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.
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 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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:
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 mediation 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!
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.