I was speaking to a friend today, and she was saying how her interaction with life was starting to lose its sparkle. Too many people creating craziness around her, too many interactions that were starting to feel toxic. I am paraphrasing here, but the sense was that she was getting lost to herself and she needed to take a break from everyone for awhile and let the momentum of her interaction with what was going on around her move on by so that she could better understand what was going on with her relationship with herself. That is awesome! She was deep in an experiment with her perception. After three months of pulling herself away, the noise was starting to quiet. The problem though not clear yet, was becoming more clear. Her interaction with herself had become outward focused which in turn was throwing the way she perceived life out of balance.
Boy, could I relate. I have had many such times in my life. Though I am currently not in one now. You know you are in one of those times in your life if your internal dialogue is, more often than not, wishing that other people would just get their shit straight, rather than looking within and realizing that all change starts with an honest desire to better interact with yourself. The world outside is always crazy, calm, happy, sad, confusing, understandable, angry, unfair, fair, it is filled with a myriad of things in a continuum of change. The question, the only question is “How am I choosing to interact with life?” Within the question, you find where you need to focus your attention. What I liked about my conversation over coffee was She made the change. She took action, she noticed she was losing herself in a sea of other people’s worries and decided to spend some time with herself. She didn’t set out to change anyone’s actions she changed how she engaged life. The answers can be wildly different, maybe sitting on your butt too much, maybe all you see is sadness, maybe life feels meaningless. Though the question starts the same, the conversation will most likely be different.
This morning was a great example of why I get up every morning to play. It creates a space to see how I am interacting with myself. Each step going deeper into the conversation that I have with the different parts of me. Each step builds upon the previous step and adds to the conversation. Some conversations go very deep, some skim the surface, and you really can’t tell until you get it started.
Today the conversation for me was how was I relating to my breath. It was the thread I followed. The conversation revealed that the lunch I had yesterday didn’t agree with me, that I hold a lot of tension in my abdomen, that I can easily forget about my breath while doing just about anything, that I it was easier to remember my breathing if I relaxed. Though I did all sorts of activities, the act of paying attention to my breathing was a thread within the morning’s conversation.
Here is the model that I used this morning.
1. Good Start and General Warm up explained a couple of posts back. But basically, you make space for the conversation then see how the body/mind is working.
2. Mechanics of Breath. Any good conversation with yourself starts with an awareness of your breathing.
3. Silk Weavers.
4. Foundational drills, Footwork and Hands motions. Depending upon the art, you would do some drills to help with the movement skills required in your art. This morning I played Pa Kua. So I played with some Tai Chi Tu’s which can be as simple as drawing a circle, TLVX walking, some wrist movements, and some stepping drills. These drills get the blood pumping and start to introduce the body/mind to what you are doing. If you are a musician it is playing scales, someone about to play the blues might play blues scales.
5. Some foundational Chi Gung. Movement blended with Breath and Imagination. Here is a post from about Yin Fu Ching and a Video.
6 Then diving into the art, you are exploring that day. Today I played Pa Kua, I played all of the Kuas, palm changes and being still while walking around the circle. ( yes, being still while walking around the circle) However, it could have been any art I set out to play.
7. Slow everything down, standing meditation and a good ending. Today I played with 3 roundnesses standing meditation, then a little Big 3, some 1 Fun Chi Gung Stationary, and then did a standing meditation, followed by a good ending.
Each step involves paying attention. The formula could be used with any art. any act of contemplation. Seated Meditation, Playing the French horn, working with clay, prayer, juggling, having a conversation with another person. The idea is to bring as much of yourself to the activity that you have chosen.