Monday Morning Musings on Qi & She

(It’s just shy of 12 hours later, and my hand feels better tonight than this morning, and that’s after a day’s work and a yoga routine that was heavy on the downward-facing dog. This is good! I’m confused, but this is good! But I’ll leave the post up ‘cos I’m still taking some time off my cycling. Oh, and what a horrid typo I found there on this revisit… Ugh. For shame!)


A white explorer in Africa, anxious to press ahead with his journey, paid his porters for a series of forced marches. But they, almost within reach of their destination, set down their bundles and refused to budge. No amount of extra payment would convince them otherwise.

They said they had to wait for their souls to catch up.

Bruce Chatwin
1940-1989

My acupuncturist tells me my Qi is weak. My lifeforce is waning. No, this doesn’t mean I’m being sized for a pine box just yet, no worries.

Makes me wonder if I’ve been cycling so much, so far, lately that my soul has yet to catch up with me. Like my soul’s 20 blocks behind me, musing, “Why is she racing so hard up that hill? We’re going to spill our martini.”

Last week brought the resurgence of an old hand injury that has me terrified to my core. Perhaps it was just too much cycling, perhaps it’s more. My acupuncture docs are on the case, but tell me I’m not to cycle in the short-term. I’ve pulled back entirely without much argument at all.

Writing, these days, is everything to me. One needs hands to write. That this should arise and make it possible that the thing which gives me greater fulfillment than anything in my life should become a constantly painful excercise of endurance is something that should be unspeakable. Curse you, hand injury. Not on my fuckin’ watch.

I’ve spent the last few days in a mental funk, angrily playing over scenarios that might unfold in the coming years should my long-term hand injury of old return. It’s not been a fun mental journey, and I’ve been spending this morning shaking it off.

Yoga, it would seem, might be the perfect new exercise for me. Something to allow my soul to catch up. Something to help spurn me mentally into the here-and-now of consciousness while making my body strong but balanced.

Qi isn’t the easiest of notions to understand. I’m not sure if it makes sense to me yet, but I plan to look into it over the next while. Do me some self-edumacatin’. My somewhat lay understanding of Qi goes like this:

If life is a river of energy, constantly flowing and moving, lifeforce/Qi is the ability to harness that energy and flow with it. Those of us who fight and struggle, like salmon trying to spawn upstream, we lose too much in the battle, and our lifeforce wanes and flickers, and struggle begets struggle. A vicious cycle. You can stop and rest, but if you’re going to continue swimming against the current, what’s the point, why bother?

Surviving life isn’t that hard, is it? Just like surviving when you’re fighting a current: just keep breathing in and out, overcome the immediate obstacles, and get through it. That’s the secret.

It’s not a very good life, but that’s what you get when ‘survival’ is your only goal. This is something I’m slowly becoming aware of. I’m starting to realize that my intentions deep down inside of recent years have all erred toward surviving. For a while, that was good. Now, though, I’m tired of survival.

I’ve always fought against the current. Life required it for many years, but I think the time to fight is over for me. Now it’s time to yield to the flow, to see where it takes me. Stop surviving and, instead, start celebrating.

It’s difficult, getting thrown curve-balls by life and learning to handle them. This was one of the biggest curve-balls I’ve been tossed in some time, this hand issue, but to face it and overcome it would give me a new measure of what I can handle in the years to come, literally too. I’m mindful of how overcoming this hopefully-temporary hurdle would be for me. It’d be a monumental achievement. Not having to face it would be fantastic, too.

For now, though, this week is the week my soul catches up to me. A week of consciously remembering the self. I suppose we could all use a little catch-up from time to time.

Enjoy your Monday, minions.

Photo: Taken by yours truly on a cycle ride around Vancouver’s Stanley Park last month.