What’s in a brick? How Does that Relate to Feng Shui?
Today I did something I never thought I’d do. I hit myself with a brick. You’ve seen those movies where someone breaks a block with their hands or sends out their energy to knock something off a table. It doesn’t seem real. It looks like something you would never do or even consider. Is it made up? Is it just cinematic magic?
As it turns out, it’s real.
During the pandemic, I started a Qi Gong practice. It seemed harmless enough – an ancient Chinese method to help tune in to my body’s energy. How hard can it be?
HA! How wrong I was. This particular lineage is unique. In this lineage, you are taught to strike your body. To develop a relationship with your own body’s Qi, you must stimulate it. In this practice, you start with just your hands. You are just smacking your belly. It felt almost silly to slap my belly. At the beginning of the practice, there was talk of a wood-block level and a brick level. I was aghast! How could I possibly hit myself with an object? A block of wood? A brick?! If you’ve ever met me in person, I’m quite petite. I thought that I might break a rib!
My teacher said, “It takes time. It takes practice. It takes getting to know and understand energy. It takes an openness to try new things and listen to your body.” My response to her was, “I’m not so sure about this. But, okay, let’s see what happens.”
I will reveal this about myself. I don’t play an instrument. I don’t exercise or play sports. In fact, I’ve said before that sleep is my cardio. Although I’m pretty self-directed, I don’t consider myself to have a lot of discipline for this kind of stuff. I didn’t actually think I would stick to it or be any good at it either.
I surprised myself month after month. I practiced almost every other day. (And I say almost because there has been a random week here or there when I didn’t practice at all.) I grew stronger, and I followed the guidance of my teacher. I observed. I practiced. I learned to listen to my body. I became very in-tune with my emotions and the state of my physicality. I persisted.
It turns out I’m a brick.
The word brick is also a delightful Victorian-era slang term for someone who is brave or fearless (and persistent). I don’t know how this phrase fell out of fashion. But we should bring it back!
I had doubts and setbacks. I cried and got a few bruises along the way. I persisted.
I had to make adjustments and listen to my body. I persisted.
I had to accept the wisdom of my teacher and take guidance. I persisted.
I was scared about hitting myself too intensely & hurting myself. I considered giving up. I persisted.
If you’ve ever felt like giving up on life, you’re not alone. It can be a sense that nothing you do really affects what is happening in your life. Some of the reasons a person can have this feeling are experiencing certain health conditions, unexpected events, longtime hardship, or simply feeling like life didn’t turn out as you thought it would.
Wanting to give up on life can be fleeting, but it can be rooted in something more significant.
There’s a sense of powerlessness as you realize that you’re trying to solve a problem but still feel as if you’re banging your head against a wall that does not seem to move.
Here are some things I’ve learned from this practice to help:
- Don’t accept where you are
- You must attempt to dig yourself out of the pit of despair even when you feel as though you have no solid footing.
- It also requires some problem solving—you must identify something that you can do that you have not yet tried. It is necessary for you to fight one of the most fundamental processes that impact our behaviors—learning—and unlearning something that isn’t working.
- Change your thoughts
- If you find yourself saying “I can’t,” or “There’s nothing that I can do,” try changing your thoughts to “I can at least try,” and “This may not work, but I’ll try it.”
- Try and try again
- Once you try to make a change or find a solution to problems in your life, don’t give up if the first solution doesn’t work. Try something else—and if that doesn’t work, try something else. Perseverance may be the key.
Throughout my life, when I have felt helpless or found myself thinking that nothing that I could do will affect change, I’ve made a point to take a breath and refocus.
The brick reminded me about that today.
I was somewhat surprised to see that what I had been learning here are lessons I’ve learned in my studies with Feng Shui. When I’ve worked with clients, I can see that I’ve applied these same principles.
One is how important it is to listen to the wisdom of the teacher because so much of what is taught in classical Feng Shui is passed down through oral/spoken transmission. For clients working with me, it doesn’t mean that they don’t question my suggestions. It means that they can lean into my knowledge and experience, trusting me to guide them on their Feng Shui journey to the kind of outcome that is really going to make them happy.
A second is that unlearning is as important as learning. I had to unlearn so much misinformation I’d absorbed because it was just plain wrong. I watch my clients go through that in our process together. It can be a little uncomfortable, of course. But the freedom that shows up when they sink into what’s really true is wonderful to watch, and it was heartwarming for me to experience it in this different context.
The third is so critical: it’s okay to try something and see what kind of results you get. When my clients see that it’s okay to “play around” with Feng Shui, experiment and see what happens, and change things if they don’t like them, they feel empowered. Not empowered to just make a mess, but empowered to use the tools I’m giving them so that they can be on a path to fulfillment. I loved finding that sense of experimentation in Qi Gong- it was so freeing, and it actually worked!
You’ve made it through 100% of your life so far. That, in itself, is amazing. Keep persisting. Be a brick.
Be a brick if you are dealing with big, unanswered questions in your heart right now. You got this.
If you need some guidance and support, like you need a brick underneath you, my door is open.