Tai Chi

March 8, 2007

In Tai Chi today our teacher emphasized the importance of letting go. The movements are controlled, there is a sort of beautiful tension in them, but it isn’t rigidity. He explained that the surface muscles sould be soft, but the deeper muscles are flexed. He had a student hang on his outstretched arm and she couldn’t budge it, yet just under the skin, the arm felt soft to the touch .

I love the analogy here, I see the deeper muscles as ‘intent’, and the surface muscles as ‘will’. Increasingly in my life, I find that I can use less superficial effort to get things acomplished. When I stress about something and try to force solutions, thing seem to stay stuck;  but the times I’ve been able to really let go and trust in the deeper intentions to solve things, then life flows.  This applies to everything from sticking to a diet to designing a website or keeping the house clean.

And like Tai Chi, if the movement/action comes from a quiet center, it is easy and pleasurable, but at the same time powerful.  It seems to go against our society’s work ethic, that getting things done can progress in a relaxed way; we need to feel and look like we are working hard to be taken seriously! But really, letting go is so much more efficient, and it has beauty and grace in it.

Today, I am writing this first by hand in a little journal, on the train moving through the Dutch countryside. I started the journey feeling rushed and tense. After closing my eyes and doing my Tai Chi mentally, my breathing was back to normal, and I felt completely relaxed. I proceeded to effortlessly solve a design problem I’d been wrestling with for 6 months. It didn’t feel like work, it just happened, and there is was. It wasn’t even an Aha!, just a quiet, perfectly right solution.

I’ve been an artist long enough to know that things need their incubation time. Why, though, when it takes longer than it ‘should’, do I have to learn every time all over again to trust, and that the right solution needs time to ripen and will appear when it and I am ready!?

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