Monday, December 28, 2009:
I'm back in Minnesota, the land of plenty: plenty of clouds, plenty of snow, plenty of cold temperatures. I'm staying with Sue, my friend and long-ago college roommate. This morning Sue's cat, Henry, joined me in my t'ai chi chih practice. He rubbed against my legs, turned, then rubbed back in the opposite direction. Again ... and again ... and again.
It felt wonderful to have cat energy as part of my practice. I imagined that soon--unable to capture my attention--he'd cease his intervention. Sure enough, by the end of Around the Platter he leapt onto a nearby card table and reclined.
Snow surrounds me in every direction as I move softly. I feel grateful for this practice that gets me up and moving each day. Though I awoke with a headache--spent after an overlong day of travel and dramatically different climate--the promise of TCC pulled me from bed and into my quiet practice time....
Tuesday, December 29, 2009:
Henry, the cat, joined me after I'd begun my practice this morning. There's no better way to bring attention down to your lower legs and into your feet than by practicing with a cat. The constant rubbing and purring plus my added concern that a paw or whisker could end up trapped beneath rising or falling toes and heels led me to greater care and attention as my weight shifted forward and back.
I began practice at 5:20 am. Darkness circled 'round me but for one brightly shining street light. Softly I followed the flow of my movements as they reflected back to me from a darkened window.
Now that I've lived in the woods for seven years I'm struck by the sensory overload that is a part of city life ... everything you desire lies within blocks or miles from you though much of it is readily available in your own home. There are too many sights, sounds, smells; too much tactile information for me to process.
"Keep it simple," advises Alcoholics Anonymous. I now understand the importance of that basic tenet. In today's practice I turn it down a notch. I rise, fall, glide, and flow slowly, calmly ... I embrace simplicity.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009:
I admit ... lots of thoughts rush through my head during today's practice. Henry isn't there to brush against my legs and warm my heart. I found him nestled on the back of a chair when I got out of bed this morning. After several minutes of stroking and sweet-talking I started my practice. Henry stayed in his nest.
Today I'm homeward bound. I'm anxious to be back in the peaceful woods. Thoughts of last year's travels in Central America during this time of year plus this year's travels in American cities made me realize how much--too much--we Americans have in our lives. It's never enough, it seems. I can't wait to return to my home where nature and quiet, sunrises and new moons, honking geese and twittering birds are enough.
I bought myself a refrigerator magnet in a bookstore in Baltimore. It's a reminder:
peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.Yes, my TCC practice helps me to feel the peace, to be peace in the rush and rumble of city life. But this is not where I want to stay. I like my life in the middle of the woods. It's simple, quiet, low-key ... and it fills me full.