Today would have been a good day to begin with a T'ai Chi Chih practice. Alas, I was scheduled to open the library and didn't get in my practice before work. Mondays are notoriously busy since the library is closed on Sundays. It often seems as if patrons are anxious to return the ten DVDs that they watched over the weekend (or during the previous two weeks) on Mondays and then check out ten more. Needless to say, I was inundated with DVDs.
I moved at top speed for the first three hours after I opened and, since my co-worker had an out-of-town appointment, I worked solo most of the day. Need I say more? It was a tiring day.
After I arrived home and ate dinner I felt better. But I truly relaxed after I did my T'ai Chi Chih practice. When I tuned into my body, I realized that I was holding tension in my neck and shoulders and I reminded myself to let my shoulders drop as I breathed out the tightness and stress.
One of the greatest benefits of TCC practice is the opportunity it provides for me to get out of my head and into my body. Or perhaps, more accurately, it allows me to focus my attention on relaxing my body and my mind. I'm reminded of the the 1997 book by Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey, Slowing Down to the Speed of Life: How to Create a More Peaceful, Simpler Life from the Inside Out.
It seems that people often think of T'ai Chi Chih and T'ai Chi Ch'uan as exercise. What they don't realize is that when we take the time to slow down and inhabit our bodies, we also find ourselves inhabiting (or noticing) our minds and thoughts. What a wonderful gift to notice, to pay attention, and to become present to--and in--the moment. Because, once we are aware, we can make conscious, deliberate choices. Now that's empowerment!