THE LISTENING SEED
“I do not particularly like the word 'work.' Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”
For the very first time in my nearly ten years as a home gardener, I’m starting seeds indoors. It’s spring here in the Northern hemisphere and for some reason this year I got lured by those special seedling trays and cute popsicle stick nametags.
A gardener friend was giving me advice on starting seedlings indoors and told me, “It’s a miracle when any seed sprouts and survives.” This is very true. She said, “The soil must be kept at an exact level of moisture, the exact amount of light, and the exact degree of warmth in order for the seedling to make it.”
I was beginning to doubt this seed-sprouting thing would work at all. I wondered why I was doing any of it in the first place.
Gardening is a very personal experience; everyone has their own ways of growing, and I am glad for the variety. I learned how to grow based on the methods of Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese master of cultivating earth and spirit, whose teachings were centered around doing everything as close to the way Nature does it (without us humans) as possible.
Photography by Brea Fisher
NMother Nature doesn’t start seeds indoors and transplant them later, so I never did either. I simply made a nice bed of soil and compost, scattered seeds randomly, covered it with the mulch I had easily available around the yard, (leaves did fine back then; now I use straw and chicken coop bedding), and watered.
I never tilled; just scattered the seeds, re-mulched, and watered. And I seeded not just once, but several times throughout the season, just as Nature does—so that my plants were all varying ages, existing together in various stages so as to help each other make it. The older, established plants serve as elders, guiding the new, fresh plants, all of their roots entwining around each other, sharing nutrients and creating a thriving unseen world—the organism that is the soil itself.
“Observe Nature thoroughly rather than labor thoughtlessly.”
--Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
Photography by Brea Fisher
Actually, it’s been really fun to watch my little seed babies pop out as sprouts seeing the sun for the first time, and I understand that some seeds germinate much easier when started inside. So I’m not trying to persuade anyone from skipping that step if it’s something you enjoy or find works for your garden.
It’s really not about whether you start seedlings indoors or out; the fact that you have a garden is a tremendous win in Fukuoka’s eyes, as he believed small farming was the path toward healing:
“The healing of the land and the purification of the human spirit is the same process.”
Fukuoka’s philosophy goes beyond gardening. To become a student of unaltered Nature, to really watch and learn, to know deeply how it is when things grow without the interruption of humans, imposing what they believe are better methods—these are ways of being that many of us resist because they go against what our modern culture teaches us.
Mother Culturehas trained us into believing we must work hard to get results. She teaches us, continually, to put our noses to the grindstone in order to earn our keep. And so we do, often thinking poorly of ourselves for not working hard enough.
Mother Culture says we don’t do enough; Mother Nature shows us how to do less.
More from Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution:
I believe that if one fathoms deeply one's own neighborhood and the everyday world in which he lives, the greatest of worlds will be revealed.
If nature is left to itself, fertility increases. Organic remains of plants and animals accumulate and are decomposed on the surface by bacteria and fungi. With the movement of rainwater, the nutrients are taken deep into the soil to become food for microorganisms, earthworms, and other small animals. Plant roots reach to the lower soil strata and draw the nutrients back up to the surface.
For so many of us it is an incredible challenge to take action toward taking less action.
We can wish our lives were less complicated, less busy, less chaotic; but, when it comes down to making changes to alleviate those “moving full speed ahead’ aspects, we make excuses to keep as is what we have in place as though our lives depend on it.
In truth, Life itself, if we can listen and actually hear It, is forever whispering that our existence depends so much more on allowing and being, than on pushing on, digging in, and doing, doing, doing.
“Mother Culture” is a term coined by Daniel Quinn in his 1992 book, Ishmael, which I highly recommend
How can you see your life from the eyes of Fukuoka? In what ways are you working too hard, and in doing so, further holding yourself apart from the natural process of beingthat will bring you the joy and peace you so seek?
Where in your life can you do less, ease off, let go?
Ask these questions of yourself as you go about your life in the coming days and see what comes up for you. Release any resistance to the possibility of making changes toward less doing and more being.
Take notice of where your mind tells you—sometimes adamantly—that it’s impossible to do your life any differently. That’s the voice of Mother Culture speaking through your inner critic.
Practice the Earth Dog Qigong form
I’ve included a link to the full-length Qigong Lesson Film for Earth Dog. The simple, flowing movements of this Qigong form cultivate and honor the aspects of Earth Dog Qi. Earth Dog brings us home. She calls us back to honesty, to fairness, integrity. Dog Qi is loyal, watchful, and just.
By cultivating these qualities, we can attune ourselves to the ancient truths of our planet. May we be watchful of the master teacher that is our home.
Click to load the Earth Dog Qigong Lesson Film
“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
--Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
On the publishing date of this article it happens to be Earth Day. It is my prayer that we become a species that no longer needs to distinguish one day out of the year to pay due honor to this miraculous place we are blessed to call home. May we come to know fully the absolute privilege it is to be students of this planet, rather than thinking of it as something we must conquer.
Did you like this article? Did you like the Earth Dog form? I would so appreciate your sharing it with a few friends you think would like it also.
In the Northern hemisphere December 21 marks a day we celebrate the return of the light. And although I agree— emphatically— on it being an occasion to ring in with cheers, I’d like to bring our attention to the darkness, and honor it for a change.
Our world is so transfixed on the good stuff— the light, the joyful, the glory. We celebrate the wins and ignore the losses. We tell the success stories and hide the tales of tribulation. Tragedy is seen as a curse while good fortune is the blessing.
My father used to say, “When you laugh, the whole world laughs with you; when you cry, you cry alone.”
This would seem to be the way it is, and since I had been hearing that phrase since I was a small girl, that’s what I came to experience. But even if you’ve never heard that saying before, the world around you has been whispering it to you in a vast array of ways.
Most of us have learned that to feel blue is a reason to be condemned, whether by others or by ourselves, and to be happy is cause for praise.
This is a false premise. For one, the term happy is given so much weight that we don’t even know what it means anymore. When I was young I thought something was wrong with me because I wasn’t happy all the time. I confused self-love and peaceful acceptance with happiness and thought I needed to be wearing a permanent ecstatic grin that penetrated into the depths of my being in order to be mentally healthy.
But happiness that never wanes is an imbalance. It’s not sustainable. And it doesn’t serve you.
