Age, Change, Color, Movement, Perseverance, Love.
Those are the topics for my six Tai Chi classes at the Hampton Holistic Center this Fall. I’ve done the first four, with “Perseverance” occurring tonight.
Perseverance is the mark of the student who has lasted through more than one class.
Perseverance is the mark of the teacher eager to teach new students.
Perseverance is evident with every newly finished work of art: a book, a painting, a play, a contractual agreement, a building.
While perseverance in Tai Chi can be the completion of a set of exercises, the real deal shows if you are still doing the same (and new) things 5, 10, or 20 years down the road.
Are you? Will you?
My personal track record for “being present” has not always been stellar, and in those situations in which I was not always present, my results suffered. But, in those situations in which I was full on, always present, my results improved.
While providing caddying services for golfers as a teenager, I found that by being available even when all the other caddies had decided the sun was too hot or a milkshake was a cool thing to go get enabled me to snag a job when it presented itself. While working for a landscaping company, winter lay-offs were de rigueur. But when I asked not to be layed off during my second winter, odd jobs suddenly appeared that kept me busy for 30+ hrs per week (sometimes 80 hrs if the snow kept falling).
In later years, I grew complacent, thinking that my roles, when I did them well, were very necessary. When I did not do them well, I knew that time was short, but not how to properly change direction. While quitting is not optimal, at times you do need to change direction, so that opportunity cost does not outweigh your current gains. My last fulltime employer let me know in no uncertain terms that my complacency, or habits of not being present while being present, was getting the best of me. At his request, I changed direction.
While the change in direction was in parts painful, it was vastly necessary. My outlook on life has changed, my health has vastly improved for the better, for the long haul, and I’m interacting with a whole new cast of characters. Are you similarly less than present in aspects of your life? Will you need a change in direction to refocus your goals?
“Hello, World” is a traditional first computer programming program output message. As this post is Playing Tai Chi’s first blog post, drafted, hosted and viewed by computers, it’s only fitting that it serve as the first output here.
Yesterday my brother asked “Why use the word ‘Playing’ as part of the name for your website and your upcoming ebook?”
I love my brother because he comes up with the best, to-the-point questions.
The word “playing” I said to him has a positive flavor to it. When you play, you throw all your effort into doing something fun, with a light-hearted but highly concentrated intent. Tai Chi requires hard work to learn and to maintain, and ideally it requires working with other people to get the full flavor of both the movement and the martial applications. But Tai Chi should not be drudgery – it should be energizing, exciting – therefore “playing”.