In Tune

During the cleaning weekend we recently had in our Center in Helmond, I really experienced the immense change in myself after the COVID period. I was asked to tune the piano in the practice hall. My first reaction -in shock- was “No!”. But immediately thereafter everything we’ve been hearing in the last two years came to mind and displaced any hesitation. Do what you can, there is no time limit, don’t think about it just do it, don’t worry, just try.

Piano tuning is a skill comparable to riding a bicycle or swimming, a child learning to walk. Practice, practice, over and over again and suddenly you know/feel/hear it. Of course, regular practice is important, just like Taoist Tai Chi® arts.

When I was tuning the piano there were moments when it was busy and noisy in the practice hall. Listening was quite a challenge. It was at that moment that I felt a big difference from before. Then it had to be absolutely silent around me and every sound caused a loss of concentration. I noticed now that my focus was amazingly sharp and I just listened during the quiet moments. I felt that it was very different than ever. It happened twice that one of my tools fell into the piano and both times there was ‘suddenly’ a participant to help find it again. I was helped without asking, great!

Of course it took me longer than in former times, but what surprised me is that I physically managed to finish the job. A big change compared to the time before COVID and I realized that the daily training is paying off. Another advantage of the disadvantage called pandemic!

The concept ‘in tune’ has also changed, from an absolute to a balanced feeling.

Balance in the Centre

For me the last two years have been about discovering how to sit quietly at the centre of the storm.

Find the balance there.

So whatever winds may blow,

Whichever direction they may come from next,

The balance will still be there.

Just Start

I have learned through these last two years that the most important thing is just to start and not to worry about how much or how long or whether the form is perfect. Moving as we have been trained will always work better than sitting around waiting for less pain and more energy.

I often remind myself how beneficial just the first few foundation exercises were, with one arm still in a sling, during the first few days after my shoulder surgery in 2018 – especially for pain management and visibly reducing the inflammation. No matter how little energy I have on a particular day, 15 minutes of foundation exercises, even if 5 minutes at a time, is doable and will make a noticeable improvement in my sleep to get me back on track the next day.

At times during the pandemic, I have done lots of sets; other times I have just focused on the foundation exercises. Sometimes I get absorbed in what I am doing and am surprised a couple of hours have passed. Sometimes a few minutes is all I have available. I have learned it doesn’t really matter.

I have learned to listen to my body and offer what my past training has taught me might be most helpful for that particular feeling. Often my pain is caused or aggravated by inflammation, so perhaps if even a little Taoist Tai Chi® practice reduces that, the benefits follow. The depth of the intention is perhaps even more important than the degree of effort.


I am discovering in new ways my personal limitations, fears, and a need for tight control. Bit by bit I had been chipping away at my self, my individual self, my group self, to today where I discover that I can stand in a much less anxious and control-needed body, mind and heart. ‘Chipping away’ to me meant, concerted, planned, directed, controlled, etc.

Chipping isn’t working anymore because I can feel that I am discovering an internal softness that won’t respond to chipping. It responds more to the softening that we’ve been encouraged to practice and feel. An allowing, a dissolving; huh… dis-solving… I don’t need to solve the tightness I discover in my mind, in my body, in my heart… just let it go.

The characteristic of ‘letting go’ I used to think or anticipate it as being a ‘dramatic’ internal event. I didn’t experience ‘letting go’ in context of my environment. It was a personal event to solve personal problems. Now I am seeing myself, feeling myself in context in contact with my environment, whether it be a nature physical or a social relational environment.

Now I begin to get a sense of the characteristic of ‘natural’, as an expression from the inside; letting it happen, letting my self happen, letting the environment happen. The phrase “are you the kind of person who salts their food before tasting it” has been coming into my mind. I realize that I was that kind of person but now I’m trying not to ‘salt’ my practice, not trying to ‘salt’ my being in the world before I taste it.

I keep coming back to reflections on Wong Ling Goon and his story of transformation.

A Friendlier Future

I came to Taoist Tai Chi Arts® for stress-relief and gentle exercise at a time of heavy family and work commitments. I was a worrier. Anxiety and difficulty sleeping had me seeing life as increasingly hopeless. The future was “not friendly”.

Seeing a demo at a summer festival, my sister signed us both up for sessions. I recall feelings of peace, welcome and energy in the practice hall. A sanctuary in the chaos of life.

I soon began sleeping better and having a bit more energy. I also began worrying about doing the moves correctly, looking foolish, remembering the sequence. Such is the worry habit – it wanted to consume everything. It was consuming me.

But I kept coming for the feelings of calmness in the room. Often I got away late from work and felt too tired to go to a session. But my car would drive me there despite my feelings. My son would say, “Mom, isn’t it time for a Tai Chi session?” Some years down the road I recognized that this practice was changing my relationships: My son likes me better. I like myself better. I like others better. Such important changes!