Striving to be happy all the time denies the part of yourself that needs a hug, or that prefers to be alone, or that needs to cry; it holds you apart from the poetry of the night, from the potent depths of pain, and from the glorious view one reaches when touched by suffering.
There is beauty, too, in darkness.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
The Mbuti are a Pygmy tribe of the Ituri forest in what used to be the Belgian Congo. In his gift of a book, The Forest People, anthropologist Colin Turnbull describes the trust and devotion the Mbuti holds in the great forest. For all the years since I first read this book, the lyrics of one of their songs has stuck with me:
Where is the darkness?
Darkness is all around us.
If darkness is,
then darkness is good.
Turnbull explains, “this is one of the songs that are sung in times of crisis, and it puts the Pygmy in communion with his god. It is difficult to say what the Pygmy concept of religion is, but it can be said with certainty that whatever hazy ideas he might have about a supreme being, so inaccessible as to be virtually ignored, he has a definite feeling of some benevolent power who either resides in, or actually is the forest --the source of all good, and, ultimately, of all bad.”
The Mbuti people understand that what is given to us from Life is a blessing, whether it comes by way of something pleasing or some form of disaster.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
The light and the dark are equal in their gifts and by honoring each for their unique offerings, we open ourselves to receive what they have to give us.
Without grief, joy would lose its sweetness. Without a fall, the expansion of standing at the peak would have no power. We needs tears to show us just how good it feels to laugh.
The holiday season is a time of year when we are expected to feel jolly, to be big-hearted, and to put on a happy face. But often times many of us put on this face to mask a darkness within.
Some may be in the midst of heartache. Some may remember difficult past experiences that came to us during this time of year. And if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere you may be experiencing the very real affect of the lack of sun on your psyche.
You may be feeling joyful this year, or you may not. Regardless, taking time to honor the darkness is a powerful practice, and what better time to do so than while the darkness is at its peak.
I’ve made a Mini Qigong Lesson Film for you with a perfect form for this. It’s called Yin Crane Takes Flight, or Yin Crane Breaks Free.
While you practice, imagine yourself a crane standing in a frozen lake at dawn. In order to break free from the ice, you must first sink deeper into the dark depths of the lake. From this sinking downward you gain the power to propel yourself into the sky, lifting your wings to the fresh air and taking flight into the first rays of the sun.
The way you feel in any given moment is always a good way to feel, because it’s real.
Your authentic emotions are a blessing, and when you allow yourself to feel them you make yourself right instead of wrong. This eases the tension within yourself and gives you the space to learn what those emotions may be telling you.
Give yourself just as much permission to feel sad when it comes up as you give yourself to feel
When you do, you honor the darkness and the light as equal blessings.
DOORS ARE NOW OPEN TO SIGN-UP for the Pay-What-You-Like Qigong Lesson Film Subscription Series. Sign-up is fast and simple via patreon.com/breafisher. Click the Become A Patron button and follow the prompts to create an account.
Suggested contribution to be automatically included in the Lesson Film Subscription is $10 a month; however, if you chose a membership tier less than $10/mo simply send me an email to let me know you’d like access to the series.
I had entered through the forest of burgundy-turned Oak and golden-leafed Cottonwood, and after having crossed the arroyo through the thicket, I stood in the meadow of wild grasses, a flaxen sea lit up by the morning sun that had taken its sweet time in burning off the last of the clouds from a series of overcast days. My taiji quan form was given to the cliffs I faced, whose own faces I knew held petroglyphs I longed to see.
As my body moved the qi under my palms, I sensed others soaking up the essence of the landscape. They, too, were in silence, all part of a qigong, taiji, gongfu, and yoga training intensive— day five of seven 15-hour practices. Our task for the next two hours was to immerse ourselves in the natural world and to allow our senses to re-sensitize to it.
Silence has a way of making the senses speak out with precise amplification.
I travelled on, following the call of the prehistoric carvings in the rocks beyond, not knowing the way, but feeling for it, and trusting its summons. I found a pale footpath in the grass that took me to a fork where I discovered bear tracks clearly defined in the crusted mud.
To my left, a massive Cottonwood, with nine huge trunks reaching out from its enormous base— more than six feet across. On a small patch of green grass at its bed were two crossed legs with boots peaking out just so.
I let my friend have her time there and I took the path to the right, which led me to a stairway of earth and railroad ties. These gave way to a narrow trail that paralleled the long stretch of rock-wall.
I followed my intuition, veering up its side where it was less steep and found a fence with the barbed wire pulled up to make a portal to the other side. I slipped through and after a short scramble up a patch of lose rocks I found myself with a view of the entire surrounding landscape.
A keen examination of the rocks revealed a series of petroglyphs carved into the flat-sided boulders: A spiral, then a snake, a herd of elk or deer, a handprint that matched mine exactly as I pressed my palm into its shape, the fingers stretched to make pointed nails like flames.
I meditated with the sun on my face and soon my friend from the cottonwood had arrived. I silently pointed out the rock drawings and let her enjoy her own time with them. As I was leaving she handed me a note that read:
This was the phrase we had been given the night before during the Qigong Theatre in which some of us were named as such and had to play that role while exploring a world of archetypes presented to us by way of other qigong actors.
I began hiking down the same way I had come up. But already I felt the trepidation of the descent working its way into cracks in my confidence. On my way up I had been fearless, spirited, and bold. The way suddenly seemed daunting as I inched my way down the cliffside.
I felt the rocks give way under my feet and I slipped.
I caught myself in time, but I was shaken; I looked back to the summit to see if my friend would be coming along, too. She was not.
Sometimes you must descend the mountain alone, with no one but yourself to count on to make it through close-calls and only you to rely on when you lose your way.
From there to the earthen steps I had already lost the path twice. Adding to that, at the base of the stairway I took a wrong turn. Doubling back toward the other direction I finally found the nine-trunked Cottonwood giant, only to lose the trail yet again.
I found myself guessing incorrectly time after time, squeezing through saplings, scraggly oak, and grasses that stuck their seed pods to my pants as I forced my way through. Three, four, and perhaps five times more I ran into obstacles: a ravine, a thick cluster of cholla cacti, a tangle of sweeping branches like arms walling up a boundary to block my way.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
The stickiness of the first, subtle signs of the birth of panic began to whisper blows at my heart. I brushed them off with a deep breath, or a moment of appreciation for the natural beauty in which I was enveloped.
