I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
The quotation comes from Psalm 121, which came into my mind this morning, mostly in the form of the John Rutter anthem. Why today? I don’t know.
I did a complete set today of tai chi and my related work. This means two qi gong forms, twenty push-ups, and eight iterations of the tai chi form.
If I think of that as a whole, a unity, I can note that at one-eighth of the form iterations, I feel a sense of “you could be done now.” At three-eighths, the sense becomes, “one more and you could be done.” At five-eighths, I think, “might as well finish by doing three more.” This means that part of me is shifting from the old model, in which one iteration of he form is enough— to the new model in which one day’s work is a half-hour to forty-five minutes of exercise. Yet I’m not there, quite. I’m getting there but not there yet.
The quality of practice has improved. Even when I was doing tai chi with my friend Nick at my festival-retreat last weekend, I was doing it half-hacked. Sloppy and quick. Sorry Nick: you didn’t get the best from me. I felt bad about that.
But, at the same time, I’m noticing that no matter how sloppy my first tai chi form is, by the sixth or seventh iteration, my movements are characterized by all eight of the desired qualities: good breath, slowness, footwork, outward strength, inward strength, splitting, upward, downward. All of the work is being suffused with the power and strength that I’m trying to achieve.
It’s starting to be noticed, too. My friends on retreat with me noticed it— they were genuinely surprised to find that I hadn’t lost weight. But more of it is muscle and sinew and bone than fat. Denser. Stronger. I’m liking this. I look forward to th day when my body is wholly on board with the program my brain has decided on.