Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Giving up and (re)taking up

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Some years the 40 days of self-denial passes me by; occasionally I have used it as the catalyst . . . to give up taking sugar in tea or to break the sweets and biscuits habit.

Yesterday I stumbled into a blog-post by Mel of Pollo Loco, about hair washing and I thought "I want to try that for Lent"; so today I washed my hair in a solution of baking soda and water. I'm out of Cider Apple Vinegar, so I couldn't do the conditioning rinse – I'll buy a bottle today. But, I can report that my hair feels clean and today won't be a bad-hair day.

My original plan for Lent was a positive taking up, rather than giving up, act . . . more accurately it's a re-taking up of Tai Chi.

For years I attended a local Tai Chi class; the first class I went to was also the teacher's first time teaching, so she and the group moved on together. Then she decided to move to Nepal and now lives and works here, of course we were all excited and supportive about her new adventure but very sad to lose our Tai Chi teacher who had somehow taught us the Short Form and also convince us that less really is more. I began to see Tai Chi practice as a landscape, a very steep hill to start with, then a flatish plain, mountains appeared in the distance and the way became very steep again, I was nearly at the top of the mountain and could just see over the top . . . of what were mere foothills of a vast mountain range stretching as high as the sky.

So this morning I wrote out all the moves that make up the Short Form – I was chuffed that my old skill of perfectly fitting text into a given space by eye hadn't been lost . . . so maybe my body will remember the moves?

Today I'll start by parting the wild horse's mane 

by the end of next week I may have
got to grip with the tiger's ears

and by Easter I hope to have embraced the tiger

and returned to the mountain.



  1. Crikey, I didn't know that tiger wrangling was part of Tai Chi!

  2. I think I might try the shampoo thing... not sure about grappling tigers though!

  3. Hi Toffeeapple - I love the names of the moves in Tai Chi - I think they'll become a series of prints one day ;-)

    Hi Gina - I've just bought my Aspall's Cyder Vinegar all ready for hair conditioning and salad dressings now!

    C x

  4. I'll have to check out the shampoo & conditioner. We're also taking up rather than giving up.

  5. We clean our oven with baking soda and water!

  6. I like the idea of taking up rather than giving up Celia. I just decided to give up chocolate for Lent and that looks rather boring next to your affirmations.Still, at the end of it we might both feel a bit fitter and definitely purer!

  7. Celia, yesterday (Tuesday) I bought some chocolate. When I got home from the grocery shop I realized that it was then Shrove Tuesday.

    What a strategic mistake I made!

    And so, today, I begin my Lenten determination to stay away from that chocolate, and to also try to be more patient and cooperative with all the folks I encounter.

    Maybe I will end up donating that chocolate to some of those folks.

    Some of my friends have praised the practive of Tai Chi. I've never tried it even once. Perhaps this will be the year.

    Do let us know how your resumption of the practice continues. Meanwhile, I do admire your penmanship! xo

  8. I love your Tai Chi list. I know nothing about TC but just reading your list is soothing and meditative.

    Lent is, for me, a period of reflection. Whether I give up or take up, it has to be alongside a time of considering why I am doing what I am doing and what I am learning from it. And most importantly, how I can keep going throughout the rest of the year.

  9. Thanks for linking my shampoo post Celia! Good luck with the baking soda/ACV experiment...it has been over a year at this point and my hair has never been better. Your linocut prints are gorgeous, I am glad to find your blog.

  10. Love this blog post, especially the hair washing tips... SO how is the hair ???


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