health humor meditation T'ai chi wisdom

Day Five: when a wall is enough


It is now just 35 days til D-day, and anxiety is flitting around the edges of my psyche.

There are so many details that it boggles the mind. (There is so much stuff to move or discard!  There are so many decisions to make! There are deadlines to meet, lodgings to arrange, roads to ponder, strangers to encounter! There are so many unknowns…. argh!!!) It is exhausting even to think of them, on top of all the scary and startling news coming at us from the world which I duly read in today’s papers.

What to do?

Fight back. Discern between urgent, important, and essential, and make time for essential things to be urgent. In other words, instead of launching into anxious detail mode first (real estate agents!  furniture movers! cleaning services! money money money to pay!), I’m sticking with the morning routine.

Why? Because the rigorous morning routine reminds me of my essence. It makes me feel good. And today, my essence feels a little out-of-whack. It is jangling with nerves. So, while doing today’s standing meditation, I deliberately gazed upon a wall instead of looking at the living kaleidoscope going on outside the windows.

(I took a photo of the blue corner to post here, but now the wi-fi connection to my phone is not working! Argh!!!)

I gazed at a corner, where two walls meet. Looking closely at it, and its cool blue hues reflected in the morning light, I realized it is actually a slightly rounded space, not a sharp angle. This reminded me of Bob Klein’s lesson about in-between places in T’ai chi. I’ll copy it for you here. Then I will go and do my silent exercise routine, knowing that the move will happen, one way or another, and that it will be fine (or good enough, anyway).

“Another important lesson of the Form consists of the in-between places–the transitions from one movement to the next in which momentum gives out in one direction and begins in a new direction. Logically, there should be a point at which the body comes to a complete halt. Yet this point is so imperceptible that you could say it does not exist. As the momentum gives out in an arm moving toward its own body, for example, the arm gradually slows down at the very end. As it begins its new direction, it gradually speeds up. Yet this alteration is so subtle that the arm appears to be moving at a constant speed.”

Klein ends this foray into the technical minutiae of T’ai chi with a reminder that our main goal is simply to do the Form!  Despite all aspirations toward perfection, the only rule is “Don’t stop now.” He concludes: “When you are no longer tense and rigid, all you have left is laughter” (Movements of Magic, 8).

Bottom line: Get a grip on your nerves. Exercise and meditate as usual. Do those things which are necessary today, but continue strengthening yourself within. What we do today will make tomorrow easier, but only if we do not exhaust ourselves in doing it.

Good luck! ^_^



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