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22 August 2000

I could just scream. I'm having a grand mal depression, and, in trying to counteract that, I decided that I'd do something useful: a load of wash. I gathered up my stuff and headed down stairs. Last wash, when I was taking things out of the dryer, I discovered a nice purple splotch from a pen that had leaked in the pocket of one of my new shirts. I'd set it aside for next time, and, since this was the next time, I trekked back upstairs to get the acetone I use for doing my nails-- acetone and hairspray are for getting out ink, you know. I don't have any hairspray. Anyway, I poured the acetone on the pocket and proceded to rub vigorously, completely forgetting that I'd just this afternoon redone my nails. In "Craze Frost." Now there's green and purple all over the pocket, and about a pint of acetone in the wash water, and god only knows how it will come out.

Why am I depressed? T'ai Chi. I love T'ai Chi. I've been practicing faithfully, and I've been improving-- I can squat now and keep my heels flat on the floor and not fall over, you know-- and I've been feeling good about practicing the forms. And the balance and the "effortless effort" manifest from time to time. And I can feel my chi flowing, and I can feel the chi around me-- yeah, I know it sounds nuts, but it's true. So, tonight I go to my lesson feeling pretty good, and what happens? David, my instructor, ups the ante.

You have got to see this guy move. He's like friggin Gumby. Have you ever seen anyone who could turn his torso around 180 degrees, arms straight out to his sides, and look directly behind him?-- without straining? And I don't mean that he's got his head turned on his neck. I mean his neck isn't even twisted slightly, and his shoulders are facing the opposite direction from that towards which his toes are pointing, and there he is, arms out, just facing backwards. Geez. It looks very strange.

Now don't go thinking this is some kind of freaky, geeky, thing. I love watching David move. You have no idea. It's wonderful. Truly wonderful. He's graceful, and he moves seemingly effortlessly, always balanced in his motions-- it's like the way I imagine atomic particles interact, always moving, always in harmony, achieving stability through constantly flowing movement of universal chi--

And I can do all the twenty-four forms-- and squat and keep my heels on the floor-- and not fall over. Mostly.

Watching David move so effortlessly and gracefully, I experience many mixed emotions. Part of me wants to try harder, practice more, learn more. I want to absorb it all, take it all inside-- take David inside me, too, somehow-- own it all, and make all that grace and beauty mine. But another part of me wants to give up entirely, walk away, hating that which I feel I can never own or achieve for myself.

Have you ever been on the line between kiss and kill? That's where I am tonight.

Because I'm afraid. If I love T'ai Chi, if I admit I love it, if I try to "make it mine," if I commit myself to it, I'm afraid I'll fail. Or it will be denied to me. Or it will be taken away from me.

And then, of course, my heart would break. Again.

Love is never easy.

But you've got to take the chance.

The Tao te Ching says, "Open yourself to the Tao, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place." I hope that's so.

Remind me next time to tell you about the blueberries.


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