Beginner mind. Beginner mind.
Reporting utter failure. Oh yes.
I walk into an intermediate t’ai chi class after sixteen years solo practice. Which followed twenty years as a student, then apprentice, then teacher in a t’ai chi school in NY.
I had asked the owner of the new t’ai chi school to please let me into his push hands class, which is what I’m craving. He said no, I have to start as an intermediate student. I asked him again, using different words. Failed to convince him of my advanced level; he said no a second time.
So. Beginner mind. Christian offered this tidbit to me over dinner and I grabbed it. Sure. I can do this. I live a transformed life. I’ll walk in there and be open and receptive and learn something. I’ll pay my dues and surely I’ll get bumped up into advanced and push hands before long… (does my scheming mind ever stop?)
Utter. Failure. The few moments during that long hour when I wasn’t hearing screaming voices in my head yelling “they’re doing it wrong!” I was thinking how much better I am than the woman who was teaching the class. I couldn’t even keep it to myself. I resisted a correction she gave me and I told her why!!! I told her that I was taught differently (and clearly better!). She muttered something about how when people come to her school from other schools they often need to unlearn and relearn.
Humiliation. Luckily it can lead to humility. I called Christian and laughingly told on myself. Told another friend. Now telling the world. Or the two or three in it who read this thing.
I have a new commitment for next week. (Yes, I’m going back.) I’m going to follow her instructions(!). I’m going to walk in there thinking I’m going to learn something new. And I’m going to let go of the (probably irrational) fear that if I do it this new way I’ll be losing something.
- For self-honesty.
- For friends.
- For laughter.
- For humiliation and its counterpart, humility.
- For t’ai chi and the vitality it affords me by my practice.
- For being close enough to Ladybug and family that I can babysit Avery while he sleeps from the comfort of my own home with the use of a baby monitor.
- For being able to allow Ladybug a night out.
- For willingness to do what seems like endless mindless work to get the mailing list ready for my email marketing.
- For being able to give Rose $120 to spend for fun while she’s in Hawai’i.
- For gratitude and this practice.