Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slowing down--what a bitch!

I'm taking a Tai Chi/Qi Gong hybrid program called The 18 Therapies. These are a series of 18 shapes that you make with your body in a flowing motion. They are not stretches, though we are all tempted to make them be stretches for that's how we know to be with our bodies in slow motion. They aren't exercises exactly either as we don't move around much. We mostly stand there and move parts of our bodies. The very patient teacher, Patty, encourages us to give 70% to our efforts. This too is very countercultural as we are normally exhorted to give it "our all" each time we do something.

I had my second session today and it went much better than the first. While the movements aren't exactly complicated, they require a certain level of attention and coordination that I don't usually associate with movement. Yes, I am confessing that my gym routines are not a mindful practice. In fact, I purposefully go somewhere else in my head during the 30 minutes of treadmill work. During the 18 Therapies, you pay attention to your hand or shoulder or your breath, in fact, you hold all of that in quiet attentiveness. It is restful to do so when I can let myself.

Today I came in in a flurry. I'd been up for a long time already and had skipped going to the studio, which I wasn't happy about but it just seemed one more thing to cram in, because I had so much to do and I had done quite a lot by the time I got there and I had quite a lot left to do (in fact, too much as I've said yes to too many clients in the same time frame) and I crammed in going to the credit union and mailing a package on my way to class and I was practically breathless with hurry.

And I thought about how some years ago, I took on never being in hurry again and wondered when that disappeared and how I could get it back.

As I left the 18 Therapies session, Patty encouraged us not to rush off but to move slowly back into the day and while that sounded so good, I didn't. Hmmmm. What's up with me?


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