tripping over the future

Some people say everything happens for a reason.

Somewhere along the way, I've picked up the approach that when life throws a curve ball, I ask, so, what blessing can I find in this?


Like this past Saturday.

Yep. This is my left hand sporting a 'closed fracture of the distal radius' (i.e., a broken wrist), and one of two hands that I use to give shiatsu.

How did I manage that, you ask?

Kind of a funny story, actually. At least, in retrospect.

But first, let me tell you a little about the Bladder meridian.

The BL, as we call it, is the longest energy pathway of all the 12 meridians, running a parallel pair punctuated by 67 acupuncture points each, beginning from just near the bridge of the nose, over the top of the head, back of the neck, splitting into two pairs as it travels down the back, around the sacrum, behind the legs, becoming a single path again behind the knees, down the calves and ending at the pinkie toe of each foot.*

In shiatsu, Bladder energy is related to Will, or 'Impetus', the force with which a body moves.

But this force can be hindered by lack of focus and fear, manifesting as ‘busy-ness’: lots of activity, not so much forward motion. As a meridian of the Water element, it can be very strong, but requires a container, otherwise the energy just disperses. It may also need the active nature of Fire to produce motion, or else it stagnates.

Since January, my partner Bill and I have been partaking a 14 week online qigong course with Robert Peng. Each week focuses on a different meridian, the emotional/psychological quality involved (and how to transform the ’negative' emotional quality into the 'positive'), and, most importantly, teaches a corresponding exercise.

It’s been interesting to see Peng's take on the vibes of the Organs and meridians. Similar to what I've learned, but slightly different.

Anyway, this week’s lesson began with, yep, the Bladder.

Peng talked about this being the only meridian on the back, and therefore, we don't see it. Like the future.

He says:

"In the West, we tend to think about the future in terms of what lies in front of us. We walk towards the future by walking forward. But in energy medicine, the future is unseen, so it is represented by what lies behind us. Let's see how it feels to move into the future by walking backwards."

Okaaay. I kinda, sorta get that.

At this point, he says, pause the video here and walk backwards for a minute or two. See how it feels. (You can guess what’s coming, right? I wish I did... but there you go. Object lesson.)

Chalk it up to a long day, a long week, whatever it was, but sure enough, as I rounded the living room table walking backwards, my leg caught the corner, and down I went.

Oh. The. Irony.

Fast forward past urgent care and a sleepless night to the next morning, we pick up watching where we left him paused for the last 16 hours.

He asks, So…

"How did it feel? Did you walk with a smile? Were you unsteady? Did you hesitate? Were you paralyzed with fear? Or, did you run around recklessly and fall?"

(~ insert my deep exasperated exhale ~)

He continues,

"Walking this way tells us a lot about the way we move into the future."

Typically, I don't consider myself a reckless or even uncoordinated person. In fact, I work very hard not to be as I'm heading into a career of teaching others to be more graceful and more aware. I mean, you know ... the name of my business and all.

So, humility aside, if I were the type of person who looks for the blessing in everything (which I am) what would I see?

Well, besides learning how many things I can and cannot do with one hand, this all happened as I'm waiting for the piece of paper to arrive that affirm my qualifications as a Certified Restorative Exercise™ Specialist (...entitled to all the honors and benefits occurring thereto...). Meaning, that not only the timing was pretty cosmic, but I have a much more pressing incentive to get this hands-free work up and running, and a little unplanned downtime in which to figure out what that will look like.

Forcing my own hand by breaking it, as Bill joked. Heh.

Peng goes on:

"It is important to understand the meaning of the word, 'future'. The future is not a continuation of the past. If tomorrow looks like yesterday, that is not the future.

The future represents a new reality."


Peng explains that a person with weak Bladder qi may have a lot of talk and dreams and good intentions, but will never step up. Instead, they stay stuck, jealous of the accomplishments of others and become resentful.


"With strong Bladder qi you are able to create new possibilities, and transform the world. This is the energy of progress."

Not sure exactly what stumbling over my future says about my Bladder qi, other than don't practice qigong when you're super tired, but I am looking forward (or backward?) to creating new possibilities and transforming the world. Or, at least, Chester County.

Bad news? I'll be unavailable for shiatsu sessions for a bit.

Good news? I can still teach qigong and any other movement stuff, which I plan to do. And I expect as early as next week to have some restorative movement-related offerings ready. (I'm also planning to practice on Bill to see how effective of a session I can give with one hand, two forearms and my feet... :)

So, what lemons have you managed to turn into lemonade? What breaks (literal or figurative) has God given you, that maybe you didn't know how much you needed?

And where in your life might you be hesitant to walk backward into the future... because of uncertainty, lack of focus or a container, or just needing some encouragement?

Please share your comments below!!

* For a cool video illustrating the flow of meridians, check this out.