Yesterday wound up being a very social day: my friend CPB was up from North Carolina to interview for a job, and asked me to pick her up after the interview ended and hang out with her until her train departed. As I write this, she’s getting into DC, probably, because her train left after midnight last night. While we chatted about our day yesterday, I did Eight Pieces of Silk to help psych me up and wake me up for the drive home.
CPB mentioned that she hadn’t done her own exercise routine that morning, because the hotel room where her new employer put her up (she got the job!) was too small for that. And in response, I picked one of the yellow tiles of the warning border along the edge of the train station platform. The tile was about two feet square. And I did the tai chi form in that box. If you don’t get why this was a challenge, understand this — when I do tai chi outside, the form usually carries me all around the yard, within a square that’s about 30′ by 30′, because I tend to make my movements big and to stretch out and be expansive. Even in my own office space, I have an area that’s about 10′ by 10′ where I work through the form, and that’s about the right amount of space for the form I do. When I’ve done it in places like hotels, even, it’s usually in an area about 5’x5′.
So, to suddenly squeeze all that work down into a tiny box was interesting. I was asking myself, how would I generate this posture’s force, without toppling myself over the edge into the train-road? Or my favorite: I usually unbalance on this posture… but the imbalance would carry me over the edge. And then, with that insight, I did that posture correctly, carefully, so I didn’t unbalance. CHB eventually got on her train. And I got home so wired, I stayed up until 2 in the morning. I have no business being up right now. 🙂
BUT… here I am, up anyway, operating on less than four hours of sleep. Why? Because my body is used to doing tai chi and Five Gold Coins and Eight Pieces of Silk at a certain time every day. So I did it then. One of the things CPB and I had a conversation about was willpower, and I told her something I’d learned from John Michael Greer — that real willpower is effortless. Tai chi, every day, everywhere, whenever it’s time, is becoming part of my daily life, and integrated into my daily experience. And I get it done, not because it’s hard these days, but because it’s just what happens.