Monday, August 30, 2010

What A Mess: Journal Notes #2

These are my notes from my December 1999 Zhan Zhuang Training Journal. I train with The School of Cultivation and Practice which practices Wujifa zhan zhuang. (My current reflections are added in italics.)

* Cry inside. Deny the expression. Shut it down. Deaden the feeling. Turn it off. Suck it up. Get over it. Carry on like nothing happened. Don't feel. Lock it away and move on. Escaped to the head. Safe. Approved. But it's still there. Won't go away. Just twisting me up. I'm exhausted. Worn out. I spend a lot of energy fighting myself, holding back. (I'm in such a better place these days though there is still some residue lurking in the corners!)

* I can talk about activities, but don't know how to talk about feeling. Head-smart, body-dumb.

* I'm in a store and I feel something inside me 'open' and then my body shudders and 'closes'. Weird.

* Realized I can't change others, only myself. Strategy of denial is not working.

* Such a potpourri of feelings I'm afraid to feel, I don't have words for. Where do I start? How to change?

* As I work on relaxing my pelvis, I notice my upper back feels like a coat of armor, like I'm carrying a heavy weight. And when I turn to focus on relaxing the upper back, chest, shoulders, I just feel angry.

* What happens if I let go? What does it mean to let go? How does it feel to let go? I'm afraid.

* Feeling and thinking are two different things.

* One cannot truly understand this without the traditional "oral transmission". Why? Because it takes a one-on-one to show, explain, to transmit the feeling. Adjust. Ahh. There. Got it? You can't get adjustments that evoke the feeling from someone who doesn't feel it themselves even if they know the concepts and words. (Before, I thought the classics' "oral transmission" meant only showing and correcting forms, practicing push-hands and applications. I think this is still true and so much more.)

* Purpose. What's your purpose? Why learn this stuff? What are you going to do with it?

* Why learn this stuff? "My answer." Why? "My answer." Why? "My answer." Why? (We went through about 20 "Why" cycles like this before touching probably the real reason. I think my answers may be different from your answers so I'm only providing the framework of the exercise.)

* I'm so frustrated! I can't feel it! Why can't I get it?! Response: Because you're not in your body. You're floating up here somewhere - gesturing above my eyes. Probably because it became too painful to feel so you retreated into your head and have stayed there so long...

* I read about using imagination. Is imagining feeling the same as feeling? I'm trying to feel and just can't get it. Response: Instead of trying, how about allowing? Imagine yourself allowing yourself to feel. "I can't do that. I can't allow myself to feel." Why not? "It hurts." Then why are you here? What's your purpose?

* Physical pain hurts. I can deal with that. Emotional pain I can run from, swallow, suppress. Response: But they're both pain. Pain is pain. Why are you willing to accept pain from one and not another? "Physical pain goes away. Emotional pain lingers."

* Stance is about standing. Making a stand. Having something to stand for. Not running away. (And I would add, being fully present!)

* I learned in push-hands that yielding was a noodle-like, squishy kind of movement. But I didn't develop groundpath, connection by developing noodle-man. Didn't have to resolve blocks of tension or gaps. So I learned wrong. Found a way around my blocks of tension. Now have to try to undo bad body-habits. Geez, what a mess!

(Remember this childhood toy, when you pull the string, the arms and legs pop up? Think of the string as connection. The figure is wobbly and noodly until the string is pulled and then, Voila! Connection!)

Further reading: Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal

Previous article in this series: I Can't Feel Anything: Journal Notes #1

Next article in this series: Half Hour Getting Easier - Journal Notes #3

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to again return and follow you on this journey. When I think about western gongfu trainings it amazes me on how much puppetry there is, watch and follow me. As I read the notes you share here, the connection and depth to the development of the individual as a full functioning person, all I can say is "WOW!"

    What is your purpose and the repeated "why" to help reveal the foundation of your practice. This reminds me of some if the old "Kung Fu" shows. Thank you for taking the time to share you notes, feelings, and development here with us. I will look forward to returning often.