During the first movement of five golden coins, I was breathing pretty hard. I am not feeling great, and i wanted to get the actions done. On the second movement, I slowed down, but it made me angry to slow down, and I wasn’t sure why I slowed down. On the third movement, I slowed down still further, even though it wasn’t my agenda. On the fourth movement, though, I realized: oh! The movements themselves take longer to complete. I must go slower, and breathe,and breathe properly, to be skillful. By the time I transitioned from fifth movement to taiji form, I was breathing properly and in synch with my movements, which felt fluid and flowing. Breathing changed my attitude.
A colleague at my old school was a major fan of Charles Swindoll, who pointed out that attitude is really the only thing you have control over. With the right attitude you can do anything. With the wrong attitude you can do nothing. My history classes are reading about Susan B. Anthony right now, who said “Failure is impossible.” I feel that way about my tai chi practice, today: if I can get up feeling cranky and cruddy, and do the tai chi, and the breath work of the form shifts my attitude — every blessed day! — then I can do anything.
update: I did in fact get to 47,000 readers yesterday, which was a nice milestone.