Day 35: Chi by other names

I did my working today: five golden coins, and the tai chi form.  Nothing special at all. Pretty normal, really.

Yesterday, I went on a double-date with my lady, her progeny and progeny’s significant other.  We went contra-dancing.  Contra Dancing is a type of social dance allegedly originating in New England, but since migrated to many other parts of the US and Canada, and maybe elsewhere, as well.  Dancers form two lines facing each other, and work through each dance beforehand, followed by a couple of ‘called lines’ to music, followed by performance with music.  It was HUGE FUN.  (We’re talking about going again, already, and maybe participating in the techno contra movement, which apparently has a foothold in Greenfield, MA).

My lady had injured her foot, so I danced with several other partners (although you dance with all of your ‘neighbors’ in a line, so partnership is a somewhat fluid concept).  There were older couples, younger couples, gay couples, lesbian couples, straight couples. There were beginners like us, and old hands who’d been doing it for years.

The point of all of this, though, is how much energy or chi was raised by all these people working through the geometry of each dance. Each dance has a rule, or form, established by a basic step.  And one works through that basic form or step multiple times, always with the same partner but rapidly changing ‘neighbors’.  It’s an amazing, beautiful process, and by the end I was nearly laughing my head off in ecstasy and good humor.

It’s not to say I was great at it. There were a lot of dances I had a lot of trouble with, including one where the caller came OFF the stage to help me personally, because I’d messed up my own line so badly.  BUT, as a woman said to me during the dance, after one gentleman had gotten quite grumpy at me,

You’re FINE.
It’s FINE.
We’re having FUN.
This is FUN.
It’s a DANCE.

And she’s quite right.  The whole point of practicing tai chi and doing energy work and exercising one’s body is to be able to have fun with it — to be able to shift energy and move power around, and reach states of divine ecstasy, a state not unlike happiness, or heaven upon earth.  There was a very Sufi-like quality to the dance, too, in that everyone is sober (or at least pretends to be very well), while still being lost in the dance.

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