'Real World' practice
It took me another week of practice before I was able to hold all the spots still at once and identify what the object was that he was holding in front of me. He had taunted me for a week with a spoon. I felt stronger and I knew that all that practice had indeed strengthened my will and my mind. Each day we had started out practicing feeling with the aura, and then moved onto the more strenuous ability of seeing with my eyes closed. I was looking forward to leaning another new ability. I knew that even though manipulating my aura was getting easier, each lesson would be more difficult.
That night I got a good night�s sleep. I knew the next day would be extremely tiresome. I woke as the sun rose and filtered through the leaves of the trees. It was a beautiful day and I felt the call of the woods. I didn�t want to stay inside and practice all day. Jean had been awake for some time. He was always awake later than any of up and he was always up and moving around before the rest of us.
�Can we work outside today? The trees are calling to me, but I don�t want to skip a day of practice.� I smiled what I believed to be my cutest, most irresistible smile.
Jean just laughed. It was nice to see him laugh. �If that�s where you want to work, Child, we shall work amongst the animals and the trees. It may be a bit more difficult to concentrate while we�re out there, but you will rarely use these skills in the controlled environment of my wagon. Perhaps we will just practice the two skills you�ve already got a handle on out in the open today. If you show that you can do just as well out there with the wind blowing your hair into your face and the animals chattering in the trees, then I�ll show you what�s next.�
�That would be wonderful.� Between the two of us, we gathered the cushions and the box of objects Jean was using with me and made our way out into the trees. We were far enough away from camp that we could no longer hear the songs and conversations of the rest of the band. We set up the cushions in the middle of a small circle of trees. The ground was cool since it was still fairly early in the morning, but I dug my toes in the dirt anyway. I had always disliked the uncomfortable things my parents used to make me wear on my feet and to this day, if I can go without shoes, I will.
�Are you comfortable?� He looked amused as he watched me.
�Perfectly. Let�s start.� I pulled my toes from the cool dirt and folded my legs in front of me, rested my arms on my knees and closed my eyes. We spent the first hour or two practicing feeling. It was a bit more difficult because the wind had a slight drifting effect on my aura, but I quickly made the adjustments and before long, I was doing as well feeling outside as I had in the wagon. We moved on to practice seeing and again, it was more difficult. I hadn�t managed to get it down by the time we stopped for lunch, but I was already exhausted. I learned that even the slightest bit of wind required one to use more effort when working with the aura.
�How are you feeling, Child?� I must have looked tired because there was true concern in Jean�s voice.
�I�m fine. I�m a little tired. It�s taking more work out here than it did inside. The wind moves the aura a bit and makes it more difficult to keep it under control, but I�ll get a handle on it. I just need something to eat and a short nap and I�ll be good to practice for the rest of the afternoon.�
We picked up again mid afternoon. The sun was sinking, but it was still warm. The breeze that had rustled the leaves that morning persisted on through the day. I prepared myself, with only minor distractions. I couldn�t help but dig my toes into the forest loam. It was so soft and refreshing. There was so much possibility of life in that soil.
Jean made his way back to our workspace and sat across from me. I knew it was time to work again. I had napped and was refreshed again. I closed my eyes and pushed my aura out again. I felt him suspending an object within my light. I saw the swirling darkness left in my aura by the object. Very slowly I started to pin down the wisps of my light. I worked consistently for an hour before I finally pinned down enough of my aura to recognize the small rag doll I had brought with me when I left home.
�I did it, and we still have light to work with.�
I was quite proud of myself when I saw the look on Jean�s face. I could see that he was proud of how far I had come in the past week and a half.
�We�ll try this again before I decide whether to move on with the lessons today. It�s starting to get cold and you�re already exhausting your energy. If you work too hard for too long, you will exhaust yourself and you will have to rest until you regain all of your strength. That could set us back two weeks or more. I know you would not like that.�
I nodded in understanding, and then closed my eyes for another round of �seeing.� This time it only took a large portion of an hour. I had everything in place until a gust of cold wind came through. I shivered and lost concentration which in turn made me lose control of my aura. I regained the hold that I had on the aura and continued to concentrate until I could make out the outline of the wooden juggling ball he had suspended.
�Very good, Rose. You are catching on very quickly, but I think that will be the extent of the practicing for today. Your eyes look very tired and your aura is growing weak. It�s time to rest, and you should probably take the day off tomorrow. You can practice on your own if you wish, but nothing too strenuous. Keep the practicing down to holding your aura out around you. Practice this while you walk so you can get to know the feeling.�
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