Regaining Balance

Michelle Pinkus threw a good party this last weekend at Loscon.  I needed it: the last two weeks I’ve done a LOT of caretaking for people in a range of emergencies, some talking suicide, many in despair and depression, some dealing with serious health issues and other things…at the same time that I’m juggling multiple projects and waiting for sloooow motion feedback on Hollywood projects.  Sigh.

The aggregate of all of this is that by Friday morning I could feel I was off balance. Not hugely, but enough that it was palpable.  So off to the convention.

Today is “Love yourself” day–take care of yourself, especially if you are a caretaker.   Thought I’d make a few observations about how I did this at the convention.

  1. Sleep.   I made very sure to schedule more than eight hours of sleep Friday and Saturday night.   I didn’t get out of bed until my body felt “cool and light” which is my kinesthetic signal that I’m rested.
  2. Meditation.  Had really solid sessions Saturday and Sunday morning.
  3. Exercise.   Yoga Friday morning, and Saturday morning martial arts and Flowfit, my “travel exercise” plan.
  4. Morning ritual.   Very careful to do Tai Chi along with focus, goals, and chanted affirmations.  This is so powerful that I suspect you cannot do it and not have a transformation. Your ego will resist this, so you can literally measure your internal permission to heal and grow in whether you can do this on a regular basis.  It is fantastic to have such an “early warning” system for breakdown and going unconscious.  Get a calendar.  Just mark the days that you did it.   You’ll be able to get a quick, broad view of your week/month/quarter in a single snapshot.
  5. Got hugs.  LOTS of them.    Seriously nurturing.
  6. Had really fun conversations with lots of different people. Found out what was going on in their lives.  And, I admit…I ran off at the mouth a few times, just “let it go” and had fun.  Eyes rolled.   I enjoyed myself just too much.
  7. Helped people.   Went out of my way to find a few people who specifically needed to talk to me.  There is always someone like this, and finding them is one of the Mystery Tours most enjoyable at a Con.   
  8. Had a couple of “real” conversations.   Cons tend to have a lot of trivial talk.  But it is also possible to dig deep, and speak of very real things.  I had serious (but very enjoyable) conversations about love, stress, writing, race, gender, Libertarianism (so, yeah, I do pretty much understand the core ideas.  I’d wondered about that)  the election, and goal-setting.   Earned my air.
  9. Had a surprise.  Photographer Richard Man mentioned that he studied Tai Chi, and we had a chance to play.  Within three seconds I knew I was dealing with a person who has studied a VERY evolved structure, with real sensitivity.  What a joy.  “Push Hands” represents a single instant of interaction as two people move toward each other. While the form develops your connection to your own balance, “Push Hands” tests your ability to create a unity between two people.  Do this properly, and it is a dance. If one person’s structure has holes, you flow through and touch them so as to give feedback.  If they try to dominate you, their ego focus creates not only weaknesses, but a gift of energy–they spear themselves on your bones.  You don’t really need to do anything much but observe.  Richard was more fun to play with than anyone I’ve met in months.
  10. Did business.   Had multiple conversations with different people on our Lifewriting program.  We’re almost finished with the REVOLUTIONARY ART program (registration closes this Saturday, and won’t be open again until next February).  My goal is just one new student a day, which will take me to my goal in three years.  Got five students over the weekend, so I’m very very happy.
  11. Came home and watched Bryan Cranston in “The Infiltrator.”  Always love stories about undercover agents whose emotions get out of control.  The last sequence in this one was just absolutely crackling.  Best wedding ever.  I was howling.

All in all, a great weekend.

Steven Barnes


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