From time to time, we all find ourselves in a place where we have to change our patterns. When I was a kid, I used to ski in the mountains of Colorado. Whether it was downhill skiing or cross country skiing it was a great way to get out into the mountains feel the cold wind and the mountain air. I have a chance in February for a quick ski trip, and I may only get one day of skiing; however, I thought is was a good time to get my body/mind in shape for the task. I started a month ago with five days a week workouts where I have been getting my cardio up and strengthening my core, and leg and arm strength. I have been using a lot of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu basics as well as just strength building exercises. Whether or not the trip happens is beside the point, I am using something in the future to motivate me to change my pattern. It is only one day of skiing really but the process, I have started three months out, looks ahead to prepare me, so I can have more fun without being too quickly worn out. Over the years I have been much less at war with myself when I set a goal and a reasonable timetable to accomplish it. I just do it, without any question, no fuss and keep it simple and direct.
Many times, you are forced into a change in your life that seems to disrupt all of your motivation and ability to engage. There is no preparation time you just roll with the new set of parameters and find new ways to engage. Whether work gets crazy, you have an injury or an accident; the kids require lots of attention, or an illness there are ways to help things go a little more smoothly. We have a student, and a good friend, who is forced into one of those changes. She is a regular reader of these posts and is having not only to deal with a couple of eye surgeries but also hurt her foot. Her usual routine of going to class will be disrupted while her body is healing. We will miss her. Luckily she has been trained well over the years and is an excellent student and practitioner who has so many activities, when she is not resting from her surgeries, that don’t require that she even get up and move around. All of which are designed to engage relaxation and promote health.
Developing a more global view of training yourself is important. All too often, we tend to focus on what we can’t do rather than what we can do to engage ourselves. In the world of the New Forest Paradigm, you are always playing with concepts, ideas, and movement that start where you are right now and cultivate parts of yourself that are easy to forget or skill you want to improve. Whether it is movement skills, meditative skills, visualization skills, or activities that blend movement with meditation and visualization. All of which help the practitioner move chi (qi) evenly through the body/mind.
Here is a small list of activities that you can do that continue to build skills but don’t require movement. ( yes there are many more of these activities)
Mechanics of Breath
Seated meditation ( there are many)
Silk Weavers Visually, seated or laying in bed (Imagining that you are moving) Click on the link if you need a refresher. We play it Physically, Visually, Physically. However, you can play it visually, seated in a chair, laying down, just using arms and visualizing legs, just using legs and visualizing arms. It is a very healthy exercise. Breathing is, as your arms move towards the body you inhale as they move away you exhale.
Playing Tai Chi Visually (Imagining that you are moving)
Yin Fu Ching Visually(Imagining that you are moving)
Meditation of the 1-10 New Forest Visualizations
Memorizing the poems from Sifu Fey’s Mystique Poetica for use in the Nei Chia form of Tai Chi as well and seated and standing meditation
Playing the energetics and meditations From Sifu Fey’s Whole Heart of I-Ching. Engaging the Poem of Sifu Fey’s Whole Heart of Tao Or the Whole Heart of Zen
Each of these, are activities that move and balance out chi in the body/mind. Not only that but also help the bodies healing process. They also build skills that when it is time to move again, you have easier access to the visualizations with your movement forms. They are great activities even when you can move around, and I do them regularly to keep them fresh in my mind.
The Idea here is that you can always cultivate, no matter where you are starting. If you are preparing for an adventure, or if you are healing from an injury or an illness or if you are engaging yourself in your daily practice there are ways to engage your body/mind that promote relaxation and healing and bring you closer to yourself. These tools mentioned above are all designed to work on many levels.