Taiji day 197: sweat & time

We’re in that time of year when it’s either too hot or too cold outside, and it’s either too humid to have the windows open or too dry to have the windows closed. Run the air conditioner, or not? What’s comfortable? What isn’t? I held an open house last night and five people came: with the fans off it got quite unseasonably warm in the house. This morning when I awoke to do the forms it was chilly but humid — exactly the sort of weather when I sweat during Taichi. Which I did.

It seems to take less and less effort to get to the place where I sweat during tai chi. It’s as though my body knows what’s happening, and collaborates in my success. It’s weird that I’m talking about my body as if it were one thing, and “I” were another, but that’s what it feels like at times. There’s a growing disconnect, if you will, between my body’s reaction time to the movements, and my own brain’s participation in the movements. Even that doesn’t get to the truth of it; some part of my mind is saying, “ok, the next step is Snake Creeps Down,” but my body has already launched into that part of the form.

And despite these disconnects, these mismatches, there’s sweat. I’m not talking about dripping, wring-out-the-towel-and-dry-me-again sweat. I’m talking about “my back and armpits are wet; my skin feels clammy and moist or slippery.” It’s subtle, not gross, to use another tradition’s language. But it does appear.

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