Today my form and my practice were terrible. I felt like a raw recruit. I let myself get interrupted; my brain was going at a thousand miles an hour; I can’t genuinely say that I got a workout, because I didn’t. Tai chi used to be physically hard and mentally easy; more often these days it’s physically easy and mentally hard… the mental issues get in the way of deliberately crafting a physically challenging tai chi practice.
And physically challenging these days usually means more time, with the forms done more slowly.
Today was not that day. It’s already 6:30, and I’ve not dressed or showered; I have to be at school by about 8:30 for faculty orientation; and I feel like a disorganized mess.
We are none of us perfect.
As an example, today during the tai chi form, which I think of as my core daily practice, I lost my place. I’d come out of a press-push-single whip sequence of movements, which occurs five times in the form. Each time I move into something different: the first time, it’s Stand Like Tree. The second time it’s Snake Creeps Down followed by Golden Pheasant Stands on Left Leg. The third time, it’s Strike the Ear. The fourth time, it’s Fair Lady Works the Shuttles. The last time, it’s Snake Creeps Down again, followed by Step to the Seven Stars. When I got to the third place, I knew I’d done the Golden Pheasant maneuver… but I couldn’t remember if I’d Struck the Ear. This is the only major movement that carries me a lot farther forward than my starting point; so it’s pretty memorable. Today I couldn’t remember — and I’d just done it.
So I picked up the form again at the first Snake Creeps Down. I did the whole sequence of kicks that follows, and did the spin, and did Box Ears with Fists, and came around to Strike the Ear again eventually. But to lose my place in the form so completely: it threw me for a bit of a loop. And so Fair Lady was pretty fast, and I was rushing through by the time I Stepped to the Seven Stars.
The other “my bad” moment was stopping in the middle of the sequence of Eight Pieces of Silk, because I didn’t really want to do the toe touches or the squats. I sat down at my computer and was about to log into Facebook to see what’s going on. Bad idea. I got myself up and moving again, but I feel like it was a real slap to the ego.
Even after a year and five-ish months of this, I can still have a really screw-up day.