Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Worm of Doubt

Doubt is difficult, no doubt about it. We speak of being plagued by it, or gnawed upon by it—and that’s exactly how it often feels.

I myself am very good at doubt.

I know people who are not, or at least don’t seem to be, either in general or at least with respect to a particular area of their life. They sail along in apparent certainty, and sometimes I envy them, because I think they’re happier than I am.

Unless, of course, they get blindsided by something they should have questioned and are abandoned by a spouse or asked to drink cyanide-laced Flavor Aid, like hundreds of followers of Jim Jones did in 1978. (Although, on the other hand, which is preferable: 10 years of happiness followed by a year of total anguish, or perhaps even death, or 11 years of being gnawed upon by the worm of doubt?)

I doubt most everything, except, perhaps, my love for my children and my grandchildren and certain staples like gravity and tooth decay—and one of the things I regularly doubt is qigong. I ask myself questions like “what if this is all really nonsense?” and “what makes me think I’m worthy of being a teacher?” Continue reading

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A Day To Observe


Saturday, April 27, will be World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, a worthy event that, one way or another, I will observe—and I hope that you will, too.

At 10 a.m., wherever I am, whatever else I may be doing, I will be wearing an official World Tai Chi and Qigong Day T-shirt. I hope that I will be doing taiji or qigong, along with tens of thousands of people at one of the hundreds of organized events in more than 70 nations, although so far I know of only one in the Seattle area, at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. But if I’m not doing taiji, at least my shirt will remind folks that taiji and qigong are alive and well and present in their midst.

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day was founded in 1999 by Bill Douglas, a tawny-haired Kansan who writes about, teaches and preaches taiji and qigong (sorry, Bill—it’s “tai chi” when it’s your proper noun but taiji everywhere else on my blog). He is a man with a passion and a mission. Continue reading

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Crutches I Love

I once told a couple of fellow students at a taiji workshop that I like to play music when I practice qigong.

“That’s a crutch!” one of them barked.

He said more, although I’ve forgotten exactly what, because, really, what more is there to say once you’ve said “crutch!” I don’t remember what I said in response, either, but it was probably lame.

So I’d like to agree now that, yes, playing music while practicing qigong is a crutch—and I love crutches.

Crutches are everywhere. Civilization is all about crutches—about finding ways to make life easier, more pleasant, more meaningful and motivating ourselves to do what needs to be done.

I could sit on the floor eating raw ingredients, but instead, I mix them up and cook them and serve them on attractive plates at a comfortable table (and maybe play some music-to-dine-by). Cooking is a crutch! Tables and chairs and attractive plates are a crutch! My computer is a crutch! My to-do list is a crutch! Crutches following knee surgery are a crutch! The list goes on… and I challenge you readers to find examples from your own lives. Continue reading

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