New Order of Operations:

  • Five Golden Coins
  • 25-breath break
  • Eight Pieces of Silk
  • 25-breath break
  • Tai Chi form
  • 25-breath break
  • LIRP
  • Write about it.

It’s more or less what I’ve been doing for the last 10.78 months, with the recent addition of LIRP (and pop-up cards, of course).  And here’s a new discovery, 328 days in:  in the darkened office, glancing down while doing the Picking Apples move in Five Golden Coins, and again during Bend the Bow to Shoot the Hawk, I can see my abdominal muscles ripple as my legs stay still, and my upper body twists first to the left, and then to the right.  The core exercises of tai chi build the core muscles of the body, a little bit at a time, and those muscles engage in the oddest ways at the oddest times.  The stillness below the waist becomes motion above the waist: the one empowers and strengthens the potential for the other.

And now I’m sweating.  In a mildly chilly apartment, these exercises have raised my body temperature, challenged my heart rate, and forced my body to do unaccustomed exercise — even though I’ve been doing the same set of exercises daily for not quite 11 months (Days 334-335 turn out to be 11 months-ish = 334 days*12months/365days=10.98months.  It’s exactly the same formula I use to teach kids percentage calculations, but arranged for calculating months instead of segments of 100.  Who knew?).

There’s also something in me that wants to come out. Without going into detail, much, what enters the Microcosm through Da’ath must also exit the Microcosm transformed through one of the gates of Yod, and be returned to the Macrocosm in Malkuth — Oh, Lord, I thank you that my internal systems are working, and that my internal pipes and tubes are functioning correctly.  How wonderful are your works. As a rabbi I know once said, such a prayer makes no sense until you’ve experienced what it’s like when your internal pipes and tubes aren’t working correctly.  Anyway, move the body, and it moves all kinds of stuff.

The workout matters.  Things have got to get shifted in you before you can help anyone else. The stewardesses on the plane remind you to put your own mask on first before helping someone else — and it’s the same in tai chi or the occult or in teaching.  You have to figure out your own work before your can make a difference to others.  So what’s your personal work, that you do day in and day out, that makes you ready to take on the world?  If Gandhi asked you personally, today, “what are changes you make in the world?” what is your answer?