I could have use Deepl to translate my “témoignage”, but I prefer speaking with my own voice, just like I did on a Saturday in April.
Last year, in March 2020, I was 4 months pregnant with my second child. I was happily transforming my practice along with the new life that was growing within me. I was already practicing his teachings at my first pregnancy five years ago and it helped so much in many ways. Then came the Grand Shutdown. While life was getting slower for some, it was getting busier and busier for me. And it didn’t stop! Having a second child is quite a big transformation in a family and for me personally. Also, our branch section, in which I am now co-leader, decided to sell our building. So, changes were numerous this past year.
And as my life was changing, my self-practice equally changed. Before, when I was practicing his teachings alone, it was because my hips or my spine was misaligned and I needed to keep moving or to make the muscles more supple. It still is! The birth of a child is not without consequences on a body. But, in the last months I realized that my self-practice is no more practicing Tai Chi. It is practicing his teachings. The physical practice stays: I’m practicing foundations almost everyday, but I’m also doing danyus when I’m lifting my child, straightening my spine as I nurse her, dropping elbows as I walk with the stroller, etc.
But now, I’m also practicing rituals. I attend the Saturday session, I’m chanting on weekdays when it’s possible and I chanted a bit during the birth of my daughter, recognizing the sacred in that moment. New rituals were created in my family integrating the new member: how I wake up the children, how we say Au revoir at the kindergarten, how we say Good night at the end of the day. These rituals help me to be regular, to be consistent, to be there completely every day. These rituals help me to open my heart as if I was opening and closing a shrine.
My self-practice of his teachings brings me the strength, the stamina to go forward, to surpass myself and to support people around me. Since March 2020, many people have asked me why are you helping us? It’s you who should get help: you’re pregnant, you have a baby, how can you do all of this? But I have the energy, the strength to care for others and I have the help I need: I have my self-practice. The self-practice brings me softness to accept what life is giving me, when it’s easy, when it’s hard. That softness makes me able to go around obstacles, to change along the way, to take life as it is.
I know I’m not practicing enough, either the physical or the spiritual practice, when I get stuck on things around me or when I feel stubborn and not willing to listen to others. These times, I do danyus to help remember how to drop, how to let go.
Presently, I’m learning to look ahead. At a very young age, I learned that it was better to not look forward. But now I know that it’s better to see things coming from afar and make plans accordingly. I find myself focusing on my eyes, my stare often when I’m doing danyus and toryus. I’m practicing look far ahead knowing that I have the stamina and the softness to go through these changes.
So, every day, I choose to be engaged in my self-practice. Every day, I choose to be there for myself and for the others. Every day, I’m up to polish the jade 1% more. I’m doing it because I’m feeling better and when I feel better, my heart is more open to others and I’m more able to be kind to them, to care for them. Chanting is best when my intention is to chant for the world, the danyus too.