Chi. Life force. Vitality. Energy. Also Anglicized as Qi. Say "chee," not "chai" - which rhymes with "eye" and is a drink from India, not a noun from China. Qi is energy flow. It is breath - spirit - the part of you that is not merely a part or piece, but is you as a living, breathing, thinking, willing, feeling, acting human person.
When I first proposed going to school this year for real, someone told me I wouldn't be able to blog so much anymore. I'd be too busy. But I knew I had the time built in for doing both school and personal writing as well as blogging and all the other things I do. I no longer have kids at home and I have cleared out my life in a lot of other ways for the express purpose of having room for school. I chose the void. I made the void first, and then I then enrolled so school to fill it.
I planned to organize my Qi.
This is logical, right? If you want to put something into a closet, then it's best to clear a spot in the closet first. Yes, it is also possible to cram things in, and cram things in, and make the closet so full the door won't close properly. I have tried living that way.
But it is better to clear a spot first. Make some space. Corral the little stuff into boxes and make dividers on the shelves. If you do this, you'll be able to find what you put behind the door. "Even a small closet is packed with storage opportunities; it just requires you to be clever in finding them." That's what the people at BH&G say about closet organizing. And even my small life was packed with opportunity. There was enough room. I just needed to be clever. Logical. Sensible. Done. and. done.
Then I actually started school and discovered that I'm not forty-eight years old. It might say so on my birth certificate. I might have had forty-eight birthdays. But it turns out that I am really only fourteen!
Some vicious and mischievous faeries came in the night, and took away all the abilities of age and experience and sprinkled me with Distracterdust and Squirmglitter. I see me doing these things, and I wonder who I am. Sit back down, for crying out loud! Just get your work done! This is the time. This is the space. You are on a schedule. Here is your box, all ready and labeled. Fill it!
But Qi, it turns out, cannot be made to stay in a place measureable in cubic feet. Qi is not solid or quantifiable, and it cannot be put into a box with a lid. It seems that all my Qi has scattered to the four winds rather than be put in a box with square corners. It just won't go. Won't stay. Unless I am engaged in a task I can do with half my brain tied behind my back, I am just soooo lame! I don't even want to begin to think about getting anywhere near the barest edges of beginning to pay attention to school work.
Or ... I didn't want to.
This week I began to write for school. And now I can settle down once more.
It has turned out that the act of writing is my flow. Words are my Qi. Composition is my breath and the wind in my sails. (Oh, this feels good!) Our first full draft is due soon, and as I began to write it this week, I also began to see it, laid out before me, making a path on the water, causing me to stop and draw in my breath, and gaze at the glory and shimmer of the full moon. (That picture is a poster from starstore.com.)
Oh, I am so glad I never stopped writing. Yes, I stopped sending things out for publication. Yes, I neglected my journal for any kind of record-keeping purposes. But I never really stopped writing.
Writing has become one of the things I can do with half my brain tied behind my back. (Just write. Just write.) There is a gentle, persistent, and slightly amused voice in the background, coming to me from no direction in particular and from every direction at once. Just write, it says. You do not need to organize this because you have made an open space for it instead. You do not need to count it or stack it or label it. This is your life. You enter it. This is your Qi. Just write.
So that's what I'm doing.
Water and breath. Life's energy. Flow. Qi.