When I’m out in the world, my reflex is to shove grief into a bundle and push it aside, and try to act as if I don’t feel it.
It’s always surprising how much energy that actually takes. When I’m doing anything else that takes much effort, it’s nearly impossible. It makes me forgetful and clumsy, just like a pain flare.
When I was at t’ai chi class yesterday, shoving and pushing one way with my mind while I was shoving and pushing another way with my body was so exhausting that I was wringing wet with sweat. Then I remembered something I’d tried briefly before, and decided to try it for the rest of the class.
I mentally drew the grief into my whole body. The grief turned to sadness and stretched out into every muscle fiber, every moving part. And I did t’ai chi with a body that was swarming with sadness.
It was, above all, peaceful.
I certainly wasn’t as tired. The sweat vanished as if by magic. I don’t even remember it drying on me.
The important thing is, I wasn’t expressing sadness in any deliberate way. I didn’t move more slowly, or try for any effect. I moved more deliberately and with better focus, because I was integrated. My body was filled with sadness, and I moved that body through the t’ai chi form.
The point of t’ai chi is to clear things up, straighten out what needs straightening, and separate muddled body parts and muddled energies into their proper alignments. Therefore, the sadness got a heck of a massage, and by the end of class, it was like it had been processed into something more wholesome. There wasn’t nearly as much sadness, as such. There was a lot more peace. There was a sense of strength I can’t put a name to.
I must add, as a footnote, that it’s been a long time since my feelings were capable of unshadowed joy. I have learned to cultivate a certain shallowness of mind at times, so I can be insulated from the deeps and be simply happy in the moment.
Therefore, when I say that I was happy as I left class, understand that it was a deep happiness. The shadows were very much a part of it, but that was fine. They were in the right place.