Read participants’ reflections on their self-practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lucia, Italy
Trova Tesori | Finding Treasures
Ho iniziato a cercare il Tai Chi consigliata dal mio medico e fortunatamente ho incontrato il Tai Chi Taoista più di 25 anni fa. Ho provato benefici fisici per la mia salute fin da subito e la pratica mi ha aiutata molto negli anni a superare diverse situazioni incluso il tumore al seno.
“Pensavo” di essere consapevole di quanto questa pratica ha fatto per me e "pensavo" di conoscerne i benefici fisici e mentali. Ma come si dice, il percorso è lungo e nel tempo si percorrono anelli di una spirale di crescita che ci fa scoprire via via cose sempre più profonde.
Talvolta mi piace descrivere il mio percorso di pratica come la caccia al tesoro (un gioco a cui giocavo da piccola), ti dai da fare a scoprire gli indizi e poi trovi il regalo!
All’inizio della pandemia il primo tesoro che ho trovato è stato la parola opportunità. Ne abbiamo parlato uno dei primi incontri del sabato, mi è entrata nel cuore. Ho cercato di tenerla sempre con me ogni giorno in ogni situazione.
Così è iniziato un percorso fatto di tante piccole scoperte ma due sono per me particolarmente profonde.
È stato un anno in cui la mia famiglia ed i miei cari sono stati colpiti da malattia e perdite. Ho trascorso diversi mesi avendo cura di mio fratello e sono riuscita ad accompagnare un mio caro amico nel suo fine vita. Ad aiutare lui e la sua famiglia.
E la cosa, che onestamente mi ha sorpreso è il fatto che dentro di me c’era ovviamente molto dolore ma anche una sensazione di calma e stabilità che non avevo mai provato prima.
L’altro riguarda il rapporto con me stessa. Il mio senso del dovere che non mi faceva mai essere soddisfatta di quel che facevo. Ho cercato di far tesoro del non preoccuparsi, del lasciare andare, dell’1%, dell’imparare dagli errori e poi la chiacchierata sulla pietà filiale e sul concetto di maternità ha prodotto una svolta.
Riflettendo su questo ho capito che tutte le mie insoddisfazioni erano frutto di aspettative del mio ego, alla ricerca di una insana perfezione, e non erano certo ciò di cui avevo bisogno.
Sto mettendo un’intenzione diversa nella pratica, nelle attività della giornata. L’amore per la persona che cresce, la consapevolezza che non ci sono successi buoni e insuccessi negativi ma c’è un percorso. Le madri sono capaci di sorridere quando un bambino cade perché sanno che sta imparando a camminare.
Così so che posso cadere, che ci sono e ci saranno alti e bassi, perché la vita è la vita! ma so anche che c’è un porto calmo nel mio cuore a cui posso tornare ogni momento.
Penso che la mia vita non avrebbe senso se non potessi coltivare me stessa, diventare una persona migliore e poter aiutare gli altri.
Sapere che con l’impegno scoprirò altri tesori, potrò imparare altro, mi rende fiduciosa e grata di aver incontrato gli insegnamenti che il Maestro Moy ci ha lasciato, grata all’organizzazione che le custodisce e le tramanda, grata alla comunità di persone che si dedica ad aiutarsi gli uni gli altri.
I started looking for tai chi after my doctor recommended it and luckily, I met Taoist Tai Chi® arts more than 25 years ago. I felt physical benefits for my health right away and the practice has helped me a lot over the years to overcome different situations including breast cancer.
"I thought" that I was aware of what this practice has done for me and "I thought" I knew its physical and mental benefits. But as they say, the path is long and over time we go along rings of a spiral of growth that makes us gradually discover deeper and deeper things.
Sometimes I like to describe my practice path as a treasure hunt (a game I used to play as a child); you are engaged in discovering the clues and then find the gift!
