I’ve not written a post for this blog in ever so long—not since almost a year ago.
This is partly because the wild enthusiasm which surrounded my first experiences of qi has ebbed, and qigong is less a focus of my time and my thoughts. I still practice taiji and qigong at home and at a school in Seattle, but my practice has become more of a staple in my life than a shooting star whose tail I hope to grab so as to become someone or something else.
However, I think my lack of posting is also because I am president of the board of the 165-person senior co-op where I live, and being president consumes much of my life. I spend hours writing emails, memos, policies and rules—and although those tasks are a bit different than creating a blog post, they probably fulfill my need to organize my thoughts by setting them down in words.
Being board president has been quite a ride—and I say “has been,” because my 1-year term ends in less than 3 months. I am well-suited to being board president in some ways, but in other ways, not so much. I agonize over things I do and say and experience waves of overwhelm as issues arise and multiply. During a period of considerable contention within the community, I felt I had more people angry with me and sniping at me behind my back than ever before in my life. (Fortunately, there were others who said thank you, and fellow board members I knew I could count on.)
My feelings about the co-op and about being its president change rapidly: Some days I’m ready to sell out and move to an apartment where I can live an anonymous, issue-free life; other days, I think this is the best possible place for me to be, with the best possible people, and I feel good about being president. It amazes me how variable my feelings are; I long to be steady and sure.
Overall, I believe I may have mellowed a bit in the past 9 months. However, I have given up trying to do seated mediation. I simply am not in that space and have no great interest in trying to get there. Taiji and qigong work for me because they relax me and generate internal sensations that feel good and hold my interest.
Being active in a community is particularly challenging because I’m an introvert who is more comfortable being alone than with people. It is a learning experience, both stressful and rewarding. It is also never, ever dull. Which certainly beats spending my old age watching television….
I do look forward to stepping down from the presidency, although I will continue to serve on the board. I hope that I will be able to let go of being “worrier in chief.” I feel there’s something waiting, out there in the trees, in the water and rocks, inside me. I no longer hope to somehow become a different person with a different life, but still, there are spaces/places I’d like to go, or maybe even just walk towards, when the time is right.
Meanwhile, I am growing old. I will turn 78 in three days. Yesterday I had a follow-up phone consultation with the orthopedic doc who treated my left knee when I tore the meniscus a month ago—or, rather, when my meniscus tore itself, because, damn it, I didn’t do anything to it. The knee is not back to normal, and I want it to be. As I lamented the condition of my knee and the collateral damage favoring it had inflicted on other body parts, the doc said, “Well, you do have significant arthritis in your left knee. Perhaps this is your new normal.”
My new normal….
I’ve complained to other doctors about other problems, and they’ve done all sorts of tests which have ruled out everything except the fact that I am getting older, and my body is doing what bodies do as they age: They keep descending to a new normal.
So there are lessons I am learning not only from living in a community and being president of its board but also from the unavoidable process of growing old.
This musing is beginning to drive itself in circles…. I have so much to learn on so many fronts…. But I do think the trees and the water and the rocks are beginning to beckon….