Gradually, I was releasing some of the strong attachment to my own anxieties. Gradually, I noticed how differently I experienced myself inside and out. For years I had felt so tightly bound/constricted, so stiff at a relatively young age. Now I felt an expanse of inner space. Easier to breathe, to relax, to enjoy others and the world around me with fresh eyes.

I continued to practice, and volunteer – sometimes more, sometimes less connected. When in-person sessions were discontinued due to COVID early in 2020, I knew that not practicing was not an option. When I do not practice, I do not want to fully engage in life – my own or that of others. Even though I care for family, I knew I would be no help – rather a burden if I were weak and stuck.

Thankfully, we were strongly supported and encouraged by the Directors to undertake a consistent self-practice. We had the opportunity to gradually strengthen and improve ourselves body, mind, spirit. Without this weekly direction and inspiration, my daily practice would not have grown or survived. Seeing the thousand participants from around the world and hearing some of their stories also helped me better focus and continue. I deeply appreciate the guidance of the Board and Advisors who dedicate themselves to caring for this organization by offering Master Moy’s teachings to all who come to learn.

From the Heart

As the tenth anniversary of my heart surgery approaches, I reflect on my decision to begin Taoist Tai Chi™ arts a few months after my operation.

At that time I was becoming an armchair bound 60 year old with a depressed outlook on what the rest of my life might be like.

At one of my cardio rehabilitation classes, an invited visitor demonstrated the first few movements of the practice several times, always with a wide smile on his face. He explained that it was a way to exercise without using muscle and I was intrigued to try it.

This event and my subsequent joining an introductory session, I believe, saved me from an uncertain future and I am eternally grateful to Master Moy’s teachings for showing me the path to continually improving my physical and mental health.

Transformation, petit a petit | Transformation, Little by Little

Un samedi matin, lors d’une rencontre internationale, l’un des directeurs de l’Institut de taoïsme Fung Loy Kok nous a transmis cet enseignement de Maître Moy à propos des huit vertus (je transcris de mémoire) :

« Ce n’est pas nous qui travaillons les vertus. Ce sont les vertus qui nous travaillent. La calligraphie de la vertu se met en action pour nous transformer si on l’accueille avec sincérité. »

J’ai pensé : au lieu de me sentir impressionnée par les vertus et par les valeurs qu’elles véhiculent, je pourrais me laisser travailler par elles de la même façon que les mouvements du les arts Tai Chi Taoïste® me transforment petit à petit.

Depuis, lorsque je regarde une de ces calligraphies, j’imagine un petit guerrier masqué muni d’une épée qui voyagera à l’intérieur de mon univers pour amputer les racines de mes résistances, si je le laisse entrer chez moi. Je m’imprègne de sa silhouette. Je place le symbole en fond d’écran de mon téléphone pour le voir chaque jour et le reproduis plusieurs fois à l’encre. Puis, je laisse le travail se faire.

Les jours et les nuits qui suivent me révèlent un peu plus à moi-même, par des flashs, des rêves, des pensées ou des situations qui me confrontent à la vertu elle-même. Ce n’est pas toujours reposant de lever le voile sur la raison d’une résistance intérieure à l’une ou à l’autre des huit vertus. Ce que j’apprends dans ce processus me surprend, me bouscule et me brasse mais, dans le même mouvement, m’apaise, à partir du moment où j’accepte de ne pas tout comprendre.

Il y a quelques mois, je me suis imprégnée du symbole de la vertu du sacrifice, reliée à l’organe du cœur, et je me suis posé cette question : « Sincérité du cœur, spontanéité, justesse et désintéressement, si je pouvais laisser ces dispositions me guider en toute circonstance, aurais-je alors le courage de faire ce qui est juste ? » Il se trouve que dans des situations d’urgence ou de danger, je perdais mes moyens, comme paralysée.

Mais lundi dernier, alors que trois hommes ivres ont commencé à se battre, bouteille de vin en verre à la main, dans un wagon de métro dans lequel je me trouvais, j’ai aussitôt appuyé sur l’interphone et signalé la situation au conducteur du train. Je ne me suis pas reconnue. Il y a quelques mois de cela, j’aurais été figée dans ma stupeur. La seule chose à laquelle je me souviens avoir pensé entre le moment où j’ai entendu les voix monter et vu la bouteille de verre menaçant la tête d’un des hommes contre la porte du wagon, c’est : comment empêcher que ça aille trop loin pour ces hommes comme pour les passagers ? Le reste est venu sans réfléchir.

Je sortais d’une séance ou nous avions travaillé l’équilibre dans la séquence « mouvoir les mains comme des nuages » quand cela s’est produit. Le travail des vertus et la pratique physique de l’équilibre m’ont tous deux aidé à réagir vite dans cette situation.

En découvrant la source enfouie d’une résistance à une vertu, parmi des souvenirs lointains, j’ai l’impression de créer du vide à l’intérieur de mon corps et d’apporter plus de lumière à ma conscience. Au fond, ce n’est pas moi qui creuse, mais un petit guerrier masqué qui exécute les mouvements d’un enchaînement en prenant différents visages, selon la vertu qui m’appelle.

