After tai chi this morning, my eyes alighted on a sewing project I’d started before Christmas, but not yet finished. The person from whom I borrowed the sewing machine I’m using has mentioned that she might like it back, though, so instead of writing right away about tai chi, I finished my project, or at least finished the next two steps that require a sewing machine. Most of the rest of it is hand sewing at this point.
As I did tai chi this morning, I ripped one of my favored pairs of pants for the work; ripped them open, beyond hope of repair. Things wear out, they break, they die, they fade away, they rip. We have to learn to let go of them. This means replacing the worn-out from time to time. Or, we have to let our capacities go. Even if it is a favorite pair of pants.
But we can’t replace ourselves or parts of ourselves so easily. We don’t bounce back from illness quite as quickly as we grow older; and sickness can linger, longer, if we’re not careful. I think of tai chi as a kind of preventative maintenance program. Apparently it’s helped my legs grow stronger, because my knees no longer creak during deep-knee bends (and I can bust through a pair of paints like nobody’s business). My circulation is better, because my feet and arms don’t fall asleep as easily. My perpetually-stuffy nose has mostly cleared out (though mornings like today are sometimes rough). I don’t get sick as often, or as long, as I used to. I’m healthier noe than I was two years ago, and I eat healthier, too.
There remains the work of making meaning out of life. My Mother The Artist (I think of Gordon’s MMTPN — “my mother the psychonaut”) says “you are your projects”. By which she means, in part, that we are the things we choose to do in the world. Our hands learn to do the things they do, and our minds grow and are empowered by that doing. I seem to have made tai chi one of my projects. I’m going to keep doing it, but I’m not going to stop working on other things, either. Because this isn’t my only rodeo.