Yesterday, I commented on Horowitz’s remark, “When I don’t practice for a day, I notice. When I don’t practice for two days, the orchestra notices. When I don’t practice for three days, the audience notices.”
It’s true, of course. When I give myself the right to slack off in tai chi — as I am this morning — I get a morning where I have a lackadaisical practice where just completing the task of doing tai chi is enough. But lately I’ve found a way to move my practice forward and improve upon it; and the fact that I’m NOT PUSHING MYSELF today may be seen as somewhat disappointing.
But it occurs to me that Vladimir Horowitz’s insight about three days of no practice has an important value built into it. Which is that sometimes, you have to go three days without practicing to your fullest extent. Sometimes there are things which are more important.
Now… I have practiced tai chi today. But I wouldn’t call it a stellar practice. It was about as short as it is possible for a tai chi practice to be: Five Golden Coins, and then the form. Short, as I said.
But it’s been a crazy week. Next week, tech week for the play begins. As a result, the production effort on the head of the Wizard of Oz has shifted into high gear. As you can see in the photograph, the head is taller than I am. It’s heavy. But now it has eyes and eyebrows, and lips, and a moving jaw. It will hold together for ten days (I hope!), and it will accept a layer of green paint, and then some other colors for highlights and shadows.
It’s also been all-consuming for about five days. And basically, it has to be mostly-complete today. So if I haven’t given my tai chi practice the intensity it deserves, that’s OK. The days for returning to that more intense practice will return. In the meantime, there’s a different kind of work to be done.