As I move I watch the high tops of trees move with me, their upper branches swaying and dancing as they engage in dangling conversations. My practice passes quickly; thick clots of clouds on the distant horizon form a heavily curtained backdrop to the dance of branches and treetops.
An ancient gnarled tree:Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao's author, explains in his reading for January 25 that, just as strong, beautiful, and useful trees are cut down, useless ones survive. The same is true for people, he says, with those of us who are too plain to be noticed left undisturbed and unexploited.
Too fibrous for a logger's saw,
Too twisted to fit a carpenter's square,
Outlasts the whole forest.
From: 365 Tao, p. 25, 'Uselessness'
Just because we are plain, writes Ming-Dao does not mean we are without value. For, if we are considered useless, we may live freely without interference and have the opportunity to express our own individuality.
And so I perform my daily practice in peace. No one expects too much of me since I am neither strong nor beautiful. Still, these daily t'ai chi chih moments add up to a greater whole over the long-term. Because of my flaws, my wounds, my imperfections, I do become stronger. The beauty within me grows.