Yesterday’s energy levels never really collapsed back into the waveform. They were so productive that I’m actually starting this entry (for this morning, Wednesday, October 23), with a picture of what I accomplished in the Design Studio yesterday: In the background is a model of a New York City Tenement apartment building, with space for four small dioramas of immigrant life in the Big Apple around 1910. In the foreground is an instructable in the style of a Science Fair presentation; it explains how to turn a paper plate into a tetrahedron. We’ll use this in an activity I have planned for the lab a little later on this year. Not pictured is the Cardboard Castle I built for the first graders. Also not pictured is the Sator qui serit arborem — “the man who plants a tree”, the 25th mansion of the Moon, which was drawn during first period. Four interesting and potentially useful design projects, all completed on the same day. AND… in the background, on the left by that milk crate, is the layout for a design project to built a table prototype from cardboard, all the cardboard we had leftover from the design challenge we did two Sundays ago. All begun on the same day. All for deliberately working the four (well, five-ish) elements in my tai chi work-out yesterday morning. Knowing your energies helps, people. Work them!
Was I going to do that again today? Heck yeah.
So there’s the four elements in the body: Ground, Flow, Breathe, Burn. They’re not metaphors. It’s the core of all tai chi. Put your feet on the ground, and make yourself rock-solid. Maintain that connection; when you lose it, find it again.
Start moving. You have dynamic balance. That grounding you just created with the earth beneath your feet is going to change. But even while you’re connected to the earth, you’re in motion, just like water. You want to flow downhill, to the easiest spot — and you will rejoin the Ocean when it’s time. Literally. Not metaphorically. But not yet. For right now, you are a current in the water that is not yet rejoined with Ocean. Move. Move every joint in your body. Stretch them all out. Flow.
Breathe. Your body needs oxygen. It needs to dump carbon dioxide. It does that through the bellows of your lungs. Keep pressing on those bellows, keep opening them up. The average human takes in a pint of oxygen on each breath — but the average human has the ability to take in seven pints. Make that transfer of gas happen. Replace carbon dioxide with oxygen. Thank a tree later in the day — they eat your waste gas. Isn’t that nice of them?
Burn. If your body’s lungs are a bellows, your heart and your muscles are a furnace. They will use that motion and that oxygen to generate heat. And you will — you should — sweat. But heavy sweat in tai chi…. meh? Not sure. Don’t know. The body runs on low temperatures, not high ones: cellular chemistry, not the raw heat of the forge, are what is needed. Raise the temperature inside yourself, feed that fire with fresh oxygen, melt the impurities and release too-warm moisture back to the world.
Did it work today? Heck yeah.