11 March 2001
Today I got up very late: noon. I didn't practice, either. I spent hours making a red paper chrysanthemum to decorate a present...
I just needed something creative to concentrate on. I haven't made paper flowers— haven't made much of anything, for a long time. While I was having breakfast I spotted a sheet of red paper on the shelf, and I cut a strip, then I cut a "fringe" for petals, curled the "petals," and rolled the strip up and glued it. I futzed with it for a while, trying to decide if it would "do..." Couldn't find any dark green paper, so, in the end, I cut leaves out of a paper bag and colored them with a green marker, then stuck 'em on—
I write all that as if making that chrysanthemum was the work of minutes, something I accomplished while I finished my coffee. It wasn't. It took time. It wasn't amazingly difficult, either, mind you, but... how do I explain the creative process?
When I give a present, I have to make it something special— they are special, after all. I mean, if you care enough to give someone a present, you want them to know you care. I do, anyway. And I like to wrap presents. Anyway, I had this present, mostly wrapped, but I felt it needed something, and because the present and the card had a Chinese theme, the thought "chrysanthemum" popped into my head. And then, knowing that the giftee is fond of red, I thought, "Red chrysanthemum."
Thinking about it, I decided that a red chrysanthemum fell within the realm of possibility; for, in the back recesses of my mind, there lurked half forgotten instructions for making all kinds of paper flowers, and, among them, there was a chrysanthemum. As I cast my eye about at breakfast, thinking, remembering, I noticed that there was a piece of red paper left over from something I copied for Chinese New Year... and I began to experiment.
I worked with that strip of fringed paper, and over the next couple of hours, the chrysanthemum took shape.
I worked intuitively. I didn't worry that I couldn't do it. I didn't worry that I would screw it up. I knew that there was no deadline— heck, there wasn't even a necessity for that chrysanthemum. Who'd even know that a red chrysanthemum was missing from the present if I didn't tell? So there was no pressure. I just played with the paper, trying this and that, experimenting, enjoying the process...
That's the way to get things done. I am very satisfied with the red chrysanthemum and with the present. The red paper of the flower jsut happens to be the same shade of red as the envelope of the card. It is all very coordinated looking. Very beautiful. I feel good about it. I'm glad I took the time to make it.
After I finished the chrysanthemum, I got to reading a bit in The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi and QiGong, and it made me think. I may be taking my practice a little too seriously. I'm may be trying too hard. It made me think that I should be practicing t'ai chi the same way I approached making that red chrysanthemum: by playing, instead of worrying about my shortcomings and lack of progress...
After supper, I practiced bits and pieces of t'ai chi at Ma's. I just practiced enjoying t'ai chi for a while...
But I found myself wishing I had someone to play t'ai chi with. (Ma won't play with me. We're family. We drive each other nuts.) *Sigh* If wishes were horses... Still, I enjoyed the t'ai chi.
When I got home, I picked up Kim (Rudyard Kipling). Declare, the book by Tim Powers I read last week, had quotes from Kim as chapter headings, it being about "The Great Game" and all. I didn't remember all of the quotes, so I thought it must be time for a rereading.
Copyright © 2001 New Moon
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