Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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Life can throw challenging circumstances and people into the mix at any time. Our own composure and resilience is our biggest investment because the quality of our time is tied to it. The sayings on tee shirts about keeping calm then doing something are not only comical but are also practical. We can hardly accomplish our best work if we are flipping out about something. Remaining calm in the face of tense situations is an accomplishment. We need personal tool boxes ready to employ when stress becomes hard to handle. Although many practices work, the tools must be tailored to the individual. What lifts my mood might not be fun for you, so this takes some discernment. Packing the right tools for the job requires concentration as well as honesty. You need to know not only what will work for you but also what you will actually practice.
Meditation takes many forms, not all of which require sitting still. Walking meditation and mindfulness training are both active ways to keep moving while training the mind to focus and stay clear. Mantras, chanting and other sounds are excellent tools to anchor the mind. Formal training is wonderful, but we don’t need to wait to start a practice. Artistic expression provides simple straightforward access to the unconscious. Making art requires a special sensibility, a focus on creativity that is strong. Tapping into the inner artist is a way to train the mind and liberate the soul.
Here are a few ways I find inner peace and concentration through art:
I have no professional aspirations as an artist, yet I consider myself artistic. I am not meditative 100% of the time I engage in the above activities, but frequently they lead to a calmer happier state of mind. I believe each of us has essential creative gifts to offer which we have the option to develop. Finding time to immerse ourselves in our own creative juices can be a path to peace and happiness.
I am lucky to have found, right in my neighborhood, a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner of great talent and ability. Her name is Desiree Maultsby and her practice is at Rooted Massage Therapy in Tucson. I wanted to address inflammation in my organs that was discovered at my thermography session. Obviously my lifestyle and diet are under my own control and can be improved. To help me better understand and improve the chi flow in my internal organs I wanted to use Chi Nei Tsang because I know it is effective.
Taoist practices are simple, yet complicated. There is order, but there is a great deal of mystery as well. Chi, universal energy, moves through the body and around it. The way we direct chi, and allow it to flow will determine the state of our health and our mood. The most basic way to think about chi in the abdomen is to bring to mind the proverbial knot in the stomach. Stress, improper habits and diet, and other factors can constrict and block the flow of energy and circulation in the internal organs. Deep breathing is the best way to relieve these constrictions and restore good function to all the organs. With the help of a practitioner a chi nei tsang session can bring dramatic and instant results in healing congestion in the abdomen. There are simple practices of self massage and breathing techniques that can be done between sessions to greatly enhance the results. This is, for practical purposes, a meditation technique. Your awareness will grow from this practice, of both the power of your breath, and the importance of freeing up energy in the organs.
Physical issues that bring pain to the abdomen may very well be related to trauma held in the gut. Breathing techniques and sound vibrations have healing effects on the specific organs. Your practitioner will guide you by giving you meditative instruction as well as reminders about breath. By working very closely together in this way deep psychic wounds you don’t even know you have can be healed. The treatment is not at all like a Swedish massage, which I really like for the pleasurable feeling at the time. This is a full on transformational pursuit. If you want to chat or stay on the surface, then chi nei tsang is not for you. You remain clothed and the treatment takes place on a mat on the floor, to make the best use of gravity. I am very impressed with the progress my body has made in just three sessions with Desiree. I recommend her work to anyone interested in making profound changes. She provides plenty of supplemental information for those who want to do their homework.
Meditation can take many forms, but it has been confused with nihilism. Emptiness is a holy state leading to enlightenment. Nothingness is not the same as nothing. Jeff Zlotnik gives a simple demonstration of an easy breath following meditation technique in this video. Calm, peace, and a sense of spaciousness are the results of time spent practicing meditation. Thinking and reacting, compelled to control, we slip farther away from health and well being. Doing nothing without freaking out is a skill to cultivate, no matter which style you choose to practice. Breath is usually a component, but walking, painting, writing poetry, chanting, and archery can be formats for meditative practice as well. Find a form that feels right to your physical and mental constitution, then practice.