At the beginning of the pandemic the first treasure I found was the word opportunity. We talked about it at one of the first Saturday meetings, it got into my heart. I've tried to keep it with me every day in every situation. So began a journey made of many small discoveries but two are particularly deep for me.
It's been a year when my family and loved ones have been affected by illness and loss. I spent several months caring for my younger brother and was able to take care of a dear friend of mine at the end of his life. Able to help him and his family. And the thing that honestly surprised me is the fact that inside me there was obviously a lot of grief but also a feeling of calm and stability that I had never experienced before.
The other is about the relationship with myself, with my sense of duty that never made me happy with what I was doing. I tried to make use of the not to worry, the letting go, the 1%, the learning from mistakes; and then the discussion about filial piety, the reflection on the meaning of motherhood produced a breakthrough. Reflecting on this I realized that all my dissatisfaction were the result of expectations of my ego, searching for an unhealthy perfection, and were certainly not what I needed.
I'm putting a different intention into practice, into the daily activities. The love for the person who grows up, the awareness that there are no good successes and negative failures but there is a path. Mothers are able to smile when a child falls because they know they are learning to walk.
So, I know I can fall. I know that there are and there will be ups and downs, because life is life! but I also know that there is a quiet harbor in my heart that I can return to, every moment.
I think my life wouldn't make sense if I couldn't cultivate myself, become a better person and be able to help others.
Knowing that with commitment I will discover other treasures, I will be able to learn more makes me confident and grateful to have met Master Moy’s teachings, grateful to the organization that keeps them and passes them on, grateful to the community of people who are dedicated to helping each other.
- Lucia, Italy
- Kathy, USA
Looking Inward to Look Outward
What I have come to appreciate more deeply over the last two years is that development as a person does not stop once we become an adult. Before, after getting involved in some new aspect of the organization, I would think ‘OK, now I understand what this is.’ But now I know that his teachings can’t be fully understood or explained in a few words. There is always more.
My parents were my first trusted guides when I was a child and I developed slowly over time, as all children do. I lost them both tragically just after I reached adulthood. I had to go by their early teachings as I navigated the adult world. I was lucky to have received a good foundation from them, a good education and good genes. They all served me well and gave me confidence to carry on as a young adult.
Then ten years ago, after my own kids were grown, I started learning Taoist Tai Chi® arts. I came at first for the physical practice, but I soon realized that I was getting much more from it.
This practice provides stability, support and assurance to me as an adult, similar to what my family provided when I was a child. The rituals offer comfortable patterns to life, the daily physical practice improves my physical health and stability, and the encouragement from leadership to develop good habits and let go of worry provides the support needed to keep improving.
I have taken to heart the lesson to look inward at my own rough spots – places that are in need of improvement. I am assured that it takes time – one percent – and I am encouraged to go easy on myself (and on others) while having the discipline to keep at it. I am learning to look inward and trust my feelings – my heart, and I have developed more confidence. Knowing that I am OK allows me to not worry about myself and instead look outward to discover what I can do to help others.
I am grateful to have found his teachings for new guidance on the path to becoming a better adult.
- Kathy, USA
- Sylvie, Québec
Opening the Heart
Before the pandemic, I had practiced Taoist Tai Chi® arts for many years, but I can see clearly now that I was only surfing on it, staying on the surface of the learning and the transformation because I was afraid to go deep into my heart. The fear to dig in the pain that I had accumulated during all my childhood and my youth had made me very rigid. While reflecting on my journey and writing it down, I discovered that the desire to stay connected with our organisation was the essential thing that made me progress. This community is healing me.
I was 30 years old when I began Taoist Tai Chi® practice. Right at the beginning I felt that I had found a new family. I loved participating in retreats, but every time that a little window opened in me, and I could take a look at the deepness of Master Moy's teachings, I was also seeing my deep suffering and it was making me afraid. My unconscious reaction was to immediately shut the window or the door… until the next time.
