Tai Chi Y3D93: Bees on My Foot

During tai chi today, a bee landed on my foot. Twice.  Maybe it was the same bee, maybe it was two different bees.  Either way, stillness and calm became the order of the day.  I also had a mosquito land in my ear, which I stopped the tai chi for in order to crush.  God, I hate that feeling of a bug in my ear.

I was talking with My Lady yesterday and she noted that she’s stopped reading these posts, because she feels as though I’ve run out of things to say.  I said I wanted to keep writing them because they were a key tool for me to say, “look, I’m still doing the work and it’s still important to me.” But this morning, I found it easy to do the work, and I found it hard to do the writing. In fact, this “editing window” has now been open for more than an hour while I try to think about what to say.  Which is challenging, to say the least.

Underlying all of this is that I’ve got a process, which I’ve not yet shown the courage to follow through on.  I did it today, but I didn’t do it yesterday or the day before. And I might do it tomorrow, but maybe not.  It’s this: for every posture, every movement, I try to do a four-breath count.  It slows my movements down, it provides me with the right speed, and the right attention to detail.

But I just haven’t crossed that boundary yet, permanently, and it feels like I’m going to have to write daily until that comes to be true.

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  1. […] Christina by way of comments has introduced me to a new demon, the Noonday Demon of Acedia, or lassitude, who seems to have intruded into my work without my knowledge. She’s right. I was getting bored, but also swallowed up in the practice in its solitude and just ‘getting it done’.  Starting out on this new slowness rule appears to have woken me up a bit — I’m challenged anew, and really having to think in a very awake way about what I’m doing and what it’s teaching me… I’ll respond shortly to your second comment, C! But it certainly got me thinking this morning. […]

  2. The difficult part of any Practice is the boring bits. Pushing through the boring times is the heart of the Practice; or so I am told… me not being Enlightened and all. 😉

    To explore this idea, should you be interested, I recommend a wonderful book by Kathleen Norris: Acedia and Me. “Acedia” is defined as “a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one’s position or condition in the world…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acedia) but it can also be a continuum with boredom (about a Spiritual task) on one end, through fugue depression on the other end, (for that end of the spectrum–which is not what you have, obviously–there’s another wonderful book by Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon, and a TED.com talk by him also, which I highly recommend. Oh and BTW, I recommend the audio book over the print version. The reading lends a lot of nuance to the deep and heavy subject matter. And one more thing, I tend to disagree with the author’s conclusions about the benefit of meds., but still find the book valuable.)

    Here’s a link to the Norris book:

    After your Teachings about the Dweller on the Threshold, I suspect s/he/it (Acedia) maybe the the Dweller or at least a kissing cousin.

    With respect utmost to your Lady, I disagree about you having nothing to say anymore. All practices go through ups and downs. I would argue there is benefit from simply knowing that you are writing still… it’s a very strong Teaching for me. ( Having said that, just in case this may ever present a problem for you: I hereby absolve you of any need to keep writing beyond when it’s useful to you, yourself, and thank you for your writings thus far.)

    Oh and one more thing, I strongly suspect there’s some symbology, some message from the Universe, from the bee landing on your foot, twice. I would look up the symbology of bees and see if anything resonates. Could be nothing more than a Universal acknowledgment of your diligence after all this time, huh?

    • Thanks for the kind words, Christina. I’ll have to check out the books you recommend. I’ve seen the Andrew Solomon TED Talk and enjoyed it. But I’m more looking forward to Norris. I’ve enjoyed all the Kathleen Norris books I’ve read. Does she recommend medications or not?

      • The Norris book is wonderful, as are all of hers. It’s been several years since I visited it, and from memory, I don’t remember any mention of medications for her at all. The book is, in part, a story about her husband and from my memory, I assume he did have meds prescribed (but I don’t actually remember that specifically.) The book is also about her reaction, both mundane and Spiritual, to his… well, “meltdown,” is the word that comes to mind. I got that book in audio first and liked it so well I got it in print too, as I gain different insights from audio vs print. She reads the book herself and I find that important with someone like her, (who is arguably a Teacher,) given the idea of Oral Transmission of Spiritual materials. To be nitpickey, of course, analogue transmits a different and more complete energy than digital… but even so, I prefer digital to nothing.

        I think Solomon read his book himself too. (BTW Amazon/Audible says there’s a different narrator now, but I’m just certain I remember his rather distinctive voice reading that many CD book.) If you liked the TED talk, you’d like the book too, I assume. And he talks a lot about acedia without, if memory serves, ever using the word itself. BTW the world “acedia” is Greek, coming from the “Desert Fathers (and Mothers)” tradition, and so is the moniker “The Noonday Demon,” which is what Solomon’s book spends a lot of time on… that idea of a spiritual impediment that used (uses?) boredom as its weapon, not only a mental/emotional impediment, but also an actual demon entity (The Dweller?) that pestered one in the middle of the day and was recognized as far back as very early Christianity…. For my purposes, I just ignored the part about how meds can be so beneficial, I only mentioned it because it annoys me that meds is where our culture goes first instead of last, and I didn’t want you to think I endorse that which I think is a mistake.

        I started writing this comment agreeing with you about the Norris book being more valuable for the boredom and lack of motivation that sounds like classic “acedia” to me. But as I continue to write, I am harkening back to the times when I was researching depression as acedia/Noonday Demon (as opposed to the “depression” we know in our times as a mental pathology without any Spiritual component,) and remember that during that time I felt that those two books were, at least for me, a two volume set. I’d take another look at them for you (I have both in print as well as audio, which tells how valuable I thought they were,) but I am sorry they are still packed from our last move 🙁

        I think I started with Solomon and then Norris, and then a bunch more less on-point for the purposes of our current discussion. But I would think it would be equally valuable to start with Norris.

        And one more thing, the more sit with it, the more I am certain the bee(s) are a message. I have not researched, because I would not recognize it as it’s your message… but still I think it’s a message… just sayin’…

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