July marks the two-year anniversary of my first encounter with Taoist Tai Chi® arts and I am reflecting on my journey so far. Almost immediately the word happiness comes to mind. This seems an odd choice; while learning tai chi makes me happy so do lots of other activities. Obviously, there is more to my unconscious word selection. Further reflection leads me to the realisation that happiness is an anagram of my learning.
H represents the health benefits I receive – physical, psychological, emotional and social.
A indicates that I am on an adventure of discovery. This is a journey into the unknown. Sure, I have a map of 108 steps, and instructors to guide and light the way, but this adventure has its difficulties and perils because it is essentially an adventure that is intensely …
P for personal. This is my journey- no one else’s. My abilities, my understandings, my readiness to learn are unique to me. Comparisons with others are futile; we are all at different stages. I must be patient with myself and go at my pace, accepting that this is a slow process of growth.
P is also for practice. This is a journey for life, so finding sustainable ways of incorporating tai chi into my life is essential.
I stands for international – a reminder that I am part of a much bigger organisation with history, traditions and wisdom
N grounds me in the now. The practice of tai chi demands 100 per cent attention; there is no room for intrusive thoughts. It’s a precious time of letting go of everything else.
E equals enjoyment. This is a journey to be embraced and enjoyed and there is plenty of room for the joy and fun to be shared. It’s not all serious. We may be on our own tai chi paths but together we can enjoy and celebrate the process and each other.
S reminds me of the tradition of service. This is a society of volunteers who gift their time and talents. Each of us has some gift to offer in return.
S signals the great sense of satisfaction that arises at the end of each class or workshop. The opportunity to learn, work hard and share the experience with others provides a natural high that enriches the day.
I’m still at the start of this tai chi journey but I’m in no hurry. Right now it’s all happiness.
Mary-Rose, Bay of Plenty branch, New Zealand