.
So this year, or rather last year, because the initial advertising came out I believe sometime in October or November of 2010, I made sure I put it in my planner at first sighting. Shortly after that I completed my registration and I was set to discover what this “energy event” was all about. Because I saw the word “Qi” (which is pronounced “chi”), I had an idea that it was something akin to Tai Chi with which I am familiar. However, nothing prepared me for the 4-day experience that I had with Qigong.
The event was held in one of the huge conference rooms at the Orlando Convention Center. When I entered the room on the first day I remember my first feeling: overwhelmed. There were more than two thousand people present for this event and I didn’t know a single person. The energy level was high and I was aware of a sense of anticipation buzzing around the room. The second feeling was an old enemy re-presenting itself: a feeling of “less than”. Old toxic thought processes began to invade my mind.
“You shouldn’t have come here Margo, you’ll probably not be any good at it.” “Most of these people are younger than you, what were you thinking of?” “You’re going to make a fool of yourself in front of all these people.” “How do you expect to keep up with everyone especially with the pain in your hip?” And many other forms of “You’re no good”, “You’re not good enough” etc, and some other self-sabotaging phrases. You get the picture.
After taking some deep breathes and centering in on my God, I was able to clear my mind and fill it with some positive affirmations. Only then could I allow myself to feel the excitement and anticipation that was like an electric current all around me. Only then did I really look around and notice that at least one third of the people there were over fifty, and quite a few were over sixty,and the really “young ‘uns” were a minority. I smiled as I watched the negative thoughts scurry out of my head.
Within two hours and after some great stretching exercises, we were all, yes all, more than two thousand of us, going through the first Qigong form. I had no idea that it would be take about an hour to do this, and I am so glad I didn’t. I think I might have panicked and run away. But what was so amazingly awesome was that I was able to keep up, stay focused, and complete the whole form. On top of that, what was wonderfully boosting for my self esteem was that younger people were needing to take a break half way through.
I am not sure that I can explain exactly what Qigong is, but I will attempt to do so. Please be aware that this is my own subjective explanation. Qigong is the practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for the purpose of exercise, healing, and meditation. But it is so much more than that. Through the use of slow, controlled, focused movement the practitioner is brought to an awareness of the natural flow of energy that constantly surrounds us and that we have in us. Through the practice of qigong it is possible to “harness” or “increase” this level of energy, bringing more into the body and sharing it out with the world. It is what I refer to as the God energy. I found the whole experience to be very spiritual.
I do know that I felt a tremendous “high” after that first session. My body, despite some fairly severe pain in my left hip, felt alive and as though I could do almost anything. I was very mentally alert and was aware of a sense of joy and lightheartedness. It was as though in some way I had accessed a deeper part of me, or perhaps I had learned a different way to access my soul. And by the way, no longer did I feel like a stranger in a crowd. I felt like I belonged.
On the second day we did more Qigong and also learned a form of energy breathing. If you want a serious natural high, then energy breathing is the answer. This is something that I will not attempt to explain here because I don’t think I could do it justice. You’ll just have to check out www.qigong.com and see if there is an event near you and try it.
The other major component to this 4-day event was the approach to food healing. Much of this I had heard before but in bits and pieces. Jeff Primack, who is the driving force behind “Supreme Science Qigong” and the leader and main presenter of the 4-day Qi-revolution event, has taken all those “bits and pieces” and presents them as one whole healing source. It felt as though someone finally gave me the key to the lock and showed me how to turn it.
I have been working diligently on my approach to food for many years, but since this event it has been easier to bring things into place within my daily diet. I am sixty seven years young, with just as many years of bad habits about food, plus I am a slow learner. There are times when I can really follow true healthy eating, and there are other times when I just muddle along as best I can. But somehow, since my Qigong experience, I manage to come back to the full healthy approach. I am just so very grateful for this experience that has taught me to incorporate some very specific things on a daily basis into my nutrition plan today. Thanks to that I am almost totally free of arthritic pain. My energy levels are so much higher and my body feels healthier in general.
I have just read through this posting and I realize that I have given a very poor “nutshell” idea of what my Qigong experience was about. I guess it is something that you have to experience personally to have a full or better understanding of it rather than just reading words. Much as I love my words, I am very conscious of the fact that sometimes they simply do not do justice to an event or situation. This is one of those times. Please check out Qigong for yourselves. It really is quite amazing and will probably change your life forever.
It is Sunday morning and I am sitting in my lanai. I relished a short lie-in this morning after our trip home yesterday afternoon, unpacking and sorting out clothes and getting them washed and put away. It is good to be home in familiar surroundings. We had a great week in Orlando and it was good to be away from the usual routines. But it’s always lovely to come home.
It is a gorgeous day. Another one of those sparkling “Princess Di” days. The sun is shining brilliantly from a clear blue sky and there is a slight breeze sighing through the pine trees out back. Everything is gently moving and I can see all the individual needles on the pine trees fluttering in the breeze and shimmering in the sunlight.
I sit back in my chair and breathe in the soft, warm air. Yes, it’s warm here in sunny Florida at the end of November, although I hear that temperatures are going to dip down later on this week. In the meantime, I am enjoying this “Indian summer” and feel very happy and content. In fact my heart is full joy right now as I look at the beauty that God has placed right here in my back yard.
I notice that the small brown birds, I believe they are sparrows, are back again as they pass through on their way to who-knows-where and they are clustering on the feeders. There’s a flash of red as a colorful cardinal claims his place and the sparrows flutter away until he is done. I can hear the squirrels barking in the trees as they playfully, or maybe not, fuss at each other. Mokka, our cat, sits in the sun, her tail slowly swishing as she thinks her cat-thoughts about the birds.
But even as I am aware of the joy that I feel I am also aware that there is sadness punching and poking at my heart. It feels as though one ventricle is full of joy and the other is full of sadness. My life is blessed in so many ways and I am truly grateful for that. Yet I have a longing for a healed relationship with my sister who I miss so very much, and another longing for a happy, satisfying relationship with my daughter who I also miss very much.
And I am reminded of one of my favorite authors, Kahlil Gibran, who, when asked in his book The Prophet to speak about Joy and Sorrow, responds with these wise and wonderful words of wisdom:
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.”…………..
“Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?”……………
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”………..
”Together they come [Joy and Sorrow], and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
And so hangs the balance of all life. One moment we are in joy, and the next we are in sorrow. And sometimes we carry them together. And I can only learn to surrender to what is, to accept the gift of my emotions no matter what they are. As a character in the movie Shirley Valentine said, “If I can feel it means I am alive.”