Volume 1, Issue 8, 10/25/07
This week I'm practicing smiling patience – patience, with a
smile. It's been five days since I finished a 6-day qigong
retreat. I'm smiling for two reasons: because I'm happy and
because during the retreat I learned there are lots of energy
meridians in the face and smiling is good for them, good for
building my energy.
I'm practicing patience because it's challenging to be back in
regular life after six days of almost non-stop stimulation. My
introvert self would like to be on another retreat right now,
absorbing all that input.
"Qigong" (pronounced "chee-gong'") is Chinese and translates as
"energy work". It's an ancient study, considered the "great
grandfather" of all the Eastern healing and martial arts.
These days I seem to be living my life as an introvert
laboratory, so I arrived at the retreat with curiosity – but
also some uncertainty. In August I'd spent a week on retreat in
a forest with essentially one other person – it was quiet and
peaceful and wonderful. Now I'd signed myself up to be on
retreat with about 180 people in a conference center. Could it
be a good experience for an introvert? Would it be wonderful?
The answer is yes – it was good and it was wonderful.
My biggest concern was that I'd be over-stimulated. Too many
people, too much information, not enough alone time to keep a
good level of energy.
Energy is such an important subject for introverts, given our
physical make-up, given our need for low-stimulation environments
to recharge our energy. I realize - somewhat in hindsight :-) –
that it was maybe even a brilliant decision for me, as an
introvert, to go on an "energy work" retreat! What I learned
about working with my energy far exceeded my expectations.
And we were actively practicing qigong, so even in the company
of 180 people I was surprisingly able to maintain good energy
(with some ups and downs :-)).
I also took good care of myself: I had my own room, I brought
my own pillows (introverts like familiarity), and I gave myself
permission to be as quiet as I wanted to – no trying to act like
an extrovert this week for me!
All in all it was an extraordinary experience. (The Spring
Forest Qigong Retreat is an annual collaboration between Spring
Forest Qigong and Learning Strategies Corporation, two
organizations I highly recommend for both introverts and
But now that I'm home, about that patience.
It was a very stimulating week! The days started at 7 AM and
ended after 10 PM. I took 78 pages of notes (I counted them
just for fun). I used my body in many new ways. I laughed a
lot. I mingled with 180 fascinating people who came from all
over the United States and around the world. By the time I got
home I was ready for some serious down-time. But it wasn't
to be had.
So I'm practicing patience. On Monday, instead of starting this
article, I went shopping for long underwear, slowly. (Winter is
coming to Minnesota.) On Tuesday, instead of starting this
article, I went for a long walk in a marsh, slowly. Today I'm
writing but I've decided this newsletter can come out a little
And I'm smiling.
End of food for thought – on to a practical idea:
A Practical Idea for Introverts and Extroverts
Visit the websites of Spring Forest Qigong
(www.springforestqigong.com) and Learning Strategies
Master Chunyi Lin, founder of Spring Forest Qigong, became a
certified international qigong master after many years of study
in China. He teaches four levels of qigong and has created a
series of home learning materials which are available through
Learning Strategies. He lives in Minnesota.
Besides publishing the Spring Forest Qigong programs, Learning
Strategies Corporation, also located in Minnesota, is
internationally known for its innovative self-growth programs;
for instance, photoreading, which teaches you to read at 25,000
words per minute. (Yes, 25,000! I learned to photoread many
years ago and highly recommend it.)