The Tiger's Mouth Blog: Moving through PTSD and grief
I began my Taoist Tai Chi® practice just over a year ago at one of the most challenging times in my life. I was grieving the loss of my Mom. I was experiencing symptoms of PTSD that caused me to wake up gasping and anxious, so I was not sleeping much at all.
A friend convinced me to try a Beginning Weekend. I remember the instructor asking us at the end of the first day if we could remember what was bothering us, or on our minds, when we first walked in the door. I was amazed to realize that all of my pain and anxiousness was gone. I drove home feeling happy and peaceful for the first time in years.
After that I practiced a lot, using the instruction in my classes and viewing Master Moy Lin Shin’s video. The first few months it was 4-6 hours a day, sometimes in the middle of the night, as it became my medicine and kept me feeling calm and allowed me to begin to sleep better. Eventually it went down to 1-2 hours a day, and I was feeling more like myself again. My practice now feels deeper and, because of the amazing Saturday instructions and our chanting, I have been able to let go of my heart and my thoughts and worries and just let things flow. My practice is now not just the 108 moves. I am learning to make it part of the flow of my day, and I am beginning to build new habits and consistency in how I do things.
During a recent Zoom talk, it really struck me how the wisdom that the directors offer us has impacted me. The teaching that I have received through this pandemic has been extraordinary. In what perhaps should have been an extremely challenging time, through my chanting, the Zoom instruction, and my own daily practice, I feel a brightness inside of me that just keeps building. I have confidence now in the wisdom of my body when I practice. Now it touches a deeper part of me that I carry with me through the rest of my day. I can see patterns in my life now that no longer serve me. I feel calm and happy, even when donning my mask to do my shopping, and feel more patience and compassion. I find myself smiling at people and wanting to just brighten their day.