Meet Pamela Underwood: Qigong Until Her 100th Birthday
As I watch my 87-year old father age, I have been reflecting on my own longevity. My family has a history of living until to around 99 to 100 years old. I became interested in qigong when I was 59, as a way to begin a practice that could carry me through the end of life with the promise of an enlivened flow of oxygen to my blood, keeping my brain function primed, offering spiritual support and emotional well being.
As an artist, I’ve benefited from the sense of art being a meditative practice when focusing on the process of making art instead of the end product. This is a restorative practice but with deadlines and teaching isn’t always achieved. I experience the practice of qigong, especially Lift Qi Up Pour Qi Down, as a moving meditation, giving me the opportunity to hang out in liminal space, restoring my mind, body and spirit.
I have been practicing qigong for over 4 years. Some periods of my life have been more dedicated to the practice than others. But, qigong is something that I will continue to return to until it is fully integrated into my life.
While practicing intensive qigong at Martha Blane’s beautiful “Qigong in Paradise” retreat in Hawaii, I decided that it was important that I feel the full benefits of the work I was doing in qigong. Therefore, I would try to discontinue my anti-depressants which I had been taking for 20 years. After weaning off the meds, with my doctor’s supervision, I noticed stronger emotional reactions to occurrences in my life, but within a normal, manageable range. One thing that has come as a surprise is how much the medication had been helping me to focus, for example, while planning and teaching a course or completing my taxes.
To be proactive, I started doing qigong more regularly as well as working with a nutritionist to supplement my diet for focus and to monitor depression. This has proven successful. As I had hoped, during qigong practice I am more sensitive to qi flowing well. I’ve noticed that I can drop down deeply into the practice more readily.
I challenged myself with a 100-day LQUPQD gong about 2 years ago. I was very proud of completing the gong. However, when referring to Martha’s article “4 Stages of Lift Qi Up Pour Qi Down”, I would say, that I am still in the second stage of LQUPQD. I have the moves memorized and can do the practice on my own while focusing inward. But, I don’t feel any pressure to accomplish all 4 stages any time soon. Time is relative.
I look forward to my continued qigong practice with heightened sensitivity to qi flowing well, and to moving through stage 3 and 4 before my 100th birthday!
You can contact Pamela at:
Pamela Underwood Expressive Art Studios
“My gift and passion is helping people find ways to nurture their unique, creative wisdom through the arts.