Somewhere in the middle of the qi gong routine today, I forgot where I was in the form, and I had to stop and start over. I mean, I had done one or two sets of the postures, but I’d literally forgotten where in the form I was, and what was to be done next.
This happens a lot, actually. The dropped place, the moment of “wait, where was I?” in the form or in the two qi gong routines. My brain will just sort of ‘forget’ what it was doing. It’s hard to know how much of this is the Dweller on the Threshold problem, and how much is just getting older. I don’t get headaches or have any symptoms that suggest I’m developing mental challenges. In terms of memory and imagination, I’m as strong as ever. It’s just this thing that happens — even though I started doing tai chi this morning, and I’m doing fine, and it’s just about 100 days ’til I’ve done it for a year… oh look, where was I again?
But this happens in ‘regular life’ too… I’ll be typing something up, and then I’ll need to “just go check my e-mail for a minute” or “I need a drink of water”. And I’ll lose my place in the world, in the sense that whatever I’m doing at that moment will stop mid-stride, and I’ll go do something else for a few minutes. Then my willpower returns, and I go back to my current activity. It happens all the time.
And I think this is one of the benefits of tai chi. Because these ‘senior moments’ happen, when the body and mind just wander off on their own errands. But as my Mother the Artist says, “we are our projects.” And if my project is to do a year of tai chi, then it’s important not to wander away from the work just because the mind wanders off; or, when the mind wanders off (because it will), to bring it gently back to the task at hand… and if it’s really wandered quite far, to begin again in a more focused way.