Unbelievably there is only one week left! This visit I have been learning the Wudang Ba Gua Zhang, which is a form based on continuous circle-walking, and completing eight 'palms' of movements on both sides. It has been making life rather interesting.
The most challenging thing has been the circle walking itself, which at times has led me into such a state of frustration that I have had to storm off and calm down before returning to my little chalk-marked area on the temple stone floor. When you constantly tread the same ground over and over, a hundred times on each side, anything that does not aid the walking of the circle has to be faced and dealt with. This includes feelings of tiredness, confusion or impatience. Instead of focusing on my own hand in the centre I have noticed a strong habit of trying to remain aware of what is going on outside the circle. Each thing I see around me (people, conversations, objects) also enters the circle and has to be walked in conjunction with.
Over this month walking the circle has become more than a chalk marking on the ground; it has become symbolic of the yearly cycle, of my own world, my own life, my own path. I realise it matters greatly what we let into our circle, what we walk with, what we choose to carry; especially if it has no relation to the centre, to our eyes following our hand, to our inner eye focusing on our inner goal.
So despite my ankles now being in state of constant swelling a great peace arises when the whole world is walked and cleansed hour after hour, day after day.
And so one more week (and a hundred more circles) begins.