is your mind like water .. or more like mud?
Here's a thought:
"Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax."
I'm actually not quoting Katy Bowman this time, but David Allen, from his book, "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity."
And he's not talking about the chillin' on the beach kind of relaxing, but the state of being free from unnecessary tension in themoment of engagement (which Katy actually does talk about regarding muscle and posture and movement, and stuff...)
Early on in the book, Allen refers to the state in martial arts of 'perfect readiness', or 'mind like water'. (If you've been in my qigong classes, you will be reminded here of wu chi...)
He says, throw a pebble in a pond and watch how it responds: "...totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to the calm.
It doesn't overreact or underreact."
Can you imagine living life like that?
Can you imagine a day were you were able to:
~ knock out all the important stuff you wanted to get done;
~ respond to conflict as the cool, calm and grounded person you imagine yourself being;
~ brush off the imbalancing people and situations as though brushing away a gnat;
~ possess the clarity to notice and avail yourself of nourish opportunities, and,
~ end the day with enough energy to do more than collapse on the couch?
I think most of us - dealing with jam-packed days of Stuff To Be Dealt With - attempt to control the endless input, organize it, curse it, plead with it to let up, wish it away, be something other than what it is - little of which, as you may have discovered, is effective.
Chronic tension is one result of this futile relationship we have with input.
Our experience of 'stress' is generally not about the circumstances (though we like to hold them responsible), but our reactions to them.
When things are coming into our awareness more quickly or intensely than we can process, we tend to tighten up - which cuts us off from our own internal resources and power. we feel less sensation. We breath shallower. We make rash and emotional decisions. We burn way more energy than we need to leading to depletion and burn-out.
We may act less than our Better Selves.
At first, it's not a comfortable thought - though it can be a relief to accept - that the only thing we really have control over is ourselves. And quite frankly, that should be enough to keep us busy for a lifetime.
"Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does." ~ David Allen
Active, engaged relaxation takes practice. It's not something one can easily switch on in the face of chaos.
If you've ever watch martial arts masters effortlessly tossing opponents across the room, know that their power is not coming soley from training in strength and form, but from years of mastering their own energy and balance.
They can assess a situation quickly, and determine not only where to best direct their force effectively, but how to posture themselves to capitalize on the imbalance of their opponent ... in other words, knowing when they don't have to act, but to simply move out of the way.
They're not focused on conquering the room - they're focused on their own relationship to the situation, what resources are available, and adapting accordingly.
Now, you may be not looking to become the next Bruce Lee.
But, we can still tap into that practice of self-mastery through the art of qigong - a wonderful mind-body-breathing exercise practiced for centuries in China for cultivating strength, vitality, longevity and for some, spiritual enlightenment.
We tend to think of relaxation as something you do after the effort, kind of like the antidote. Or, the dessert.
Qigong gives us the potential to experience movement and effort in a relaxed and intentional way - throughout each day - engaging only what what needs to be engaged, staying focused on what matters, and maintainingg and nourishing your precious life force.
There are plenty of resources to help you being exploring qigong (like YouTube, but as with everything, some sources are better than others).
If you're in the Chester County area, I invite you to look into my workshop "Introduction to Movement for Stress Relief", which also includes self-massage techniques and 'no-effort- posture.
The firsrt 8-week evening session begins April 11th, 2017, and a second noon session will begin April 18th.