During a Saturday morning international meeting, one of the directors of the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism passed on to us this teaching from Master Moy regarding the eight virtues (I transcribe from memory):

“We are not working on virtues. Virtues are working on us. The calligraphy of virtue is activated to transform us if we welcome it with sincerity.”

I thought: instead of being impressed by the virtues and by the values they convey, I could let myself be worked by them in the same way that the movements of Taoist Tai Chi® practice transform me little by little.

Since, when I look at one of these calligraphies, I imagine a small masked warrior with a sword who will travel inside my universe to amputate the roots of my resistances, if I let him enter my home. I imprint myself on his silhouette. I put the symbol in the background of my phone to see it every day and reproduce it several times in ink. Then I let the work happen.

The days and nights that follow reveal a little more to myself, through flashes, dreams, thoughts or situations that confront me with virtue itself. It is not always relaxing to lift the veil on the reason for an inner resistance to one or another of the eight virtues. What I learn in this process surprises me, moves me and shakes me up but, in the same movement, soothes me, from the moment I accept that I don’t understand everything.

A few months ago, I absorbed the symbol of the virtue of sacrifice, connected to the organ of the heart, and I asked myself this question: “Sincerity of heart, spontaneity, rightness, and selflessness, if I could let these dispositions guide me in all circumstances, would I then have the courage to do what is right?” It appears that, in situations of emergency or danger, I would quickly lose my nerve, as if I were paralyzed. But this past Monday, as three drunken men started fighting, glass bottle of wine in hand, in a subway car I was in, I immediately pressed the intercom and reported the situation to the train conductor. I didn’t recognize myself.

A few months ago, I would have been frozen in my stupor. The only thing I remember thinking between the moment I heard the voices rising and saw the glass bottle threatening the head of one of the men against the car door was: how do we keep this from going too far for these men as well as the passengers? The rest came without thinking.

I had just come out of a session where we had been working on balance in the sequence “moving the hands like clouds” when this happened. The virtues work and the physical practice of balance helped me both to react quickly in this situation.

By discovering the buried source of a resistance to a virtue, among distant memories, I have the impression of creating void inside my body and bringing more light to my consciousness. Deep down, it is not me who is digging, but a small masked warrior who is executing the movements of a sequence by taking on different faces, depending on the virtue that calls me.

Ça prend du temps | It Takes Time

Combien de fois doit-on se faire répéter la même chose avant de comprendre? Des dizaines, des centaines de fois sûrement!Depuis le début de la pandémie, on se fait dire toutes les semaines de ne pas s’en faire, de lâcher prise.

J’ai bien suivi les consignes, j’ai fait ma pratique personnelle, j’ai pratiqué le chanting dans l’intention de soulager la souffrance. Et j’ai continué d’assister aux rencontres du samedi matin.

J’entendais les participants dire dans leurs témoignages à quel point ils s’amélioraient. J’étais touchée et bien sûr ça m’inspirait. Je voulais m’améliorer moi aussi. Je me suis donc mis en tête de redresser mes danyus. Qu’allaient penser les autres au retour si je n’avais pas changé moi aussi? Ah! l’ego… Il n’est jamais bien loin celui-là!

J’ai donc passé des mois à pratiquer les danyus à la barre, pour descendre plus bas, plus droit. Mais dès que je lâchais la barre, tout bloquait. Je n’arrivais plus à descendre, je sentais des tensions dans les hanches, le dos, les épaules. Puis un jour, peu avant le retour en présentiel, j’ai décidé de mettre l’accent sur autre chose. Je me suis enfin donné la permission de faire des danyus pour le plaisir et non plus par crainte de ce qu’en diraient les autres.

Mes danyus sont tout de suite devenus plus légers, plus élastiques, plus détendus. Je ne le faisais plus par obligation, mais par plaisir. J’avais finalement lâché prise. J’ai compris que l’important, ce n’est pas de faire de beaux danyus. L’important, c’est d’en faire.

Il m’a fallu du temps pour comprendre le message que nos dirigeants nous répètent semaine après semaine. Ça montre l’importance de la régularité aux rencontres, de la qualité de l’écoute. Le fait de me sentir connectée au reste de notre communauté taoïste m’aide dans ma pratique. Le fait de savoir que nous entendons tous le même message en même temps m’aide à développer cette connexion et à sentir le soutien des autres par leur simple présence. Il m’aura fallu du temps pour intégrer ce message. Je rencontrerai d’autres difficultés le long de mon chemin, mais le lien avec les autres et la leçon que j’ai apprise ici m’aideront à les surmonter.

Merci à nos dirigeants, pour leur patience. Merci à tous les participants pour leur soutien.

How many times do we have to be told the same thing before we understand? Dozens, hundreds of times I am sure! Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been told every week not to worry, to let go.

