I’ve read a number of books or articles lately that talk about the risks, rewards and benefits of learning as part of a team, or learning solo. While solo learning is hardest, many of the articles suggest, it leads to the greatest growth over the long haul. Learning in groups leads to political or social baggage which may or may not help you grow as a practitioner of the skill or discipline.
Today, two days after Thanksgiving, I didn’t get to do tai chi until after most of the other guests had left and there was relative privacy in the house. After lunch, when I’m loogy and sleepy from too much turkey and stuffing (and I’m stuffed with tryptophan for the third time in three days). And at a time when nearly everyone else in the house is taking a nap… Lots of sleepy energy around, not much desire to do the work.
But I did the work.
The idea of the Dweller on the Threshold was very strong this time around, of course. It may not ever really go away, actually. I’m in a strange-and-yet-familiar place, the house I grew up in as a kid. But of course, it’s not. Furniture has been moved around, I’m sleeping in an odd place, and none of my stuff is here. It’s not my home; it’s the home that my parents have continued to change and evolve to suit themselves after the kid moved out. And I’m heavy with feast-time food that makes me feel thick and slow (there’s also the real possibility that I AM thick and slow).
And yet, none of the internal sensations of being thick and slow and ill-at-ease in my body manifest on the surface. My spins, my kicks, my Snake Creeps Down maneuvers are all pretty good. There’s an ease and a casual air around a practitioner that becomes easier with daily practice. And that energy is starting to settle around me, at least on the outer levels, in a way that it hasn’t settled into me on inner levels. How long will it be before those inner levels become as attuned to tai chi as my muscles are in the physical realm?
I have no idea. But it feels like it will be a lot longer than 105 days (1 year+1 day of practice).