Today I got up early and did taiji: five golden coins, eight pieces of silk, and the form. I’m interested in learning a fourth form — I was reminded of the diagram this morning, and the fact that it’s in my commonplace book.
Afterwards, while I was in the bathroom, I stepped on the scale. I hate the scale, because it tells me one thing — my weight. But it doesn’t tell me a host of other things, like my muscular density or my endurance level or my … Anyway, you get the idea.
All spring, I’ve been watching my weight inch up. No matter how I ate or what I ate, or even if I ate nothing at all, I seemed to gain weight. Two eighty, two eighty three, two eighty five, two ninety, tow ninety five, two ninety seven. Ok yes, it was bad on days when there were cupcakes from an appreciative family in the teachers’ lounge. But my weight stayed up even when I ate salads four days in a row.
And yet. There’s been a rapid decline in my weight this week. Three hundred became two ninety-seven, then two ninety-five, then two ninety-two, then two eighty-seven, then two eighty-two this morning. I haven’t eaten substantially different this week. In fact, I’ve had several meals out that should have qualified as bloating and fattening…
And yet. It can’t be denied that I fill out my shirts and pants differently now than I did last fall, or even three months ago. If I had the body of a god, it is only Hotei, the balding god of prosperity from China (or maybe just Chinese restaurants). And I’m not saying I’m about to become Matreya or Marduk or Mars, one of the muscular war-deities made of muscle and fire.
But there are muscles here. I walk differently now, too. And I move differently, and I sit differently. There are still changes to be made, of course — diet, more walking or biking, more hiking, more time in nature, more internal energy work. But something shifted this week in my body, and the muscles I’ve taiji’ed into existence started burning calories in a new way.
This is the way slow burn exercise programs work: first you learn the forms, then the body becomes used to the exercise, then the exercise starts working deep in the cells. And you gradually become someone new.
Maybe. I’ll tell you if I’m ever done changing.