Something about Amsterdam has thrown my tai chi game off. Part of it is the time change, but it’s not completely that. Part of it is trying to work in a small hotel room. But it’s not completely that either. Part of it is the rich food, and the alcohol, that are side-effects of travel with dad (last night, it was a beer in a bar that is older than the United States, followed by a dinner with wine… Substantially more than my usual weekly consumption). But it’s none of those either. Part of it is the air, and the water, so close at hand — is the sound of running water from the pipes in the room next door, or rain outside, or the water in the canal outside?

An so it’s amazing to discover that it is all of these, and none, at the same time. I have skipped, or nearly so, the movements of fair lady works shuttles daily since getting here. They don’t fit in the hotel room, and my mind slides over the absence until I finish… Then I notice “oh, I didn’t do the fair lady,” and I redo the form, consciously, to get to that point. By then, though, the movements feel cramped and difficult to perform in such a small space.

We grow used to our common practice spaces, and they impose a set of highly-regarded limits on our practice. It’s not to say that they’re right, or that they’re wrong — but they are a standard set of limitations, and something too small or too large messes with out perspectives.

Maybe it’s better not to have a common practice space at all, but to practice in uncommon spaces more often.