In praise of difficulty

Here is a piece from the GRTC blog from October 2018.

I am writing this before the first session of The T’ai Chi Centre’s 13th Annual autumn workshop. For 13 years I have been inviting Mark to Scotland to teach my students and we spend our time doing increasingly difficult, challenging, or sometimes even initially baffling things together. Each year at some point we will say or hear: ‘I can’t do this!’, or, ‘It’s difficult!’. And we all smile because we have all been there. Then we remember to look back and recall when ta lu seemed an impossible task, or when moving our bodies in figures-of-eight made our brains turn to porridge and our limbs seem like cooked spaghetti. Over the weekend I have pondered on the practice of difficult things and about how it enriches our lives, and makes us anti-fragile, keeps us in good health, mentally and physically, and enables us to look beyond the small self and our inner toddler’s protestations.

I would also like to draw your awareness to the haptic desert of contemporary life, the frictionless surfaces and voice activated and wave-on world in which we are sleep walking. I do not think the sense of touch is given anywhere near as much importance as is necessary and have an inkling this is impoverishing our learning environments, our living spaces, even our metaphorical choices and language due to the physical ruts our bodies are being funnelled towards. (‘Haptic’ is a useful word and is to touch what ‘visual’ is to sight, or ‘aural’ is to sound).

Swipe left, swipe right, click here for more pics, only a three minute read. Tl;dr…

So, today I will mostly be putting down intrusive thoughts, for the 21st year, whilst attempting to stay connected, attentive, relaxed and in motion or stillness, as appropriate, with 15 or so other wonderful people who have also chosen to come to Fetternear Hall and do this strange, difficult paradoxical thing. I shall write more later.

Published by Caroline Ross

Founder of Great River T'ai Chi. Maker of drawings, paintings and illustrations, teacher of earth materials.

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