When the mind catches wind of worry the body follows that new rhythm by making the breath shallow, inconsistent; one must lengthen and steady the breath to cue the mind back into a settled state.
I kept glancing back for my friend. I thought of her confident stride, her hiking boots. I looked down at my practice sneakers and wished she was there to help me find the way. Maybe she was nearby. The vow of silence said I couldn’t call out. Should I whistle? Clap my hands?
I finally reached the head of the wood where the adobe walls of the retreat center suddenly came into view over the hill. I was soon stepping sure-footedly across the courtyard and into the dining hall, through the grounds and into the kiva where class was about to begin.
In silence we practiced four hours and in silence we ate our lunch afterward. I sat in the sun on the ground, facing the cliff I could not see but knew was there, through the woods and beyond the meadow.
My friend spotted me and approached, handing me a poem she had penned on that same piece of notebook paper. It’s heading still declared, “Intrepid Adventurers.” Underneath was her story, the tale of her morning adventure.
I looked up and she pointed to her chin, blood visible underneath a bandage. She rolled up her pant leg to reveal a scraped leg and knee. Her hand and elbow were rashed.
She had taken the short way down. Coming straight down the front of the cliff, she had lost her footing and tumbled, slamming down on the rocks.
I opened my mouth and placed my hands over my heart. She took my hand and nodded slowly with a wise calm. She pointed to her mind and placed her arms in Heart Protection position, crossed over the chest in surrender and transcendence. Her eyes were serene; her heart was in peace.
One of the most life-changing teachings I have gained from my years as a gongfu practitioner is the importance of remaining calm in tense situations. Had I given in to the worry over losing the path it could have easily tangled itself into panic and that would have made it even harder to find the way.
In keeping with the idea that the mind and the body are constantly informing each other, influencing each other, and inspiring each other, I’d like you to become aware of what this dialogue looks like for you as you go about your day.
What is your mind telling your body and how is your body responding?
Can you catch your mind telling your body to do things that don’t serve you— like breathing shallow, increasing your heart rate, or tensing up your muscles simply by the thoughts you’re having?
When you do notice these body reactions, are you able to use the body to calm your mind, by breathing deeply and with awareness, by relaxing your muscles, or by slowing your movements?
Pay attention to the communication your mind and body share, and actively take part in that dialogue, using your body to soothe your mind.
As I looked at my friend, with her chin bandaged up, my eyes welled with hot tears. I wanted to say I was sorry I had left her. I wanted to tell her I got lost. All the things I thought I needed to say with words were spun on the breeze like the golden Cottonwood leaves making ocean sounds like, hushhhhhhhhh.
Words ain’t got nothin’ on the language of the heart.
She shook her head in response, drew a heart on her heart, and pointed to me. She opened her arms and I met her in a hug that melted me into trust that what was essential had been communicated and what was true was understood.
One way to use the body to cue the mind back into calm, is to practice qigong and tai chi. If you’d like to learn, DOORS ARE NOW OPEN TO SIGN-UP for the Pay-What-You-Like Qigong Lesson Film Subscription Series. Sign-up is fast and simple via patreon.com/breafisher. Click the Become A Patron button and follow the prompts to create an account.
Suggested contribution to be automatically included in the Lesson Film Subscription is $10 a month; however, if you chose a membership tier less than $10/mo simply send me an email to let me know you’d like access to the series.
On my way home from a trip into the mountains I stopped at a hot springs and had a soak. I began practicing qigong within the chest-level lithia water; the pool for uplifting the mood and for aiding digestion.
Digestion is more than the processing of food and nutrients; the spleen and the stomach are hard at work digesting ideas and emotions as well. And since my time in the wilderness had brought so much up for me to chew on, I picked this particular pool in which to soak and to move.
I chose a spot to begin practice that faced the massive rock-face peaking just below the rising sun. I deliberately positioned myself so that there was plenty of space in the pool from which others could choose to soak without invading my personal qi bubble during practice. And then I settled in for some medical qigong.
Ten minutes into the form, I felt the presence of someone entering my energy field to my right. Another minute and she had inched into my line of vision. Within a few more minutes she was sitting nearly directly in front of me as I faced her, the rock-wall beyond her, and the sun beyond it. I went through the movements of sinking and lifting, drawing in and sending out, replenishing and releasing, all while she sat little more than an arm’s reach away.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
I felt myself involuntarily shrink my qi closer into myself, to give more room to this woman and also to protect myself and remain in my own field without sharing it with someone I hadn’t invited in… Or had not known I had invited.
But, as I was already in a deep state of qigong meditation, I watched myself have that knee-jerk response and then I promptly released it and opened back outward to include her because it felt right.
She inched even closer then, as if on the breeze of my window opening. I soothed my protesting mind by telling myself she was someone I loved. She became family. She was an auntie. She was my mother. She was my teacher.
I felt honored to have her there in witness of my practice.
She opened her arms wide to receive.
As I finished the form she left my field and when I got out of the pool she motioned for me to sit beside her. She thanked me and started to explain that she just need to be near me while I moved. Then she stopped, took off her sunglasses, and spoke from her heart.
“My husband passed five days ago.”
I looked into her eyes and held space for her grief. “He was a healer, too,” she said, beginning to cry. I held her in the best hug I could give and we stood like that, in embrace, and we became family.
I felt so very honored to have been there with her. I was grateful to have given her something during her grief. I was humbled by the power of qigong as a treatment.
When you practice qigong near another person the vibrations radiate outward, creating a healing field that can be felt by those around you.
This is a qigong treatment. It’s the process of sharing your qigong practice with another— giving them part of the experience.
Had I slunk away after feeling this beautiful grieving woman enter my personal space I would have missed that sacred exchange. I allowed her into the healing space and by witnessing my practice she benefited by it, too.
The brain makes little distinction between what the body is actually doing and what the senses perceive.
Think back to the times you’ve been watching a movie and had your heart rate skyrocket during the climax of a thriller, or have had your breath become shallow while the star of a scary movie crept through the pitch black of the unknown horror to come.
The eyes perceive the movie, which causes the emotional and physical traits being viewed to manifest themselves according to what you’re seeing.
When you watch someone moving in a calm, slow, and centered way, your brain begins to take those aspects into your body as if you yourself are moving calmly, slowly, centered.
