This morning, I awoke at 5:15 am, and did about 40 minutes of tai chi, very slowly. I was not feeling well, and stepping up my practice today in this way was… how to say this? Challenging. We’ll start there. My stomach hurt. I’ve had a lot of stomach pains over the last couple of days, and I’ve had difficult bowel movements. Doing tai chi this morning wasn’t exactly painful this morning, but it was more awkward than it’s been in a good long while. I didn’t know what to make of it.
Yesterday, my lady asked me if she could help, and she tried to do Reiki on me. This is a modality of healing-energy work, for those who don’t know, that seems to be closely related to tai chi. I’m a practitioner myself, but I wasn’t having much luck doing the work on myself, and so she tried to do it on me last night. After about 10 minutes of effort, she gave up. She said, “you’re already full of energy. I can’t put any into you until you’ve given some up.” I confess, I didn’t really know how to do that. I feel like there’s a natural interchange between me and the world all the time while I’m doing tai chi, so this was something new.
At the end of this morning’s practice, my lady and I got ready to go out. We stopped and had breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast places, and then we got on the road for a mini-day-trip we’ve been planning for a while. Although I ate breakfast, about ten minutes later I was feeling cramped and unhappy again. The tai chi this morning had really not helped at all, which is why I didn’t write about it — how does one write about one’s daily practice making you feel lousy?
About halfway to Vermont, though, I realized I did have a solution. I sketched the two symbols for physical health work and for distance-related healing in the air in front of me, that I know from my own work in reiki practice. And then, as I felt my hands warm up, and the energy start to arise, instead of putting it into my girlfriend, I started sending it out to people I know who are sick, or in pain, or just in need of an extra energy boost from time to time. Any time I felt the energy slow down, I named someone new. Sometimes it was friends, sometimes it was family. Each person I named, called up another sudden flow of energy from my hands. Certain people’s names — people that I know are sick — actually caused twinges in the left hand or right hand, in places associated in reflexology or Chinese chi theory with the parts of the body that parallel where those people are sick. I don’t think of myself as being a particularly woo-woo person, but this was definitely woo-woo.
And yet, as I did this energy work, I felt my own stomach cramps ease up. And I felt my body’s energy come into alignment. Eating lunch later in the day, and a snack on the drive home, didn’t bother me at all. I ate well, I fed myself well, and I didn’t cramp up again, despite days of mild gastrointestinal discomfort after almost any meal or drink. And five hours and a meal and a half later, I’m still ok. (If you’re someone known to me and you felt a sudden burst of energy or healthiness around 10:30 or 11:00am this morning, though, I’d sort of like to know — but I’m OK with not knowing if it worked. Actually, it may be better if I don’t know, because then I’m not going to get all prideful about how awesome I am.)
My lady asked me how I felt about doing distance-reiki when I was done, and I said it was actually easier to do it that way than in person. In person, it always feels like ME! I’m doing this to you! I-ME-AM HEALING YOU BY MY OWN POWERS! And that feels both prideful and arrogant. Because deep down I know it doesn’t come from me. When I’m doing distance work like this morning, I can feel the energy flowing into me from somewhere else, and flowing out to somewhere else. (Nik, actually, I had a weird moment when I named you… the energy flow paused when I said “Nik from San Francisco…” like it was confused, and then started flowing correctly when I said “… but he’s in Finland right now.”) But when I’m doing distance work, it doesn’t matter if people think of it as flowing from me or through me; most of them don’t even know I’m doing it. And so the ego has less opportunity to get involved. Mike Sententia from The Magic of Thought might be pleased — it was definitely like logging on to a website or into a semi-secure computer server, and then directing resources and energy from a server towards specific “client accounts” rather than doing the work with local software.
And yet, in the process of wishing good energy and healing force to be directed at other people, I cleared out my own channels — both in the physical realm of my body, and in the mental and energetic realms around me. Accumulation of energy is just as much of a problem as not having enough in the first place; it can be as bad to be buzzing and crazy and off-the-wall as to be lethargic, slow, and drained.
My theory is that the tai chi practice I have has made my energetic batter larger, but that some of my practice has also made it more likely that I retain energy rather than participate in its flow; consciously deciding to dedicate some of that energy to other people helped me rebalance. I don’t feel drained, but neither do I feel full. I feel… roomier. As in the Asian game of Go, where pieces on the board need “breathing room”, I have found a way — likely one among many — to give back what I’m not currently using. I have a larger capacity to fill when I really need it; but I also have to remember that I don’t need to be fully-charged all the time.
The day turned into a rather complex lesson, and thank you for waiting for this entry until the implications could be fully realized.