If I had known that I’d be finishing my first year of daily tai chi sometime in the middle of late winter, I think I might not have begun. But if I had started in such a way that I finished in June, I’m not sure I’d have begun, either. Seasons are funny, you know? Before I consciously studied the eight-spoked Wheel of the year, I’m not sure that I could say whether my life got inexplicably busy at the end of January and beginning of February, or not. Now that I’m … hmmm… enmeshed in thinking about this time of year — Groundhog Day/Candlemas/Imbolc — as this time of year, it seems like my life goes into overdrive around here every year. This has been a week for finishing projects and starting new ones, and a week for tremendous change. Maybe I shouldn’t call it Imbolc or Candlemas, so much as Quickening.
It was finishing such a project at about quarter to 11 last night, after a week of such nights, that sent me to bed. WHen the alarm went off this morning, I wasn’t even entirely aware of it. Brief bathroom visit, then tai chi. Except…
Except I wasn’t even awake yet. Sometime around the middle of Five Golden Coins, I realized I was standing in my office at home. There, I was moving through the motions of qi gong… and that I had done the previous motions necessary to get to the point that I was, in the form. But suddenly I was awake, and no longer asleep. I was in a different mental state — no longer droopy-eyed, no longer half-snoring, but awake and alert and in my strength.
This may be difficult to explain to someone who wasn’t there (and given that I’m the only one here, I’m not even sure I’m explaining it well to myself, or that I’ll understand it six months from now). But there’s a qualitative difference between doing tai chi with a sleep-fogged brain, and doing tai chi in an aware state. This morning, I started my routine on autopilot — but I didn’t stay on autopilot. Something came awake in me, and helped me to finish the work in a heightened state of awareness.
It was the starting in a a state of sleep that seemed more alarming, actually. How many days have I slept through, even as I was walking and working?