At the beginning of the pandemic, my husband was diagnosed with the recurrence of a cancer. We were very sad and in panic. I immediately took the decision to listen to my small inner voice that was telling me: be more engaged with the Fung Loy Kok, it’s there that you need to be. I needed support; I needed the community. As the leader of Quebec City Branch, I was invited to join the Eastern Region Board meeting every week. Another leader was reassuring me that anytime I would need to take a rest or to take more time in order to take care of me or my husband, I would be free to take some time off. But I realised that I didn’t need time off, because I discovered that helping the organisation was helping me.
This training is the source of the transformation I’m feeling. It helps me to keep a clear direction in my life to navigate through the difficulties, obstacles, and suffering.
In addition, I followed the instructions of our senior leaders eighteen months ago; I undertook an everyday routine of Taoist Tai Chi® practice in which the local, regional, and international meetings every week was included. My daily practice of foundations, regular chanting and chanting ceremonies (Lunar and Festivals) have led me to a new world. I discovered a brand-new inner force as well as a source of energy and a great stillness. All this helped me let go of everything difficult: the fear, the sadness, the anger, the pain and so on. In fact, I was really surprised to discover a great joy. The joy of living, of helping, of listening, of learning, of moving without a constant burden.
This joy and lightness were accompanied with a new clarity of mind; my brain has started to function more efficiently and more intuitively. The solutions to my everyday or professional difficulties were coming by themselves more easily. It is like I was reaching to an unconscious universe from where I could draw the solutions to my problems. Now that I am able to put my heart in what I do as well as in my training, the healing effect is multiplied a hundred times.
I wish to thank Master Moy and the FLK leaders from the bottom of my heart for their help and wisdom.
- Sylvie, Québec
- Linda Mae, British Columbia
Calm in Crisis
It took me over ten years to understand how to relax in my Taoist Tai Chi® practice, and on March 18th, 2022, I was able to apply it to life. In the Rocky Mountains when the highway turned from wet to ice, I was coming over a hill on a curve. As soon as I hit the ice, my car went into a 360-degree spin, bouncing off the opposite snowbank, and back again, to hit the bank in my direction. Unknowingly, I relaxed into the car’s movements...
The Fung Loy Kok board’s instruction to do self-practice has been a boon for me during Covid – having the time and direction was motivational. After developing a daily training time, my body and mind awareness was deepened. My focus was strengthened and I cultivated a better alignment to give room for hip pain. A quote I read says it well, “Daily renewal is called making one’s virtue replete.”
On March 18th, I was involved in an accident in the Rocky Mountains, when the highway turned from wet to ice. Coming over a hill on a curve, as soon as I hit the ice, my car went into a 360-degree spin bouncing off the opposite snowbank, and back again, to hit the bank in my direction. Unknowingly, I relaxed into the car’s movements. It took me over ten years to understand how to relax in my Taoist Tai Chi® practice, and even more to be able to apply it! After stopping, I got out and assessed my car, very focused, picked up my bumper and grill to put in the car, and headed out slowly. Not only was my body trained, but my training has been teaching my mind to concentrate, and react to ‘life’ by kind of forgetting myself, looking clearly at the situation, and reacting calmly.
As I was heading out slowly on the highway shoulder, I looked into the rear-view mirror to see a truck trailer full of rocks sliding towards me sideways. I knew I had to relax for the impact, then there was a second. Time moved very slowly. There were two semi-trailer trucks, following each other, carrying fist sized rocks, who came over the hill on the curve, saw me, and put on their brakes. I’m assuming both trucks spun into 360-degree spins. The first hit my rear and flipped, the other hit the front of my car and ended up facing the opposite direction.
In the silence that followed, I checked the situation: I was breathing, but not bleeding. Slowly and carefully, I released the seat belt and looked at the car. The driver of one truck came over the snow bank, couldn’t open the doors, but looked in the back passenger window, which had no glass. I told him I could crawl out that window, which I did, a very flexible old lady in her 70’s.