I followed the instructions well. I did my self-practice, I practiced chanting with the intention of relieving suffering. And I continued to attend the Saturday morning sessions.

I heard the participants saying how much they were improving. I was touched and, of course, inspired. I wanted to improve too. So I set out to straighten my donyus. What would others think when they returned if I hadn’t changed too? Ah! the ego… That one is never far away!

So I spent months practicing the danyus at the bar, to get lower and straighter. But as soon as I let go of the bar, everything froze. I couldn’t go down anymore, I felt tension in my hips, in my back, in my shoulders. Then one day, shortly before the beginning of in-person sessions, I decided to focus on something else. I finally gave myself permission to do danyus for the fun of it, and no longer out of fear of what others would say.

My danyus immediately became lighter, more elastic, more relaxed. I was no longer doing it because I had to, but out of pleasure. I had finally let go. I understood that the point is not to do nice danyus. The point is to do them.

It took me a while to understand the message that our leaders tell us week after week. It shows how important it is to meet regularly, to listen well. Feeling connected to the rest of our Taoist community helps me in my practice. Knowing that we are all hearing the same message at the same time helps me to develop this connection and to feel the support of others by their mere presence. It took me a while to integrate this message. I will encounter other difficulties along my path, but the connection with the community and the lessons I have learned here will help me overcome them.

Thank you to our leaders, for your patience. Thank you to all the participants for their support.

Dejar ir a la transformacion | Letting Go into Transformation

Me llamo Ester, soy de Catalunya (Spain). Durante estos años de convivencia con la Covid he sentido muchos cambios en mí, las sesiones de los cantos están ayudando a mi proceso de transformación. A continuación compartiré mis últimas transformaciones:

Mi hija ha empezado este curso la extraescolar de musicoterapia. Cuando tuve la entrevista con el terapeuta le tuve que explicar todo lo que ella hacía a los 6 años (hablar, cantar, tocar el piano) y que ahora a duras penas hablaba. Le tuve que explicar que a los 6 años dejó de crecer y empezó a encogerse, a dejar de controlar esfínteres, etc.

Anteriormente a esa entrevista para mí todo eso era bajar escalones, retroceso. Pero ese día hablé de “coger otro camino”. Mi hija había “cogido otro camino” y necesitaba desprenderse de todo eso, cosas que para mi eran importantes pero que ahora sé que no lo son.

Después de la entrevista me di cuenta de cuán profundamente las sesiones de zoom me estaban transformando, me estaban ayudando a ampliar la mirada, a dejar ir mi dolor. Me levanto a las 6 de la mañana para practicar Tai Chi, es un momento de paz en la casa. El confinamiento me enseñó que la práctica diaria me equilibraba y me daba fortaleza para afrontar la crisis epiléptica diaria que tiene mi hija, así que intentaba acabar la práctica antes que se descompensara.

Algo ha cambiado en mí, y hace unas semanas que ya no me levanto a practicar para estar equilibrada y así afrontar mejor la crisis, me levanto a las 6 para disfrutar y sentir mi práctica, y si la crisis viene antes o después de mi práctica ya no me importa.

En relación a esas crisis llevo 17 años queriendo eliminarlas, luchando contra ellas, y cuanto más me enfrentaba más fuertes eran. Recientemente sentí que no importaban, he dejado ir esa lucha, esa impotencia, aceptando las crisis y observando a mi hija con compasión, acompañándola. He dejado ir mi dolor para observar si ella siente dolor, observando lo que necesita.

Interioricé la importancia de dejar caer la mano (en los movimientos), dejar ir, ya que ello te lleva a que te expandas automáticamente, sin esfuerzo. Dejar ir para disfrutar.

My name is Ester, I am from Catalunya (Spain). During these years of living with Covid, I have felt many changes in me, the chanting sessions are helping my transformation process. Next I will share my last transformations:

My daughter has started this school year with extracurricular music therapy. When I had the interview with the therapist, I had to explain to her everything she was doing at the age of 6 (talking, singing, playing the piano) and that now she was barely speaking. I had to explain to her that when my daughter was 6 years old she stopped growing and started to shrink, to stop controlling her sphincters, etc.

Prior to that interview, for me that was all about going down steps, regressing. But that day I talked about “taking another path”. My daughter had “taken another path” and needed to let go of all that, things that were important to me but now I know they are not.

After the interview, I realized how deeply the zoom sessions were transforming me, helping me to widen my gaze, to let go of my pain.

I get up at 6 a.m. to practice the movements of the Taoist Tai Chi® arts. It’s a peaceful time in the house. Confinement taught me that daily practice balanced me and gave me strength to deal with the daily epileptic seizure my daughter has, so I would try to finish the practice before she needed my help.

Something has changed in me. Since a few weeks ago, I no longer get up to practice to be balanced and thus better cope with the crisis. I get up at 6 to enjoy and feel my practice, and if the crisis comes before or after my practice, I no longer care.

