Tai Chi Y4D322: simple

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Today’s tai chi practice was pretty simple, pretty basic.  I don’t think I planned to get fancy today, and I didn’t.  One tai chi form in a fairly enclosed and limited space, not much room to maneuver.  Did it very slowly, about 18 minutes start to finish, three or four breaths to each movement.

It was enough.

An Underlying Magic

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A, one of my readers and a face-to-face friend, asked me recently to talk about how I was able to get so much done.  She was particularly impressed with the fact that I was able to get the 31 days of magic project completed.

Bullet journal For better or worse, a good deal of the success of this kind of project depends on organizational techniques. For 2016, I’ve pretty much abandoned online and digital planning tools. They don’t work for me, they’re not as fast as pen and paper, and it often takes longer to commit the digital work-plan to the computer system’s tracking tool than it does to do the task.

Accordingly, I keep everything in bullet journal formal in a gridded Moleskine notebook. The back page is an index — something like twenty different squares help me index the book as I go, marking one or more grid squares on the edge of the page so that I can see at a glance where in the book something might be: poetry, design thinking, meeting notes, druidry diary entries, and more… everything receives a rough index as I go along.

Bullet journalThe second piece is the bullet journal for the day.  This was today. Now, today was a pretty productive day.  I was home due to the snowstorm, and I was up early getting things crossed off.

At the same time, I was checking things off and completing them.  Fair warning. I checked off as completed the “pants in living room” and really that has to be shifted to another day… because the cut pieces for those pants are still here, and not sewn together.

On the other hand, there’s a stack of Latin quizzes done, there’s an apprentice program planned, a druidry path working completed, a basket of clean laundry, a whole bunch of emails sent out, two after school events planned for, two gifts dealt with, and a whole bunch of smaller tasks finished that didn’t even make the list.  A very productive day, all around.

More could be said. Much more. But I’m trying to practice not saying everything; silence has its own rewards of a sort; and sometimes it’s enough to say, if you want to manage your life well, then learn to manage your life’s works well. My mother says, “you are your projects”, and while there is something overly reductionist about that, it’s also true that getting the little things done makes room for larger successes.

 

Tai Chi Y4D321

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Yep, still at it.  I did four tai chi forms this morning.  I have a snow day today, so I was a bit more deliberate in my practice: about 40 minutes for four tai chi forms, no qi gong.  The first of four, beginning facing east, I focused on breathwork. The second I focused on footwork. The third, facing west, I focused on moving through water; it was quite an isometric workout, with some muscles being deliberately engaged to resist others.  The fourth, I focused on moving through water, and breathwork again.

Largely successful, I think.

I have a window of time this morning that I wasn’t expecting to have. So I’m going to do one of the longer druidic ritual processes this morning as well.

Tai Chi Y4D320: 50 min, insight

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My tai chi practice took 5o minutes this morning. I did the two qi gong forms, fairly rapidly, to begin.  Then four tai chi forms, somewhat more slowly. My guess is that they clocked in at about 8-9 minutes apiece: long enough for basic work, but too fast for in-depth work.

I’ve not really done the qi gong work properly, except on Mondays during group practice, in several weeks.  Five Golden Coins was particularly enjoyable this morning, although I got more popping and releases in my joints from Eight Pieces of Silk, at least today.  My limbs were popping with the desire to break up some of the stiffness that’s plagued me for a while.  And I feel as though I managed to undo some but not all of the limitations I’ve faced in that regard.

During the tai chi work, I made an effort to slow my breathing, and to pull in my belly on the inhale breath.  This is a way to deepen the breathwork practice; but I also find that it slows me down further, and gets me closer to the desired timeframe for each tai chi movement.

I also managed to get off the carpet on the east and west-facing tai chi movements. This has been bothering me, as regular readers know, and today I was able to break out and pass that invisible barrier a bit, albeit only at the extreme edges of the formwork.  My breathwork and footwork were excellent, in part because I made an effort to keep my mouth closed and breathe only through my nose.

The insight: the breathing through the nose, and the tightening of the abdomen on the inhale, are healing work. So many people are walking around with injured abdomens, I think. Their bellies flop out of their body, and hang out.  It’s not necessarily bad, mind you; some people are genuinely built that way.  But it’s also the case that the common habit of overextending the belly on the inhaled-breath is probably causing problems. There’s probably a different problem that’s resulting from the tightening of the abdominals, too. But that feels like less of a problem; when I overbalance from doing tai chi, as I did today, from pulling in my belly, it’s because I’ve shifted my center of gravity internally.  And this means that, until I can get the sense that I’m not overbalancing, and I’m not shifting my center of gravity on the inhale every time, that I have serious work to do yet.

Today is Day 320… there are 366 days in a year of practice, so February 4 plus 46 days is March 21, 2016.  Looks like I’ll be finishing up on the 21st of March this year.

Tai Chi Y4D319: Strange

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Yesterday was my debate club’s performance in the Mock Trial qualifying round.  The team divides into two squads of lawyers and witnesses, with one squad representing the defense and the other side representing the plaintiff.  The teams both did great, but we lost on the plaintiff’s side — I have no idea why, really; I thought they did amazingly well — and won on the defense.  Again, I don’t know why.  But it meant that we didn’t advance to the quarter-finals, for the first time in five years. Alas. I’m still amazed and proud of my students for going so far.

For my own part, I’m exhausted today. I couldn’t drag myself out of bed until nearly 6:00 am, and I did only one tai chi form, and that poorly.  I’m giving myself a little leeway here, but I’m also conscious that my practice has been in a rut, and I’ve not been working it as well as I could be doing.  But I’m not sick, just tired. And so I keep going.

Tai Chi Y4D318

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Yesterday’s tai chi was a walk in the woods, very slow, and some breathing meditation on the playground. A snafu prevented us from doing much more, or what I’d planned.

Today’s tai chi was four tai chi forms in about 35 minutes. That’s about eight minutes per, but in reality the first one was probably about two minutes, the second was about four, and the other two were much longer and closer to an appropriate time length.  Too fast, not very well done, but it got out the kinks and the weariness in my limbs.

Today, my Debate Club competes in the qualifying round of the state Moot Court competition.  Wish me luck.

Dabbling – 3

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The third Dabbling comic strip  I launched the first one as part of the 31 Days of Magic series of posts.  They’ll update on Monday evenings sometime around 8pm, at a guess, for the next few weeks.  Comment on them if you’d like to see more.

Dabbling-3

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