Today, after yesterday’s challenges with speed, it was a pleasure to work through a version of the tai chi form that took almost twenty minutes by itself. The two qi gong forms themselves took about 20 minutes together. Ultimately, today was about 40 minutes of chi-fluid goodness. I like mornings like that.
In general, I’ve had very good chi work this winter vacation. Some down in Florida, some up here in New England, and a range of quality from very fast and not very good yesterday, to today’s almost-exactly-perfect in both timing and force. Elegant.
On the one hand, I wonder how to get more days like today out of my tai chi practice in the coming year. On the other, I wonder if it’s necessary. Over time, I imagine my tai chi practice will become more and more like today’s effort: slow, fluid, deliberate, careful, and powerful. However, I wonder if I’ll ever completely master the work in such a way that days like yesterday will vanish completely from my work.
Idealism tells me yes. I will achieve perfection of form in this lifetime. But realism says no, I won’t — but it won’t matter. The asymptotic curve of progress means that I will get better and better over time, but as always — “Mama said there’d be days like this.” It’s realistic to expect that some of the days of our workings are just not going to be up to the standards you set for yourself. And this is normal. It’s expected. It’s totally within the realms of ordinariness. And it’s not something that we have to find suspicious at all, or regard with dismay. If it doesn’t work today, there’s always tomorrow. If tomorrow isn’t a good practice, there’s the day after that. We’re always going to have this range of good and bad days, and that’s typical. Maybe there will come a time when there are substantially more ‘good practice’ days than ‘bad practice’ days, but practice doesn’t have to be perfect.
Do the work without expectation, and see what powers develop from that.