I just got back home from my lesson in the park with my Tai Chi teacher, Michael.
It was a perfect LA day, with bright sun and a cool breeze blowing. We practice in the park surrounded by people walking themselves or their dogs, older friends from around the world sitting at tables playing cards or having a small picnic, and inevitably, people walking past with earphones on, seemingly talking to themselves in a tableau that would have shouted instability a few years ago but which somehow now passes for connection.
I have been studying Tai Chi for many years, and it is a form I love dearly and something from which I have learned an immense amount about working with people in organizations. The principles of Tai Chi, which include grounding, centering, and relaxation, are principles that are essential to thriving in any challenging environment, and without which makes us vulnerable to stress and imbalance in our dealings with others.
But today Michael and I worked on Sword Form. Sword Form uses the same principles as Tai Chi, but with a wooden sword. The effect of the sword is remarkable, as it extends the feeling of the flow of energy out beyond the tips of my fingers out to the tip of the sword. Unlike the swashbuckling sword play we see in the movies, this is a very internal form, more concerned with the source of the movement, connecting to the earth and the flow of the energy than it is with slashing or thrusting (although slashing and thrusting are involved at various points, which is a lot of fun).
Back at my desk, connecting with colleagues and clients, I was reflecting on my session with Michael today in the park. How do I use my energy, my experience, my insights, and have them extend beyond the edge of my reach and touch people who are around the country and across the globe? How do I stay centered, grounded, and relaxed while I write and send a proposal to a prospective client? How do I recreate that sense of play that I felt this afternoon in the park with my clients and colleagues?
I don’t know the answers to all those questions, but that’s ok, because I love a great question more than I like a mere answer (ask me about the story that goes with that sometime). Instead, I have another question: How do you connect beyond yourself in a way that preserves your personal center and balance? Do you think about that? Do you have a way that works for you? I would be most interested in your replies.