As our departure date for our China retreat approaches, the volatility in the world is increasing. There is so much unrest, with tragedies in all parts of the world, both man made and generated by nature (although separating these two is challenging). I watch and read the news all the time right now, and the thought of being far away from home and family is a bit disconcerting. This trip will take me to the polar opposite of my daily life, to a rural village in north central China, where the focus of my daily life will be taiji and the study of Taoism, mixed in with eating and sleeping. In past years, it was easier for me to disconnect because cell service was poor and I had to struggle to keep up with what was happening at work, at home. Now, there is great cell service in the village, wifi at one tea house, and I can get a good data package that allows me to keep up with facebook, the news, and emails from home from just about anywhere in China.
What do I really want? A complete disconnect? Will I lose the effect of this retreat if I am constantly checking my phone? I am tied to my phone, I will admit it, and to not check my phone is more anxiety producing than checking it. The trick is finding the balance. To be able to stay in touch with an ever changing world, and at the same time to devote myattention to the present, to my taiji practice…and absorb the roots experience of returning to Chen Village – that’s the challenge.
I appreciate the technology that will allow me to share this trip with my friends at home and elsewhere, to keep in touch with my parents, to receive pictures of my kitties from my cat sitter, to follow my job at a distance, so there are no surprises when I return to work. I also appreciate thefocus that I will be able to give to my taiji, in the village where taiji was born, studying with my teacher Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang who has done so much to bring taiji to the masses, and to me. I will find the balance that works for me, probably by about day 3. And starting on about day T-3 to my return, that balance will again begin to tip, and I will check my phone more, read more of my emails from work, and start to engage my San Diego daily life brain again.
Those of you joining me – think about your own balance. How will you disconnect?