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The Tiger's Mouth Blog: Getting Stronger

I have had a deep and chronic illness for a long time. I remember over the years how my practice helped me to respond to some of the ups and downs of my illness with greater equanimity. And when it didn’t, how my instructors corrected me in my Taoist Tai Chi® practice in a way that calmed me and made me feel happy much of the time. Since being home with dialysis, I have found it much harder to find that feeling. I’ve been more isolated and grieving the loss of a certain kind of life. It’s been the hardest development yet of my disease.

I’ve had a hard time developing my own consistent practice. A kind of inertia set in with my medical life and fatigue filling so much space. But with the week after week of chanting, and particularly, more recently with more frequent and longer chants, I have noticed a softening and opening up in my body—even if there is fatigue that day from the illness. I’m getting much stronger when I chant and am able to kneel for entire chants, something I was not able to do before. After chanting I feel like I’ve just completed a set.

This week I had a day that contained some discouraging and worrisome events, yet I realized at the end of the day I was feeling bright and happy because I’d found a dan yu that was working. I wanted to do dan yus all the time. Now I find myself doing many dan yus a day and they still make me happy and give me a calmness to deal with the other events of this week. I feel like it’s the first rung out of a pit. I know from my history not to make predictions, but I’m optimistic about getting stronger and doing more.

I’m deeply grateful for the chanting and discussions. I can’t imagine a more perfect way to help us get stronger. I feel more connected to the organization than I have in a long time, which, in itself, is helping to keep me from feeling alone. Thank you to the leadership that has made this possible. It’s a brilliant response to the pandemic and, as always, I’m so proud to be part of such a compassionate and wise organization.

~Sam, Ontario

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