I hope that these stories sum up this week's incredible reading (I should've gotten this book years ago).
It was 2006 and I already had a year practicing Tai Chi Chuan. There was one of the group that came from another school of martial arts and had an image of what a martial artist should be. There were a couple of times that one of us didn't brought the straight sword to class or the fan and he always said: "Oh what kind of martial artist are you, forgetting everything, you should be prepared at all times". During one of our classes we were going to practice the combat straight sword routine for demonstration at the World Tai Chi & Qigong Day. That day I forgot my sword and I was going to use of my Sifu's sword. The guy said the same comment again and I turned around and said: "Lighten up, man. Are you going to be carrying a sword 24 hours a day? Shut up and enjoy the practice!!!".
During 2006 we were offered to go to China for the Second Traditional World Wushu Championships. We were going to Zhengzhou, home of the famous Shaolin Temple and Chen Village, one of the cradles of Tai Chi Chuan. Our group began to practice hard every day and every free moment we had it was for practice. Our friend from the first story, didn't joined the group, because he planned to go to India to visit his guru. He already made up a wall, because he didn't take kindly the corrections made by one of the senior students. Instead of going to his center self and take the opportunity to be part of the group and to benefit from the practice, he decided to stay out of the group and fall behind.
Last story (I promise this will be short, I hope). When I was playing guitar with the last band that I played with, the director of the group wanted to rehearse the songs the same way they were recorded. There was no room for improvisation. I thought this is wrong, because we have to fill 3 sets of 45 minutes each, so each song is about 3 minutes, by the time we finished the first set, we would have, at least 25 minutes more to play. Coming from a Classic Rock background (Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Santana), I'm used to play long solos and I was cut of expressing myself each time we rehearsed, so I had to adapt to play the songs within their time limit. Anyway, long story short, we went to play to a nearby pub and what happened? Our first set lasted 20 minutes. We still had 25 minutes to play. The band director didn't know what to do, so he was planning to add more songs, which didn't resolve the problem. The sax player and I conspired and we planned to take over the second set. Once we began playing, I kept looking at the horn section for the solo cues. We began to stretch the solos and the band's director went nuts. He wanted to play the song the way we rehearsed. I said to him: "Keep playing and enjoy". Lo and behold the band found the groove, the director (he was the bass player) kept playing and by the end of the second set, he was fired up, happy that the set went smooth and we played our best.
This week's reading is about of letting loose, not taking ourselves seriously. Instead of complaining and look at the limitations or walls that are in front of us, it's about going around the walls. Take advantage of the limitations and make them unlimited.