That’s why the Everyday Tai Chi Films are popular with such a wide range of viewers. One of the reasons people who have no martial arts experience are drawn to the short practice films I publish is because seeing me practice qigong and tai chi is a way for them to slow down themselves.
When we practice qigong or tai chi the breath lengthens, the body relaxes, and the mind is calmed; and when you view someone else practicing, those things are likely to happen within you also.
It’s not just the visual that inspires the qigong treatment to have an effect. One can receive the healing without ever seeing the form at all. It follows the same principles of distance healing.
If I hold you in my focus during qigong practice I can actually share with you the qi I cultivate.
My students and I often do this at the end of class. We mentally and energetically call forth someone in the world who could use a little extra healing. Individually, we hold them in our focus. And then we use the intention to share the qi we’ve made with them.
I’ve been recording my daily practice every single day for over a year and there are over 300 Everyday Tai Chi Films posted online for you. By watching these short practice films (they’re all one minute or less), you can get your own qigong treatment from me.
You can bring the qi I’m cultivating into your own body.
Your challenge is to take me up on the invitation. Watch one or two— or a handful of films— and sink into it. Let yourself soften as you watch. Breathe with me. Feel your breath slow down to match my movements.
If you want to go the next level, follow along with me in movements that speak to you. Many of the Everyday Tai Chi Films include Form Notes. Call someone to mind either before or afterward and use your intention to share the qi with them.
Sharing qigong with others is in service to all involved.
Giving someone a qigong treatment doesn’t deplete the one practicing as one might fear. Qigong creates a circle of energy that flows continuously and generously; therefore, sharing the qi you cultivate can actually make the experience of one’s practice even more potent.
After having remained in my practice in that hot springs pool I felt uplifted not only because of the minerals in the water. It was mainly because I had opened myself up to give to another.
By sharing my qigong with that dear, grieving woman I had comforted her in a way I could have never imagined possible as a stranger. By letting her into the healing space of my qigong practice she became my sister.
The gift was deeply moving and one I will not forget. It is my wish that you, too, have the good fortune of experiencing such a blessing in your own life.
May you share your qi or open your arms wide to receive the qi of another, and in so doing may you draw the generous circle of energy from your heart to the hearts of your fellows.
If you’re interested in receiving a Qigong Treatment from me, reach out. I’m currently offering them free for as long as it feels right to do so. You can comment on one of my Everyday Tai Chi Film posts on Instagram, Facebook, or Patreon, comment below, or simply send me an email. Feel free to share as much or as little about what you’re working with right now and I will hold you in my focus during an upcoming practice.
And if you know someone who may benefit from these articles or from any of the other offerings I share, please do me the great honor of sending them my way. I am ever-grateful for shares!
Last week the valley where I live was filled with travelers on their way to a warmer place. Those journeying appeared tireless in their lighthearted flittering— joyful even through the exhaustion of their migration.
These were no ordinary pilgrims. They were the Painted Lady butterflies. And they have been migrating south in massive groups larger than what we’ve seen in years past. The flutter of butterflies, also called a kaleidoscope (!!), was so dense that the doppler system actually picked it up on radar.
The “blob” that was approaching Denver was initially thought to be birds, but was soon seen for what it truly was: a gigantic kaleidoscope of Painted Ladies.
Normally I would be delighted at the sight of so many butterflies. And at first I was. My smile lit up brighter with each one I noticed, reflecting back their seemingly inexhaustible effulgence.
But as they wove haphazardly along the road that follows the river on my way to town, they kept veering suddenly my way, meandering toward me with no concern for my vehicle, getting swept off the side of my car at the last moment, carried by their lightness in the wind to narrowly escape death by headlight, or not.
My face soon reflected horror as I must have smashed into at least five of them in less than one minute.
Photo by Elizabeth Marcus-Sonenberg (http://www.instagram.com/pure.o); Post-production by Brea Fisher
Just a week prior, while consoling a friend as she plucked a lifeless Monarch off the grill of a random parked pickup and placed it honorably on her dash, I had told her tenderly:
I brake for butterflies.
But here, when faced with this many vehicle-oblivious butterflies it seemed impossible to hit the brakes for all of them.
I slowed way down, which helped, but it wasn’t until I remembered to ask, that I was able to stop my butterfly murdering.
I relaxed my body and calmed my mind, drove slow, and spoke, out loud, in request:
“Dear, sweet Painted Lady friends, thank you for being here today as you voyage south. Please be aware, I am moving quickly on this road. I ask that you stay clear of my vehicle so that your journey can continue safely. Thank you.”
And with that, I envisioned a big, soft, bubble of light surrounding my car by about five feet on all sides, which to my awe and delight, began to bounce the butterflies away from my car as if on the whim of the wind.
I didn’t hit another butterfly the whole way to town.
Now, this sort of experience isn’t new or extraordinary for me, and if you are also one who speaks to animals, insects, plants, and rocks, you know as well as I do that they have a way of understanding and communicating back.
But the part about this that really stands out to me is a timeless lesson we can all benefit by remembering:
Ask and you shall receive.
Without posing the question, declaring what it is your heart desires, you leave no space to be given an answer.
Most of the time I’m guessing you won’t be asking butterflies, but people, which for most of us, are easier to hear when they respond. And even if those people end up saying no to your request, it feels really good to give them that opportunity, and to give yourself the chance to receive it honorably.
We all know how it feels to have a burning question and to hold it in without asking.
When we don’t ask for what we need it hurts the heart.
If you need help and you are too afraid, too embarrassed, or too whatever-is-holding-you-back to ask for it, it’s a very direct communication with yourself that you are unworthy of that help, false premise though it is.
Even if it’s uncomfortable at first, it always feels better to ask for what you need because doing so is a heart opening act of self-worth.
Acknowledge the discomfort of having to ask for help, then let it go and ask anyway. You’ll feel better than holding back because by asking, you open your heart to receive and that is an act of love.
Everyone has something they’ve been holding back asking for. You know what your’s is, even if you have to get quiet a minute and bring it up to the surface of your consciousness.
Go ahead and take this moment to do that now.
When you have your question, determine to whom you can or need to ask it. Maybe it’s just one person. Maybe it’s a few people. Maybe it’s a bunch.
And then ask.
