Friday, December 30, 2011

What Did I Learn in 2011?

I feel compelled, as I often do at the end of the year, to reflect on the previous year and review what I learned. The problem I usually have is that of short-term/long-term memory. Recent events are more cogent for me. But alas, I will do my best.

In general terms:
I learned I'm not as diligent at writing as I used to be. And i just can't seem to get much better, or more diligent.

I've learned to let go--rather, I've gotten better at it.

I've learned I need to work on getting beyond duality and the ego.

I've learned to appreciate Qigong and sitting meditation a lot more.

In specific terms:
I learned the Yang LuChan Taiji form.

I made significant improvements in my understanding of and abilities in I Liq Chaun and appreciate the depth of the art much more.

To that end, I have increased my appreciation of my primary art, Chen-Hunyuan Taiji much much more--specifically the importance of nurturing.

I have improved my Chin Na and sparring skills

I have learned that I don't fit in well with many Tai Chi groups and organizations, and I am quite content with that realization.

I have learned the the Yang LuChan Taiji form is the best Qigong I have ever experienced. I have every good reason to simplify my practice--but I won't be dropping that. It's just that powerful.

To that end, I have learned I am better off being multi-dimensional and not sticking too rigidly to any one system. I just operate better that way--always have.

I have come to appreciate my religious beliefs and realize I need my faith community.

To that end, I have come back around to really valuing silence and simplicity.

Further, I realize the internal need to slow down.

In the past year my Taiji skills have improved. I have trained and practiced a lot.

I have increased my time in meditation and can feel the gains.

A teacher I really looked up to and appreciated passed away.

My mom passed away, and I am still hurting from that. I feel the need to spend some time alone--possibly a retreat.

In the coming year (The Dragon):
For the past couple of years I have participated in The One Hundred Day Challenge on the Chinese New Year. I'm not sure I'm up to that this year--not sure I want to. But the jury is still out on that.

I am going to spend more time on the healing arts and meditation this year. Following the Chen-Hunyuan tradition, I am placing a higher priority on nurturing and contemplation. As far as my art goes, I will be working more on depth and less on width or breadth. I am also going to engage in the art of subtraction, or practical simplicity; live more through less. And that's about as far as I will go in terms of resolutions or predictions.

I do expect 2012 to be good, to be different. And that's enough for anyone.

Friday, December 16, 2011

And the Knees Have It

I have been having trouble with one of my knees lately, which has directed me in a different direction with my training--at least till this heals and/or passes. In any case, the shift in focus has highlighted some areas of my training that need more attention. The first of these, and the most important, is meditation. The latest slow-down has given me the opportunity to notice how much more I should meditate. I do meditate on a regular basis, and meditation is a core aspect of the Taiji/Qigong classes I teach. However, time is short, life is busy, and I don't get enough long sessions on the Zafu.

I have, over the last two years, increased my practice of Qigong and Taiji form. And the benefits have been enormous. However, there is no substitute for sitting. And, as I have said numerous times before, nothing is more important than waking up. Nothing. So, with a little pain comes insight. I'll take it however I get it.

It appears this latest injury may take a little more time than I expected for healing. In the meantime, I am cutting out any boxing, heavy push hands, the Pao Cui (Erlu), Hao Chuan, and any fajin practice. I'm going to use the time to work on meditation and investigate various healing modalities. Ahh, the joy of getting old.