There’s a taichi concept that the stance should be big enough to be supportive, but small enough to be stable. You want to take steps that claim enough space to move freely, yet not so big that you have to reach beyond your balance point to claim. Arm movements should be big and full to experience momentum and gravity, yet not so big as to pull you off balance.
This teaching applies to life in general… as most taichi lessons seem to do.
I was at Stew Leonard’s the other day and spent so much there that I was eligible for 2 free ice cream cones! There’s a dilemma. I live alone, I was shopping for a nice dinner I was going to make a friend… what could I possibly do with 2 ice cream cones? I can barely finish one! So I ordered one… fully prepared for them to tell me I had to get my two cones at once… But no, they honor their word, they wrote on my receipt that I had another cone left. Very satisfying little place inside that decides to just take enough and not more.
I also am part of a CSA – community supported agriculture. You buy a share of a farm’s harvest in advance, and when it comes in you pick up your share from a central delivery location. A great way to buy food farm fresh and organic, this one happens to be biodynamic also. Well, living alone it is a lot of food: last year I shared it with my brother. Well, I thought a lot about whether or not to participate this year: so much food, what to do with more and more food accumulating in the fridge! Well, it dawned on me that though I can’t take more food than my share, I can take less! Whatever doesn’t get claimed from the week’s harvest is donated to a soup kitchen. If I take less than my full share, I will have the right amount of food and the rest will not be wasted. Seems like an obvious solution – but all those little voices inside that say, “I paid for it, it’s all mine!” chime in with all those feelings of entitlement, accumulation, inadequacy.
It’s easy enough to dismiss the choice as trivial – but you know, if we all just took only what we need and no more, if we all participated a little bit more with our own energy rather than just take, if we all give a little more and consume a little less… it all starts with little ol’ me making little ol’ decisions. Little decisions add up to make the difference.
I take the stairs now whenever I can. So I get some exercise: but I save a little electricity. One tiny drop less oil being used on my account – what’s the big deal? Well, I just feel like I am doing some little good, and getting fitter in the process. And this way I also don’t need to go to a a gym to get on an oil-driven machine to make me fitter!
What’s the harm in trying to make a difference?