Whatever answer or answers you may get, commit to receiving them gracefully and with gratitude— even the no’s.
Look for the relief and the lightness of heart you feel simply in the asking. That’s you telling yourself you’re worthy.
And the next time you need to ask for what you need, go for it again; and again; and again.
An open heart helps light up the world because asking for what you need inspires others to do the same.
If all of humanity suddenly began to consistently ask for what we needed, we’d find that sometimes people say no and sometimes people yes, and we’d all be totally okay with the no’s because we’d know that there are just as many yeses out there for us, too. (This, by the way, also makes saying no to others easier to do when that’s what you need to do.)
It would be a brilliant kaleidoscope of asking of those who are willing, able, and happy to give, and offering to those who are open to receive from us.
Sometimes we’d be driving fast vehicles and sometimes we’d be flitting along a riverside road, tired and beautiful and blissfuly unaware of cars… until we were asked to be so.
Now it’s my turn to ask.
Many of you have asked me how you can support my work and up until now I haven't initiated any methods to receive contributions. I'm really excited to announce that I now have two ways for you to become a patron.
For you, who are new to my work, and for you who have been following me from the beginning, I am so deeply grateful to you. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel appreciation for having you here in witness to what I do.
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I can never tell you too many times how much I appreciate you being here with me. My gratitude for you is a forever-fluttering kaleidoscope in my heart.
With the deepest of bows,
When you begin the hike down, weaving back and forth between switchbacks on the sloping footpath that leads you into the great mouth of the caverns, its steep grade initially gives you a sense of instability and insecurity. It’s an unfamiliar place to put yourself, hiking 750 feet down into the earth, and the body senses this.
750 feet seems an arbitrary measurement since we don’t typically find ourselves walking that distance straight down. Even so, without knowing the exact distance before I began the descent, as I placed my feet one and then the next, my knees bracing lower to stay grounded, and my eyes reaching into the darkening depths for what’s to come, I knew I was going down, and I was going down deep.
But soon enough, as my eyes began to just barely adjust to the growing darkness, I began to trust my feet on the hard to see ground below them, and there came into my body a softening to the unknown, and a vulnerability in the embrace of something much larger than myself.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
There is not a thing in the human-made world that can give you exactly what you need more precisely than what can be given to you by the more-than-human world.
What you need can absolutely be found in things like a particularly nutritious conversation, a challenging yoga class, or a good cry with a friend, but what the spirit connects with most deeply, most penetratingly, most directly, and most potently, is a good dose of being in nature*.
The intelligence of nature really does soothe your soul; it stimulates your mind, swells your heart, and nourishes your body in ways that humans are just not privy to understanding at this point in the infancy of our existence.
So when I went down, and I soaked in the dark, and I slunk among the cold pools and the dripping mineral chandeliers, moving like a deep sea creature swimming in purified air that once was water so many millions of years ago, I got a treatment from those caverns, like nothing I could have gotten from above.
I went to Nature and she gave me an acupuncture treatment, specific to my needs.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
*Since humans are of nature, using that term to describe something apart from us is inaccurate at its root; however, since most can agree that the word connotes the apart-from-civilization wilderness that the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms offer inherently, I will use the word nature interchangeably with the concept of the more-than-human world.
I needed to go deep. I needed to go inside, to dive into the dark before my eyes had time to adjust. I needed a revival of memories from the womb, and of the collective primal field. I needed to remember I am not a body only and to do that I gave my body fully to the internal organs of the earth.
Nature gives you exactly what you need.
It hones in on your current state and presents to you a remedy specifically designed to treat your afflictions, your areas of disharmony, and your places of most tenderness.
Nature gives you yourself.
Nature is neutral, and that neutrality is what creates the space for you to see in it exactly what you need. It reflects back to you your inner wisdom and reveals it to you in a way you can receive.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
And that’s what it does for all of us, whether we’re attuned and listening, noticing it doing that work for us, or not. Your work is to make space for connecting to nature more often so that nature can more often make space for your connection with yourself.
The truth is, the natural, more-than-human world is available to you at all times.
You don’t need to travel to caverns, hike up to secret mountain springs, make daily pilgrimages to a hidden forest clearing, or even live in a home with a backyard.
Nature will find you wherever you are if you open yourself to it.
Say you are in a habit of compulsively buying things online. Grab a big bottle of water, an apple, and a book and spend an afternoon sitting in the grass at the park. Nature will show you that you already have everything you really need.
Imagine you just got in an argument with someone you love and now things feel broken. Let the day become night, turn off the lights, power off your phone and all your devices, and stand outside with the moon or the stars, or the plain darkness of eternity.
Or maybe you feel stuck. Open all the windows of your house and let the wind wash through it. Watch it whirl dust bunnies out from the corners, rustle paper piles, and dance in the drapes. Or stand on the crest of a hill, whether field or street, sensitizing yourself to the air moving across your skin, in your hair, and through your clothes.
Are you letting yourself receive Nature? Do you take time to slow down with it? Do you notice how it is speaking to you— directly to you, with specific messages written just for you?
Whether you do or not, more of this is always a beneficial practice, so your assignment is to go deep with it.
Going deep doesn’t mean you have to hike down into a cave that was formed by an ancient inland sea. To go deep means to open yourself to the primal wisdom of the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets.
Go deeply into following the flight path of a butterfly.
Go deeply into listening to the song of the wind in the leaves.
Go deeply into the process a cat takes to clean itself, or the shape of an apple, or the touch of an insect’s tiny feet on your arm.
And then acknowledge that whatever the natural world is giving you as an experience is medicine for you.
The caverns gave to me exactly what I needed and I happened to open myself to their offerings. But I could have walked down there, admired its beauty, snapped a couple shots, and then hiked right back up to handle all my stuff in the same way I had been— and that hadn’t really been working for me. (And believe me, I’ve missed my share of messages from the natural world plenty of times.)
But this time I gave myself to the caverns. And so the caverns had a chance to give me myself.
If you liked this article I would so appreciate your sharing it with a few friends you think would like it also. At this point that’s very best way to support my work, and it means so much more to me than you know.
The student of a master gongfu tea master, upon asking why his master’s tea consistently tasted better than his own, always got the same answer: “I just love tea.”
