I Liked His Energy….

The board of the senior co-op where I live recently interviewed a candidate for the position of on-site property manager.

As we talked following the interview, my fellow board members were making thoughtful comments about his resume and what he had said.

What I wanted to say was: “I like his energy. He’ll be perfect for us.”

Now what kind of thing is that to say at a board meeting? “I like his energy….” That is not something I would have said five years ago, before I was sucked into the vortex of qigong. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t get a chance to say it.

But there it was. He was quiet, steady, seemingly centered in some sort of integrity. Yes, he had good energy, the right kind of energy for my community—and that is what mattered more to me than his words or his credentials, which, I will add, were excellent.

So am I just using a new expression, or do I have a new way of perceiving things?

I’m not sure….


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What Is That Sucking Feeling?

I continue to practice taiji and qigong, and every morning I do seated meditation on my sofa with my cat in my lap—but the practice that’s really got me wondering what’s gonna happen next is my standing meditation practice.

Dr. Sun—Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, my Yi Ren Qigong teacher—said that doing standing practice would be good, and so did the authors of quite a few of my qigong books, including Damo Mitchell and Roni Edlund, whose “Daoist Nei Gong for Women” was published earlier this year.

Indeed, I have followed Damo and Roni’s directions for the starting Wuji posture and am beginning to explore the more advanced, heart-centered Hundun posture they say is particularly beneficial for women.

I’m not sure I’m doing it right, but it is most interesting.

I start, eyes closed, in basic Wuji stance, with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and tailbone sunk so as to lower my center of gravity to my lower abdomen. Then I breathe, deeply and slowly, with particular awareness of my lower abdomen, wherein lies my Lower Dantian, a key energy center. I try really hard not to try really hard, not to expect anything and not to try to make anything happen, although me being me, I can’t say I always succeed with the not trying.

Actually, sometimes not much does happen. But other times I become aware of a building up of energy, of a density, a growing pressure, in the area of my pelvic floor where a number of acupuncture meridians converge. (Once, very briefly, it seemed there was a fluffy, white cloud of energy between my upper thighs at the base of my pelvic floor—which was, I think, the third time in my entire qigong practice that I’ve had a sufficiently visual experience of energy to call it “white.”) Continue reading

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Why Is My Qi Running Amok?

It appears that qi is running loose in my body, doing what it will without regard for my conscious mind’s wishes, timetable or understanding—indeed, it seems to be running amok.

This would explain the events that I’ve written about in recent months, events that have been officially characterized as “spells.” It would also explain some more recent phenomena which I’m not calling spells and haven’t reported to my neurologist because they seem so clearly to be energy events and because they have not been accompanied by cognitive shifts.

Among the non-spell phenomena are what I refer to as “balance issues” when speaking with outsiders and as “internal energy swoopiness” when talking with friends who practice qigong. Also included are the periodic uprisings of sexual energy about which I speak only with qigong friends.

Yesterday, both of these phenomena occurred.

First came the balance/swoopiness-related event.

I was in my kitchen, doing kitchen things, when I paused and felt a wave of softness descend downward from my lower back. It was lovely, and I was thrilled. The same thing had happened a few days previous, and I was thrilled then, too. My qi was sinking instead of swooping!

In recent months, internal swoopiness has become the bane of my taiji practice. Balance was never my strong suit, largely because of creeping scoliosis and poor alignment of body parts. But even as my alignment has been improving, thanks to a lot of hard work, my ability to do the kicks required in the form has been declining.

This internal swoopiness is a bit like the way you feel when you’re back on land after having been on a boat, where things are going up and down inside but not outside; sometimes, especially when I’m tired or a taiji class is stressful, I’m feeling so much internal roiling that I’m amazed I don’t simply fall over.

Taiji people all say I need to relax and sink my qi, although it is hard to relax given how hard I am working to maintain proper alignment.

My own view has been that my difficulty grounding might have to do with the lack of energetic sensations in my legs and feet—I used to refer to them as my dead zone—and I’ve been addressing this on many fronts for quite a while. Success has begun to come, albeit in small increments. I can now feel energy moving up and down my legs as I inhale up from my feet and exhale down through my sacrum to the earth. But I still can’t stick a kick. Continue reading

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A Gud Book I Red….

Book Energy WorkWriting a “book report” for my blog is terribly schoolish—but it’s good because it makes me go back through the book, take a look at all the things I underlined or asterisked, and figure out what I want to incorporate in my memory and my life.

So yes, this post is a book report about Robert Bruce’s “Energy Work: The Secrets of Healing and Spiritual Growth,” which I really liked.

It is somehow so practical and so sincere. Bruce believes that we can all become aware of and develop our energy body, “energy body” being a term many writers prefer to leave shrouded in mystery. Bruce, however, clearly states that our energy body consists of the biomagnetic fields resulting from the bioelectrical activity of all of the cells in the body. He also believes that we are all capable of learning to use our energy for self-healing and healing of others.

He describes a method he has developed for doing this that involves techniques I’ve not encountered before—things like brushing and bouncing and wrapping. His system utilizes tactile imaging, rather than visualization, which he says most people can’t do, which turns them off from trying to do energy work. Tactile imaging involves focusing your awareness on a specific area of your body and moving that focus around, thereby stimulating the energy body. Actually, since my brain does not do pictures, I think this is what I do anyway, and it’s nice to have that affirmed.

Bruce also says that the strong sensations one experiences at first will always abate, as the body gets used to them—which I’ve certainly noticed and been disappointed by. I still remember the first time I felt qi between my hands, with my right hand being sucked towards my left. I always use the word “sucked” because the feeling was so distinct, so strong—but it doesn’t happen anymore and I cannot make it happen. Continue reading

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The Rash That Was … Was Qigong?

rash on neckWahoo. Chalk up another mark in the column that says that the “spells” I’ve experienced in recent months are essentially events related to my qigong practice and not the product of an aging, inherently flaky brain.

