Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 79 of 365: Of the Path

I have a bad habit of rambling about tai chi during my classes. My students haven't complained about it yet, so I'm not too, too worried. But I know how I am when my yoga instructors get chatty, so I'm trying to keep it to a minimum.

Yesterday, I was rambling about the idea of "tai chi masters". Because, to be frank, those don't exist. The term "tai chi master" was most likely coined by some dude in America with a background in karate (where you sneeze the right way and suddenly you're a master). In tai chi, there is no master, because there is no mastering. "Mastery" essentially means that you know all that there is to know, and there is always something else to gain from tai chi.

As I told my students, tai chi is a practice, not a perfection (a term I stole from, like, 101 different yogis). There is always something new to learn and understand about the form. You can never perfect tai chi; you can only go further down the path. And when you are on that path is irrelevant, so long as you are going forward.

Another thing I ramble in my classes is about the overlap between tai chi philosophy and life philosophy. Like redirecting an opponent's energy and momentum to your own benefit (instead of going at the opponent head-on and hoping you can overpower them). And, in this case, the idea that where we are on whatever path we're on is irrelevant, so long as we're going forward.

Being 27 (and being surrounded by people in their late 20s and early 30s), I hear a lot about what is "supposed" to happen at this age. Marriage, kids, a house, a steady career. Like everyone's path has clearcut milestones that must be crossed or else the rest of the trip is worthless. And I hate that. Yes, I'm married and have a house, but I still feel as unprepared to have kids as I did when I was 23, and, God help me, there are few things as unsteady as being an independent contractor (which, in the eyes of my agency and the studio I teach at -- at least for tax purposes -- that is exactly what I am). Not to mention my dreams of being an international bestseller by 25 was gone by the time I hit, gee, 26. But, again, where I am on that path is irrelevant, so long as I'm going forward.

So onwards I go. Writing like a madwoman. Allowing myself to be as frivolous as to attempt a modeling career resurgence at 27. Teaching tai chi when it technically pays less per billing cycle as teaching full-time did. Tending to my house and my animals and experiencing all that there is to experience. Milestones be damned. Life is a practice, not a perfection.

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