Today’s practice was watery. I don’t mean in the sense that it was raining; but in the sense that it tended to wander from one thing to the next to the next. I did twenty push-ups. And then I did a tai chi form, focused on breathwork (albeit not very well). Then I did Eight Pieces of Silk, one of the qi gong forms, before doing the form again. And then I wandered away to work on something, before coming back to do a couple more rounds of tai chi. I don’t remember if I did Five Golden Coins today, but it’s a strange morning. The birds woke me at 4:30 am, I was working on tai chi by 5:00… and yet I’m only sitting down to write the entry at 7:15 am. I know I didn’t do tai chi consistently for two hours. It was more like… there were six or eight exercises in that time, but what I was doing, I’m not entirely sure. Formless. Watery. Sloshy.
One of my goals for today is to produce some posts for you all to read while I’m away for part of next week. They won’t be tai chi related, but they will be related to the Make Summer Camp experience.
At one of the Design Thinking Workshops I ran (I think the one at St. Mark’s School), a colleague of mine noted that if we gave people half-an-hour to work on a project, then it took 15 minutes for the group members to sort out their hierarchy and construction process. And then the second fifteen minutes would be about getting the work done. You would watch it seize control of the hall, as 1-2 people at each table would stand up, and start cutting things out of paper, or assembling pipe-cleaners. “Look at them go!” my colleague said, “Look at them taking up authority to get things done!” Every single time I ran this exercise, I’ve seen the same results: every time, most of the teams take half the time deciding whether or not to participate and how— and the BEST WORK comes out of the teams that started the earliest.
It’s sort of a bad day for me to be pointing this out, given how poor my tai chi practice was today. Yet I urge you to take up your authority, and get things done. The strawberries don’t can themselves, the paintings don’t paint themselves, the clothes don’t sew themselves together, the drawings don’t get made on their own, the bags and boxes and shelves don’t assemble themselves with the wave of a wand (although wand-waving can help: wingardium lev-i-O-sa, remember; and chocolate can drive off the dementors that terrify you with visions of too many projects). But don’t wait until half your time is gone. Start early. Your work will be better as a result.