Since an initial energetic crash after arriving back in Wudangshan from The Temple of The Five Immortals, I have made yet more progress in my training and studies. I feel stronger, am more flexible and have begun to feel slight changes within my body, too.
Having learned new Qi Gong exercises over the past four weeks, I am now beginning to engage with them beyond the simple mechanical movements. It's been interesting to feel some of my internal organs, as well as a good deal of physical tension being released from my body. Admittedly, the one hour massage I had a few days ago helped a lot! It cost approximately £6 and was fantastic. After the massage ended I was advised to relax for 10 minutes. I woke up 45 minutes later with the masseur snoring gently on the next table and all the lights off!!
During the walk back I immediately felt more relaxed and noticed improvements in my posture, too. I treated myself to two ice-creams in the 32℃ sunshine. It was a lovely afternoon and the beginning of a new period of a focused, self-imposed TLC.
A group of us students used our spare afternoon to explore the mountain and ended up at The Purple Heaven Palace. Needless to say it's a beautiful place, surrounded by lush green forests. 30 minutes further up the mountain is an hermitage. The old hermit living there invited me to see his cave, which was more lavish than I had expected. He even had a two seat sofa in there and a statue of Chairman Mao, strangely. From the entrance to his cave you can look down on the stone platform where Tai Chi was supposedly invented hundreds of years ago. I took the opportunity to practise on it, of course, and also stole a few minutes of meditation on my art form's spiritual home. It really is a very special place, and rarely visited from what I can gather.
I spent my day off relaxing alone in an isolated spot up river where there's plenty of shade and deep rock pools to swim in. I rested there all day and I really began to connect with the mountain. It's difficult to find isolation in China due to the sheer number of people here but I received a whole day of peace and quiet. Combined with my training, these moments have offered me some valuable insights on my physical and mental health, as well as as the wider journey I am on. I have begun to see the wisdom and neccessity of not over extending myself, either in attack or energetically. I have begun to grasp the value of yielding and realise it is not the same as surrender or defeat. I am exploring my imbalances and their manifestations while also simply having a lot of fun. I am working incredibly hard here and am now seeing the fruits of my labour. I am very grateful to myself and all those who support me for this wonderful opportunity.
I will soon finish the 28 Form, so next week should see me begin my second Form, which I hope to be either Liang Yi or Tai Ji Wu Xing. I will of course keep you posted.
Keith Abraham Playful Dragon