Qigong newsletter from San Juan Island 2016
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Qigong - A Story

Session 2, Spring 2016

Being Intentional with how we chose the moments of our life.
As a climber, there are moments when I need to rest and then there are the moments where I need to breathe through and push forward, only I get to decide. If I allow my mind to take over with fear, then I have lost, I will fall. The practice of falling however prepares one for the life of climbing, for life generally in moving. And its not a linear movement in one direction it is a dance in all directions with all parts of the body. If one tries to use the arms then they will exhaust dragging the body up the rock, clunking one's feet is ungraceful and expends a lot of energy unnecessarily. To prepare begins on the ground, as I look up on the line I see myself doing it before I actually begin. I trace in my mind where my hands and feet will go and I breathe through this process. I have trained, strengthened, eaten well, so that my body is a well oiled machine and my mind has confidence. When I am ready I tie in, I am not alone. There is trust on the other end and we dance together. Most body failures on the wall come with holding one's breath. You pump out if you hold your breath and your tendons hold on so tight that your muscles lock up. Its a painful process, but not unlike everyday when we do the same sitting at a desk. I MUST BREATHE! I rest to shake it out, then I move on. 

My friend Arno Ilgner, a fellow climber began teaching Falling Practice to face one's fear of falling. If you are afraid of falling how can you climb? He writes "How do we trust the body and diminish mental interference? We’re intentional with how we choose to use our attention" Movement exercises are to develop trust in the body and awareness of the mind’s interference. The intention for these exercises is to tap into the body’s innate knowledge for moving. If the mind is thinking when we move, it will interfere with the natural movements of the body. Attention will be split between the mind and body, diminishing the body’s commitment to action."

These are the same practices we do with Qigong. We begin with the mechanical process, the actually movement of the forms. Once the mind has a rhythm it begins to feel the motion move with the breath and the thinking mind gives way to the inherent movement and wisdom of the body. The forms themselves are but archetypes when enacted they bring life energy inward and into the movements. This is how we heal. As like with climbing, if we move from the mind, we will fail. You can only go so far, but if you are willing to feel the rock, feel the forms, then you pick up these forms of energy that require all energy lines in the body to be flowing, not just the blood to the head. When all are open and flowing, the body is healthier, your abilities of grace, strength and integrity increase. It takes an act of faith to believe in your practice, to prepare is critical, you can't just jump onto the high wire and expect to balance, but if you show up and commit one day you will find yourself staying on that line longer and longer and eventually finding Grace. 

Arno writes "The Power of Silence" Silence helps us live our lives in the territory of the world instead of being lost in the mind. The loud, inner dialogue diminishes, which allows us to observe the mind at more subtle levels. We’re not lost in a loud mind that’s incessantly thinking and talking. We focus our attention in the territory of the world and observe with silence. Doing this helps us find our way out of our miserable mental prison of busyness, creating more intentionality in our lives.
The Plants are bursting forth……...
Have you ever imagined how much focused attention a plant, a young sprout must make breaking through the earth barrier and feeling the sun light for the first time? It is the heat of the sun that drives the motion from within the earth for that seed, which has everything it needs to begin it motion outward. All that we cultivate in winter, all that it holds dormant, waiting, springs outward when the season returns.  

The forms we practice in Qigong for spring are focused on the Liver, the element of Wood. It represents the trees, and in the beginning they are but a seed, breaking the shell, moving outward and upward. Can you imagine if that plant were all over the place with its energy what it would become? It might be something of a whorley tree! But maybe that is its unique quality and what it wants to be, however there are some rules of life that it has to follow, it will fail if it does not prepare and focus.  Every form in Qigong prepares for the season to come, to be in and to acknowledge what we have moved from. Even now as I begin to teach the Spring forms we still bring winter, Kidney into the mix because it is from where spring was birthed, in the water, in the stillness of winter. The sun is calling and we are impatient to rush to it to forget all that we have prepared for. We just have been waiting to move. There is a vessel that is needed, one to hold, focus and direct your energy, this is the time we are in now. If the sprout did not have its form, it would not have the energy to burst upward. 

Last week I began teaching the 5Element forms I have chose to represent the vessels for each element as movement. Building strength in these vessels will allow the energy to be directed and then when the time is ready, it shall expand and flourish with all rush and fortitude into the passionate summer. 

Do not be impatient. Many of you have felt the rush of the season change and thrust forth into new endeavors. Be wise, be committed in the knowing and the grounding that is necessary. And like the climber, there are moments to fly to the next hold, and there are moments to move steady as the tortoise.

When your practice becomes something that gets you through the times when you can't go outside, or becomes the something to do when you have time or motivation, then it shall be only this. You will be missing the contrast for the time in between, the process of change, to know the difference. Most live their lives this way, and it is exhausting. How can you know what the rain feels like if you stay inside? or appreciate the warmth when you have not been cold? To climb to the top of the mountain and see the view when you stay in town? How the feet miss the feeling of the grass and have felt trapped inside for so very long. The energy of the earth is there waiting for you.
Forms from the last practice,……the beginning of Spring

Practice continues Wednesday mornings 8:30am @ Skagit and 9am at the San Juan County Park. All welcome.  $10 gift of practice is helpful
Warm Up--Good Morning (kidney), Calming the Waters (kidney).

1. Wood - (liver)  Spring Root
2. Fire - (heart)   Flame Shaping
3. Earth - (spleen)  Serving the Platter
4. Metal - (lungs)  Crane
5. Water - (kidney)  Straddling the River

Distilling, and Flapping closure
Please Share this newsletter with your friends and invite them to join our practice. See you soon.  Candace
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