The transition from Winter to Spring is really noticeable outside, but we rarely are quiet enough to notice how it affects us inside.
In your quiet practices of qigong or taiji, you may feel a little lighter as the cold, quiet, watchful winter (especially here in Ohio!) begins to move into a warmer, livelier and active spring!
Spring gives us a lift! We feel it emotionally! We start looking forward to being outside whether it's simply sitting on the porch watching the world go by or exercising outdoors more often.
Mentally we begin planning - whether it's for a summer vacation or planting flowers or a garden or a new project at work. Spring is a time of inspiration!
You'll notice yourself feeling more physically active when you are balanced and spring arrives. You may want to stretch and take walks and move around and get some things going. Sitting in the quiet of still waters is over! The water is moving up and feeding the growth of wood!
This is the transition....
Happy New Year! This is a practice I like to do before any transition. And a New Year is definitely a transition.
The main key is to drop into noticing without analyzing. Without searching for an answer or trying to create one. Trust what bubbles up and put it down on paper.
Remember, these kinds of practices are just like taiji. They have a form, but the flow within should always move naturally. Let go and allow the natural current to lead you.
Let me know what you come up with!
We tend to talk a lot about what the weather is like outside. It's one thing that we can all share without a whole lot of argument, am I right?!
Looking outside and noticing fog, storms, or sun prepares us for what we need to do to put on (or take off!) before heading out.
I'm curious, though, how do you prepare when you notice your internal weather patterns? When your mind is stormy? When you're feeling depressed? When you're feeling foggy? When you're excited?!
Do you know?
Most of the time I get a universal answer: avoidance.
When our internal weather is not a peaceful sunny day, we do everything to try to get it back.
Do you do any of these?
1. Avoid through distraction: working long hours, surrounding yourself with noise (music, podcasts, phones, working out, socializing)
2. Avoid through medicating: do you find yourself drinking caffeine, popping ibuprofen, reaching for adult beverages after work to change how you feel?
3. Avoid through geography! We even relocate hoping...
The most effective way to get control of your emotions is to stop trying. This is the basic foundation of taiji and qigong.
It begins by noticing our mood, our emotional state. And with the slow practice of taiji and qigong you'll get better and better at it.
Here's what noticing does: Imagine yourself in the last stressful situation you experienced. Maybe work is overwhelming, or family life is really tense. You're right in the thick of feeling overwhelmed or furious. You want to lash out to end the overwhelm.
It's like the picture below. Who knows what that picture represents? We're so deep into the pixels that it could be anything. Just like emotional situations. You're right in the details. Focused in on the tiny pixels of whirling thoughts, emotions and physical reactions. You zoom right into the crisis. The picture is about one thing: this situation. There is no room or space for anything else.
Enter the act of noticing.
Noticing allows you to...
Years ago I was visiting a working historical farm in Ohio. Roosters and hens were running around everywhere and a little boy was watching them with his mom.
"Look at all those chickens! How many colors do you see on them?" The mom asked.
"Those are roosters," her son corrected.
"Well, no honey, not really," the mom countered. "All of them are chickens. The girls are hens and the boys are roosters."
"Well, that's a rooster. And that's a rooster." The little boy pointed directly at the roosters.
"Yes! You're right! Now, how many different colors are on the rooster?"
This questions and answers continued. The "corrects" and "incorrects" were dispersed.
This experience stuck with me. It reminded me of how much of our lives are spent analyzing, comparing, evaluating. So many of our conversations and experiences are seen through our ability to analyze. Many of us have jobs that support our lives that are rooted in being able to examine and label what is around us.
So, it's been a crazy busy time. You're feeling spent, energyless and ready to fizzle. And yet, you're expected to push through more.
We've all allowed ourselves to be pushed to the place where we feel completely done.
That's where the power of Peng comes in.
Never heard of it? Peng is the name of an energy in Taiji and Qigong practice that is spoken of in terms of self-defense, but it's such a limited way of looking at it and using it. Peng maintains the pffhtt of a spark and sets the flame.
We cultivate it with the breath and with mindful intention.
Peng is outward expanding energy
So, let's start.
Peng, in very simple martial arts terms, helps us bounce away an opponent.
But, if we were to expand out and notice how this energy can apply in our lives, it's fascinating and much more applicable to life.
For instance, when we only have a spark of energy it can show up as follows:
Do you find your taiji, qigong or yoga practice left in the classroom and not helping to guide your life? To build the balance you need when you're challenged with trying times?
I'm curious, is your thinking in the way of your being?
The Tao Te Ching, centuries old, reminds readers to move back and notice that our thoughts are not here to dictate our actions, but to guide them.
Thoughts really are more poetry than they are directives.
If you've felt your life is dictated by the money you make, by the schedule you keep, by the obligations that are yours, these are the signs your practice is dead. Your practice is only working for the shell of your body.
There is no place for Shen (spirit).
When these signs come to your awareness, it's time to recalibrate. If you want to maintain balance, this is the time to own it - no matter the external influences that try to dictate your value: job,...
Summer!! Ahhh! Such a great time!
Sun! Flowers blooming! Vegetable gardens producing! Vacation! Celebrations! Outdoors!
And for those who are introverts: Overwhelm moving toward depressed. Just for those who feel overwhelmed: here's a recipe just for you.
Massage your blend into your skin just taking some time to notice, breath and care for yourself. If you massage this while creating a calm atmosphere for your mental and emotional centers, your body will respond with great appreciation!
Essential oils help the body to cope - they don't solve the issue of feeling overwhelm. Using your intention (yi, in taiji theory) is major. So take some time and give yourself this needed time to pause and nurture. It's so important for life balance.
Are you interested in life balance? We have a great online course in taiji if you're interested. Try out a free movement here: Try Taiji Video
How do you answer: Who are you?
Do you say your name? Tell about your job, career? Parent? Husband? Daughter? Hobbies? Interests? Explain where you're from?
And they're necessary, right? How else are you going to introduce yourself to someone?
But after years of describing ourselves, we begin to slowly think that these labels are really us. They become more important for us to uphold and show to the world than who we really are. They begin to cover our authentic selves.
..labels become more important for us to uphold and show to the world than our authentic self...
And we begin walking around trying to meet the demands of these labels.
Finding yourself blowing up at inappropriate times? Taking your anger out on innocent family members or coworkers? Do you find yourself yelling while driving - perhaps at the radio or at other drivers?
I’ve been there. I remember getting so frustrated and angry at work when my solutions to issues were ignored because I was new. Only listening to my idea after all of the other ones failed. And then, never getting credit for the solution I provided. I was so aggravated.
I let mounting bills and financial stress strain my family relationships. I was so angry about finances that I put them before the people I loved.
It was difficult. But when out of control anger affects work life, home life, relationships, and contentment, it’s time for a shift.
Our culture is geared to push forward, grow, make things happen, produce. All of this can culminate in a need to force things to happen! Get the promotion at work. Upgrade the phone....
Sometimes it helps to be reminded that you're not alone on this path to being fully present in your life. Stay connected with simple practices, reminders and humor that come in my monthly newsletter.
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