Wisdom Healing Qigong
Ridiculously Annoying Wordly Things
As some of you who read my blog know, the practice of Wisdom Healing Qigong has been an important part of my life for seven years now (see Challenge, Choice, and Chi). I recently accepted an invitation to be part of an eleven month mentorship program with my teacher Master Mingtong Gu called The Living Tao. It began on April 1st. One of the primary things we were asked to create was a Life Project, which could encompass almost anything — a service, a business, a personal endeavor, an artistic pursuit, a relationship challenge, a community involvement…
For me, writing on this blog, which I resurrected in February, I knew would be my Life Project. (see A Resurrection Of Words – 2023) But after our first mentorship gathering, I found I was being asked to consider how this project would fulfill certain requirements that Mingtong set forth. He asked us to meditate on several questions, including:
— How does the project serve self-realization?
— How does it generate the expression of Essence?
— What is the goal of your Life Project?
— How does your project encourage letting go of attachment, limited identification, outcome, judgement, resistance?
— Does your project have these qualities: awareness, wisdom, creativity, love, joy, self-initiation?
When I resurrected this blog, I kept the name LUMINATIONS, but redefined the subtitle as A Glimpse Of My Authentic Life. I envisioned it as a reflection of my intention to express from my Essential creative self with authenticity, awareness, wisdom, love, wit, joy. I entered the endeavor with no investment in what others thought of my writing or what I posted. Of course, I hoped that some would find meaning in what I was sharing, but my goal was to stay true to expressing myself in an expansive, honest, heart-centered way, regardless of anyone’s reaction. By doing this, I also made myself accountable to myself for living off the page what I was writing on the page.
But now that I had to consider these parameters for choosing this blog as my Life Project, I began to wonder if everything I write has to be “spiritual?” I have thoughts and notes about things I want to say that might not fit. What if I want to kvetch about something? Or if I want to wing words across a page that might not be considered “evolved?” I recently looked back at a couple of posts I enjoyed writing on an old short-lived blog in 2011. One called, Too Much Ally McBeal, was about binge watching all 100 episodes of David E. Kelley’s quirky dramedy. (Read Ally here) Another was about the marriageable merits of Mr. Darcy versus Mr. Knightley, more precisely, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, and Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley in the respective 1995 BBC Masterpiece and 1996 film versions of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emma.
Now I’m wondering, what if I want to write about wearing a cow’s head in the gong show — satirical literary vignettes at the writers workshop I attended for nine summers, or chocolate as a main food group, or how I still binge watch not only Masterpiece these days, but also Vera or Shetland on occasion? And is there no value now in writing about things that bother me?
Oh no, Black Dave, not the livestock!
Alter Eco…the best!
As I contemplated this, I found myself having an inner dialogue with someone that sounded a lot like Spankie, my lower self.
“Write whatever you want,” she said.
“But complaining is something I’m really intending not to do these days,” I said.
“A little kvetching is good for the soul,” she said.
“It isn’t,” I said. “It’s getting myself agitated over unimportant stuff.”
“Wordly things like seeing double-spacing between sentences in the self-published work of people and venues I care about. Or finding punctuation outside of quotation marks. Unacceptable…except in The Guardian. And Emojis!! Mingtong wants us to use emojis and other communicative icons to acknowledge each other’s weekly journal entries in the Living Tao that we post on Slack. I’m okay with a bird, a flower, musical notes, and hearts. I’ve learned to deal with hearts. But I’ve never been able to make myself use those yellow smiley, frowny faces from hell. For the most part, I can’t even make them out clearly and don’t understand what they mean. Seeing them makes me feel like someone scratching nails down a chalkboard.”
“My my,” she said. “Aren’t we getting fiesty?”
“This, from you?” I said. “You used to love a good rant.”
“Well, I certainly agree with you about emojis,” she said. “They portray a total lack of sophistication. As far as writing goes,” she went on, “I say you can write about anything that comes up for you. What about the whole letting-go-of-resistance? Don’t you have to let go of the resistance to writing from whatever you’re feeling? If you feel miffed, be miffed. If it helps to write about it, write about it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Be a little daring. Unleash your quirky side. Write about the ridiculous and the sublime. It’s all spiritual.”
And with that, she was gone.
I’ve been considering the question of what is “spiritual” in terms of this Life Project. What does “spiritual” even mean? What does it mean to be on a “spiritual journey?” The words have become so clichéd, yet there’s really no other way to put it that would be generally understood. Besides, whether they know it or not, and whatever they may call it, or however they might define or deny it, everyone alive on this planet is on a spiritual journey. We all began as the stuff of stars.
So why this dilemma over whether or not to write about certain things that annoy me? And why my recurring annoyance with these things in the first place. They don’t seem to bother anyone else that I’ve surveyed. Others don’t even notice them.
I’m sure part of my irritation comes from being a writer, editor, author. Contemporary Style Guides clearly say to use one space between sentences in published works. (Relax. Emails don’t count.) Double spaces between sentences began with early typewriters when spacing between words was uneven. Now even Microsoft Word 2020 marks double spaces between sentences as an error. And the issue of punctuation inside or outside quotation marks is a matter of American (inside) versus British (outside) style. Emojis, however, are a different story. They’re just totally annoying. Ha.
I admit that one of my reasons for wanting to write about my visceral and self-righteous reaction to these wordly errors was hoping to find some sympathy out there. But as I actually composed these words, I began to feel a little ridiculous. As I thought more about it, I found myself (or maybe it was Spankie) remembering that when something outside of me pushes my buttons, the problem is almost always a reflection of something within me. I knew I had to dig deeper and discover exactly what that was.
As I traced the feelings inwards, I saw that errors in publications from people and venues whose work I admire and support and recommend, bother me because not using proper formatting looks unprofessional. I become concerned for their reputation. I want everyone to think well of those I care about. I don’t want them to be judged, as if I could know that would happen, or that it’s any of my business. This is what’s not “spiritual.” This idea of me wanting to “fix” something for someone else, something that most likely isn’t even an issue for them.
Painful scenarios of past times when I felt I’d totally embarrassed myself by my own ignorance or naivety and was judged, or felt judged, as incompetent and unprofessional drifted through my memory. Reliving these experiences wasn’t fun, but I was ultimately able to let them go. And as I did, I also felt the need to loosen the grip of this ridiculous obsession. Yay, another letting go.
For now, I’m going to listen to Spankie’s advice and write about whatever it moves me to write about, especially since I’ve discovered that even if I begin with an idea that might sound “unspiritual,” my Inner Self guides me to the deeper truth, and that’s worth sharing.
To keep up with my posts, please type SUBSCRIBE in the message box and click SEND!