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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

"Take Up Your Mat and Walk."...Well, Sorta...

One morning while staying with this Thai family, just after I was having breakfast and the little granddaughter was playing around on the front porch and we were sitting there engrossed in the absolute slowness of a Thai household, there came an old man at the gate. 

He couldn't walk but he was being helped to walk by some relative. And he limped into the front porch and sat down on the mat. The interaction was quick and to the point, though I couldn't understand the conversation, I knew what was going on. They had heard about Nina's ability to heal people so they had come. The poor old man had no idea what he was in for.

For Nina had a way with her acupressure of puncturing the most delicate sinews and nerves underneath one's arm sending a sort of shock and electricity where you could feel it radiating way down on the ring finger of one's arm. But this was after wincing and fidgeting and fighting the subliminal suggestion that she was going to touch you before even did. The one thing that comes to mind when I think on this, is back in the few times that I have fished and while cleaning the thing, you'd strike a piece of cartilage and the whole dead fish would jump up from reflexes appearing to be brought back to life. That was Nina, striking pieces of cartilage, galvanizing one's limbs. She did this professionally as her job when she was in Denmark and would work on very special cases where people would pay a lot and fly from goodness knows where of  all places to have her do this type of acupressure.  Nina, though, was the type of person who would help whomever and all these cases that I write of were spontaneous and free of charge.

They sat on the floor on the mat inside this front porch area while she did her treatment. The old man had these broken teeth and when she touched and pulled the muscles under his arm he'd grin out the empty slots, while squinting his eyes. At first, he found the treatment hysterical and would laugh for she was basically tickling him. But soon his high-pitched laughing started to sound more and more like crying. And he was...the man was beginning to whelp. It was difficult to watch. The relatives of the man were helping to hold his hands from obstructing the process. For whatever arm was free he would try to take Nina's hands away. Eventually, they had to tie the free hand to the gate with a piece of cloth in order for him to stop intervening. I felt sorry for the guy. She turned to working on his legs. Mainly the one that was lame. This lame leg was very withered from a considerable time of neglect and no use.

Jeorgen, who had been a friend of Nina's for years told me that these types of cases are never immediate for the leg would take time to build back the muscle to work again. She was finished with the leg, and she said that it could move on its own, it was just a matter of building up muscle tissue then. I don't know how long this poking and prodding took, but soon they took the old man back around the house near where the stream sang and they were going to start allowing him to try and walk. He hobbled out, glad, I think, to have a break.

The way this works as was partially explained to me was very, very simply put and in the words of Nina it was something like, “He was blocked and I unblocked him. And now he is good.” And this will suffice for her, for it is always the most skilled practitioners of an art that are at odds at how to communicate what they do exactly.

But allow me to get at what I think she was communicating and therefore allow for my own eccentric interests to come to light. This whole thing was absolutely fascinating to me because of my own studies and interest in the Chinese principles of “chi”and dare I admit it, my current fascination with this topic was one reason that I moved to China.
But it ties directly with these ideas. That there is this sort of “life force” or “vital energy” that is inherent in everything. (Ha, I know it sounds like the Force), but when something is healthy, chi is at a correct balance of yin and yang and flowing. When something is weakened...chi levels are diminished. This weakness is many times due to blockages. And those blocks can be apparent physically. Now, this is all speculative, but a long, long history has been passed on for centuries upon centuries and there are manifestations of such things though no clear way of measuring accurately. Although, hints can be seen.

I just know of one thing, that ever since I began to practice Tai Chi, or really Qi Gong, these exercises of tapping into one's chi or drawing upon it and balancing these energies, which began a year and a half ago while in South Korea, a change has occurred in myself. Physically, I feel myself to be stronger. I never considered myself as very strong. A quick person, yes. Limber and agile, yes. Yes. But strong, never. And now, I feel myself to be actually quite strong. (okay definitely not Hercules) But ah, that could be explained away by age and the adding on of apparent weight of full-throttled manhood. I am, indeed, a late bloomer and no longer the skinny twig I was in my early to mid-twenties.

But the most startling change has been in my personality. I feel myself to be much stronger internally. I always regarded myself as a thin-skinned person driven to melancholy and brooding and a sense of innate weakness. But with these exercises and this sort of flow, I feel an inner strength that was not very common before. And I can indeed feel my body heat up when practicing these slow movements, but during the further course of life, I find myself sturdy in life. Or just strong and less likely to be given towards any despair. Like a rock. I wish I could say more for myself being more patient and less likely to fly off the handle, for this practice is supposed to make one calmer and it has at times, but for the most part the most visible sign of improvement is through the feeling that I have a more solid entity. I am tough. Far tougher than I would have thought myself to be. My feet are attached to the ground more. If that makes more sense. Which is strange for that is one of the actual physical concepts that one focuses one when practicing these maneuvers.

Now that I have spilled the mystical, and the “way out in left field” bit out there truth about the frequent thoughts that I actually have,
I get back to the narrative. Nina, was a type of healer that is adept at unblocking these blockages and allowing for chi to flow. And of course, as I have mentioned in other anecdotes, this was most apparent with people who had serious problems. For going from absolute cut off to unblocked and flowing was extreme. While a person who was just a bit stressed wouldn't feel the difference as much.

This old man resisted change, as lots of old people do. So Nina was worried that he wouldn't try to rebuild his muscle and would just accept his lot as being crippled and the privileges and victimhood that that bestows on one. But the last time I talked to Nina over 2 weeks after this event, she told me that this man is now walking.

….More to follow


Blogger thepriesthood said...

Brilliant story here. Makes me want to learn about Tai Chi. And meet this fascinating lady.

8:09 PM  

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