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End Game

I have a few days of vacation remaining, so I’m taking them next week, then I’m back at work for one final week, during which I’ll tie up loose ends, clean out my office space, and say a few good-byes before wrapping up my adventure in the work-a-day world. In the words of the Grateful Dead, what a long strange trip it’s been.

To those who CONTINUE to ask, no I’m not looking for a job, nor do I want to be a consultant. I have plenty enough projects ahead to keep me out of trouble for some time. The biggest challenge will be figuring out which ones I need to accomplish first.


I’m left with a head full of stories. Today I was thinking of the time I brought a Chen Style tai chi master into the workplace. Once each week we held classes in a disused space above some offices. At the beginning there were quite a few of us, but as time went on, our numbers diminished somewhat. Bit by bit those of us who stuck it out learned the entire first form.

I was managing the busiest shift of the biggest parcel processing plant in the country and at that time it was a fairly high pressure job. I went to art school. What did I know about managing a production shift? Like most of the jobs I worked in my 30 year career I more or less stumbled into it. I didn’t exactly fit the plant manager mould, and I really wasn’t thinking about climbing the proverbial corporate ladder either. As with most things I do though, I jumped into the job with a lot of energy and focus. I was working for a remarkable leader back then, who for some reason or another had a lot of faith in me. I think some other people didn’t see past the not fitting the corporate profile part, but that’s a story for another day.

Tai chi in the workplace was personally very beneficial. Our teacher said little. He would demonstrate a movement, then we would try to do it with him. Then he would watch us and then repeat. Outside of the weekly classes, I would go up to the space we used at lunchtime, change from my dress pants and shirt into a pair of black loose-fitting pants and a black tee shirt, and practice the Chen Style first form. I suppose it was like a meditation, and it helped keep me grounded. At that time I was also taking classes outside of work in Chen Style and other forms.  The classes at work continued for about a year or so, and when interest waned, we finally had to stop it. Later, I would inexplicably stop practicing tai chi entirely and change my focus to learning to play the button accordion. I was always trying to learn something, and still am.

Looking back, I wish I had continued practicing tai chi. Today I can’t even remember a fraction of the first form positions. I’ve been thinking that I’d like to take it up again, and it’s on my list of projects. As tai chi forms go, I think Chen Style is the most physically demanding. If I do go back to it now, I may learn a gentler form like Yang Style or Wu Style.

The stars had to align just right and just the right combination of people had to be in place for the workplace classes to take place. It was amazing that it happened, and I doubt anything like it will ever happen again in that building.

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