“Cultivate your bodily energy (jing), then your mind (Qi), and finally your spirit (shen). When you cultivate your spirit you will reach emptiness (xu). In the empty state you realize the Tao.” Taijiquan Classics
“Oh, this is the first time I am seeing this.” The young man with the energy of a bird is cocking his head to look at a twice-bent tiny needle he is holding up in the air.
“What?” I ask.
“My needle bent 2 ways, I’ve seen one bend but never two.”
“Is that from the spasms in my back?” For a few years now I have been searching for someone that can relieve me of this continuous pain in my mid-back. It feels as if someone is gripping and crushing the life out of me.
“It must be. You’re Qi is one step away from not being there.” Spoken from the wisdom of my acupuncturist.
“What if it’s not there?” I inquire.
“Then your not here, you’ve gone to the other side.”
“Oh! What can I do to raise my Qi?” not ready to leave my body.
“Breathe and breathe some more. Mix in some Qi Gong. Stay away from strenuous activities for now. You have been over achieving and it is sucking the life out of you. You need to step back and observe.”
A trip to St Croix for the weekend mostly alone presented itself within a week. I made arrangements for the kids and off I went.
My partner thought it was about him. He thought I was running from him. It had nothing to do with him. It was about finding pieces of me then figuring out where to put them.
I went with a close friend who was taking a massage course. She was offered to stay at a friend’s house we both had recently met at a Tenshi workshop; a very sweet girl who had just married into an old St. Croix family. Her husband’s family built the house in the 50’s. It had large beams that were once on old pier in the harbor. The walls were large stone from the surrounding lands. In the grout between the stones were all sorts of objects such as shells, old glass bottles, shards (pieces of broken pottery from the slave revolts of the 1800’s). The large multi building home had a 270-degree view of turquoise water that crashed up against giant black boulders close to the house. You could watch the sun rise and set all from the two-story sun deck.
This would be my house for the weekend.
The young couple was away for a week and my friend was away every day for the workshop. At night I could enjoy her company but the day was mine, mine to unravel the universe.
My senses were alive; bathed in the salt air and breathtaking sunsets.
At my disposal was a library on holistic everything. The mother had cancer and passed away the previous year. Her spirit was a healing presence. I latched onto numerous books but the one book I would remember for years to come was the ‘Qi Gong for Beginners’ by Stanley Wilson. I read every page and most more than once. It was a small book and the author was in remission for cancer. He felt Qi Gong had helped him tremendously. So much so that he wanted to make it easy for everyone to include in his or her lives. His passion carried over to me and 12 years later it is still a big part of my life. I knew I could not take the book with me so I wrote notes and drew stick figures to remind me what movements to do. I had to look at my cheat sheet at least 30 times but it did sink in and now it is a permanent branding in my mind. I do it slow when I have time and fast when I don’t. Some days it is a 3-minute routine and others it is a 10-minute routine. Some days my mind fades into the ethers and other days I do my daily list with the poses. It is so simple and convenient I do it while waiting for the dog to pee, I do it while waiting for my daughter’s soccer practice to finish, I do it in a hotel hallway or the cell phone parking lot at the airport. It takes away my headaches, stiffness, sleepiness, and over all ‘I’m just not feeling like myself” feeling.
If I forget and go days without it, my body cries out for it. I believe it has helped to save my life. It has emptied the vessel that carries my mind body and soul, relieving over and over the burdens called life.
When you listen to your body (and your acupuncturist) you are guided to all the right places.