This sounds like a story from the ancient Chinese text, the Zhuangzi, but it’s actually a true account shared with now tea master, Wu De, in his recent article published in the June 2017 Global Tea Hut Tea & Tao Magazine. In it, Wu De writes about the noticeable difference in the taste of tea brewed in antique pots, using antique cups and antique utensils, as opposed to using modern tea ware.
“When you love tea, you love the vessel it’s prepared in, and you know that after you’ve created the [tea ware] piece, some tea lover will take it home and appreciate it as you have, as much for its beauty as for its ability to improve his or her tea.”
This is such an eloquent way of explaining “Do what you love.”
When you do what you love, it not only brings you joy and fulfillment, it makes you intrinsically good at it.
View, Georgia O'Keeffe's beloved Ghost Ranch, photograph by Brea Fisher
I studied with a healer who became a mentor of mine for several years and she used to tell me, “You at your worst is better than someone else at their best.” This used to comfort me when I lacked self-confidence, but my understanding of what she meant took years to fully comprehend.
At their most basic, her words spoke of the potency of the techniques she taught me. Beyond that, she was really referring to Love.
The more you love what you do, the better you are at it.
Or, perhaps it’s better stated this way:
The more you cultivate a loving relationship with that which you engage yourself, the more available you make yourself to the power of that Love to instill in you an excellence in whatever practice you do.
Remember that time your friend made you dinner and even though it was just a simple rice and vegetable dish, you couldn’t get over how good it tasted? You had to ask— what was the secret ingredient?— and they told you: Love.
If you see everything as energy, this answer is totally acceptable. And even if you’re more physically oriented, it has a reasonable explanation.
When you find something you love to do, you tend to do it often, and all that practice makes you really good at it.
So maybe your friend loves to cook. Or maybe she loves to make that particular dish. Perhaps she loves making meals for friends. Or maybe it’s a combination of all those. The end result is that you can taste her love. And love tastes damn good.
Witnessing someone doing what they love is an experience that is more enjoyable than seeing someone do it who feels just so-so about it— and it’s way more fun than seeing it be done by someone who doesn’t like doing it at all.
The more you love to do something, the more others love to witness you doing it.
This qigong form is called Breathing from the Heart. It’s a form that uses the body to rebalance the give and receive flows. It’s very beneficial for those who tend to give more than they receive, but it’s also a really good way to use the body to tap into the love you have to share with the world.
When you move through this form, imagine opening your heart and allowing your Love to flow beautifully from you.
To equalize yourself from there, and to help you experience the love others have to give, use the palms to gather back into your heart.
I usually have these free mini lesson films ready to go for you with narration and form notes on the screen, but this is one I’m working on for my upcoming Lesson Film Subscription Series, so stay tuned for the full-length version.
I encourage you to follow along, and if you do, here are some form notes that will assist you in the movement:
Breathing from the Heart to Balance the Give and Receive Flow
1. Begin with feet parallel, anywhere from hip- to beyond shoulder-distance, knees soft, spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and the tongue touching the palate.
2. Inhale, lift palms to middle dantien (heart center) level, turning them inward gradually; arc them as the arms open and the elbows draw earthward.
3. Exhale, lift the chest and the chin as the palms draw toward the earth, skyward facing, knees extended.
4. Inhale, bending the knees, draw the palms back up and around to face each other at the level of upper dantien (brow center); the chin drops to level.
5. Exhale, turning the palms earthward as you draw down the front on the body, extend the knees and end with palms at lower dantien level (2" below navel).
6. Repeat at least 3 times, ideally 9 times, and 36 times if you really need a self care treatment.
When someone finds joy, fulfillment, or peace from seeing you do that loved thing you do, they are actually receiving a transmission of your love, which is why it feels so good.
Doing what you love is actually a loving act for others.
It not only boosts your heart, it brightens anyone who witnesses you, and therefore lifts us all. When you do what you love you radiate Love to all those involved.
Where have you experienced the feeling of witnessing someone else’s love of their art? I’m so interested to hear about it. And, if you know someone who could use some encouragement to keep doing that thing they love, please forward this along their way. I’d love it.
I was listening to an NPR news broadcast the other day and the reporter was talking about how, now that the high intensity moments have for the most part passed, and the adrenaline has decreased, people in Houston and the other flooded areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey are just beginning to realize that the everyday things still need to be addressed amidst the backdrop of catastrophe— things like the phone bill, paying rent, “the day-to-day minutiae of normal life.”
Hearing that those dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane are beginning to remember that they have regular daily-life obligations and responsibilities really brings it home that this could happen to anyone, and that we all need to do whatever we can to help.
So maybe you’ve donated to the Red Cross, or maybe you’ve committed to daily mediations or prayers for those affected by the damage. Maybe you’re there, in Texas, giving on-site aid work.
Hearing stories of others who are suffering can bring up a lot for those standing witness. When you’re not the one in the thick of it, whether that it is a national state of emergency or just someone else’s really bad day, there are a number of ways you can help.
Our hearts go out to those suffering, we wonder how to help, maybe we take action to do so, but it’s also common to feel a sense of relief— relief that it’s not happening to you.
This is an uncomfortable thing to talk about, this relief that it’s you and not me.
I certainly have a hard time writing about it in a way that makes me feel like I’m not being completely insensitive when others are in pain, trauma, and distress. Our culture wants us to believe that in order be good, righteous citizens, we need to cloak ourselves in an empathy that equalizes us out with those suffering.
If “I feel your pain” is what society says we are supposed to say, then “I’m grateful not to be in pain myself” is what we are taught is the response of someone selfish, self-centered, and insensitive.
But here’s a different perspective:
What if feeling grateful it’s not you is actually a very loving, heart-centered, helpful state to embrace when watching someone navigate difficulty?
Hang with me here, I know this seems backward.
The thing is, it’s a natural response as humans to see something undesirable— anything undesirable, whether in another’s experience or in our own— and to feel a magnetic repulsion to it. In other words, when we see or experience something we don’t want, something that makes us feel bad, everything in our beings say, “No, thank you, please; I’ll take not that.”
So what do you do with that? Say your friend needs surgery, or is going through a breakup, or having a particularly challenging year in general— whatever the degree of trouble it may be. Chances are, your responses would be something along the lines of, “Oh no. That’s not good. I’m so sorry. What can I do?”
