We got a new rug this weekend. Some friends are moving out to the West, and they got rid of a bunch of stuff at their party this past Saturday. We picked up a rug. The only place the rug can go is on the floor of the office space where I do tai chi.
I’m not sure I like it. I did four tai chi forms, and the rug doesn’t really shift around under my feet, which is nice and good. OK, maybe a little, but not in an way that feels dangerous. And it’s warm, which means that I’m not rushing to finish because my feet are cold on the floor. But that really wasn’t much of a risk beforehand. So now what?
I did four iterations of the form. My feet stayed on the rug. This is actually more likely to be the problem than that we have a rug in the office now. Because if my feet are staying on the rug, then that means that — in four different directions — my work is really square or rectangular. And that means that, even though I’m operating in a relatively limited space, in four different directions, I’m actually operating in an even smaller space than I thought, a space delimited by the shape of the ‘invisible rug’ that I was working on.
Think about that. The floor area of the office is X. The stuff around the edges of the room reduces X to Y, and the rug is smaller than than that. Let’s say that the available floor area of the room is Y, and R is the rug area. My guess is that 4R = Y. If I had four rugs of the same size, they’d cover the available floor area. But the area which I actually use for tai chi is only 1R. Consciously or unconsciously, I’ve been limiting my tai chi movements to a much smaller area than what is possible. And having a rug actually under my feet helped me see that limitation.
I find myself wondering what space, what rug, what set of circumstances, has made my tai chi movements constrained by such a relatively small area.