This morning, I awoke in bed lying fully stretched up and on my back. This was unusual. I hardly ever wake up like this, first of all. I’m usually in a ball or curled up in some way. Second, this is the way I’d gone to sleep: flat on my back and stretched out. Which suggests that I didn’t do much tossing and turning when I went to sleep. This is good: I credit the daily taiji — five gold coins, eight pieces of silk, and the form this morning.
The third thing though was cause for alarm. I was aware, lying in bed, that my hips were turned slightly. My right hip was riding higher, and under tension, than my left hip. There was a twist in my body somewhere that prevented me from lying flat. And I could feel the tension in my front right hip, and in my right gluteus muscle. What caused that? I wondered, and immediately I got an answer… “that’s the spine-twist in your life caused by your wallet in your back right pocket.” Even now, with just pajamas on, I can feel that strain and pressure on my body, as if my wallet were there, when it’s not. Time to start carrying my wallet elsewhere.
These are the kinds of changes that the body suggests to the mind in the course of a tai chi practice — they come slowly, and gently, and they arrive in response to small awarenesses rather than elaborate changes all at once. There’s a nagging tension in my left calf that’s telling me, “me next, me next!” and maybe it will be next after the wallet-issue eases itself out. But in the meantime, I’ll do what’s currently on the radar — stop carrying my wallet in the back-right pocket, and keep doing the work to ease out the tension that’s pulling my hips out of alignment.
Slowly, and with much patience, is the work accomplished.