In relation to those crises, I have been 17 years wanting to eliminate them, fighting against them, and the more I faced them the stronger they were. Recently, I felt that they did not matter. I have let go of that struggle, that helplessness, accepting the crises and observing my daughter with compassion, accompanying her. I have let go of my pain to observe if she is in pain, observing what she needs.

I internalized the importance of letting go of the hand (in the movements); letting go, as this leads you to expand automatically, without effort. Letting go to enjoy.

In Harmony with Nature

During Marsha’s and Jim’s excellent interview with Rogers TV, one phrase in particular resonated with me. Marsha said that the Taoist Tai Chi® way is in harmony with nature. Even though I had never verbalized that idea myself; I had certainly internalized it.

I don’t know why, but I have always preferred practicing out of doors. It just feels right. In the summer, I especially love doing my set in bare feet on my back lawn. Once a damsel fly even alighted on my finger as I was doing left grasp bird’s tail. During our annual family camping trip, I rise early and do my Taoist Tai Chi® practice in an idyllic setting on a grassy area surrounded by pines overlooking the mirror like lake. Moving meditation has never been better.

While I have practiced on many beaches around the Caribbean and Hawaii, I have also done it in temperatures down to -7 degrees Celsius. Before industrialization, human beings lived with and in the natural environment. We walked or ran where we had to go. A prey was considered fast if it could outrun us. Leaves fall lazily to the ground; even fast flowing rivers aren’t very rapid.

Today, in our fast-paced world, we drive vehicles at 110 km/hr, fly in planes at 650km/hr, are harassed by texts every minute of the day and always seem to be in a hurry. The deliberate slowness of Taoist Tai Chi® practice harkens back to a simpler, more natural past and allows us to get in touch with the essential rhythm of our humanness. What a great gift!

Solidité | Solidity

En septembre 1986, je recherchais une activité significative « pour moi » en dehors des paramètres familiaux et domestiques. Je ne suis pas sportive au départ, ce créneau était exclu. Je m’inscris par hasard à une activité tai chi, une activité physique.

Au premier cours, j’apprécie l’effort de concentration pour apprendre la chorégraphie, j’aime que ce soit en groupe et qu’on ne nous demande pas de performer. De nature réservée et renfermée, la non compétition et l’effet du groupe me sécurisent grandement. Je suis celle qui est dans la rangée arrière, inconfortable à l’idée d’être vue, regardée et jugée. Si tel avait été le cas, je me serais sauvée en courant et ne serais jamais revenue.

Déjà un confort et un plaisir s’installent, j’apprends rapidement la séquence des mouvements et suis capable d’en faire une partie à la maison. J’expérimente déjà l’effet calmant des mouvements dans la gestion de diverses situations de stress. Par l’apprentissage et la répétition des mouvements en groupe, la confiance s’installe ainsi que la solidité et la flexibilité. Des nœuds se défont, des liens se créent, des rires font partie du vécu des ateliers et des semaines à Danville et Orangeville. C’est devenu une partie du quotidien. Arrêter n’est pas une option.

Le parcours de l’époque m’a pris quelques années: débutant 1, débutant 2, intermédiaire et à continu. Je continue parce que « ça me va bien », comme me le dit mon entourage. On remarque une aisance physique jusque-là inconnue. Toujours, l’apprentissage en groupe est un facilitateur pour moi. Tel un abat-jour, il adoucit l’attention que je pourrais recevoir. Pourtant, un jour on me demande d’être assistante et puis leader de séance. Comment ai-je pu passer de la dernière rangée à celle en avant du groupe? Ça ne s’est pas fait sans sueurs froides et inconfort, mais ça s’est fait aussi sans trop m’en apercevoir.

J’ai commencé à m’impliquer en étant volontaire pour arroser les plantes du local. C’était une première pour moi. Je n’avais jamais fait de bénévolat avant. Trop gênée et/ou trop individualiste pour cela. Puis on me demande de faire partie du comité de section et de fil en aiguille, je me retrouve en charge de ce comité de section. Un jour, lors de la visite du président régional de l’époque, on me demande de parler devant le groupe des dons ! Heureusement qu’un enchaînement a précédé cette activité. Pendant tout l’enchaînement, j’ai essayé de me calmer et je me concentrais sur le poids dans mes pieds. J’ai réussi à parler sans trembler, ce qui est déjà un exploit.

Même si j’y arrive, cet aspect de parler en public et /ou d’exprimer mon opinion ou mon ressenti a toujours été un défi à relever. J’arrive à le faire mais en y étant préparée par une réflexion écrite au préalable. Je fais la comparaison avec l’apprentissage du piano, j’arrive à en jouer avec une partition mais je ne peux pas en jouer à l’oreille. Que puis-je dire après plusieurs années d’implication administrative au sein du comité de section et du comité régional? Que l’implication est un puissant moteur de motivation, l’implication garde l’intérêt à jour. C’est du mentorat à temps plein.

