No Time

Here’s how it usually goes: up at 7:00, take the dog out, rustle up a cup of tea (or coffee), eye on the clock,  figure there’s just enough time to check email then, for sure, you’ll have ten spacious uninterrupted minutes for qigong before diving into the shower and preparing to head off to work for the day.  Also, of course you’ve figured in 15 minutes for your all important high protein breakfast.  Time is like this for most of us living in the modern world–divided up into the smallest increments, relentlessly driving us to pack more and more small tasks into our limited day.

In traditional cultures, before clocks ruled the world, the day had a different rhythm, shaped by the growing or fading light, or perhaps the tides of one’s energy, appetite, and focus.  It’s ironic that we modern folks probably have more need for qigong practice, now that we have less time for it.

Cut back to our hero of the morning who, having just checked email, has now discovered a major crisis developing at work, or with a friend, that must be addressed immediately.  No qigong this morning.  That precious ten minutes has suddenly evaporated.

If this sounds a bit like your life, no matter how committed you are to practicing consistently, you’re not alone.  It’s the chief complaint we hear about making qigong a regular part of your day.  No time, or things just keep getting in the way.  It’s really not your fault.  We live in a culture that expects an unseemly amount of productivity and multitasking.  It’s almost impossible not to get sucked into it.

But there are some things you can do.  Think of your qigong practice as a flexible strategy that you can use throughout your busy day to check in with yourself and observe your qi.  So while you’re in the shower (having missed your morning practice,) instead of fuming and feeling frustrated, spend the time noticing the feel of the water on your skin.  Pay exquisite attention.  When you’re eating, just eat and observe what it feels like to chew and swallow.  How does your stomach feel when it takes in the food?  When you’re sitting in traffic, notice your breath, your shoulders, your back, your chest, etc.  How does each part of your body feel?

There, you’ve just had a nice qigong practice, even though you missed your practice this morning.  Welcome to “qigong for the rest of us.” Feel better?