Tai Chi Y3D95: The Insight Obeyed

My push-ups this morning were just a total disaster.  Yesterday I did ten push-ups without any difficulty at all. Today, you’d have thought I was just starting instead of a couple of weeks into the effort. My arms were cooked noodle. Sigh.  Try again tomorrow.

The two qi gong forms went fine.  I knew I was starting my new breathwork effort today, so I made a special effort to slow down the qi gong forms a bit so that I got a better work-out.  Indeed I did — I’d have to say that where both of them together usually take about 15 minutes, today they took about 22.  This may be a problem moving forward — I don’t really have an extra seven minutes to throw into my morning routines unless I can train myself to get up at the same time reliably.  But it’s a start.

The tai chi form.  The new effort to work according to this new rule, of using a four-count breath to cycle from one movement to the next, was a great success.  Beginner’s luck.  I would say that I got it right the first time out.  It took me about 20 minutes, which is ideal for tortoise speed. I’m lightly sweaty, which means I got a good workout for this sort of thing. All in all, a good start.  As always, it’s more challenging to obey this insight, to use more breaths for each movement, ten or twenty days into the process than it is to do it right away.  But we’ll see how it goes. I wouldn’t say I got to tortoise speed, but I was doing pretty well in terms of movement.

From the Archive: back on Day 95 in year one, I was … working the forms in the reverse order. These days, I do Five Golden Coins and Eight Pieces of Silk first, and then do the tai chi form.  Here, I was doing the qi gong forms after the tai chi form. I was also discovering something that challenges me still, apparently — coming up with a great idea bout what to write about, and losing it somewhere in the middle of the practice.  Oh well! If I don’t keep it, I must not need to hold on to it. Back in year two on day 95, I was … curiously enough, struggling with the question of “what counted?”. This should come as no surprise. When you’re beginning this sort of solo practice, a bad effort counts as much as a good effort — because you’re working towards completion, getting it done.  Now, a few years in, what am I trying to manage? Establishing a routine of good effort rather than sufficient effort.

Update: Oh, one more thing. The head of my Druidic order(s), John Michael Greer, has started a new blog specifically to talk about magic. His “Peak Oil” blog, The Archdruid Report, has been on my weekly reading list for years, but this new blog is specifically about the traditional craft of causing changes in consciousness according to will.

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  1. no one says you have to touch your nose to the ground for push ups. just keep your butt elevated. i recently had a brief flirtation with pushups and found myself doing twenty without stop on the third day using this saner form. Also we may wish to consider the danger of pollinator collapse even more so than peak oil. This guy talks about it, although bees are in fact merely one facet of the pollinator biome that neonicotinoid pesticides are decimating. if it reaches the point of systemic failure i predict wars and the reinstitution of slavery for human pollination services.

    • Hi, LiM,

      I installed that link back into your first comment, rather than leaving it in a separate comment. I’d agree about the danger of bee colony collapse, but I think that donating money and signing petitions is probably not as important for the long-term health of bees as becoming a bee-keeper. My uncle keeps bees, and they live in his hives in the same place pretty much all year round. He talks to people at parties and communicates with folks in five or six nearby towns and asks them to avoid using the relevant pesticides — and he lives on Cape Cod, too, where people were for a long time all too aware of the dangers of stupid chemicals — the runway and the fuel tanks at Otis Air Force Base have been polluting the Cape’s water supplies for twenty years, at least.

      But, of course, keeping bees requires that you spend 80% of your time living pretty close to the beehives. You need to be available to monitor the bees’ health, and that means fewer vacations, shorter times away from home, and a lot of attention lavished on your garden (so that you’re getting the pollination services taken care of, and the honey, and helping drive away predators and so on). Which means that my uncle jokes about the world being divided into two parts — On-Cape, and Off-Cape… except he really means it. You can pay a beekeeper to look after bees and keep them in places where you want bees to be — or you can sign petitions. But I think that actually bee-keeping will do more to ensure their survival.

      In the same way, “Peak Oil” is sort of a short-hand phrase for a singular predicament, the long-term usage problems associated with our key energy source, fossil fuels. Solar power and wind power and water power are all lower-EROEI sources than fossil fuels, and some of the lower-grade energy systems require fossil fuels to be burned in order to construct and use them. So, I don’t think it’s likely that I’ll live to see the last automobile in my town retired for lack of gasoline, but I do think that I’ll live through an increasing number of blackout days and brownout days when there’s less electricity available, and times when I’ll have to think long-and-hard about when to burn fuel to travel. My children and grandchildren, though, may not be so lucky.

      • I think explaining the problem to people who may not be enlightened is important too, so that they, too, might keep bees. Weed patches allowed to grow wild, and/or butterfly gardens, however, do not require your constant attention. There is more to this than honey bees, and antisocial insects may be less affected by the disorienting impact of sublethal doses of pesticides, as well as being native.

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