Trying to start writing this post and I fall offline several times first. One of these days we’ll get switched over to ATT…I guess…our reluctance being that we probably expect things to be just as bad or, gasp, what if they get worse.

But, the topic.

I had one Qigong DVD which seemed quite fine but I got another because it went into things in more detail. The first Qigong DVD was loads of fun. I got to roll Chi balls around. I liked that. No one asked me to learn how to stand again, they seemed to think I knew how to do that already.

I thought I knew how to stand. Then after 9 days of this I got in a 2nd Qigong DVD I’d ordered that was concerned with really getting to know the basics. It gave me all kinds of directions on how to stand that the other one didn’t. Was I squatting so my knees covered my toes? Yeah. Uh, wait, not all the time. Were my feet parallel or was one or the other sticking out? Oh, look at that, one of my feet is sticking out, I’d not noticed that. Move it in.

Now, assume your Standing Meditation and just observe and feel what’s going on in your body and around you. Don’t eschew anything. Let it flow.

I’d no idea how moving a foot just a couple of centimeters and lowering your stance just an inch or two can make…such a…torturous…difference…

Or how difficult it is to just stand there and not do anything else but stand there holding a Standing Meditation for fifteen minutes.

That’s all! Fifteen minutes! You laugh at my feebleness!

At first, by the time I was done, every single muscle in my body that wasn’t outright shaking was a quivering jello wanting to erupt. And I hurt all over. The second day I itched everywhere. The third day I felt nauseated but only itched a little. The whole routine takes around 35 minutes and on the third day I was still folding over on the floor afterwards. Since it was such torture I decided to abandon anything else I was doing for the moment (i.e. what was pleasant) and just go for now with building up my ability to do Standing Meditation, with which I figure it will take me ten years to be comfortable.

Things have gotten a little less torturous each day. Which must mean progress. But I have to admit I’ve cheated a bit. The fourth day into it, l positioned myself in front of the fish tank and instead of just standing there, after a while, every time the flipper of a fish moved, I flipped my fingers. I told myself I may not have been standing absolutely still, moving my fingers like that, but I was learning something about my fish (yes, I told myself that) and it could possibly be part of my life’s plan. The exercise wasn’t near so brutal with me flipping those fingers gently each time a flipper moved.

I am two days ahead of Marty in this and it’s somewhat reassuring that he too has found it just as strenuous.

It’s been a week now and today I stood where I could watch the glint of sun off the cars reflected on a framed painting, and I waited for those little flashes of light to shimmer across the glass. I liked that. It’s a whole lot better than the Crying Elvis velvet painting. It’s still a strain just to stand, mentally, for those fifteen minutes. Physically, it is not near as strenuous as it was. It is still taxing, but I can now feel that part of the taxing is the sense of a tedious chore, it being also a tedious chore because I’m not very comfortable with it and at this point am doing it in order to be done and over with it.

But I need to do this. Working on the Tai Chi I realized that for me to be perfectly stable, moving slowly from one position to another, meant having the strength to be still.

An interesting thing that typically happens is a sense of relaxed buoyancy that begins around two hours after I am done.

P.S.: I miss flipping my fingers in concert with the fish flipping their flippers. That was fun.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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