L’implication suppose la confiance constamment renouvelée à chaque défi. L’implication confirme la certitude qu’on ne peut s’en passer parce qu’elle nous apporte plus que tout ce qu’on peut donner.

Si travailler ensemble nous rend plus souple et bien, c’est ce dont j’avais besoin : la souplesse pour l’adaptation au changement, pour la gestion des irritants, pour l’équilibre physique et mental. Et quand la souplesse est accompagnée de la solidité dans les deux pieds, on devient bien outillée pour les jours à venir en plus d’être bien entourée et supportée par la grande famille taoïste.

Tel est mon état d’esprit actuel et, tout comme à mes débuts, je réitère ma confiance dans les enseignements de l’Institut de taoïsme Fung Loy Kok.

In September 1986, I was looking for a meaningful activity “for me” outside family and domestic parameters. I was not sporty at the start, so this niche was excluded. I accidentally signed up for a tai chi activity, a physical activity.

In the first class, I appreciated the effort of concentration to learn the choreography, I like that it is in a group and that we are not asked to perform. Being shy and withdrawn nature, the non-competition and the effect of the group made me feel very secure. I’m the one in the back row, uncomfortable with being seen, looked at, and judged. If that had continued to be the case, I would have run away and never come back.

Already comfort and pleasure are setting in, I quickly learnt the sequence of movements and was able to do part of it at home. I am already experiencing the calming effect of the movements in the management of various stressful situations. By learning and repeating movements in a group, confidence is established as well as solidity and flexibility. Knots are undone, links are created, laughter is part of the experience of the retreats and the weeks in Danville and Orangeville. It has become part of everyday life. Quitting is not an option.

The journey back then took me a few years: from Beginner 1, to Beginner 2, to Intermediate and Continuous. I continue because “it suits me well”, as my entourage tells me. We notice a physical ease hitherto unknown. Group learning is always a facilitator for me. Like a lampshade, it softens the attention I might receive. However, one day I was asked to be an assistant and then a session leader. How was I able to move from the last row to the one in front of the group? It didn’t happen without cold sweats and discomfort, but it also happened without realizing it.

I started to get involved by volunteering to water the local plants. It was a first for me. I had never volunteered before. Too shy and/or too individualistic for that. Then I was asked to be part of the branch committee and one thing leading to another, I found myself in charge of this branch committee. One day, during the visit of the regional president at the time, I was asked to speak of the donations in front of the group ! Fortunately, a sequence preceded this activity. During the whole sequence, I tried to calm myself down and focused on the weight in my feet. I managed to speak without shaking, which is already an achievement. Even if I manage it, this aspect of speaking in public and/or expressing my opinion or my feelings has always been a challenge to overcome. I manage to do it but by being prepared for it by a written reflection beforehand. I make the comparison with learning the piano, I manage to play it with a score, but I cannot play it by ear.

What can I say after several years of administrative involvement in the Branch Committee and the Regional Management Committee? That involvement is a powerful motivator, involvement keeps interest fresh. This is full-time mentoring.

Involvement presupposes trust that is constantly renewed with each challenge. Involvement confirms the certainty that we cannot do without it because it brings us more than anything we can give.

If working together makes us more flexible and good, that’s what I needed: flexibility for adapting to change, for managing irritants, for physical and mental balance. And when flexibility is accompanied by solidity in both feet, we become well equipped for the days to come in addition to being well surrounded and supported by the great Taoist family.

This is my current state of mind and, just as when I started, I reiterate my confidence in the teachings of the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism.

Un monde de différence | A World of Difference

Entre l’avant et l’après-pandémie, un monde de différence!

Quelle est donc cette différence? Comment mon chemin Fung Loy Kok® parcouru durant l’épreuve humaine inouïe de la pandémie m’a-t-il aidée à changer? Comment cette voie me prépare-t-elle à aider d’autres personnes, le temps venu?

Par où commencer! Le chanting et la méditation font maintenant partie de ma vie. Avant, je psalmodiais lors des évènements de l’organisation, peut-être huit fois par année, pour ma santé. Je ressens maintenant ses bénéfices autant que ceux des mouvements, et parfois davantage, sur ma santé physique, mentale et spirituelle. La période des fêtes qui s’amorce m’offre l’occasion de m’y adonner seule – ce serait une première. De plus, depuis la pandémie, la méditation debout et assise est devenue une partie de ma pratique individuelle quotidienne. Discuter de ces pratiques avec mes co-leaders m’aide à les approfondir. J’ai d’ailleurs aussi changé mon vocabulaire… Cependant, il ne faut jamais prendre un tel changement pour acquis.

