Yesterday during tai chi I became conscious that the office has become a bit of a pit. It’s hard for it not to become so — after all, it’s my tai chi studio, my office with my working desk, my art studio, and my spare room. It’s too easy for it to become overloaded, particularly while the end of the school year approaches. And so yesterday afternoon (admittedly rather than doing school work, which needs to be done and soon) I worked on getting the office straightened out. This led to a more general cleaning — vacuuming, bed-making, closet clearing, and general putting-away. It wasn’t a full-on spring cleaning, but it was still pretty good.
My mother says, “every step toward cleanliness is a step toward sanity.” She’s a minimalist, but she’s also an artist, and I respect her judgment in both areas — and look, today’s tai chi practice was much “cleaner” and more ordered than yesterday’s. How come? Well, first, that notion of sinking down into one’s center of gravity definitely helps. Second, clean-up helps because there’s less to offend my eye. The room is more ordered, which means that my mind is more ordered — I’m not having to take quite as much into account as I did when the room was a pigsty, metaphorically speaking.
Third, the process of organizing things gets a lot of stuff off your desk. I mean this in a literal way, first of all: I mean, I literally picked up pieces of paper, acted on the ones that needed acting on, put away the ones that needed to be filed, and threw away the ones that could be thrown away. And it turns out that this sort of re-ordering of the world is mandatory and useful. Tai chi is a sort of mastery of space and time, and if you can’t move around your own space, there’s no way you can master it.