Somewhere around Golden Pheasant during the form today, I realized I had no idea where I was. I was facing the wrong direction. My feet were in the wrong position. I couldn’t remember what the last move was… what the last three moves were. Or what had come before that. I was in the middle of a tai chi sequence, and I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing next, or where I had come from. Just me, standing alone in the empty space in my office, working through the tai chi form. Where am I?
The thing that called me back to myself, that called me out of the trance of being in tai chi, was a small pebble or stone or chunk of road salt. My friend Josh (@paperbits) and I had been looking at my bookshelf. Who knows which of us tracked it in. It was stuck to the forward-inside edge of the arch of my right foot. Where it pressed against my foot and the floor was a pinch or a strike or a needle-jab of awareness. And that awareness called me out of the state of being the tai chi practitioner, and back into the state of being Andrew.
I did the sensible thing. I stopped.
I swept the floor, and I started again.
Because that’s what you do.
This time, I got through the tai chi form. More awake. More alert. More slowly. More aware of my breath. More attuned to the changes in the room. More focused on the details of each posture, and the structure of each movement.
At least, that’s what I tell myself. This time, at the least, I can say that I knew where I was on every posture.