China 2019 – Day 14, Wednesday, 31st July
As Yin transformed to Yang this morning, I was witness to a stunning sunrise over Guanxi, from the top of Xianggong Mountain (Husband Mountain!).
Myself, three others from the tai chi school, and a throng of Chinese tourists with cameras bigger than my car and more complex than my laptop, waited as the darkness gradually unveiled a glorious sunrise.
At 4am I woke up wondering if it was going to be worth it and when I saw all the tourists on the mountain top, those thoughts certainly hadn’t gone…
An hour later after finding a great spot, waiting and watching as the world turned to unveil the sun in all its fiery magnificence, I was sure that it was definitely worth the bleary eyed start to the day! What a sight!!!
A new day signals a new beginning and it’s refreshing to think that every day we have the chance to start ourselves again.
Today we can change, today we can improve, it may seem as though we are stuck and dramatic change is impossible – especially from a very negative situation, but night doesn’t turn into day with the flick of a switch. It’s a gradual process, where the second by second changes are unobservable to the naked eye.
Likewise any new starts, changes, or improvements we wish to make in our life can be thought of in the same way. Make small gradual changes – often imperceptible ones – and eventually your own star will shine brightly through the darkness.
It is my goal in this lifetime to be a tai chi master and fluent in Mandarin (…and what the hell, Cantonese too, why not!?), the only way that I know of to achieve this is to every day do a few things to point myself in the right direction: work on my forms, practice my stances, revise vocabulary, review grammar… I don’t see a difference on a day-to-day basis but what a difference a few months, years, or decades can make!
Six months ago when I was last in China, I could barely survive with my Mandarin and I felt like a rabbit in headlights whenever anyone spoke back to me. Now after between 10 minutes and an hour a day of practice and I can find myself in everyday situations and almost confidently express what I need, and enjoy a basic conversation.
It’s a little bit like watching your own children grow, you don’t see the difference but when a relative visits for the first time in a few months the first thing they do is comment on how big Little Johnny is getting.
The key thing here is “every day”. Ten minutes per day is better than one hour per week. Regularity is key, whatever it is you are trying to achieve, integrate it into your life. Make it as much a part of your daily routine as cleaning your teeth.
Also, don’t separate yourself from it. I am not a person who practices martial arts or learns Mandarin, I’m a Mandarin speaking martial artist.
If you want to lose weight, don’t put yourself ‘on a diet’, become a person with a good diet. If you want to educate yourself, become a reader.
So if you are feeling a little stuck right now, look at the sun rise and remind yourself that Yin never fails to change into Yang, night always becomes day, you can always rise from your own version of darkness and little by little – photon by photon – the light will appear when you begin to make small imperceptible changes which you can integrate into your daily routine, to eventually transform yourself completely.
Oh yes…and I did lots of tai chi today as well 😀