I’ve tried a lot of different types of exercise over the years. I’ve tried aerobics, I’ve tried biking (which I love, but don’t have the stamina… or the equipment for, at the moment), I’ve tried walking (I get so bored walking without actually GOING anywhere.. and when I go somewhere, I end up eating something that negates the walk), I’ve tried following work-out videos… But there’s one thing that’s always spoken strongly to me – and not just because I have a couple of bonds who are completely versed in the practice – and that’s Tai Chi.
A little over a year ago, we tried as a family to do Tai Chi from a beginner’s video every morning… and it kind of fell apart within a week. When I was done, I felt exhausted and very much.. NOT like it was how I expected it to be, knowing what Tai Chi is and what it’s designed to do.
Recently, though, partially due to something I’ve been working on at work (can’t be specific, sorry – in my line of work we sign a lot of non-disclosure agreements), my mind has been going more and more to the fact that I need SOME kind of exercise in my life.. And if I can’t find the time, then I need to MAKE the time for it.
Last night, as I wrote in an earlier blog today, I had trouble sleeping. However, I still jumped up when the alarm went off at 7am this morning. Why? Because I knew I would be the only one up. I started out with my usual morning routine – a routine I’d been letting slip in recent months, only to have an epiphany that I felt so much better when I DID it, so I went back to doing it. I begin each day in prayer and meditation, even as I move around the house opening blinds, putting dishes away, cleaning counters, making coffee, sometimes feeding the cats and doing other things. Take that however you will, I’m deliberately being vague and nondenominational here.
My prayers are prayers of thanks – for the day, for the sunshine, for each precious piece of my life. My fiancee, my house, each room, each object and person I interact with, the cats… everything. I also give thanks for my body, my health, and the fact that I am a beautiful human being. And some of this is done aloud, but mostly it’s a mental and energy thing.
Now, about half an hour has passed. I still have at least half an hour before I need to do anything specific. I usually sit down in a calm space and commune with the animal spirits around me – the skin spirits and other creatures that share this world and life with me thanks to my own spiritual works. However, today I realized that my mind does not need me to be sitting still in order to do this. So, I started stretching as I communed with the animal spirits… and something I never expected began to emerge.
The first energetic greetings I received were from my coyotes, and I felt urged physically to bend over and touch my toes, slowly and evenly. I had to bend my knees slightly, but suddenly I found myself with, essentially, four on the floor. And the amazing part? I wasn’t in pain. The next creature that reached out to me was my badger, Constance, and I felt “stand up slowly, relax and roll shoulders”. I did as I felt lead to do. Over the course of the next twenty minutes or so, my mind lost in meditation all but for one moment when Claudia came in and commented that I was VERY close to actually touching my toes without bending my knees, and I thanked her, and my body going through the motions the spirits offered me.
It came out to a 20 minute, tai chi-esque workout that left me sweating, breathing a little bit hard, and the muscles in my back, thighs, arms, and calves burning a bit – but it was a plesant burn, not the pain of shin splints that accompanied my previous attempts at Tai Chi. Looking back on it, I felt my hands heating up with the same energy feelings I got from working with my pelts, and one phrase from the Tai Chi video from last year kept coming back to me – the one move I could do perfectly every time: “Sinking The Chi” – which was the one move that I felt the need to do at the end of every spirit inspired sequence. And now I felt more what I’d expected when trying the Tai Chi a year ago. I felt energized, I felt AWAKE… and I hadn’t even had coffee yet. Not only that, but I was running on a fitful five hours or so of sleep. And I felt GREAT.
I sat down at my desk, even though I was an hour and a half early for work, and began work on my transcription, getting it more than halfway done and done WELL before I was even scheduled to start work.
Around the time work was about to start, though, my physical energy started waning, so I went over to the little trampoline we have in the living room and bounced for a couple of minutes. That got the burn going in my thighs and calves again, and woke me up. I was thrilled. I was even HUNGRY, and I can’t remember the last time (even when getting up at six and seven in the morning) that I’ve been hungry before noon. I ate a bologna sandwich, drank some ice water, got myself a cup of coffee, and went back to work. I finished the transcription over an hour sooner than I’d anticipated that I would – which makes sense, since that’s how long I worked on it before work officially STARTED.
I did end up napping through my lunch break instead of eating, but I made that decision consciously, as I knew I would have no time for the rest of the day to repeat my spiritual routine, and I needed enough energy to get me through to at least eleven tonight. Whereas I would have time to eat later, and I wasn’t particularly hungry at lunch, either.
I can’t wait for tomorrow, and seeing what I’m lead to do during my exercise then! This is what I’ve been searching for my entire life – exercise that gets me excited about doing it. And it’s the one thing I’ve never been able to find.
Funny how, just like my positivity, what I need just seems to show up… but only when I’ve stopped actively looking for it.
Thank You, for that gift as well.