The ambulance took me to the nearest town which had a hospital where I waited for three days for a ride home. I had one seatbelt bruise. During that precious time of stillness, I dealt with the pain of whiplash, relaxing many times laying on my back with a straight spine (sleeping meditation?). On the second day I did a few foundations to let my body energy move, soon I was able to do a relaxed, gentle set with a very straight spine and alignment. I thank God, the gods, and Taoist Tai Chi® practice for my survival. I am a walking, talking Taoist Tai Chi® arts promotional ad to all my family and friends.
- Linda Mae, British Columbia
- Veronica, Manitoba
Learning Step by Step
Everything is everything.
This statement has been made many times in the last year and a half. It really came home to me this morning as we were chanting. So much of my chanting experience parallels my experiences with the movements and with the learning of his teachings.
At first there is great hesitancy in all these areas of learning. Will I do it right? What if I lose my place? What if I make a mistake? I can’t keep up. Everything is too fast! Panic – will I ever learn? Then reminders of our children learning to walk, talk come to mind. They didn’t learn all at once, but they are accomplished at it now. With that in mind, slowly, slowly, there is a gradual feeling of learning – more confidence in chanting, more confidence in the movements and more confidence in the learning of his teachings.
Nothing comes quickly, but it does improve, step by step.
There is also similarity in the focus in the mind that comes with the standing quietly before beginning practice, the sound of the gong and fish at the beginning of chanting and the settling of the mind at the beginning of a discussion session. During this focusing period there is a feeling of wiping away external preoccupations, sloughing off petty distractions. My mind is focused and my spirit prepared for whatever learning is going to happen. Open the heart.
The key to this openness, greater knowledge, feeling, confidence and improvement is mindful, regular practice.
- Veronica, Manitoba
- Christine, Ontario
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 often remind myself how beneficial just the first few foundation exercises were, with one arm still in a sling, during the first few days after my shoulder surgery in 2018 - especially for pain management and visibly reducing the inflammation. No matter how little energy I have on a particular day, 15 minutes of foundation exercises, even if 5 minutes at a time, is doable and will make a noticeable improvement in my sleep to get me back on track the next day.
At times during the pandemic, I have done lots of sets; other times I have just focused on the foundation exercises. Sometimes I get absorbed in what I am doing and am surprised a couple of hours have passed. Sometimes a few minutes is all I have available. I have learned it doesn’t really matter.
I have learned to listen to my body and offer what my past training has taught me might be most helpful for that particular feeling. Often my pain is caused or aggravated by inflammation, so perhaps if even a little Taoist Tai Chi® practice reduces that, the benefits follow. The depth of the intention is perhaps even more important than the degree of effort.
- Christine, Ontario
- Christine, Ontario
Balance in the Centre
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.
- Christine, Ontario
- Gilbert, Alberta
From the Heart
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.
- Gilbert, Alberta
- Terryl, Alberta
A Friendlier Future
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”.
Seeing a demo at a summer festival, my sister signed us both up for sessions. I recall feelings of peace, welcome and energy in the practice hall. A sanctuary in the chaos of life.
I soon began sleeping better and having a bit more energy. I also began worrying about doing the moves correctly, looking foolish, remembering the sequence. Such is the worry habit - it wanted to consume everything. It was consuming me.
But I kept coming for the feelings of calmness in the room. Often I got away late from work and felt too tired to go to a session. But my car would drive me there despite my feelings. My son would say, “Mom, isn’t it time for a Tai Chi session?” Some years down the road I recognized that this practice was changing my relationships: My son likes me better. I like myself better. I like others better. Such important changes!
Gradually, I was releasing some of the strong attachment to my own anxieties. Gradually, I noticed how differently I experienced myself inside and out. For years I had felt so tightly bound/constricted, so stiff at a relatively young age. Now I felt an expanse of inner space. Easier to breathe, to relax, to enjoy others and the world around me with fresh eyes.
