In the way north, winter is warm
We’re indoors almost all winter; we’re way north
It’s just too cold to go outdoors
I like to watch the float and swirl
When snowflakes bless the cold air
I don’t complain about road conditions
When I do go outdoors after my car warms up
And maybe it’s 5 minutes in the elements, the bracing air
From my car to the shopping mall’s stale air
Which is community in the winter
Or maybe live music and dancing indoors in a bar’s congested air
Which all conspires to make winter warm
And it is not a Taoist reverence for Nature
As one would find in Swedenborg or Emerson
But more like the poetry of Marinetti without fascism
In celebration of an industrial conquest of nature
As most who live in -30 temperatures would
And buildings and tunnels connecting buildings
And automobiles transporting you warm in the elements
Would make anyone a Futurist in a warm automobile
Warm shopping mall, warm apartment, warm winter
In the way north where the outdoor elements are deadly in winter
And indoors we are warm, my body heat borrowed
Until what makes my heartbeat departs the final cold
I watch the snowflakes cover the pallid earth

What Acupuncture Taught Me about the Tao

I went to a centre of oriental medicine today to get a Tui Na deep tissue massage.  I was experiencing muscle stiffness, especially in my neck and shoulders due to the amount I type or play the piano.  I thought that the rough kneading, slapping, and chopping that comprise the Tui Na massage would loosen me up.  I had experienced some relaxation from a Tui Na massage I got at booth at a city fair in summertime.  So I went to the centre to get another one.

They ushered me into a room with an oriental doctor and he asked me some questions about my lifestyle and symptoms.  He said something really interesting, “First you relax the mind, then the muscles relax.”  Then doc had me lie on a table.  Next thing I knew, doc started putting acupuncture needles in me–feet, legs, abdomen, arms, cheeks, and interestingly, a needle at the top of my head–right where the last chakra is, and another needle where the “third eye” is, as doc said.  Then doc attached an electric pulse to the two needles in my head and third eye.  Then doc dimmed the lights, put on some soothing music with ocean waves, and left me there for 20 minutes.  At first it was really hard for me to lie there.  My mind was restless; my body was restless; I got bored.  I felt a disjunct between my muscles and my inner self/feelings.  After a while, my mind/body were all one.  Calm was coming over me.  After acupuncture, doc put some suction cups on my neck, shoulders, and back.  I felt much, much better.  Doc told me to come back in a week.

I wanted a force external to me to manipulate my muscles and relax them.  But by leaving me on a table to relax, with the few acupuncture needles in me, my mind relaxed and my body relaxed itself from within.  My mind/body healed itself from within.  Taoism teaches us to be natural and spontaneous.  In Taoism you don’t force things–either in social manners, or in ethics.  You yield to “the way of water,” “the breath of the valley spirit” and return to “the uncarved block.”  I think that’s what happened to me at the oriental medicine centre.  I began my healing process and my body taught me about the Taoism I learned in school.