I had very odd dreams last night: fighting in a courtyard that resembled an eastern European version of the Forbidden City, and pulling long strands of seaweed from my mouth that turned into scrolls of poetry, and a garden growing inside of me. Very odd and beautiful. I was startled out of sleep at around quarter to four by these dreams, but I had a powerful continuing awareness of the dream’s content even as I lay awake in the darkness.

This morning’s tai chi practice seemed to belong to that same luminal state I achieved in dream…I was awake, but my actions felt smooth and mythic. Maybe I’m boasting. It didn’t feel that way. I’m no master of tai chi by any means, but each posture came from a place of deep internal strength, generated from the core. When I let go of one posture to move to the next, it felt like putting a book back into the right place on a library shelf, or sliding a tool back into its proper location in the tool box. The posture taken out, used, and put away for future use.

This is a very strange sensation, coming just a couple of days after feeling totally awkward outside, observing myself reflected in the black wall of the side of my car. How can I feel like an awkward beginner on one day, and two days later like an ascended master? A few days from now, I will again feel like an ungainly 40+ year old man doing silly postures in his pajamas. No doubt.

And yet.

And yet the memory of today may linger for a while: this sense of having moved through the form in an epic manner, a mythic manner, still nominally attached to the dream state of scrolls of mystic poetry unrolling from my mouth, of conflicts with mysterious opponents in significant places, of a garden of luxuriant and fragrant flowers growing within me. From outside, itwas just tai chi, and not particularly elegant tai chi. My lady remarked on “wow, there’s at least one golden coin slot!” in her typically judgement-free-but-sarcastic way. (to be fair, I think that may have been my line, actually).

But this is true. It’s possible to be the hero of your own story, even if the story includes sarcastic remarks about sagging pants. It’s possible to be empowered in your dreams, and wake, and find the power to be real… At least for as long as it takes to do your morning recreation. It’s possible to become someone greater and deeper than the old self. You too can be an ascended master, however temporarily, however tenuously. The moment may never come again, nor even be real. But the memory lingers. Like a dream.