Blocks

One idea I’m learning from taiji is about letting energy move through the body, and how various things can block the free movement of energy. Tension. Bad posture or positioning of the body, arms, or legs. Disconnected movements. Any of these things keeps energy from moving as it should, and since taiji as a martial art depends on energy for its striking force, learning to let energy flow freely is a big deal. (To be clear, I’m not talking about energy in any mystical or super-hero sense; taiji doesn’t teach you how to shoot lightning from your fingertips. It’s about the energy of movement, being focused and delivered in specific ways, or being received from an opponent and either shifted or dissipated. If you’ve ever cracked a whip, or snapped someone with a towel, that’s the kind of energy I’m talking about — it’s not the object that strikes as much as the energy moving through it. The object is just a conduit.)

I’m slowly figuring out that blocks can exist throughout life, and that they can affect me in unexpected ways. Yesterday was a weird, antsy day all round, and I couldn’t settle to any kind of mental work. Around lunchtime the anxiety growled its way over into anger, which focused itself on my house. I’ve been neglecting too many things for too long, and the gradual cascade of dust and untidiness has been making me gradually unhappy for a while now, slowly enough that I didn’t notice it creeping up on me. My physical surroundings were becoming a block to my mind and emotions, making me hold too much inside, until it broke through in irrational-seeming fury. Realizing that my house was a big part of the problem, I turned that emotional energy to doing some determined cleaning, which helped the anger go.

There are other kinds of blocks. Putting things like cleaning off indefinitely makes for another, subtly different kind of block too — put one thing off until later, and my will to get anything at all done is weakened. It makes it easier to put other things off too, until I’m not doing anything at all, which ends up making me feel vaguely unhappy, restless, and tired. If I look around and see nothing but dangling ends and unfinished intentions in all directions, it blocks my ability to engage at all; which is really maddening when there are obvious, easy, needful things to do, right in front of me. There may as well be a plate-glass window in between me and them, I can see what’s there but can’t grasp hold. I’m blocked.

I spent a lot of years believing a lot of wrong things about myself; that I didn’t really like people, that I couldn’t have good friends, that I was no good at having conversations, that I wasn’t a very worthwhile person, that nobody had reason to like me, that I had not much reason ton like myself. All because of lies I told myself and believed or misinterpreting situations I was put in, or who knows what. All of those beliefs were blocks, keeping me from being happy and moving through life and growing up. It’s taken a long time to get through them, and I’m still sometimes blocked by those things and others.

While I’m passing through this transition phase, having left old work and not found new work yet, I wonder what else I’m being blocked by, things I haven’t noticed yet. The things I wrote about the other day feel like a block — waiting for someone else to construct a life for me rather than constructing my own is definitely a block on going forward. Focusing too much on the uncertainties of my situation is sometimes a block. Forgetting to believe in myself is definitely a block. Forgetting to hang on to my faith is another big block. I wonder what the other ones are, because I don’t think I’ve found them all yet; or maybe that assumption, that there’s something else “wrong” which I just haven’t spotted yet, is itself a block, creating a problem just by assuming one has to be there.

Blocks in taiji keep energy from moving. Blocks in life keep energy from moving too — the energy of living, of experiencing life, of getting things done. Of loving people and sharing life with them. I can’t tell if this is a needed period of rest, or if I’m stuck when should be moving. I want to be free to move. If there are blocks, I want to find them, I want to understand them, I want them to be gone. I want to live with the same kind of fluidity and force that I want to develop in taiji, in order to get things done, in order to live well, in order to relax, in order to let go of what’s old and let all things be made new.

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1 comment so far

  1. Cat on

    This is a great post. I will have to remember to check for my blocks too.

    Keep moving forwards.


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