Last week, I saw Anna Deveare Smith perform at UNC-Chapel Hill.  She presented an evening of stories about grace.  Smith’s performance  included ‘The Chi Piece’ inspired by an interview with Ann Richards (Former Governor of Texas) before she died of esophageal cancer in 2006.  Ann Richards had a beautiful and unique understanding of Chi (the life force inside each one of us). I listened to ‘The Chi Piece’ when I got home and typed up an excerpt for you.  Read it with your best Texas accent.  Here is Ann Richards:

“I have two choices every day when I get up. I can feel good or I can feel bad.  A whole lot of what I feel is in my brain. If I think it is going to be a great day, it’s a better day.  What I think has a whole lot to do with how I feel…That’s your life force. It’s your Chi.” 

Ann was using up her Chi by being with too many people.  Her energy worker told her she was giving away her chi.  “You’ve got to save your chi,” the energy worker said.  “You tell people ‘I cannot talk to you right now.  You are using up my Chi.’ ”

The collective Ann and Anna’s advice about Chi arrived at just the right time in my life.  I’ve been tired the past couple of days and feeling sorry for myself.  Instead of moping any further, I am going to practice saving my Chi.  I don’t know if I can tell other people they are “using up my Chi.” I don’t think I can say such a thing without a Texas accent and bigger hair than I have. It is, however, my job to learn from Ann Richards and take care of my chi.  No one can give me more or take away my Chi.  That is my job.

What I hope you will understand from this week’s lesson in time management is how you spend your time and who you spend it with matters. Your Chi is depending on you.


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2 responses to “Chi

  1. todd

    What a wise woman that Miss Ann was!

  2. peter lynch

    two thoughts. my therapist and my shrink both thought i’d made a good decision when i left academia. their logic amounted to saying that i was giving away my chi to my students and colleagues. perhaps. one can never walk back, so one had better have a destination when one leaves.

    second. my boss whose family tree has manic-depressive illness spread across it like kudzu, remarked to me the other day that she’d never met a manic-depressive who maintains such a cheerful demeanor as i do. am i throwing away chi? if you think i am, pray tell what else do i do with it?

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