Enter; The Dragon

by Lesley

Dragon

Freedom and Pre-Natal Chi

Having more than a little curiosity about Eastern ways, and a bigger mouth than the [river] Clyde for questions, I’ve delved where few dare tread.

You see, since a young child I’ve asked crazy/ difficult/ challenging questions of my parents, my peers and in fact, anyone who crossed my path – much to my dearest friends’ consternation at times!

Born in the year of the Wood Dragon and under the sign of Aries my parent’s must’ve thought they’d created a monster! I was stubborn and determined as a very small child; I still have memories of refusing wholesome food in favour of sweets and biscuits. I’m sure my Mum and sisters were sorely irritated by me.

It wasn’t until much later on as I learned more about my energy that I began to consider chi; the potential we have and the impacts of using it.

So, Chi – what is it?

The Power of Ch’i” by Michael Page opens with

The Nature of Ch’i…

Chi as a concept resembles a cut diamond, each face reflecting a different light, yet all emanating from a central unit.

This is quite simply explained by Sifu Dan Docherty as “vital energy, including air and breath” in his book Complete Tai Chi Chuan.

Chi seems to me to be difficult to define but I know it exists; sometimes I term it my intention, or my attitude. I might even say that when I’m angry I’m full of cold chi.

Anyway, I’m going off track. The point I’m attempting to make is that we each have a vital force, and depending on what we think, eat, breathe and do may deplete or increase the quality of it.

There is also the notion from some Eastern philosophies that we are born with a particular kind of chi. I understand this as having a particular disposition, and of course being very curious myself, I wanted to find out more.This is my personal experience…

My Mum had died a few years earlier and I remember thinking shortly afterwards that there were still so many questions to ask. So, whilst sitting one dreary Saturday afternoon with my ageing and terminally ill father, I decided to ask him.

Now, this wasn’t any old father, no, no. If you’ll forgive my expression, this was one cantankerous old beggar who also had a great sense of humour – sometimes!

You can imagine his face as we sat facing each other across the fire and I said “Dad, do you remember the time when I was conceived?” He nearly fell off his chair! I suppose it’s not the kind of question you pose to an eighty year old father.

He recovered well with only a spluttering of tea with something like “I should’ve expected something like that from you”. My [strangely interested] Dad then proceeded to tell me things I kinda already knew.

So let’s go back a bit…

At school I was fairly clever but didn’t like the constraints or the brainwashing stuff – especially the religion bit so I fought back, later to swing to the other extreme and find faith in G/d again, only to discover that this imaginary friend was more trouble than I’d bargained for!

Back and forth I swung eventually unpicking the deceits of man and undoing the ties that bind. I took an avid interest in all the religions that had me curious, only to discover that the principles of most were pretty much the same.

Later in life I fought with everything that got in my path… which path? Any path, but I didn’t know where I was going! If I sensed something wasn’t quite right, I’d be like a dog with a bone until I un-earthed the cause of my suspicion. I was also known to fight on behalf of the underdog.

Until that is, until I found the internal martial art Tai Chi Chuan.

I became a sponge. I listened, I learned and I paid attention. I found strength enough to turn my life around and to take it to another level in living, with a capital L.

I began to challenge myself more and discovered strengths I hadn’t been previously aware of. I kicked it up a gear in 1998 by taking on my first firewalk with Simon Treslyan. Very quickly afterwards I was working at becoming a fire-walking instructor –  something, for some unknown reason then, I wanted more than anything I ever had before.

In my personal life I had many challenges to face; separation, courts and family strife as well as riding the storm as a single parent. Oh yes, I was still fighting.

I’d taken to the streets and shouted “Not in my name” against the invasion of Iraq. I clung to the gates of Faslane Nuclear Base hoping that enough of us would shut the place down. I was up close and personal with more than one riot shield and I took the intimidation tactics of the police lightly. I was passionate about preserving life, not destroying it.

By this time I’d also taken another name, Saorsa; I say it’s my chosen, not given name. Saorsa is Scot’s Gaelic for Freedom and I wanted to live every, single bit of it.

…so what did Dad say?

Dad began to reminisce about his love for Mum and how happy they both were. He explained that there was a certain freedom they’d had at that time, of how they’d grown together and raised their family as a unit of one. Dad was over forty and Mum was around 38, they felt complete and completely free.

They were no longer worried about a pregnancy; in fact they looked forward to it. He also explained that I was the most longed for and wanted baby ever, by the entire family. (That soon changed after my arrival!)

Later, after Dad died, I reflected often on the chat.

Had I become the essence of their attitudes and being at that time? Was I the result of their [combined] intention? Was that my pre-natal chi, my driving force?

For a variety of reasons, my focus shifted and I spent some time in a strange kind of self-inflicted solitude, all the while finding out more about what that word freedom actually meant to me.

In that process I discovered that I no longer have the need to ‘fight’ but I am unafraid to stand up for what I believe to be right.

I found that those processes of reflection, communication and introspection allowed me to let go; to release any residual anger and grief  which in turn, freed up space to sense and feel more compassion, and ultimately more love.

I felt extremely privileged to have that conversation with my eighty year old father then, as I still do now. It gave me an insight that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

Talking through this with my Dad and coming to a place of understanding has helped soften my attitudes in many ways. It helped me to figure out more about me and to comprehend my fighting spirit. It’s lead me to a place of balance and of peace.

Sometimes I believe I became their intent, in many more ways than one – and I still seek freedom in every thing.

 

About Lesley

Lesley Rodgers has written 146 posts on this blog.

Personal Development Consultant and Confidence Coach. Lesley is also a committed Human Rights Activist with her heart firmly lodged in 'community' and collaboration.

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