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Milestones

When the pandemic arrived and NZ was in lockdown, because my work is in health information systems, the demands were frantic. I couldn't practise without being interrupted by phone calls and after a while it became just "snatches" of practise. During the last year I hurt my back more frequently, damaged my knee and shoulder, and spent much time at physiotherapy. Finally I made the connection between the two. Now I don't interrupt my practise to answer the phone. Because of the pain in my arm and shoulder I'm discovering how important simple things like hand position affect how much the shoulder moves and opens. Everything is connected. 

There have been a number of signposts in my Taoist Tai Chi® path that lead me to this point.

  • First day - I told someone that the leader could not possibly have meant the example of alignment that was shown and pointed out. My body was not able to line up ankle, knee, hip and shoulder as shown and I thought the leader must be wrong because our bodies don't do that. It was probably the first time in my life of awareness of my body movement.
  • First local retreat before I had finished learning the movements. I felt like I was being swept around in the current of the room full of people turning, and discovery of a half step and weight shifting which we looked at over 2 days.
  • Dropping down to a cupboard at home and realising that Taoist Tai Chi® practise changed the way I move in everyday life.
  • Being able to remember the movements and doing my own practise at the end of each day during multi-day hikes. Taoist Tai Chi® practise in many remote places gave a sense of peace, calm, stillness and beauty within the set.
  • Realisation that there is more to it than just body exercise.
  • First national retreat - who were these people who were so excited about a place called Orangeville. It seemed to be a whole different, larger FLK world that I was not aware of until then (even though it had been talked about.)
  • Being corrected because I didn't attend a "training retreat" for leaders in training when I had been invited. A glimpse that there is behaviour etiquette and virtues that we practise.
  • Becoming part of the branch governance and the gift and privilege of leading - delighting in people's learning and thinking that watching them was almost like seeing a mirror. But not seeing further than that.
  • First international retreat and repetition of one small movement for such a long time - dropping/opening the base of the spine and the sudden realisation that my arms were moving without any conscious intervention.
  • Ongoing involvement and leadership at the branch and invitation to take on more responsibility in continuing leadership. Strengthening the connections with others in the local and national then international oraganization, and feeling that I was part of a family and a way of life.
  • Asking about some specifics of the a particular movement foundation and being told that it was a mystery.
  • Hearing Master Moy stories.
  • Glimpses of understanding about the inherent opposites in the learning - yin and yang, soft and strong, drop and rise together and the circles that move throughout the moves.
  • First retreat at Orangeville and practising many movements that felt like just one move afterwards at Toronto airport. The incredible and definite feeling of the energy within as if it is a separate almost physical movement both inside and outside of me at the same time.
  • Being told to just "notice those feelings and move on" - letting go.
  • Being asked to join the national board and take on further administrative responsibilities and learning that the more governance I was involved in the more open my practice felt.
  • Responding to major mistakes made in a personal building project with calmness, clarity and compassion and deeply realising that Master Moy's teachings also affect my character in a positive way.
  • Developing stress related health issues due to pressures of work and experiencing an epiphany moment where my sadness and concern about this almost physically lifted out of me during practice on the deck at Orangeville. Accepting that I couldn't know how that had happened but knowing that it had occurred and the anxiety was gone.
  • Small groups at international retreats and realising that reflecting only what the international leader in training had demonstrated was much better for participants, and they improved more by emphasising a few simple points and letting them practise - just watching and not taking responsibility for their learning but leaving them alone more. Not being so emotionally involved when they get it or when they don't, and learning to be more simple in instruction and say less.
  • Being given a firm correction that I was not listening and attempting to be a better listener as a result of that.
  • Reflecting how the international leaders in training will tell us a different way to do the moves and understanding that everything we have learned is in there and there is always more and deeper levels, no matter where we are in the journey - as long as our heart is in the right place we are on the path. Even though I am getting older there is a joy of knowing that his teachings help my neuroplasticity and gives me resilience and an attitude to embrace change.
  • Even though Taoist Tai Chi® arts lifts my spirits, for me it is not my religious faith and I am grateful that FLK accepts participants at all levels and is willing to allow us all to learn and take into our hearts as much as we are willing and able to do. I know that this is a journey with no destination and am extremely thankful that it is being made available to me.
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