I continued to practice, and volunteer - sometimes more, sometimes less connected. When in-person sessions were discontinued due to COVID early in 2020, I knew that not practicing was not an option. When I do not practice, I do not want to fully engage in life - my own or that of others. Even though I care for family, I knew I would be no help - rather a burden if I were weak and stuck.
Thankfully, we were strongly supported and encouraged by the Directors to undertake a consistent self-practice. We had the opportunity to gradually strengthen and improve ourselves body, mind, spirit. Without this weekly direction and inspiration, my daily practice would not have grown or survived. Seeing the thousand participants from around the world and hearing some of their stories also helped me better focus and continue. I deeply appreciate the guidance of the Board and Advisors who dedicate themselves to caring for this organization by offering Master Moy’s teachings to all who come to learn.
- Terryl, Alberta
- Barb, Ontario
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.
The characteristic of 'letting go' I used to think or anticipate it as being a 'dramatic' internal event. I didn’t experience ‘letting go’ in context of my environment. It was a personal event to solve personal problems. Now I am seeing myself, feeling myself in context in contact with my environment, whether it be a nature physical or a social relational environment.
Now I begin to get a sense of the characteristic of 'natural', as an expression from the inside; letting it happen, letting my self happen, letting the environment happen. The phrase “are you the kind of person who salts their food before tasting it” has been coming into my mind. I realize that I was that kind of person but now I’m trying not to 'salt' my practice, not trying to 'salt' my being in the world before I taste it.
I keep coming back to reflections on Wong Ling Goon and his story of transformation.
- Barb, Ontario
- Odette, Québec
Solidité | Solidity
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.
Déjà un confort et un plaisir s’installent, j’apprends rapidement la séquence des mouvements et suis capable d’en faire une partie à la maison. J’expérimente déjà l’effet calmant des mouvements dans la gestion de diverses situations de stress. Par l’apprentissage et la répétition des mouvements en groupe, la confiance s’installe ainsi que la solidité et la flexibilité. Des nœuds se défont, des liens se créent, des rires font partie du vécu des ateliers et des semaines à Danville et Orangeville. C’est devenu une partie du quotidien. Arrêter n’est pas une option.
Le parcours de l’époque m’a pris quelques années: débutant 1, débutant 2, intermédiaire et à continu. Je continue parce que « ça me va bien », comme me le dit mon entourage. On remarque une aisance physique jusque-là inconnue. Toujours, l’apprentissage en groupe est un facilitateur pour moi. Tel un abat-jour, il adoucit l’attention que je pourrais recevoir. Pourtant, un jour on me demande d’être assistante et puis leader de séance. Comment ai-je pu passer de la dernière rangée à celle en avant du groupe? Ça ne s’est pas fait sans sueurs froides et inconfort, mais ça s’est fait aussi sans trop m’en apercevoir.
J’ai commencé à m’impliquer en étant volontaire pour arroser les plantes du local. C’était une première pour moi. Je n’avais jamais fait de bénévolat avant. Trop gênée et/ou trop individualiste pour cela. Puis on me demande de faire partie du comité de section et de fil en aiguille, je me retrouve en charge de ce comité de section. Un jour, lors de la visite du président régional de l’époque, on me demande de parler devant le groupe des dons ! Heureusement qu’un enchaînement a précédé cette activité. Pendant tout l'enchaînement, j’ai essayé de me calmer et je me concentrais sur le poids dans mes pieds. J’ai réussi à parler sans trembler, ce qui est déjà un exploit.
Même si j’y arrive, cet aspect de parler en public et /ou d’exprimer mon opinion ou mon ressenti a toujours été un défi à relever. J’arrive à le faire mais en y étant préparée par une réflexion écrite au préalable. Je fais la comparaison avec l’apprentissage du piano, j’arrive à en jouer avec une partition mais je ne peux pas en jouer à l’oreille. Que puis-je dire après plusieurs années d’implication administrative au sein du comité de section et du comité régional? Que l’implication est un puissant moteur de motivation, l’implication garde l’intérêt à jour. C’est du mentorat à temps plein.