L’harmonie qu’il nous a transmise et que j’ai observée chez nos directeurs fut l’un de mes changements ressentis les plus importants, depuis le privilège qu’on m’a accordé d’assister à leurs réunions du mercredi à l’été 2020. Leur exemple d’harmonie en action fut d’une aide inestimable à notre section locale, alors que notre groupe de leaders éprouvait des difficultés à traverser la pandémie. La phrase, « L’harmonie est plus importante que d’avoir raison » m’a marquée. Plus largement, cette leçon me fait prendre conscience de mes rapports avec les autres, l’harmonie se glisse dans mes relations familiales, sociales et professionnelles. J’essaie d’être plus sensible, plus à l’écoute, j’ai l’impression de devenir une meilleure personne. L’« école de la vie » prend ici tout son sens. Ma voie Fung Loy Kok®et les contingences de la vie se catalysent mutuellement. Cependant, il ne faut jamais prendre un tel changement pour acquis.

Plus récemment, j’ai eu une autre révélation. Une simple phrase captée durant une séance du samedi m’a permis de changé ma pratique. Elle a déclenché la sensation inattendue et indescriptible d’un équilibre renouvelé au plus profond de mon être. Avant, je cherchais un équilibre extérieur. Maintenant, je retrouve parfois cette précieuse sensation profonde qui ne dure qu’un instant, dans un mouvement et durant ma méditation. J’ai compris que bien au-delà d’une stabilité externe qui m’empêche de tomber, cet équilibre profond se transpose jusque dans les autres aspects de ma vie : l’intention d’un équilibre entre ma famille, le travail et l’engagement dans ma pratique, entre le calme et les situations de stress, un équilibre dans mes émotions. Il s’agit en fait d’un équilibre qui se marie avec l’harmonie, le dévouement, la sagesse. Comme quoi les vertus sont toutes imbriquées, tout est dans tout! (all is in everything!) Cependant, il ne faut jamais prendre un tel changement pour acquis.

Les Directeurs nous ont déjà demandé de réfléchir à ce qui nous retient dans l’organisation. Un aspect de nos enseignements reçus depuis mars 2020 qui résonne très fort en moi touche à une meilleure compréhension de l’identité même de notre organisation. Ses enseignements sont accessibles à tous et à toutes, inclusifs, et basés sur la transformation et l’ascendance ou la lignée (plutôt que sur les croyances). Honorer ses enseignements qui remontent à des siècles résonne en moi depuis mes premiers jours de pratique. C’est un aspect fondamental de l’organisation qui fait que je suis toujours là, que je la protège et que je continue ma pratique.

Pour boucler la boucle, je comprends qu’il ne faut jamais prendre pour acquis mes changements internes, car ils sont si forts et pourtant si fragiles. Pour maintenir, renforcer et améliorer les changements ressentis, ma pratique Tai Chi Taoïste® quotidienne ancrée dans tous les aspects de ma vie est essentielle. C’est la seule manière que je peux contribuer à la vitalité de la grande organisation qu’il nous a léguée, tout en en bénéficiant personnellement et en en faisant bénéficier d’autres personnes pour des générations à venir. Il ne faut jamais prendre pour acquis l’Institut de taoïsme Fung Loy Kok.  

Before and after the pandemic, a world of difference!

How is it different? How did my Fung Loy Kok® path during the unprecedented human ordeal of the pandemic help me to change? How is the Fung Loy Kok® way preparing me to help others when the time comes?

Where should I start! Chanting and meditation are now a part of my life. I used to chant at events at the centers, maybe eight times a year, for my health. I now feel its benefits as much as those of the movements – and sometimes more – on my physical, mental and spiritual health. The upcoming holiday season offers me an opportunity to do it alone, for the first time. Furthermore, since the pandemic, standing and sitting meditation have become part of my daily individual practice. Discussing these changes with my co-leaders helps me to deepen my practice. I have also changed my vocabulary… However, one should never take such a change for granted.

The harmony that he passed on to us and that I observed in our directors was one of the most significant changes I have felt since the summer of 2020, when I was granted the privilege of attending their Wednesday meetings. Their example of harmony in action was invaluable to our branch, as our leaders’ group met challenges through the pandemic. The sentence, “Harmony is more important than being right” has stuck with me. More broadly, thanks to this lesson, I am more aware of my relationships with others and harmony is gliding into my family, social and professional relationships. I try to be more sensitive, more attentive. I feel like I am becoming a better person. The “school of life” takes on its full meaning here. My Fung Loy Kok® path and the contingencies of life catalyze each other. However, one should never take such a change for granted.

More recently, I had another revelation. A simple sentence captured during a Saturday session helped me to change my practice. It triggered an unexpected and indescribable feeling of renewed balance deep inside, within my whole being. Before, I was seeking an external balance. Now, I sometimes find this precious deep feeling for a short moment, in a move or during my meditation. I have come to understand that, far beyond an external stability that prevents me from falling, this deep balance is transposed to other aspects of my life: an intention for balance between family, work and commitment to my practice; between calm and stressful situations; a balance in my emotions. It is in fact a balance that goes hand in hand with harmony, dedication, wisdom. All virtues are intertwined, all is in everything! However, one should never take such a change for granted.

