Yesterday during shoveling, I think I pulled something in my lower back, beyond the grabber I’d been experiencing already.  Today, I managed to work it out using tai chi and qi gong.

Thanks to these three forms I’ve done daily for more than 11 months (25 days left! When did that happen?), I think my body recovers from injury faster, and I don’t get sick much any more.  My immune system is a lot stronger than it used to be, and while everyone else around me has been getting ill, I’ve been quite healthy. The perennial mucus blockage in my sinuses is gone, and I’m healing up nicely in so many ways.  Even this pulled muscle in my lower back seems to be well on its way to recovery after a good night’s sleep and some tai chi this morning. The Chinese fascination with these exercises as a cultural thing now makes much more sense: convince people to do this for their health, and they stay healthier, and need fewer doctors.  Which in a country the size of China is always challenging.  Huh.

There wasn’t much about today’s program that was substantially different than any of the previous hundred days.  It’s all the same forms, day in and day out. Maybe I’ve become a little more flexible in how I do them; maybe I have more skill in executing them; maybe I’ve grown more physically strong as I do them.  But there isn’t much in the way of change.  It’s all the same stuff, really.  It’s getting to be time to learn a new form, I think, and maybe take some classes with a new instructor, learn some new moves.  But at it’s heart, this is tai chi.  Getting up, day after day, to do the same forms, over and over and over again, until one gradually masters them or learns how to make them one’s own — which is more or less the same thing as mastery, I think.   There’s nothing more to it than that — and nothing less.  It doesn’t matter if one is talking about sewing, or making perfumes, or pop-up books, or alchemical creations, or carpentry.  The more you facere (to use the Latin verb for “to do or to make”), the more you master the art which underlies it.  Even the failures teach something.

And the failures and the successes alike make you stronger and more capable in all sorts of unplanned ways.