L’implication suppose la confiance constamment renouvelée à chaque défi. L’implication confirme la certitude qu’on ne peut s’en passer parce qu’elle nous apporte plus que tout ce qu’on peut donner.
Si travailler ensemble nous rend plus souple et bien, c’est ce dont j’avais besoin : la souplesse pour l’adaptation au changement, pour la gestion des irritants, pour l’équilibre physique et mental. Et quand la souplesse est accompagnée de la solidité dans les deux pieds, on devient bien outillée pour les jours à venir en plus d’être bien entourée et supportée par la grande famille taoïste.
Tel est mon état d’esprit actuel et, tout comme à mes débuts, je réitère ma confiance dans les enseignements de l’Institut de taoïsme Fung Loy Kok.
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.
Already comfort and pleasure are setting in, I quickly learnt the sequence of movements and was able to do part of it at home. I am already experiencing the calming effect of the movements in the management of various stressful situations. By learning and repeating movements in a group, confidence is established as well as solidity and flexibility. Knots are undone, links are created, laughter is part of the experience of the retreats and the weeks in Danville and Orangeville. It has become part of everyday life. Quitting is not an option.
The journey back then took me a few years: from Beginner 1, to Beginner 2, to Intermediate and Continuous. I continue because "it suits me well", as my entourage tells me. We notice a physical ease hitherto unknown. Group learning is always a facilitator for me. Like a lampshade, it softens the attention I might receive. However, one day I was asked to be an assistant and then a session leader. How was I able to move from the last row to the one in front of the group? It didn't happen without cold sweats and discomfort, but it also happened without realizing it.
I started to get involved by volunteering to water the local plants. It was a first for me. I had never volunteered before. Too shy and/or too individualistic for that. Then I was asked to be part of the branch committee and one thing leading to another, I found myself in charge of this branch committee. One day, during the visit of the regional president at the time, I was asked to speak of the donations in front of the group ! Fortunately, a sequence preceded this activity. During the whole sequence, I tried to calm myself down and focused on the weight in my feet. I managed to speak without shaking, which is already an achievement. Even if I manage it, this aspect of speaking in public and/or expressing my opinion or my feelings has always been a challenge to overcome. I manage to do it but by being prepared for it by a written reflection beforehand. I make the comparison with learning the piano, I manage to play it with a score, but I cannot play it by ear.
What can I say after several years of administrative involvement in the Branch Committee and the Regional Management Committee? That involvement is a powerful motivator, involvement keeps interest fresh. This is full-time mentoring.
Involvement presupposes trust that is constantly renewed with each challenge. Involvement confirms the certainty that we cannot do without it because it brings us more than anything we can give.
If working together makes us more flexible and good, that's what I needed: flexibility for adapting to change, for managing irritants, for physical and mental balance. And when flexibility is accompanied by solidity in both feet, we become well equipped for the days to come in addition to being well surrounded and supported by the great Taoist family.
This is my current state of mind and, just as when I started, I reiterate my confidence in the teachings of the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism.
- Odette, Québec
- Warren, Saskatchewan
In Harmony with Nature
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!
- Warren, Saskatchewan
- Ester, Spain
Dejar ir a la transformacion | Letting Go into Transformation
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:
Mi hija ha empezado este curso la extraescolar de musicoterapia. Cuando tuve la entrevista con el terapeuta le tuve que explicar todo lo que ella hacía a los 6 años (hablar, cantar, tocar el piano) y que ahora a duras penas hablaba. Le tuve que explicar que a los 6 años dejó de crecer y empezó a encogerse, a dejar de controlar esfínteres, etc.
