I got up excited this morning. I have a new reason for being. I’m gonna be a tai chi student! I couldn’t wait to tell Swami. I was in the kitchen early, eating a bowl of cereal and having my usual cup of chai tea. I felt like a girl again. When Swami came in for breakfast, I burst into a spasm of words. “Swami, guess what?”
He looked at me warily, as if he were afraid to hear the answer. “I don’t have a clue,” he said. “Where do I go to buy one?”
I ignored his feeble attempt at sarcasm and said, “I”m gonna take tai chi!” I stood there in all of my beginner’s mind and heard him say, “I’ll have some, too.”
“No, no, no,” I said. I didn’t say “chai tea; I said “tai chi.” Looking confused is one of the tricks Swami carries in his psychological bag. So he just stood there looking puzzled. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” he asked, trying to confuse me as well as himself.
I glared at him. “To get to tai chi class!” And by the way, I said, you don’t have any…class, that is.”
He didn’t bother to reply. He just ambled over to the stove and turned the heat up under the kettle.
“Vicki, I know you. I know you through and through. The next thing I hear, you’re giving it up because it’s too hard. Once a quitter, always a quitter. You have taken ‘Stop it’ to a whole new level.”
He was right. He poured his tea and sat down at the table with me. How many times had we had chai tea together? Countless times. Now I was bringing tai chi into the chai tea space and boy was I lost. I began to cry—my excitement now going over the dam along with my upturned canoe and all hope of surviving in this cruel world. Swami was useless and clueless as always.
Why on earth did I manufacture this useless piece of a guru and think he could change my life? I never wanted him; he just waltzed into my life when it was coming apart at the seams. He installed himself in my kitchen and began to bake cookies. We always had them with our chai tea.
As if Swami were reading my mind (and he was), he said, “Are you all through, Vicki? Can I say something now?”
“I couldn’t stop you if I tried,” I said.
* “Look over there,” he said. I looked in the direction of his pointing finger and all I saw was everything. But I looked. Yep, I was right. All I saw was everything.
“Welcome back to the world,” he said. “I think you have chai tea and tai chi all mixed up, but I bet it’s delicious,” he said. “In fact, I know it is.”
*I had told the tai chi instructor that my neck was stiff. She gave me two exercises I could do at home. One was to pretend I was following the movements of a child on a swing. The second was the “Look over there” exercise. As always, when we help the physical, we also help the mental and spiritual for they are all one. As I “look over there,” I am looking with new eyes at a new world.