We may think of our lives in years, decades or milestones that are memorable. We may reflect on our lives like chapters in a book – the struggle with a controlling father, confiding and relying on a best friend, the career launch, the career stall, finding true love, falling out of love, the child-rearing years, the middle-life crisis, the “golden” years. Many joys. Many disappointments. Many starts and many stops. And some of us may think of our lives as a journey, whether meandering or purposeful, moving like a river, twisting and turning around rocks, trees, always moving forward or sideways or detouring to a point unknown.
In Tai Chi we are always moving, slowly and with purpose. We don’t have sudden starts and stops. Of course, when learning a new move, we have to start, stop, do it again and again, so our body starts to remember what our mind is taking in and directing our body to do. With practice, we start to flow, shift our weight with fluidity and continual motion.
Bill, one of my teachers at the recent Tai Chi workshop I attended, said “every move has a beginning and end, but no pause. It doesn’t stop.” Tai Chi is continuous motion which creates stillness within. Most of us, in some way, would like that stillness, the calm that makes us feel really good.
Last night I saw a documentary, “Never Stand Still”, about the innovative dance school at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts. It’s been an incubator for individual dancers throughout the world for decades, to experiment, to move in new ways, to develop new skills, to express the joy of life through movement. In their dance movements there was a beginning, an end and no pause.
Tai Chi and dance are good models and metaphors for all our lives. For each of us, whether we think in years, chapters or journeys, there is motion and movement, whether we feel it or not. It doesn’t stop.