In the past, I had posted regularly about my qigong practice and its’ impact in my life.
Lately, I thought I had been unable to perform these routines due to the incredibly slow internet connection at the hotel where I have been staying for the past ~3 weeks. Normally, when I perform Qigong for Stress Relief, I log in to Gaiam TV and select the video from my playlist. This service costs approximately $10/month but is well worth it for the wealth of material available on their website. However, the slow internet connection left most of the videos I tried to stream with more time “buffering” than actually playing.
Over the past few weeks, I have altered my life routines pretty significantly. While I thought I was unable to perform these exercises, I began performing other workouts as well as maintaining my running schedule. Recently, I began making audio recordings using a small, Zoom H2 audio recorder that I purchased years ago for making field recordings of old-time music at festivals and jam sessions. I brought this on the road with me during my travels as one of the goals I had was to begin making podcasts.
While using the recorder, I remembered that I had created audio recordings of all the Tai Chi and Qigong routines I was regularly performing. I wanted to do this so that I could continue these routines when I went into the backcountry in Joshua Tree. I was able to listen to the audio of these routines and perform my AM Chi routine during sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park, an experience I will likely remember for the rest of my life. Today, I remembered that I had these audio recordings as I spent time creating my podcasts. It is important to point out that I was able to make this happen due to the creation of goals and the taking of steps to achieve them.
These steps are part of living a deliberate lifestyle and trying to actively engage in healthy, positive and beneficial life changes. In the past I had written about how I was performing these routines with more frequency in an effort to do the same thing, ultimately leading towards improved health and wellness. As I reconnected with this routine after a month or so of going without it, I found myself feeling the same feelings of relief and connection as before. As I performed this practice, I was very mindful of how “grounded” I felt.
The couple that leads this routine are Francesco Garripoli and Daisy Lee Garripoli. In past blog posts I took the time to outline some of what they said throughout the routine. Because this resonates so much with me, it bears repeating and I have taken the time to revisit some of these blog posts from the past and share them again…
“So much of stress in life comes from dealing with change. The ancients knew that through these exercises, learning how to shift your weight and your body was an example and a symbol how to learn and shift your weight in circumstances in life.”
“So many times in life we have such stress that comes from moments where we feel like we’re a victim, or we feel like we are dis-empowered or that somebody is taking away our ability to express ourselves. Let this exercise be a way to pull in the energy you need and express it as you need it.”
“So much of stress comes from the mind wandering and worrying. Exercises like this can keep your focus and train your focus to help use the mind to settle your energy, increase your immune system and bring yourself into balance.”
“So much of stress in our life comes from patterns that are destructive patterns we repeat over and over again, creating stressful situations, putting us into situations that create more stress and the pattern repeats itself. By creating exercises like this in your daily repertoire, we find that we can re-pattern our life with positive patterns and replace the destructive patterns with positive, calming, centering exercises.”
Throughout the routine, Francesco Garripoli talks about how stress comes from dealing with change and how our minds wander and worry. I think that while this is correct, it is even more accurate to say that these stresses come as a result of our inability to deal with the change. These exercises help us deal with some of life’s transitions in a more healthy, positive and beneficial way than most of us (including myself) are accustomed to. We deal with stress the best way we know how…because the reality is, often times that is the only way we know how.
The ways that we deal with stress are ways that we have learned over the course of our lives. We have been engaging in certain types of behaviors for years and it takes active and deliberate living to learn new skills in order to cope with and deal with life stresses in different ways. Often times, our stress snowballs because we continue dealing with “life stuff” in the best way that we know how…except more often than not the ways that we deal with this “life stuff” is not the best way or the most healthy way…but it is the only way.
It remains the only way we know until we get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Often times we seek counseling, or read books or talk with friends and family to try and learn new ways to cope with this life stuff. Often times we try and incorporate these new patterns into our lives and while sometimes successful…we often times have failures. For me, my failures often came because the pain of the change was frequently more painful than the pain of the initial stress – so I just continued to deal with things as they were. “It wasn’t that bad,” I would tell myself.
After a while, I realized that this was merely settling for a life of mediocrity and complacency. The reality was that it wasn’t that bad…but something inside of me knew that it could be much better – but only if I allowed it to be. I continued on with my attempts at re-patterning my life with healthy, positive and beneficial behaviors. I continued seeking the company of people I respected, admired and looked up to. I continued persevering and doing what I could to overcome the adversity of life.
Many times along the way, I fell and fell hard. It didn’t matter. I got back up again and continued putting one foot in front of the other. I found support and strength in my friends and family. When I was too proud to reach out to them, I tried to deal with it myself…only to learn that life seems to operate much smoother when we allow others into our lives. Whether those “others” are people or a higher power, I found that it was much more difficult when I tried to go it alone.
Regardless, I continue striving to identify and recognize all these patterns in life and re-patterning when appropriate.