Giant Steps

Earlier in the beginning of this year, something happened to my acupuncture practice that I wasn’t quite ready for… it started to get busy. Now last year, since my practice was still in its infancy, I had virtually no patients, and I was bored as hell (more like depressed a.f.). So in between pouting and wanting to saw off my wrists with a butterknife, I was lucky if one or two gracious patients (per week) would come by and see me (more like save me). But one day… BOOM. I started getting busy with 4…5…6 patients per day. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but for some reason my body felt like it was plenty. My body was not ready for it and I started feeling like total crap.

That all changed when at the end of February, a memory popped into my head and I remembered that my Qigong master Michael Lomax said that the best way to have a short career in healing is to not meditate or do Qigong/Neigong. So that evening, I sat for 10min doing the style of Qigong he taught me and I felt great afterwards.

That’s when I decided to take that giant leap to do Qigong every day for at least 100 days.

Now a bit of a flashback…

Back during my years as a student of Oriental Medicine (2008-2012), one of my classmates Chris had told me about a healing technique that he practices called Medical Qigong where you’re emitting Qi into a patient’s body for medical therapy, whether it’s pain, stress, etc. While he was explaining it, a part of me was intrigued, but another part of me was thinking to myself, “What? Are you serious?” And then one day when I couldn’t take my neck stiffness and stress anymore, I went to him and asked if he can perform that technique on me. When he did it, I felt this tingling going down my spine like he was pointing hot and cold lasers into my head, neck, and back, while at the same time feeling waves of tension just oscillating out of my body. It was the weirdest and coolest experience I had up to that moment. And when he was done, I felt 100% better… like “life was awesome again” better.

I was sold.

One day (2010) Chris called me up saying that his Medical Qigong master (Michael Lomax), who normally teaches out of his place in Missouri, was coming up north to Terra Haute, Indiana to teach a weekend workshop. Since it was only a four hour drive from Chicago, I was all in.

Without getting into too much detail, that workshop had changed my life forever. I began to see medicine, life, and existence in a completely different way. Long story short, by the end of that workshop, I felt as if I had taken a sneak peak at what it feels like to be “Not-Two.” And all I had to do is sit down, cross my legs, close my eyes, and feel. It’s like threading the needle between mindfulness and emptiness.

[So the reason why I tend to use the words Qigong, Neigong, and Meditation interchangeably is because that sort of blend is the style that I learned. For those of you who don’t know, Qigong means “energy cultivation,” and Neigong means “internal cultivation.” I call it “meditation” because it’s very meditative (but not Zazen). This probably doesn’t help much, but more on this later.]

But towards the end of his workshop, he had us pledge that we students would do a 100 day Qigong challenge when we get home, especially if you’re an acupuncturist, energy worker, or bodyworker. I never did it till early this year when the memory of this slapped me in the face so hard that I fell onto the floor and crossed my legs and started to cultivate Qi per his instruction.

Some of the most powerful and amazing things happened to my body while I was doing my 100 days. I felt energetic and powerful, and even my treatment outcomes improved dramatically. Even though the 100 days was over in June, I still continue to do Qigong [almost] every day, sometimes for 2 hours straight. Now, I’m able to work 12 hours a day without feeling like I lost any energy along the way.

And knowing that I had a newfound love and dedication for Qigong, in early July, I contacted Shifu Michael Rinaldini to see about allowing me back into the Daoist Priest Training program, and I began to seek out Zen teachers as well.

I don’t know where this is all heading (Taoist priest? Qigong instructor? Spiritual guide?), but it feels really good to know that eventually I can help heal people on a deeper level with Eastern medicine and philosophy. It’s interesting to note that what started as a way to get me some energy to get through the day, my Qigong meditation practice is leading me towards something deeper. Way deeper. And I love it.

Nothing good comes without work. Qigong doesn’t look like work, but it’s a ton of work. For most people (myself included), meditation/Qigong can be one of the toughest types of work you can ever do for yourself.

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