I have just realized that the rash that accompanied my first spell, a rash that I viewed as incidental and promptly forgot about, was really a pretty clear sign that I was clearing energy, not having a stroke.

When I had that spell, back in mid-August, I had been visiting a friend when my mind suddenly went spacey and something gripped the back of my neck and wouldn’t leave. Something seemed very wrong but I didn’t know what, so I went to the ER, had a bunch of tests, and was pronounced fine except for a neck ache, for which I was given a set of neck exercises. However, at one point, the physician assistant in charge of the process asked me if I always had a rash on the back of my neck.

I said, “What rash?” He tried to show me in a mirror but then said it would be easier if he just took a picture of it with my cell phone. I did indeed have a red, blotchy rash on my neck.

By the time I got home, it was gone, as were all my other symptoms. And somehow, I sort of forgot about the rash.

But I have been reading Robert Bruce’s book “Energy Work” (about which I will probably soon write a “book report”).

In “Energy Work,” Bruce describes how releasing negative energy or clearing blockages in the energy body can cause rashes and lumps of various sorts, even skin infections.

Wow. My mind went to the photo of my neck, which I had seen just two days earlier when I was looking through my cell phone photos with my grandsons. Continue reading


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My Brain Wants Its Mommy

tulips in potWell, I guess I’m ready to write.

Three weeks ago, my “spells” and I met with my qigong teacher, Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun. Five days later, me, my spells and two EEGs had a 45-minute appointment with a second-opinion neurologist.

Dr. Sun said my brain was fine, even healthy. (Wahoo!) He thinks my spells are either a benign aspect of my qigong journey or the consequence of my gall bladder meridians being overloaded, perhaps with anger from someone else, which could cause energy to rise up and get stuck. He suggested a couple of exercises for bringing excess energy down from my head. He also noted that all of the spells I’ve described in the past several posts occurred when I was relaxed, so they were not likely to occur when I was driving. (It appears that perpetually running late and driving stressed has an up side….)

The neurologist said my two EEGs were “unusual”—specifically, they showed some “sharp transients and questionable waveforms”–but that neither they nor my descriptions of my spells were consistent with epilepsy. He doesn’t think I have a seizure disorder or, for that matter, Parkinson’s Disease, which a different neurologist suggested I might have 10 years ago because of a jaw tremor. He said I should, of course, come back if my spells get worse, but that for now I shouldn’t worry so much. (Hah! “Tell this patient not to worry so much” must be written either in my chart or on my forehead, because every doctor does it.)

I should be relieved. Dr. Sun said my brain is “fine,” and this second neurologist, who’s had advanced training in reading EEGs, said I don’t have epilepsy or Parkinson’s. He didn’t even suggest medication, like the first neurologist did.

But the fact remains that I’ve had a number of spontaneous departures from my normal state of consciousness plus two “unusual” EEGs.

Clearly, I “have” something.

I just don’t know what it is, or what it portends. And I’m quite certain that had I had an EEG 20 years ago, before I did qigong and before my brain turned 74, I would not have had an “unusual” EEG. Am I headed towards some sort of enlightenment, or has my brain started down a one-way tube towards the worst fate I can imagine, brain rot? (What? You say there might be some other alternative in between?) Continue reading

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Seizures or Qigong?—Part 4

My problematic brain and I are back from the gallows. Kinda sorta. More or less. I did survive my second EEG. Unlike with the first one, I experienced nothing—no colored lights in my head, no qi sensations in my legs. I didn’t even end up with “stigmata,” which is how I thought of the long-lasting marks on my forehead where the electrodes had been during the first EEG.

At the end of the first EEG, I’d asked to do some qigong while still hooked up. However, my neurologist told me afterwards that the qigong had just created a lot of muscle artifact. So I was surprised when the technician volunteered that I could do some this time, too. When she told me to start, I tried moving internal energy first without moving my hands, and then with minimal movement of my hands, holding them above my dantian beneath the sheet. Very little happened. Boring, boring, boring. I had shorted myself on sleep per instructions for the test, and now I just wanted to go home and take a nap.

The next day I went up to Canada to take care of my grandkids on two days when they had no school but their parents had work. I wasn’t expecting test results any time soon, because I knew my neurologist was on leave. But as I was getting ready to leave my son’s house, I got an email from the neurologist saying that the second EEG looked pretty much like the first one “with possible if not probable abnormalities suggestive of seizure.” He said both EEGs were “rather challenging,” although I’m not sure whether he meant for him or for me.

Again he offered medication. Again every fiber of my being rebelled at the notion of putting my brain in a chemical straightjacket when it’s possible that, despite its kinky behavior when hooked up to electrodes, I may never have another spell.

I had been mightily upset when I went to the gallows and moderately upset while awaiting the results from what I had thought was a ho-hum test. Now I was mightily upset again.

I am working to regain a more positive or at least a more reasonable perspective. I do not actually see a neurologist for a month—a new one, for a second opinion, per the suggestion of the one who is on-leave-except-for-email—and I am seeking a one-on-one appointment with my qigong teacher. I am also reading books, doing research online, continuing my taiji and qigong practices, starting a seated meditation practice and taking walks whenever possible. (Good thing I don’t mind rain.)

What has been interesting, and more often heartening than not, has been the way my here-and-there reading keeps running me smack into articles that feel to be the perfect thing for me to be reading at that very moment in time. (Yes, I gagged as I wrote that. I don’t really believe in things like “synchronicity” and “gifts from the universe.”) Continue reading

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