Thursday, March 02, 2006


Tai chi class was simply awesome last night. I'm kickin' butt and taking names. I've upped my working-application average to about 50%, which means I do it right about half the time. Granted, that's with a willing partner and at fairly low speed, but that's okay. Doing it right means you're not thinking about it, which means it's becoming automatic. From here it's a matter of building speed and accuracy. Sit is so pleased with me; he keeps taking me aside and showing me refinements, new ways to do it better. He's not saying "good enough," anymore, he's saying, "Yes, now add this."

I also experienced a curious tingling in my fingertips last night, especially while we were doing the block-and-slap "single whip" move. You're supposed to be very limp-armed during that slap, just crack your elbow and wrist forward like a whip. Stings like fire to get hit like that--it can leave welts. And for the first time I could feel the blood slinging into my fingertips when I swung. That's a very good sign; it means your chi is flowing freely. It adds a tremendous amount of power without relying on muscle tension, kind of like the impact of the water in a balloon. Today my fingers are still unusually red. Susan even noticed it. She gripped my hand and was amazed at how hot my fingers are.

Best of all, last night was just fun. There's some other heavy-duty stuff going on in my life right now, and I've been worn out with worry and stress and just plain being unsettled. I hate having my schedule disrupted; my husband teases me about being a creature of habit, but it's a simple fact--if you stick to a familiar routine, it frees up your mind for other stuff, creative and fun stuff.

So no matter what, I attend tai chi twice a week. If nothing else it's good exercise. And when it's good, it's transcendent. Last night there was a point when I looked around and realized I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. It was a moment of pure peace with the universe.


"Don't worry," Sifu says,
"It turn out to be a good thing.
Maybe be real good."

Whirling storm calms
beneath the gong of a hand.
I sleep in the arms of hope.

They are loving and supportive;
they gave me the key.
But oh God, the books!

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