Taiji Day 364: Freedom of Action

There’s this strong temptation to make everything ok in my tai chi practice by the end of the year.  It’s not, actually, ok.  I’m stiff and sore this morning for reasons I don’t really understand, and I was able to work through the tai chi forms only by sacrificing some of my hard-earned knee-bend from working on horse stance.

But the body is what it is, day to day.  One can’t overextend it, and one can’t push it beyond certain boundaries. There’s all that mindset out there about how there are no limits, but that’s a lie.  Of course there are limits. The question is, how far out are they?  Today, there was a snow day at school, so I was able to sleep in.  I’m doing tai chi later than my “official” time, as a result.  There’s this freedom of action today that I don’t usually have, when everything has to be accomplished in a normally-short morning window of opportunity.

But there’s another freedom of action that I wanted to talk about today.  I feel that as a result of this year of tai chi, I have certain new freedoms of action. Do I still have limits? Yes.  But I have a greater range of actions I can take, even on a day when I’m a little stiff and sore (probably not enough water).  Freedom of action doesn’t mean I can do anything I want.  It does mean I can choose from a greater range of options than I could a year ago.  And that larger range of opportunities will continue to grow for a while, if I keep up with my daily practice.

But I also learned that freedom of action doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. Actions have reactions and consequences.  Just because I feel a greater freedom to act, doesn’t mean I won’t pay the price.  Not enough water yesterday, leads to a headache today. As I sat here, wondering what to say, it occurs to me that this is why I’m stiff and sore.

And that means that this freedom of action comes with a radical interdependence.  More on that, I hope, tomorrow.

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