Taiji Day 356: Running out of titles

I’m running out of titles. There wasn’t anything special about this morning’s practice. There weren’t any great insights. Most of the time there aren’t, these days. There wasn’t a significant problem on any of the forms, and no muscle gave out or was really hurting during the form. Nothing to get riled up about. No wrong footed movements or challenges. It wasn’t perfect. But hey,when you’re in a daily practice mode, it doesn’t have to be. Tomorrow can be better than today. Or maybe it will be worse, but three days from now will be awesome.

And I guess that’s the point. The point is that there isn’t a particular point, and there won’t be, every day. There’s the awesome feeling of completion, of knowing that the work is accomplished, that you did the practice, that you’re making progress.

Maybe all of that is illusion. What is true is that you’re moving, you’re challenging your body in a variety of ways, and you’re challenging your mind in a variety of ways. For me, at this point, there’s this sense of an approaching end, a conclusion to the labors, a growing anticipa…

But I’m not there yet. And it’s impolite to rush. I wonder if there will ever be a point when I just think of tai chi as something I do, where it doesn’t carry this heavy weight of responsibility and intentionality, that it does right now. Frankly, folks, I don’t know. I’m not sure if I want it to be that way, or if I prefer this current mindset of having to make sure it happens every day.

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  1. Andrew, I ran across your blog a few times before I subscribed and when I did, I thought to myself something like: “good grief! Who would want to read about somebody else’s Tai Chi practice? That’s gotta be like watching paint dry!” But occasionally something else about your blog would cause me to think I should subscribe… and then I’d think “why can’t he have two different subscriptions… I can’t have a daily post I am not interested in clog up my inbox!” Finally, I subscribed anyway. And since it was clogging up my inbox, I read a few Tai Chi posts, and then another, and then another and then I realized it was one of the most interesting and inspiring things that fell into my inbox… then I recommended it to friends… I know you are nearing the end of your vow, but I hope you will keep it up. I really find it… I STILL find it interesting and inspiring after many months and I thank you for the time and the trouble and the insight into your daily practice which must be difficult to allow unknown others access to.

    • Dear CS,

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I figured that the year of Tai Chi would cost me readers… and it did (sort of a lot, really…) but thanks to your recommendations I’ve also gained some back. Perhaps what I should do is shift the tai chi practice and the druidry practice to a separate blog (probably The Quercia, since I already have it).

      It hasn’t been difficult to open up my tai chi practice to an unknown audience, really. The hard part is knowing that I left a good chunk of my old audience behind. Setting out to become someone new has in fact cost me at least some following; and some of them have not been shy about saying, “what’s with all the weirdness and the magic and the martial arts?”

      But I have to say, I could not have become a designer, or a design teacher, without seriously re-writing my life, and re-organizing my priorities. It’s simply not possible that I could continue to write critiques of education, either at my school, or in the wider world, without finding some way forward to do new things. Which I’ve done. And I credit the magical work, and the martial arts work, and the daily practice, with having been the major tools of self-transformation.

      Not talking about that process would have left people bewildered. At least there’s now a record of how to go about transforming yourself or your institution, as a teacher or as a designer, or as a magician, or as a martial artist. Stop complaining about what other people are doing wrong, and start doing what you think works. As that stupid, beautiful, clichéd truism from Gandhi would have it, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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