But laced into those words, which we may mean whole-heartedly, may be an underlying sense of gratitude to not be in that same situation as they are.
The truth of the whole life thing is that when one of us goes through difficulty, we all feel it.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
If everything is made of energy and that energy is vibration, then we are all just vibrating clumps of qi singing subtle rhythms around each other. And vibrations that come near each other will meet, making resonant or dissonant frequencies when they do.
So if your friend is all stressed out because she’s working two jobs and still unable to pay her bills, that stressy frequency is bumping into your vibration and putting a new beat in its flow.
If it’s true that everyone’s qi is always affecting everyone else’s qi, then holding space in the energy of gratitude is actually standing as a beacon for those who currently cannot take that post because they are in the thick of something dense.
The hurricane in Texas, the monsoon flooding in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, the wildfires in Oregon, Montana, and Idaho— the other, innumerable ways in which the world is in turmoil right now--
What can you do to help?
You can feel grateful.
Counting your blessings while others are suffering is not a selfish act.
Counting your blessings while others are suffering is an act of compassion.
Counting your blessings makes everyone richer.
When you count your blessings you put to the forefront of your awareness all the reasons why life is beautiful, good, and worth living. Going into gratitude changes your energy field and you instantly begin to throb out a higher quality of vibration. And this new, brighter, finer vibration affects the collective frequency of the whole.
When you're in a habit of counting your blessings and you’re appreciating that your body is working well, that your life is rolling along, that you’ve got a home and friends and people who support you, those points of gratitude all do something huge: they make space for you to actually go out into the world and do something to help your fellows.
Counting your blessings inspires you to get up and take action toward helping others in situations less fortunate than your own.
There are those who are in great pain, difficulty, and turmoil right now. The people in Houston whose houses have been flooded, whose cars have been washed away, whose loved ones are missing— these are your global neighbors.
The next time you hear about someone in trouble and you think, What can I do to help?, you can begin by counting your blessings.
And do it without a trace of guilt about having while others have not. Life is ever in flux. You may be down when they are next up.
Make counting your blessings a sacred act— consecrate it as a practice of service.
And then see what you feel inspired to do out in the physical world, to help further, from that place.
Let yourself feel grateful for your blessings when others are experiencing hardship. Don’t make yourself wrong for the subconscious “I’m glad it’s not me” response. Recognize that it could be you, and realize that when you’re vibrating out a frequency of appreciation, you’re far more likely to be inspired to take action and get out there to help others in other, more concrete ways, also.
Celebrating that it’s not you this time, is actually being true to the natural response of your spirit— to be grateful.
Did you like this article? If so, I’d love to hear it and I would be so very grateful if you shared The Listening Seed with a friend.
If you'd prefer to listen to this article as opposed to reading it, you can click Play below and I'll read it to you...
The body is a blueprint— an oracle; it can be used to map one’s paths through life and it can be turned to for guidance and wisdom as you navigate those passages.
To connect on a regular basis to your body is to return to the source of your own truth.
When you listen to the messages your body gives you by way of sensation, when you move your body in ways that nourish the organs, fluids, bones, tissues, emotions, and mind— when you take dedicated time to really be in your body— you offer yourself the opportunity to find the truth that radiates from your very cells.
This is real power.
Photograph by Brea Fisher
True power is born from having the courage to fully embody yourself in the ever-ephemeral present moments of your life, and to be authentically who you are by embracing your present state as Divine.
The Chinese internal and martial arts, including tai chi, qigong, and kung fu, are disciplines that are designed to bring you back into the body, to re-sensitize you to the body’s language, and to inspire you to see the information your body gives you as Intelligence of the highest order.
A little clarification on the differences of the disciplines:
Kung Fu, (pronounced gong fu), also spelled Gongfu.
Focused practice given forth over time, to cultivate excellence in one’s art. This is one of my favorite terms of all time, and it applies to any aspect of life one makes their art. In the martial arts sense, kung fu is the full-power, full-speed style of offensive and defensive movements. It can be used as self-defense, as a method to understand one’s body, as a fitness practice, and as a way to learn compassion and vulnerability, especially when practicing partner work.
Tai Chi (tai chi chuan), also spelled Taiji Quan.
Tai chi translates to mean Supreme Ultimate, or Supreme Polarity, which describes the Yin and Yang theory of change and relativity. Quan, as in taiji quan, means “boxing,” or as Master Sing Chui would say, “fist.” A form of Chinese martial arts, the movements are directly applicable as defensive or offensive. Tai chi is practiced slowly to steady the breath and the mind, with gracefulness and intention, while also cultivating qi (pronounced chee), which is Life Force-- energy.
Qigong (pronounced chee-gong), also spelled Chi Kung.
Since the word qi means energy, qigong translates to “cultivation of energy.” As opposed to tai chi, qigong movements aren’t necessarily martial; instead, they’re specifically designed for the purpose of circulating, harmonizing, and cultivating qi within the body. The movements are practiced slowly, using the breath. Qigong is a healing internal art and can be incredibly potent.
These ancient practices and theories are the basis by which you can begin to cultivate whole body health— a wellness that reaches deeply into your physicality and beyond, enriching your mind, your heart, and your spirit.
In tai chi, qigong, and kung fu we move the body as a connected whole, with intention. We learn to increase and manage energy sensitivity and we practice active silence and stillness.
In kung fu the stillness of mind is the necessary foundation from which to spring forth the fullest expression of the movements. In qigong there are some forms in which it seems as though one is standing completely still, and though they may hold this stance for many minutes, the movement taking place inside the body can be tremendous.
Even in the seemingly motionless trunk of a massive tree there is an infinitely flowing dance of subtle movement.
In the practice as in life, the subtleties are what serve as the basis for discovery.
By attuning yourself to the subtle vibrations of your body rhythms, you open yourself to the immeasurably vast expanse of information about what you need to be the best version of yourself you can be— not just so you can feel better, but so that you can better serve the world.
Clarity, creativity, balance, discipline, strength, wisdom— these are some of the attributes one can cultivate here. Equally as important, if not more so for this day and age, we use the disciplines of tai chi, qigong, and kung fu as a mode toward acknowledging, allowing, and understanding our emotions— all emotions.
To learn to honor and appreciate our own fear, anger, arrogance, worry, grief, and anxiety— that is the work that truly reaches into the depths of personal potential for real health.
