Tai Chi Y3D217: Four Directions

Building an Adirondack chair: week 2
An Adirondack Chair in progress

Yesterday was sort of a big day.  I had a successful meeting with the chair and members of our new Design Thinking committee.  We discussed the possibilities of the new room for school and after school programs.

After the meeting, I went to the Eli Whitney Museum, and worked on my Adirondack Chair.  The school paid for me to attend this class, which teaches basic carpentry by teaching the construction of an iconic American deck or lawn chair.  So far, the thing is coming along nicely.

I launched the Yearbook project.  For a variety of reasons, I’m taking over the yearbook at my school, and it’s built into my DAS (Digital Arts and Sciences) class in the eighth grade.  We have a photography plan for the next few months; we have a program of organization for the yearbook staff (which is every eighth grader); and we have a set of goals for photographs for every fall event before Thanksgiving.  Awesome.  We’re ready for all of that.

And I taught a tai chi lesson during recess yesterday to four interested girls.  Who seemed intrigued by the idea that I somehow ‘memorized movements’.

In the context of all of the above, today’s tai chi practice seems like a sad come-down.  I got up at the right time after going to bed at the right time.  I did four sets of twenty push-ups.  In between those push-ups, I did two qi gong forms, and a tai chi form.  And I did my druidic practice. I haven’t said much about that, but it involves lighting three candles, doing some movements, saying some prayers, and lighting some incense; I also cast a geomancy chart (though today I’ll be doing that later in the morning).  I should have gone a little slower on the tai chi form, but I ALWAYS should go a little slower on the tai chi form.

But here’s what I know.  The practice of a daily practice, whether you like it or not, whether it bores you or not, opens you up to other potential powers.  I don’t think I’d be taking a carpentry class, or doing tai chi on the playground at recess, or running a school innovation program, or teaching kids to build, if I didn’t have this daily practice in my life.  I think that it builds my capacity to do other things, and teaches me how to move from being able to do only one thing, to being able to do many things.  There’s a power in this daily work, which is that it’s prepared — me, at least — to be able to do many other things.

I think about all of the various projects I’m working on these days, from learning the beginnings of electronics to building a 3D Milling Machine (still in process) to making a game design program for my school. Outside of school, there’s Toastmasters, which is going well.  I’m doing a lot. And unlike prior years, somehow I’ve built my capacity so that what I’m doing is … normal. Even though it feels super-heroic at times.

Maybe it’s weird to ascribe that to a daily practice.  But I’m sure, without these 2 years, 217 days, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.

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