This is sort of new for me even though it’s old-hat and completely natural at this point; I’ve been keeping a journal since I was 15 years old and had nothing to write about except my cat and my immature musings about Shakespeare and homosexuality – not together, of course. The strangest part about this though is that I’ve always written in an extremely self-conscious manner, like someone was reading my journal from the future, and thus my style and words are nearly always influenced by that.
Now I actually have a upwards of 1,000 people who might actually be paying attention. That paranoid fantasy of mine, the future reader, has been manifest in the present in the form of YouTube subscribers who actually care about what I have to say. Some of them even care enough to donate money to my “cause,” whatever that may be, and I find myself feeling constantly humbled and blessed every time I open my PayPal account.
I have no idea whether this blog will be about my personal life or about my spiritual life or about the yummy home fries cooking downstairs. If people care enough about other people’s lives to comment on grocery lists and half-overheard gobbets on Facebook and Twitter, they might actually care about what their friendly neighborhood shaman is cooking for lunch today. I suppose we’ll see.
Personal stuff: I have a boyfriend. He’s beautiful, he’s young, he’s the sweetest thing ever. He smiles like me. He knows how to cook and how to garden. HE’S A FIREMAN. ::fans self:: He likes to stay home and do home things, like cook and play video games and read. He was raised a Jehovah’s Witness for a while, which wouldn’t be a plus but for the fact that I was raised a JW from birth and it’s nice to have someone who can understand that world. (It’s 11:11 AM.) He likes to say my name with a thick New England accent. He likes to save money and to travel. He has hazel eyes.
I’ve been casually bringing up the “spiritual stuff,” which is to say he doesn’t as yet know that I regularly enter trances and speak in tongues and communicate with the dead. I’m saving that for a special moment like an anniversary or a birthday. “Honey, I love you, and I just want you to know that I’m a neoshamanic Deathwalker. More wine?” Honestly, I don’t think he would give a shit; he loves me too much to care… but also so much that he just might care.
I gave him some light Reiki once. He said thank you and hugged me and promptly fell asleep. He was tired but I prefer to think it was the energy work that helped him sleep so deeply. Energy work is tricky. Some people don’t feel anything, others have such strong reactions that they’re shivering and nauseous after I work on them. I almost prefer the latter just so I know I’m having an effect.
Spiritual stuff: Revisiting my notions of Neigong. What I was taught was in no way a complete system, and it’s arguable whether one could even call it Neigong. It’s just a few practices lifted from other systems and repackaged for impatient Westerners looking for dramatic magic. Not that I don’t owe a huge debt to the system and to my teacher. I just think the labeling is wrong.
Neigong is a life-long practice to restore the body to a youthful, healthy energetic state and realize higher spirituality in the process. One of the focuses is converting Jing to Qi and Qi to Shen and Shen back to the primal energy of the Dao. Through my own practice, I believe I’ve at least converted a lot of Jing to Qi, if not also a lot of Qi to Shen – to me, evinced by the fact that I can easily move my sexual/Jing energy anywhere in my body – but the finer points, little things in between, have been completely left out or ignored, like relaxing, like relearning how to breathe, like paying attention to the flow of Qi along with the breath, like systematically releasing old trauma from the bones, joints, muscle tissues and organs.
Well, I’m here now, at the point of revisiting all these processes and trying to “go deeper.” So in a way, my teacher was right: the one practice is all you need. Those who don’t get to this place obviously missed the point of the one practice, or at least misinterpreted its effects. Still I think the approach of the system is quite misguided.
When I was in Chicago, Davida played this DVD called Jade Woman Qigong. I didn’t follow along for the whole thing, but the forms impressed me so much I quickly made a copy of it. (Shoosh. Don’t tell anyone.) I’ve been practicing at home regularly. Even though it’s specifically geared toward women, the teacher even mentions it’s also beneficial for men. I just find her approach so much more… approachable than most others I’ve seen. And since the forms I’ve been practicing for so long are actually female-oriented anyway – in Qigong, meaning they focus on the flow of energy through the body rather than on storing it up – I figured it was a natural progression. Plus as a gay man, I consider myself to embody the female spirit, at least in theory. Plus it came from Davida!