Connection. What is your intention?
Connection and integration of the upper body was the theme during Tai Chi class yesterday.
Our Tai Chi teacher, Tim Gnazale, often uses very descriptive metaphors to drive his points home. The notable one for this lesson was the garbage compactor model, compressing the trash in a downward motion. Grinding down to connect with our ground paths was our aim. In Tai Chi the Ground Path is the concept of having properly aligned internal structural integrity from every external part of the body connected through the body down into the ground.
Sensing your state
Being aware of our upper bodies and sensing the state our various anatomical regions were in was a revelation. I became aware of how rigid and tense my shoulders were and had to focus on releasing some tension.
We got to apply the principle by trying to lift a student while they held their arms locked at the sides. Surprisingly not one of us was toppled. I wasn’t so sure that I had connected properly though so was prompted to ask my first question.
I had watched a Kung Fu training video about driving versus pushing energy that was rather cool and I imagined if I was driving myself downward that I would feel the connection more tangibly, which I didn’t.
So I asked the question about how I can tell if I was really connecting or just pushing down and thinking I was connected. The response was that if I was asking that question then I wasn’t connecting…
Blimey but my ego didn’t respond well to that observation! Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Sometimes the feedback pushes you to grow even if it’s difficult to accept especially because you know it’s true.
So if it’s not working then I will need to return to the basic model as instructed. Good teachers don’t always tell you what you want to hear but point you in directions that show you how to grow.
Cars, social media and intentions
Another analogy in this lesson was constructing and using a car. Once you have all the components of the car, and they are working optimally together then what are you going to do with it? Drive up a mountain, cruise down the highway?
This analogy was used to show that once connection and integration is achieved then intention is required to leverage it.
Interestingly the car analogy had come up in an entirely different conversation I had the day before with Joyce Sullivan when we were talking about Social Media strategy management. She explained that once you’ve purchased a new car you want to prolong its lifespan through regular maintenance just like your strategy.
The connection economy is ubiquitous and the principles can be applied to both Social Media and Tai Chi – who would have thought!
The lesson then is knowing your intention in order to focus what you are going to do with the connection once you find it.
What is your intention?