More than 40 participants gathered over Memorial Day Weekend at the International Center in Dunedin, Florida, for the first national retreat of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA since the pandemic began. Among those in the group were most of the members of the USA Board of Directors, members of Regional Management Committees, local Branch Councils, and other participants, who traveled from across the country for the in-person gathering. With more than 10,000 square feet of space in the center’s practice hall, it was easy for the small group to keep socially distant while doing sets, working on coiling, expansion and contraction, reviewing concepts of Chinese medicine, discussing administrative topics, and reflecting on Master Moy’s teachings. Together the group also tuned into the Saturday morning discussion broadcast over Zoom. The USA Annual Meeting was conducted during the weekend.
Following the CDC guidelines for Pinellas County, in which Dunedin is located, it was recommended that retreat participants wear masks indoors at all times. Unlike at previous retreats, meals were not made or consumed on site. Instead, participants were encouraged to eat outdoors at restaurants, order take out or delivery, or otherwise provision themselves safely from the town’s offerings.
On the last morning the group reflected on their experience and what they would bring back with them to their local branches. “The feeling was really intimate, and at the same time collective,” said one participant from New York City. Another from Chicago added, “I would like to bring back with me to my sessions at home the feeling of working individually together that we experienced here.”
Due to rising coronavirus infection numbers for the county and the potentially spike that often follows holiday weekends, the board made the prudent, if difficult, decision to postpone the two subsequent retreats scheduled for the following weeks. These will be rescheduled when the local infection rate returns to an acceptable level.