Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Follow the Qi of the Day

My thighs are aching. I hobble up and down the steps. Put my hand out to ease myself down into a chair. You'd think I'd spent a week skiing. But, actually, I just took my first Taiqi class.
I've always been intrigued by Taiqi. The first time I went backpacking in China, I followed my shoestring guidebook, getting up at 5am to rush to the People's Park in Shanghai to watch people perform. It seemed like the whole neighborhood had come out to participate, and I felt like I was watching a silent ballet. Their movements were fluid, like a wave, as they picked up an imaginary ball and moved it up, then down, from side to side. My Father-in-law practices each morning at the local elementary school in the village. He and my husband often said that I should pick up the practice. That it's healthy, would be good for my back. "Someday," I thought.
A couple of months ago, I was up the road picking blackberries and I ran into a man I'd never seen before-- a neighbor-- who said he taught the martial arts, including Taiqi. I told him I'd always wanted to do that, but never had the time. He said of course there's time. That he'd arrange a class up here.
This last Sunday I finally made it to his class. I felt like a kid who'd put on a pair of ice skates for the first time, wobbling this way, falling that. The movements aren't difficult. To do them correctly--synchronizing the movement with breathing and balance--feels impossible.
What intrigued me more than the movements, though, were the ideas. The idea of harnessing the energy (qi) of the universe, bringing that energy to your body, your life. The idea of thinking and moving not in a solid forward movement, but forward and back, from side to side, depending on the situation. The idea that the body follows the mind. So if you focus your thoughts, your body will find its way there.
For me, these are great gifts to take with me into the holiday season--a season full of shopping and decorating and parties and vacations. A season when my forward writing momentum comes to a grinding halt....and I often feel frustrated. This year, I'll bend my aching legs, pick up the imaginary ball, take a deep breath and try to follow the energy, the qi of the day.

**A great writing opportunity: Martha Engber, a journalist, playwrite, Pushcart Prize nominee, and author of Growing Great Writers From the Ground Up, is holding a workshop on character development Sunday, November 23, 10-2, Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View.


Tokyo Biker Mommy said...

What a lovely post. I hope you enjoy the taiqi practice. :)

Sara Hammer

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

Thanks, Sara. You should come joing me sometime.

Anonymous said...

Dear mom,
I love your story or should I say your post. You are a wonderful writer with lots of ideas and lots of detale keep on writing and have an awesome day.
P.S. Wolfie won't answer and his mom hasn't called back yet.

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

Thanks, Tuny:)

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