Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Deep Clean

Last night was another chi-filled, sweat-filled, Level 1 class. Miraculously, I wasn’t too sore from Monday; and while my legs were a little tired, and the mugginess made it hard to catch one’s breath, overall I felt strong. After class, we did an intense cleaning of the turtle tank, which we’ve been putting off for way too long.

While cleaning out the hidden grossness that settles in the rocks at the bottom, I thought it was an apt allegory for this past week and a half. We change the water often enough, but there’s still lots of filth hiding in the bottom and the filter becomes clogged and the water becomes murky all too quickly; I realized the same sort of think with my training and my life in general. Breaks here and there are important for refreshing your body and mind, but if you don’t do a major overhaul every now and again, you miss stirring up and cleaning out the mess that settles and hides further down. You tidy your room, but you still need an intense spring cleaning. You take days off from training, but you need to also give yourself long breaks. So I guess I am extolling the importance of routine maintenance plus the 10,000 mile check up. You can’t only do one and not the other. And if you do neither, as sometimes happens to me… well... you’re gonna pay for it eventually.

Once we finished the tank, and it was shiny clean, the turtles were swimming around gleefully and there was a relief on all sides that there wasn't hidden dirt left hanging over us. So maybe that's why I've had trouble getting back into my groove. And also why I didn’t feel sore on the second day back (as one usually does after a week off). I was actually getting some necessary deep-healing done both in body and in mind. I thought I had it together but there was some unseen dirt clogging up the works. Now that it's cleaned up I can train harder!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Absence Makes the Chi Grow Stronger

I always start a post that follows a long blogging drought with, "I haven't been blogging but that doesn't mean I haven't been training..." But this time that's not the case. Today was my first class in *gasp* a week. Six days with no training may not seem like a lot to a regular, un-crazy person, but for me it's an eternity. Even in the past mad weeks of being all over the planet I was training at least three times a week. (And still feeling slacker-y.) I had really planned to take advantage of my newfound free schedule and get back in gear. But for better or worse I had a lot to do last week, a rough workweek, and I just felt... well... burnt out. And lazy. As soon as you have a few evenings off you start to think.. oh.. so this is what a normal life is like. Sure is nice. Doesn't hurt my butt sword...

But I knew that today I had to get back. Not training really wacked-out my body and my brain. Thing was, I had made plans tonight that I didn't want to break. So I got on the gun at work then slipped out for day class. It was quite a welcome back. I barely had a moment to warm up before I was speeding away at the front of the line with Randy. It was HOT. And definitely strenuous, but all the "resting" paid off because I had so much chi it was incredible. I know the first day back after a short break is the easy day, but I felt a mental and physical rejuvenation that were not what I was expecting. It's nice to take time off, but it's better to come back. Freak. Addict. Dork. Call me what you will. To quote my favorite bad western movie, "There is no normal life; there's just life." And my life involves multiple weeknights sweating caijiao - aaaaand a few week-long breaks every once in awhile.