"Circulating Qi, I deliver potent, restorative resources to strengthen and fuel my organs, glands, and tissues." –Roger Jahnke, Phase 2 Mind-focus Affirmation, The Healing Promise of Qi
(4th of the Create Series)
Of all the manifestations of Qi, I sense Qi most as it circulates through my body. And again, I don't know how much of this is mumbo jumbo, or how much credit I give to Qi for "fueling my organs, glands, and tissues," especially when I first started reciting the mind-focus affirmations taught by Dr. Jahnke, but there is no doubt that something is circulating, even if I may just be experiencing a heightened (or imagined) awareness of the blood pumping through my veins and arteries.
But when it comes to creative endeavors, there's equally no doubt that the circulation of ideas plays a central role. It's said that if you copy from one person, that's plagiarism, but if you copy from 100, that's research. And even though controversy surrounds some art (see: Stairway to Heaven's or Ghost Busters' legal issues), every creative work is built upon a foundation put in place by others.
After gathering Qi, or gathering your creativity, ("creativi-Qi,"?) it's time to let it flow, for it to circulate. I recall Keith Richards explaining why he never faced the dreaded "writer's block." He picks up his guitar, he says, and starts noodling around with a song or two that he already knows, and then...."Incoming!" A song would suddenly appear from the ether. So just as the third phase, "Circulate Qi" contains part of the first and second ("Discover" and "Gather"), so can song-writing. Keith Richards "circulates" the creative energy, and a new creation emerges. Like magic.
Like magic? Maybe it is magic–more than pulling a rabbit out of a hat, anyway. The rabbit bit is just a trick, a skill, some sleight-of-hand, whereas when a mere thought becomes a billion-dollar business or a million-download song, that requires a lot more than legerdemain. A lot of cooperation, and circulation of ENERGY.
When you hit a stumbling block, do you power through or do you take a break? "Just because you take a break it doesn't mean you're broken," says Curtis Tyrone Jones. I've done both–powering through and taken breaks–and sometimes I've powered through when I should take a break, and other times took breaks when I could have powered through. I've found that whichever strategy I choose, it works better when I choose consciously rather than mindlessly. Sounds obvious, and it is, and yet, "common sense isn't always common practice."
Circulate Qi, Jahnke's third phase of Qigong (remember, Qigong is cultivation of energy), is to me the most dynamic of the phases, and synonymous with flow. I do my very best creative work when feeling that state, so well documented in Flow by the author whose name is difficult to pronounce and harder to remember. (Sorry, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi!) In my flow state, distractions cease to distract, overwhelmed as they are by my presence in the moment, whether that moment is a performance on stage (singing or speaking), or writing, or even "performing" a performance evaluation.
When the movie Frozen came out, how many times did you hear the song, Let it Go? A hundred? While I got sick of it too, the lyrics do remind me to let the Qi flow through me on the inside, this 3rd phase, and then through me to the outside in phase 10, "Transmit Qi." It's simply a question of noticing, of "letting" the Qi flow. It's flowing anyway, always and all ways. Do I notice it? "Energy flows where attention goes."
When you hear the word "circulation," what comes to mind? For me, first it's blood in the body; second, money in the economy, and third, ideas in our minds. And in all three, what's circulating, at the base level, as Einstein explained scientifically, is Energy. Hence, the connection of "all this and all that" with Qi.
What are we doing here? You're reading and I am writing some of my experience with Qi and creativity. If you want to write too, please do. A friend and I both like to use Steinbeck's method of writing a letter to a friend to get our creative motors running. Here's mine to you today!
(By the way, I'll be launching "Get a G.R.I.P. with Andrew Silberman"–30 minutes discussing and improving Global Readiness®–on Clubhouse this Thursday 8 PM California time, Friday Noon Tokyo, and Friday 8:30 AM throughout India. If you're curious, follow me on Clubhouse, and if you need an invite to Clubhouse, let me know, I still have a few!)