I hate horse stance. Having one’s knees bent at this particular angle, having one’s legs spread awkwardly far apart… it’s a nuisance. And it hurts.
Or it used to. Today I did the Five Golden Coins and Eight Pieces of Silk in horse stance, and it didn’t hurt. It wasn’t even awkward. My body’s gradually been building up tolerance and strength for such things, and as a result I’m able to do more.
I had a startling experience last night with the company fiftythree.com, which makes my favorite iPad app, Paper. The app had stopped working at all. I couldn’t even open it. (Paper is so good as an app that when I went to use another tool, Brushes, for a quick art project that I needed — needed — to do yesterday, I cried. I used to think Brushes was awesome, because I didn’t have to learn vector graphics… now it’s just clunky in comparison.) All my drawings, all my notes…. Lost! Lost!
Fiftythree.com’s community support person, Dalas Verdugo, fixed my app in under 24 hours… he saved my sketches, he saved my work… Brilliant. He also explained a couple of ways the next update will make using Paper even more fun and useful. I’m excited. I’m also eager to do some taichi drawings to help anyone else who wants to practice, to practice.
Why tell this story in a post about tai chi?
Pretty simple, really: When I started out, my body couldn’t handle horse stance. It was impossible. If my teacher had told me I needed to do horse stance all the time, I wouldn’t have been able to hold the posture. I couldn’t do it, and I’d probably have given up. Not so good. But… with a little bit of persistence, and self-kindness, I gradually moved from weakness to strength. My drawing skills have improved the same way, in large part because I gave up attachment to being a ‘realist’ artist… and I’ve gotten better anyway. A guy like Dalas Verdugo, he works this stuff every day, and he solved my problem easily. I’m amazed. Maybe when I’ve done another 170 days, I’ll be able to teach other people how to solve problems.