The directors have also asked us to reflect on what keeps us in the organization. An aspect of the teachings received since March 2020 that resonates very strongly with me has to do with better understanding the very identity of our important organization. His teachings are accessible to all, inclusive, and based on transformation and lineage (rather than on beliefs). Honoring his teachings that go back centuries resonates with me since my earliest days of practice. It is a fundamental aspect that makes me stay in the organization, protect it, and continue my practice.

To come full circle, I remind myself to never take these changes for granted, because they are so strong and yet so fragile. To maintain, strengthen and improve these changes, my daily Taoist Tai Chi® practice anchored in all aspects of my life is essential. It is the only way that I can humbly contribute to the vitality of the great organization he passed on, for my own benefit and for that of others for generations to come. The Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism should never be taken for granted.

Overcoming the Most Difficult Challenges

Difficult times give us new opportunities. Thanks to modern technologies, Saturday online sessions became a place for me to deepen my understanding of his teachings. More than two years of conversations, sharing experiences, chanting, self-practice of Taoist Tai Chi® arts have strengthened my body and mind, helping to be able to face the challenges. They became a tool for me to overcome anxiety, stress, and worries, first during the Covid-19 pandemic, and later during the war.

In the first days and months of the war, I was very worried. I woke up from explosions. There were missiles arriving in Lviv and near Lviv. The most terrifying for me was the night when I was tossed up in my bed by an explosion, and a fragment of a missile fell 1.5 km from my house. Air alarms were frequent and at different times of the day. It is already a part of our life. I can’t change that. It was necessary to accept it and learn to live on.

In the morning, while the coffee is being prepared, I manage to do some Taoist Tai Chi® practice. This is a good start of the day for me. And I also feel happy to receive an on-line question “how was your night?”, as well as to ask someone “how are you?”.

Daily household works help me to distract from worries: cooking, cleaning, working in the garden, petting cats and dog. I am lucky to live in a village. But the village life also requires for me to have enough force, health and courage, so I have to take care of myself. My house is near the forest. This is a favorite place to come for my friends from the organization. The closeness of nature, trees, grass, flowers, birds, wind, sun and rain, changing seasons and the daily practice of the teachings of Master Moy bring harmony and peace to my life. Yesterday, practicing the movements in the rain gave me an incredible feeling of balance and unity with the world.

I want to thank the Board for the support and the ERC (European Regional Committee) for listening and crying with us when we just wanted to share our pain and stress, explaining us what we did not understand or miss on Saturdays, and giving advices and examples how to overcome stress. I also want to thank the Polish, Czech and Slovak branches for the possibility to participate in their meetings for better understanding of the Saturday sessions. I am happy with all my heart to be a member of the organization.

Applying the Principles

Now, during the last almost year and a half of COVID restrictions, with no sessions to lead or attend, practice at home has become an important cornerstone for my day. One of the benefits this has given me is the opportunity after the set to work on any movement that didn’t feel quite right. I have seen how even small shifts in my posture or timing, where I am looking, or the positioning of my feet, or how I hold my head, can make a big difference to my balance and stability, particularly with the separations and kicks.

And these changes have also helped me when out walking which I do for at least an hour and a quarter every day. I stand straighter and pay attention to where I am looking (not down at the pavement) so I am more balanced much less likely to trip and fall (as I have done in the past)! I have also applied them to how I sit when working at my computer. I have adjusted the angle of my screen and the height of my chair, so I can sit straighter and have greatly reduced my neck pain. I am seeing how much small things matter and am looking forward to sharing them with others when we come back together for in-person sessions.

Compassion, Forgiveness and Release

My parents were divorced when I was 9 and I grew up with my mother. When I was around 11, she developed an alcohol problem and as the oldest child I took on the responsibility of trying to keep her sober. For long periods she was a non-drinking alcoholic, but there were also fallbacks. And being addicted, she could not be trusted when it was about alcohol, leading me to mistrust her and becoming more of a guardian than a son. So this was a part of my life until she died 20 years ago.

Both my mother and father were troubled souls, kind and loving, but also both with a deep feeling of not being adequate parents and generally not too happy about life. So last year I decided to get each of them a plaque for All Souls. Basically I had tried for many years to forget about them, not visiting the graveyard and telling myself that I did not have any need for it.

A few months after All Souls, I was meditating and I got a feeling of great compassion for my mother with myself as a child, and through the compassion I found forgiveness. Through this forgiveness I was able to feel the love I had for my mother again. I am now able to remember my mother and my childhood without pain. I would not have been able to say how deeply I have been impacted by growing up under these circumstances, but the relief of letting go of this pain, experiencing compassion, forgiveness and love is profound.

After that I was able to visit the graveyard and I see both my parents as well as my younger self in another light.

So naturally this year I got plaques for both of them again and enjoyed being able to chant for All Souls with the wonderful feeling of love and compassion. I really feel that All Souls can benefit the living as much as the dead. I am sure I would never have experienced this release, without his teachings and practise of all the Taoist Tai Chi® arts.