pootato—potaato

May 4th, 2013 by Jan

There is a martial arts school in Vancouver called the Dojang. It was near the studio in Kits on 4th St. The sign in the Dojang window said, “A place to study the way.” They advertised that they “took” the best of all martial arts and created their own art. We used to walk by, look in the window and of course we made a few comments. (I totally admit to being a martial arts snob.)

I was with Jim one day when he mentioned that Tai Chi was more of a “way to study the place.” It made such good sense to me and besides it was funny.

This morning, I was thinking that we all need a place and a way, no matter what we study.

I tend to blather on about practice, and I also tend to mention the places I enjoy that practice. The training field in our yard is a good example. The place oozes qi and there is a great comfort inside me when I move through the 108 in that yard. Several other places are worn with my practice as well, the patio, the beach at Tunstall Bay, the great room at the O to mention a few.

There is another place where a different practice of mine grows, and that is my office — aka, the cave.

In New Mexico, I cultivated several routes that I walked regularly; places I would sit or stand, or just look out from. These places felt comfortable for my movement and thinking practices. But looking back I didn’t find a place that was comfortable for me to practice writing.

Back on Bowen I find it easier to write in my office, at the desk, on the computer. I am surrounded by what others may call clutter but I call stuff. There is art work on the walls, photos of friends and family, Peet is usually close by and Ken is usually in the next room. I couldn’t get 2% more comfortable.

It seems I’m able to find a zillion ways and places to practice Tai Chi, but not many have worked out so well for the writing practice I claim to really want to develop. This got me thinking.

When I first started to study Tai Chi in Oregon, we learned the form looking at Skinner’s Butte. I had trouble remembering the moves unless the landmark was there to give me hints of what came next. The road on the right and the bike path on the left helped when I got lost in the shuttles for example. It took me a while to internalize and learn the form well enough that it became personal and I could take it “to go” anywhere. Now I am able to practice anywhere.

So, apparently this writing practice is still in the early stages where I need the helpful hints my office space provides that can remind me to just sit down and write.

In someways this unfolding knowledge is nice to know. I imagine with more practice, it won’t be long before I’m able to take my writing ways to other places, but for now the place I study this way is in my office.

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