As we navigate the spectrum of sensations, the practice begins to reveal the hidden messages in all those feelings— the ones in the body and the ones in the heart, the mind, the spirit.
The tree stands not in resistance to the lightning that may strike around it, but in witness to it.
When we stand witness to the disruptions of our life circumstances, we can choose to feel the emotions they bring up, and in deciding not to run from them and also not to indulge in them, those feelings can move through.
When we allow emotions to move through us, we avoid their potential for getting stuck within us, which is one of the greatest sources of illness and disease. By seeing emotions as what Master Zhenzan Dao calls, “the weather,” we can let them flow in and out of our experience rather than clinging to them with our very resistance to them.
Our emotions become our teachers the way the sun and the rain, the wind and thunder are masters of change and grace in the physical world.
One way to move your focus from the realm of the mind and get yourself grounded in the physical world is to move the body.
I’ve made a Warmup Lesson Film for you, and even if you’ve never practiced the Chinese internal or martial arts before, this is something with which you can follow along.
The sequence of movements takes about 16 minutes and is designed to stretch, open, and warm the body in preparation for tai chi, qigong, or kung fu practice, as a way to start your day, or as an enlivening practice to boost your energy at any time.
The Warmup Lesson Film requires a password: FREEQI
In practicing the Chinese internal and martial arts we let the body teach us how to move through life gracefully, in harmony with what presents itself.
I invite you to learn how to listen to the intelligence of you own cells, for they are your best guidance toward understanding and cultivating what it is you need to be your best you.
Did you follow along with the Warmup Lesson Film? I’d love to hear how it went for you. Any questions? I’m here to help.
And if you have a spare minute to help me out, I’d be so very grateful if you shared this with a friend who might like it. Every little “psst!” makes a big difference.
7/25/2017 2 Comments
I have a special book of secret transmissions from the Yang family, one of the most well-known styles of taiji quan known today. The ideas presented date back centuries ago, but reading them, it is clear that the words are still very potent for today’s world.
And although the wisdom is revealed in poetry, eloquently phrased, and very esoteric, in this book rests a clue for how to understand the principle of full and empty, or, in modern day grind terms, how to apply the principle of busy and free.
If you’ve been feeling like every second of every day is booked, or even if you do have down time, but feel like it’s not enough for your sanity, let me share with you the guidance of a taiji master.
The Secret of Full and Empty
T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions,
Compiled and translated by Douglas Wile
Empty empty, full full, with spirit
Empty full, full empty as hands
To practice T’ai-chi without mastering
the principle of full and empty,
Is to foolishly waste time without ever
When one has the opponent’s vital point
in the palm of one’s hand; finding empty,
be on guard, but if full, attack.
If we fail to attack the full,
our art will never be superior.
Within empty and full, there is
naturally a full and empty;
If we understand the principle of full
and empty, our attack will never miss the mark.
On the surface, a taiji practitioner might interpret this as wisdom for sparring technique. And this would be correct. Yet you can move deeper into the meaning and apply it to one’s life, the daily and the spiritual.
Take the phrase, “To practice T’ai-chi without mastering the principle of full and empty, Is to foolishly waste time without ever accomplishing anything.”
That is the Chinese martial arts version; here is the Life version:
To go throughout life without applying the principle of full and empty, is to waste time without accomplishing anything.
Empty Bridge, Full of Possibility, photograph by Brea Fisher
Say you’ve been feeling completely stretched in your life, like every second is filled or should be filled with one of the thousands of things you have to do.
Know that feeling? You could really use about five more hours in the day, right? Even just to get a full night’s sleep?
Here’s the thing:
To get more done, you need to do less.
You don’t believe me.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to make more space for all the things you have to do is by scheduling time for Doing Nothing.
This is doable. You can do this doing-nothing thing. You just need to find the formula that works best for you.
For me, it’s taking one full day out of each week and purposefully setting it aside as a full 24 hours of nothing: nothing scheduled, nothing that must get done asap, nothing that is mandatory, nothing that is urgent, pressing, or critical.
But maybe for you it’s a Do Nothing Day once a month, or a Do Nothing morning once a week.
During these Do Nothing hours there are no "I should be ________ right now”s.
Of course those should-be thoughts come up, but when they do, I use them as a catalyst to take five minutes and really do nothing.
I may be slicing watermelon and have the thought, “I should be sweeping the house right now.” If I notice myself think this, I can decide that as soon as I finish the watermelon slicing I will go sit on a rock and, well, sit. Not meditate, not ponder life’s greatest questions, just sit. I try to do the nothing-est of nothing I can for at least five minutes.
Have you ever really tried to do nothing? It’s hard! You start thinking about things you have to do!
So here’s the thing. You time of Doing Nothing is not ultimately about doing nothing the whole entire time.
Setting aside extended time that you schedule into your week is about having the freedom to do whatever you really want to do, from a place of truly wanting to do it.
And, by the way, “To get it done and off my To Do List” does not qualify as authentic, in the moment, from the heart wanting.
There is a shift that happens when you do this. Afterward you feel a little lighter, a little refreshed, and much more ready to take on all those things you have on your schedule.
When you take time out of your busy schedule to commit yourself to space between doing all the things you have to do, they transform before your very eyes and become things you choose to do— even— things you get to do.
What version of this time of Doing Nothing can you see yourself taking on?
Can you do the once a week full-day scheduled into the calendar as a blocked out go where the wind blows you kind of day?
If that gets you nervous already, can you do a half day of Doing Nothing?
A weekly hour of Doing Nothing?
Start where you can. And commit to it— if this feels like an interesting idea, that is.
The more you give of your time to the space between doing, the more likely you are to hold a more positive outlook on the things you need to get done, which directly leads to your accomplishing more in less time.
Whatever you feel you can commit to, mark it in your calendar and treat it as an appointment that cannot be missed.
So when the taiji master says, “If we understand the principle of full and empty, our attack will never miss the mark,” they speak about martial arts, yes; but more so they refer to a guideline for living one’s life.
Become empty and experience a fullness. Then, when you return to the fullness of daily life, you’ll have an emptiness within that will give you the peace, clarity, and harmony necessary to hit the target of all your goals.
Thank you so much for reading. If you have any insights on this idea of doing less, please share! And if you know any busy people who might benefit by reading this, I would be so very grateful if you sent this their way.