Today is my last day of a 5-day long tai chi retreat. Doing tai chi without cult-i-ness is such a salve. I’d been practicing it long before my little dalliance with “school”. I’m reclaiming my practice.
It’s been 7 years since I departed the hollow halls. During that time, I took charge of the narrative spoon-fed by the hollow halls and told it through my perspective. In doing so, I took back my voice; because I took back my voice, I reconnected to THEM, the unholy, un-schooled friends and family from my lowly “only life” — i.e. recovered my authentic relationships and essentially reclaimed my authentic identity.
My tai chi reclamation is the next piece of recovery. Imagine, if you will, tai chi with no unspoken hierarchy. No soul-deadening lectures. No unspoken expectations. No secrecy. No requirement to make new friends for the cause. No social engineering — you can, in fact, make real friendships with your tai chi mates outside the classes, wow! You can even have their phone numbers! You can talk to them about normal things, outside the tai chi practice, work, family, interests, gossip even (horrors!) because no one is interested in controlling your personal relationships, thoughts and feelings. A tai chi practice in which you can simply focus on learning the form, the principles, the sense and feeling of the practice. No bullshit.
When we started this retreat the teacher asked us to say one thing about ourselves that might surprise our co-horts and I told them: I’m obsessed with mortality. It’s true. Since I allowed “school” to fucking hi-jack five precious years of my life — five years I won’t get back — I intend to reclaim each day and all aspects of my life that I would have lost had I remained a “school”cog, grinding the gears of Gans aggrandizing and enriching.
I hope that those of you who are now proud disgruntled ex-students are doing the same. I hope those of you visiting this blog because you’re breaking the rules and conducting independent internet research (horrors), will do the same. Trust me, given enough time, the cult will take and you will give. The group will tell you in word, in deed and in spirit, “You owe. We own.”
That’s the “experiment”. Now you know. If you want to be a cog in a wheel, stay in “school”/”the study”/”the work” or whatever it is calling itself now. If you want to have your life and be yourself say bye, bye.