Taiji Day 60: did you do it?

Yesterday at breakfast, a colleague asked me, “did you get your Taiji done this morning?” I told her yes. She said, “good for you. The reason to tell people about your work is to get held to the commitment until keeping the commitment comes naturally.”

So it proves. Today is day 60— not quite two months since I began this little endeavor. There wasn’t any particular insight today, except something that I had no conscious control over. It’s kind of funky, so I have no idea how to explain it.

The first day I was in DC on this field trip, I had a conference room in which to practice. The other days, I had to practice in my room’s entryway. The first day there was awkward. It’s a space longer than it is wide. As a result, while I didn’t exactly run into furniture or walls, I was cramped. Yesterday was slightly better but not great practice. I had to be fairly forgiving.

Today’s workout was intense. It was like my body figured out how to do the internal work of Taiji just by going through the motions in the most haphazard way. I didn’t bump any furniture. The form flowed into and around the available space, including the small closet alcove. As I turned into the windmill kick near the end of the form, I brought my hands up to the balance and…

And I was standing inside the alcove, facing outward. My hands were braced against the frame of the alcove door. I had enough space to make the kick, with enough clearance for my head, and for my leg to return to the ground in the right place.

My spatial awareness faculty had sort of “folded” the tai chi form into the available practice space, so that when I arrived at the most difficult maneuver, I was in position to help myself. It happened more than just that one time, too, as I worked through the patterns. My body may not have wanted to get out of bed to do the form, but it was prepared to put my feet down and extend my arms efficiently, so I did the work without hitting anything.

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