Saturday, February 28, 2009

Returning to center

Heading into March I hadn't really had time to think about which goal would move front and center for me...up until last week. When the Universe is sending you a message it's helpful if you pay attention. So, without further ado my goal this month is to return to my center, and focus on my martial arts practice. And to keep things simple, I plan on doing my form every day.

In Taiji, we practice a form called the Yang set, which has (I think...) 108 movements divided into three sections. If we practice it at a fairly moderate pace it takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. Every Saturday morning, it's part of class, and in each movement you can learn so much about where you are mentally, physically and even spiritually.

Some days when we do the form, I get lost watching the birds and squirrels and feeling the breeze on my face, or the sun shining down. Sometimes, I get lost in the movement and feel surprised when we're suddenly done despite the feeling that we just got started. It's in this form that I realized my balance was completely shot after dealing with the plantar fascitis in my feet, and learned that you work much harder when you forget to breathe along the way. I also learned that although you may learn the sequence of movements in a short time, it may take a lifetime to explore, experience and master them.

This past weekend my instructor suggested that I come to class and do the form, and nothing else...no push-ups, no other work, just the form. I almost cried at his suggestion, which says a lot. I didn't make it to class and of course, felt guilty until I remembered that he said he would support me regardless of my decision. He did make it clear, that what I needed the most was to return to my practice, return to my breath and return to my center. And, in a world that tells us to sit back and take it easy when we're not feeling well comes his message that we should get up and move, and sweat, and work.

It makes me realize how much I miss being immersed in this art form. I miss my old Dojo, my old Sensei, the kicking, the punching, the sweating and the grappling. I even miss the bruises I'd get on occasion! They were badges of honor, which represented my hard work and determination. Don't get me wrong, I love my classes, and I could spend a lifetime learning from my instructor, the problem is me...I have to find the time to do so.

In focusing on my form every day for this month, I hope to find the time to return to my center, and to find my focus and intention once again.

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