Qigong Dog Days

So it’s nearing the end of the summer here on Cape Cod, and I appear to have been swamped with work and family and such things. I’m changing roles at my day job, moving into a different and significantly larger sphere of responsibility, so that’s been taking up a lot of my time. Especially since it is still a 2.5 hour commute each way, and the new role means I have to be in the office a little bit more, and work from home a little bit less.

Matt’s been working a lot more, too, doing sound for various concerts and shows and DJing the occasional wedding, in addition to his usual weekly gig at WOMR in Provincetown.

We also had family visiting all last week, in part to celebrate Matt’s 42nd birthday, and in part (of course) just to get some much-needed beach time for the more citified branch of the family.

Check out Matt and his dad at the birthday dinner. Related, much?

Matty Dread and his dad

But what I’m really here to talk about is my finger. See, it hurts. A LOT. Some sort of crazy, excruciating pain in my left ring finger that comes and goes, but mostly, these days, stays.  The slightest touch makes me feel like I’m being stabbed in the fingertip with a knife. Or slamming it in a car door. Or being stood on by a very large person in stiletto heels. You get the idea.

Only lately it’s been expanding to become both a stabbing pain and a tremendously powerful, dull, painful ache in my hand, and up my forearm, into my elbow, and straight through into my shoulder. It makes me yelp with pain. Out loud, several times a day. It makes it really hard to sleep. For lo, it hurts like the blazes.

My chiropractor tells me it’s some sort of thoracic outlet syndrome.  And it’s not going to go away quickly, not without doing a whole lot of work and some serious lifestyle changes. Like sitting up straight during the 16 hours or so I tend to spend at the computer each day. And not always sleeping on one side, utterly motionless throughout the night, so that my cat can sleep unmolested on my hip. (Sorry, Satchel! We all have to make sacrifices.)

And, of course, incorporating a little (or, let’s be serious, a LOT) more exercise into my life. I am basically your classic, standard-issue, garden variety, sedentary computer geek.

BUT. That’s all about to change.

I’ve been wanting to take up Tai Chi again for the longest time — I studied it for about a year when I lived in Syracuse back in the 90s, and loved loved loved it. Then I got distracted by a whole lot of shiny things, and I just sort of let it go.

But as this painful thing in my finger/hand/arm got worse this spring and summer, I started thinking more and more that getting back into Tai Chi was no longer just an option, but a requirement. I just knew in my bones that this was the practice that I needed to get things right in my body again.

And as so often happens, just when I needed a kick in the pants to get out there and find myself a class that I can go to, and a way that I can incorporate it back into my daily life, I found it.

This guy , a kid I apparently grew up with, or at least somewhat adjacent to, actually teaches Qigong (the foundation of Tai Chi) literally right down the street from me. Twice a week. Amazing. Nothing is EVER right down the street from me, you guys! I live on Cape Cod, where we are surrounded by miles of ocean, but not much in the way of things. Things that involve other people. And stuff you want to do.

So I went to this Qigong class yesterday.  And I loved it! So! Much! Felt right back at home, just like I did at the Zendo in Syracuse all those years ago. And at this class, I discovered that this guy — the teacher, David Silver — co-produced and co-authored the DVDs I had already ordered from Amazon, Sunset Tai Chi and Sunrise Tai Chi. How crazy is that?

And here I was, all sad because my Tai Chi DVDs wouldn’t come in for like four weeks from now, because they are now wildly popular ever since this article about them appeared in the New York Times last week (all about how this particular form of Tai Chi had been used in a study with Fibromyalgia patients, and was found to help them out significantly). And so I walk into this Qigong class, and there is this guy with these exact same DVDs on hand. Because he helped make them. And then, of course, being a nice guy who is obviously in touch with the universe and the spirit of generosity, he lets me borrow one. Just until my backordered ones come in, you know.

Seriously? I do love how things work out sometimes.

So in conclusion, as they say, it was an outstanding example of Wingstand. Wingstand Qigong classes!

I will let you know how it goes, but I will say that I am hopeful and excited. At the very least, it is another thing to become obsessive about. And you KNOW how much I love those!

3 Thoughts.

  1. UPDATE: it turns out that my finger/hand pain is due to a benign tumor (a Glomus Tumor) that can be removed. It only just got diagnosed as such this week (10/25), and I’ve been managing the not-inconsiderable amount of pain it’s been causing by practicing this set of Tai Chi exercises every night and, more recently, I’ve added the Eight Brocades series of exercises, too. It’s been a huge help in making the situation bearable until I could get to a diagnosis — and it will be some time before I can get it removed, too, and there will be a fair deal of pain associated with post-op recovery, too. I’m glad I have this to lean on to help me manage all this nonsense — it’s really been a huge help.

  2. Just went back to a tai-chi class with friends after practicing solo for years. We’re all getting creakier (arthritis) and feel the need for healing martial arts rather than hardcore ones. This is excellent stuff. So many people I see are couch potatoes with horrendous lifestyles (mine could use some tuning up!). this is such a simple, effective thing to do, requiring no equipment, and minimal space. DVDs are great, as are books on the subject. I must tout the usefulness of working with other people, if only friends; they help catch your mistakes, and make it more fun! And any time you can get out in the natural world to do tai-chi is even better. (you have an ocean out front!!!).

    Oh yeah, and there are no coincidences…. 😉

    PS: your website is lovely!

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