Scattered Thoughts

Winter break was good, but it was also the first time I felt divided in who I am and where home is. It’s a jump from one matrix to another. At the Center, I’m part of a community that trains together and shares responsibilities. It has positives but sometimes I want to be independent of it. The schedule is full and tiring, but we accomplish so much. I love the mountain view, fresh air, clean water, and quiet. Sometimes it does feel too far away from everything.

When I return to Massachusetts, my parents can’t help but go into “parent-mode” about some matters. It’s love and understandable and many parents will continue to do so as long as they’re alive, but sometimes I just want to be treated as an adult. I do appreciate them letting me relax while I’m there and my mom cooking my favorite dishes. It’s nice to catch up with friends and do things I normally can’t do. I work part time in an office and it’s challenging to go from 60 to almost 0. My body ached and my muscles felt restless. I dealt with dust allergies and my skin and throat felt really dry from the heaters. It was below freezing and I felt like an outdoor dog stuck inside. My training suffered as I wasn’t 100% and it’s a different training elsewhere. I felt guilty for not finishing as much work as I could have and knowing that I’d have a long “To Do” waiting for me once I returned. The other side of me argued that I needed rest for the upcoming long semester and it felt so good to relax.


Off the mountain there are a lot more noises. People talk faster and I found myself doing the same, but I want to avoid it and keep my pace and inner peace. I dislike going to the city even more than before. Maybe I’m slowly turning into a hermit. I still like exploring new places but I’m also very happy to stay in, cook a nice meal, and read or watch a film. I took walks in the woods and to the pond to clear my head and get fresh air. One thing I am certain of is the need to be close to nature once I leave the Center. I feel more calm and alive.

Semester 4 has begun and there is so much to do that I haven’t worked out all my goals and schedule yet. I do know that I have at least this:

  • Small Circulation
  • Taijiquan: deeper feeling, make the Jing less bad
  • Spear
  • Peng Lu Ji An, Fighting Set
  • White Crane Qigong: continue soft, begin hard
  • Polish all Shaolin Sequences learned with a focus on sword and short rods

Some of the goals were assigned and even though I don’t feel ready, we only have 3 ½ semesters to learn and polish as much as we can. That list doesn’t include all the non-training goals like reading, writing, and several upcoming media projects. Time goes slowly by the day, quickly by the week.

My aunt asked if I could feel Qi when I trained. Starting late last semester when I thought my meditation couldn’t get any worse and my conditioning plateaued at a pathetic level, I actually began to feel it in my practice. I don’t know if anyone else does this, but sometimes when it feels strong, I face my palms together and move them closer and further away to feel the magnetic-like pull. One night, I did a few strikes and put my palm a few inches away from Jon’s face so he could feel it (and he did :)). It’s nothing like the movies (at least not yet), but I’m glad I’m becoming more aware of it. Some progress is being made.

I also want to polish a few recipes after inspiration from a recent visitor. He stressed the importance of fresh ingredients and simplicity – fewer ingredients that don’t compete with each other.

  • Spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams)
  • Spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil) with olives (we named it “the Paolo” and it will be glorious when we use better olives)
  • Vegetarian tomato sauce
  • Eggplant parmigiana

Jon’s got a pretty good bolognese sauce and spaghetti alla carbonara down, but I’m leaning towards eating less meat and going pescetarian again once I leave the Center.

paolo sauce

The Paolo


7 thoughts on “Scattered Thoughts

  1. Glad you’re back at it! Sounds like you are keeping a nice balance.

    Your awareness and feeling within nature is exciting and something I have been waiting to hear more about from you and the students at the RC. After spending much time in nature and wilderness type places, i have noticed that my sensitivity and awareness to nature is in more of a heightened state athough I now live in a city. The wind blowing, birds chirping, water trickling or smell of a pine tree is more pronounced now even if I’m standing by a busy street. How awesome! Not sure if I could stay in the city for too long if I didn’t have those small gentle touches of nature swirling around me throughout each day.

    Go get it done. Hope it’s your best semester yet

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. Good for you in being able to tune out the white noise and listen the sounds of nature. That’s being at peace. When I’m off the mountain, sometimes I stream sounds of birds, lakes, waves, or crackling fireplace, etc… to relax. Thank you for the well wishes :)

  2. “One thing I am certain of is the need to be close to nature once I leave the Center. I feel more calm and alive.”

    The modern Culture constantly tells us: if you’re not involved/engaged/embedded in it, you’re missing all the good stuff, and are some sort of loser. Or something.

    Nature also is telling us things, but in whispers, inklings, glimpses … and mysteries. Sounds like these messages are sinking into you.

    • Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree with you. We could all benefit from listening to nature more, and listening to what our minds, bodies, and soul really need.

  3. I really liked this post of yours :) I understand what you say about nature, and the need to live more connected to it. I feel it too… Maybe one day. Your post brings more things into my mind, but I’ll reserve those to me, at least for now. By the way, I’m a portuguese girl who you met when you were in portugal, on the international summercamp before you went to the center ;) Happy to read your growth :) Best wishes

    • Ola Margarida!
      Of course I remember you :) Thank you so much for supporting me (hope you liked the crane shirt) and thank you for reading my blog. When I go home for breaks, I love being there, but I also miss being surrounded by nature. I understand how difficult it can be to feel that connection when you live in a city. If you ever want to chat about anything, feel free to shoot me an email. It’s nice to hear from people. I’m going to the France summer camp, hope to see you there! Take care.

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