Four tai chi forms after two qi gong forms. Really good breathwork on the two qi gong forms, and on the first and fourth tai chi forms. I was a little sloppy on the second tai chi form, made improvements on the third, and felt rock solid on the fourth. In all of the forms, I made a point of saying aloud or in my mind’s voice the name of the movement I was about to do. It helped keep me on track.
It’s been my habit for a number of weeks now, six or so at least, to integrate my morning offerings with my morning tai chi practice. I light a candle in the color of the day of the week — purple for Mondays, red for Tuesdays, orange for Wednesdays, blue for Thursdays, green for Fridays, black for Saturdays, and yellow (or white – it’s easier to find white than yellow candles sometimes) for Sundays; and a stick of incense while I do my morning exercises: jasmine on Mondays, dragon’s blood on Tuesdays, lavender on Wednesdays, cedar on Thursdays, rose on Fridays, myrrh on Saturdays, and frankincense on Sundays. Later, when I put on a tie, the tie will be in the color of the day, too.
Why offerings? I mean, it’s putting particulate matter into the air while I’m doing deep breathing exercises and working up a sweat. Is that something I really want to do? I don’t know. I do know that a deep peace comes from doing it, that I didn’t expect. It makes me feel like I’ve done something for the world, because before or after tai chi I’m usually moved to prayer. There are a number of neighbors and family members who are in bad shape, and offering light and incense for their health and recovery seems like the least that I can do. But it also feels like it connects me to some of the powers that have brought me to this place and to this time, as well. And it feels like something necessary to create peace in difficult times.
Maybe this is all a bit too mystical. Too liminal, too threshold-y? I mean: at the end of my tai chi practice, what I’ve done is something resembling a dance with not enough actual exercise to work up a sweat most days. And yet, in exchange for that dance, my joints don’t hurt, I’m in good physical health, and more or less sound in mind and body. A little bit of gratitude in the form of smoke and light and prayer seems a natural outgrowth of the work I’ve been doing. And I have a little bit of time to consider some of the deep problems that affect the world around me.
I should probably get a picture of my teacher, and put it near the candle.