I took a chi gong class on Saturday. The night before, a bodyworker friend invited me over txt, and I had the time. So I learned chi gong from my friend’s teacher, and it was emotional.
I guess the most important part was toward the end when I was crying, an emotional release pertaining to how I’ve felt about my body my whole life. That I’m finally learning to respect it, love it, and care for it in the ways it needs.
I was crying with joy, that I was finally giving myself what I need. But there was a sadness also, that it took me 40 years to learn that. Stuff mostly people probably start learning when they’re 2 years old. I was doing other things, when I was 2, trying to survive.
multi-layered approach to God
Somewhat I’m a skeptic–for so long, atheists were my people. So I have a multi-layered approach to God. I am religious and pray all day, love ritual, connect to the earth is a spiritual way, and conceptualize my experiences religiously.
But another layer is that I’m not sure anything like that is real. So when I pray, it could be an exercise in listening to myself and organizing my desires, or it could be connecting with an actual deity–who knows. When I get a profound idea in a dream, that could be how the unconscious works, or it could be a mystical message. I’m up for it, whatever is really happening.
I’ve had visions and I hear voices all the time. Mental malfunction, overhearing angels, something in between? I can guess, but I do not settle on one understanding. I drew my spirituality represented by an onion, before–that works for me, the layers of meaning and possibility.
That’s why it freaked me out a little when my palms got a really hot feeling, as I did chi gong. I was like–wtf.
We were doing a chi gong exercise that made me laugh. Zoom is good for some things! In a regular class, I would not have been able to laugh. I would have held in my laughter. But at home, with my mic off, I can make whatever sounds I want. I can even turn off my camera to emote in ways that I feel more private about–I’ve done that during zooms, needing to cry really hard, and turning off my camera for privacy, but keeping the presenter sound on, staying part of the experience.
My palms were both really hot, but my right palm moreso. I was like–what’s going on? It was not a metaphor or vague possibly pretend sensation–it was a very real bodily sensation, as real as any.
It made me think chi is really a thing–we were not messing around with make believe. Is it electricity? Spirit? Is everything matter? Science that science can’t measure yet? I’ve heard about acupuncture and acupressure, and wonder how that works. Skeptical, I guessed it could just be the resting and intention, and some Chinese herbs on the side.
My palms all hot, I was like–this is for real. It was a bit world-shaking. In some ways, skepticism is safer; I would prefer it was make-believe, not sure, real power.
But I wanted to say something about mental health. I have many, many feelings, and some of them are huge. People can get worried. My mom did, a lot. Her fears about my moods and especially her fear of me killing myself were huge factors in our relationship. She was so afraid of my sadness, grief, anguish, and depression that she would react strangely to my moods.
“Just put on happy music and dance,” was a big advice she gave me many times. Or a demand of “Why are you sad?” like I had done wrong, to have feelings. She thought she could fix them.
Mama didn’t trust me to feel and let it go. She was terrified of losing me by suicide, and her fear wasn’t generatively helpful. It was honesty-squashing. I felt frozen sometimes, when I had a truth and she couldn’t handle it. Her fear pushed me away.
She didn’t have good models for how to deal with strong emotions in a healthy way. She was surrounded by addicts, and she would pray for Jesus to take away her anger so she could function, rather than use the anger to improve her life.
Poor Mama. I love you, Mama, wherever you are. I’m sorry they hurt you, and you didn’t know what to do. Thank you for teaching me how to love, so at least I have a chance.
feelings like chi
What I wanted to say is that my feelings are like chi. When chi gets stuck, you get an illness, right? My feelings keep flowing. So I can feel anything in the world, and it’s ok, because I don’t use the feelings destructively or hoard them. Worst anguish, brightest joy, buzzing anxiety, hollow sorrow. I feel them, and let them go. They cycle through like amazing water.
If you catch me at a sad, anxious, too up, or other extreme state, I hope you can trust me that I will feel the feelings, have the experience, learn some lessons, and keep moving. It’s not denial–it’s advanced acceptance. The feelings move through like they are meant to.
I had to do a lot of work to get to a place where I would even let myself feel them, really. Before, I repressed everything as long as I could, until the feelings came out harmfully. Or I would superimpose a cartoon version over what I was experiencing.
It’s confusing when people say my extreme states and huge feelings constitute an illness. Deep down I know, I’m not wrong–it’s wrong that capitalism says having a full-time job and making money is more important that being a fully feeling human being. My mind and brain are valid.
Feeling emotions, learning their lessons, and sharing my well-being with the world is the opposite of illness. I’m doing different work that is unpaid, because there is no job in our culture called Super Feeler. My emotional labor is unpaid too, and lots of anarchist organizing. It’s ok, but I can wince to see others earn money for their hours, when I am overlooked, underthanked.
Thank you for hearing my truths and chi metaphor. Love to your Monday.
Yesterday my friend came over, and we did some art. We took our masks off by the driveway oleander for just a few seconds. Desert winter and bruja friend love for the win.
I made another poetry meme too–love this one. I needed to say that really bad.