Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 390
Smooth and Steady
Greetings. Looks like we are finally in for some moisture. We have been experiencing record warm and dry weather. Boy do we need rain! I was reading through the Tips Book Riggan made for me and ran across this one from 2016. Feels appropriate, so enjoy.
Smooth and Steady
Beautiful morning. Reviewed my email and news headlines before setting off to the wharf for practice. A big mistake. So much negative political news.
I arrived just after sunrise. The sun was coming up behind some clouds to my left, which is southeast. It lit up the snow covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains to my right. It was cold, but I was dressed for it. As I walked to the end of the wharf, a seagull was being chased by two others, and as it passed overhead, a claw from a Dungeness Crab dropped to the wharf, and one of the chasers dropped right behind me to pick it up and fly off. I am so happy I am not a gull. They never get to just relax and enjoy a nice, fresh meal of tasty crab.
I did my usual warm up of shakes, turns, rolls up and down, bow and sit. The clouds would cover the sun, then all of a sudden, the sun would pop out to warm me a bit. As I got my muscles warmed up, I noticed my mind was wandering here and there, mostly back to the news headlines which were quite negative. I would then move my consciousness back to my body and enjoy some relaxation.
This morning, I was facing west towards the Olympics. The ferry, which is between me and the mountains, took off from its dock, heading to Whidby Island (the longest island in the U.S.). Smooth and steady. I decided to use that as my intention for the morning practice. Smooth and steady.
I started into the long form, and after the first Grasp the Bird’s Tail, I noticed my mind had wandered back to the news. I refocused on smooth and steady, and found relaxation once again. This pattern continued for the whole practice. I could not force myself to let go of the mind chatter, yet if I relaxed and went back to smooth and steady, I would have some space for peace.
I ended my practice more energized, but feeling that I had somehow failed in attaining the goal of practice. Yet even this is a lesson. New students come to Tai Chi with so many expectations of what they want to accomplish, yet their minds are so full of these hopes, and they haven’t yet learned the tools to let the mind relax. So, even one as experienced as I, has times of turmoil that can’t be easily shaken off. But Tai Chi helps, and usually works to clear the mind, at least somewhat. Some lessons aren’t what you expect or want, but I accept them with thankfulness anyway.