Positively Zen

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Tai Chi Thursdays are totally where it’s at.

Today, I did my first Integral Tai Chi routine since maybe February 2016. It was slightly more difficult than I remembered since I’m so out of shape, but it was just as much fun and rewarding. I had to use the videos I used in the past because I got a little rusty and didn’t quite remember all the movements and the mantras, but eventually, it came back to me and the workout flowed as naturally as it had in the past. A couple more times and I’ll be able to do it with ambient music instead of videos, meditating with Sheila Chandra’s “Sacred Stones” in the background, and all will be right in the universe again.

The final segment of the workout, as always, is meditation. There are several stages of this segment, one of which is the stage of appreciation where you have to think about two good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours or the past week. So I thought about my daughter finally being healthy, no more fever, no more suppositories, no more sleepless nights, and I smiled a huge and honest smile. Then I also thought about yesterday. I had the day off work and used the time to bake a broccoli quiche. Both my husband and my daughter loved the holy hell out of it, and my huge smile became even bigger. Thank the Mother Goddess. Blessed Be Her Name.

As I came out of the meditative state, I made a decision to try my best to reduce the amount of negativity in my life. I want to stop lamenting the weather. Instead of thinking about how much winter sucks, I should focus on the warmth I feel when I’m at home with my loving husband, my amazing daughter and my beautiful dog. Instead of thinking about politics and getting all pissed off, I should focus on the peace of mind that I always have when I surround myself with my art and music. Instead of worrying about my health, I should focus on my Tai Chi routine and look forward to next Thursday so that I can indulge in yet another workout and recharge my state of positivity.

Always focus on the positive. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Namaste.

Peace, love and invocating the dragon.

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As I Was

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Yesterday, I made a few lists in my journal to see how my habits and hobbies have changed from my pre-maternity to my post-partum time. I wanted to see if I would be able to reclaim some semblance of my pre-pregnancy life.

Things I regularly did before pregnancy and motherhood include:
– Zines
– Tai Chi
– Baking/cooking
– Reading books
– Writing letters
– Power walks
– Playing guitar

Things I do now:
– Laundry
– Raising my kid
– Sleep

Despite that enormous shift, I have managed to engage in some of my earlier activities. I made a zine and am working on another one, I baked cookies, I read two books and am ordering a few more, and I wrote some letters. This is not bad at all considering parenting is a full-time occupation. And yes, I did most of these while neglecting laundry and sleep.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that all these activities will never take a front row seat in my life ever again. I’m under no illusions about that. My life right now is all about my daughter and everything I do is for her, and I love and cherish every minute of my life as a mother. So these other activities that define me in every other aspect of my life will not be regular activities as they have been before.

But since they are important as part of my self-care, I will still try to find/make time to do them. I think it’s also important for my daughter to see her mother engaging in self-care and doing things that she likes. I want to lead by example and teach her that she too should take care of herself and do things that she enjoys and that are important to her, whatever it may be. If she grows up to love art just like her mother, that’s great! I will be thrilled to make art with her. If she grows up to love playing basketball like her father, that’s amazing! I’ll sign her up for lessons or encourage her to play with her father in the backyard or the park.

I think it’s especially important with activities that promote good health, such as Tai Chi and power walks. I want my daughter to lead a healthy active lifestyle and make exercise a regular part of her weekly routine.

SO! The next item on my list of things to reclaim is my Tai Chi exercises. I seriously need to get my ass back in shape, dammit. Not to mention my back, my legs, my arms, my neck, my abs… I feel completely wrecked. Integral Tai Chi should do the trick. I am attempting to make it a weekly thing as it was once before. But instead of Friday mornings (during which I am too busy with my daughter) I will set it on Thursday mornings.

Fuck sleep. Sleep is for the weak. The Dragon will devour any shred of my drowsiness and The Phoenix will team up with The Tiger to make me own the day and fuck shit up.

Peace, love and Corpse is for the Living

chakras

 

Namaste

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As one of my New Year’s resolutions, I started doing Qi Kung. I struggled to find the exact exercises that my mom does and found several clips on YouTube presented by the same instructor that my mom had back in Montreal. Although they refer to it as integral Tai-Chi, I still think of it as Qi Kung.

I think the main difference I noticed between integral Tai Chi and the other kinds of exercises I found was the level of intensity. Integral Tai Chi moves the entire body, whereas regular Qi Kung seems to be moving only the hands and arms. The first time I did the full routine, including the warmup, all the positions, the cool down and the meditation at the end, I found my heartbeat had increased and I was breaking a sweat.

As it is for many forms of martial art, there is also a huge emphasis on spirituality and mysticism in Tai Chi. I loved the mantras the teacher recites as she demonstrates the movements and the positions – mantras that inspire love, compassion, kindness, gratitude and sends positive vibes with the energy created throughout the exercise. It spoke to me a lot, first because I’m a very spiritual person, and the routine made me feel like I was exercising more than just my body, but also feeding my spirit and my mind. Second of all, these exercises fill me with much positivity, which is very hard for me to come by at a time like this, when I spend every waking hour in yet another clinic, undergoing yet another test, and gearing up for another surgery.

After I finished the routine this past Friday, bowed with my clasped hands and gave a final “namaste”*, my boyfriend came back from his basketball game, limping, with a bruised thigh and an aching arm. He complained that the game was too physical (i.e. violent) and that he was playing with people who don’t know shit and thus kept losing all the time and it served to do nothing but infuriate him

I told him that next time he should consider joining me for integral Tai Chi because the result of it will be the exact opposite of his basketball game without taking away from the fitness aspect of it:

1) You don’t get any bruises or injuries in Tai Chi provided you follow the teacher’s instructions correctly.
2) You don’t have to suffer being with people who don’t know shit because the teacher is there to guide everyone.
3) There is no losing, only winning.
4) There is no violence, only positivity, peace and love.
5) It will calm you and take away all the stress of the past week, will make you cool, collected and happy.

What I love most about my exercises is that they use my body’s natural movements as exercises and teaches me to go along with my body and not against it. It uses soft movements to exercise your muscles and flowing movements to make your blood flow and your heart race. It may seem like an “easy” workout (as my boyfriend views it as something boring) but it’s a workout nonetheless, a workout for the body and its essence, plus the sweat and minus the pain.

Peace, love and I ought to use scented oils next time.

*”The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.” – Wikipedia. I just found that beautiful!