Anteriormente a esa entrevista para mí todo eso era bajar escalones, retroceso. Pero ese día hablé de “coger otro camino”. Mi hija había “cogido otro camino” y necesitaba desprenderse de todo eso, cosas que para mi eran importantes pero que ahora sé que no lo son.
Después de la entrevista me di cuenta de cuán profundamente las sesiones de zoom me estaban transformando, me estaban ayudando a ampliar la mirada, a dejar ir mi dolor. Me levanto a las 6 de la mañana para practicar Tai Chi, es un momento de paz en la casa. El confinamiento me enseñó que la práctica diaria me equilibraba y me daba fortaleza para afrontar la crisis epiléptica diaria que tiene mi hija, así que intentaba acabar la práctica antes que se descompensara.
Algo ha cambiado en mí, y hace unas semanas que ya no me levanto a practicar para estar equilibrada y así afrontar mejor la crisis, me levanto a las 6 para disfrutar y sentir mi práctica, y si la crisis viene antes o después de mi práctica ya no me importa.
En relación a esas crisis llevo 17 años queriendo eliminarlas, luchando contra ellas, y cuanto más me enfrentaba más fuertes eran. Recientemente sentí que no importaban, he dejado ir esa lucha, esa impotencia, aceptando las crisis y observando a mi hija con compasión, acompañándola. He dejado ir mi dolor para observar si ella siente dolor, observando lo que necesita.
Interioricé la importancia de dejar caer la mano (en los movimientos), dejar ir, ya que ello te lleva a que te expandas automáticamente, sin esfuerzo. Dejar ir para disfrutar.
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:
My daughter has started this school year with extracurricular music therapy. When I had the interview with the therapist, I had to explain to her everything she was doing at the age of 6 (talking, singing, playing the piano) and that now she was barely speaking. I had to explain to her that when my daughter was 6 years old she stopped growing and started to shrink, to stop controlling her sphincters, etc.
Prior to that interview, for me that was all about going down steps, regressing. But that day I talked about "taking another path". My daughter had "taken another path" and needed to let go of all that, things that were important to me but now I know they are not.
After the interview, I realized how deeply the zoom sessions were transforming me, helping me to widen my gaze, to let go of my pain.
I get up at 6 a.m. to practice the movements of the Taoist Tai Chi® arts. It's a peaceful time in the house. Confinement taught me that daily practice balanced me and gave me strength to deal with the daily epileptic seizure my daughter has, so I would try to finish the practice before she needed my help.
Something has changed in me. Since a few weeks ago, I no longer get up to practice to be balanced and thus better cope with the crisis. I get up at 6 to enjoy and feel my practice, and if the crisis comes before or after my practice, I no longer care.
In relation to those crises, I have been 17 years wanting to eliminate them, fighting against them, and the more I faced them the stronger they were. Recently, I felt that they did not matter. I have let go of that struggle, that helplessness, accepting the crises and observing my daughter with compassion, accompanying her. I have let go of my pain to observe if she is in pain, observing what she needs.
I internalized the importance of letting go of the hand (in the movements); letting go, as this leads you to expand automatically, without effort. Letting go to enjoy.
- Ester, Spain
- Christiane, Québec
Ça prend du temps | It Takes Time
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!
J’ai donc passé des mois à pratiquer les danyus à la barre, pour descendre plus bas, plus droit. Mais dès que je lâchais la barre, tout bloquait. Je n’arrivais plus à descendre, je sentais des tensions dans les hanches, le dos, les épaules. Puis un jour, peu avant le retour en présentiel, j’ai décidé de mettre l’accent sur autre chose. Je me suis enfin donné la permission de faire des danyus pour le plaisir et non plus par crainte de ce qu’en diraient les autres.
Mes danyus sont tout de suite devenus plus légers, plus élastiques, plus détendus. Je ne le faisais plus par obligation, mais par plaisir. J’avais finalement lâché prise. J’ai compris que l’important, ce n’est pas de faire de beaux danyus. L’important, c’est d’en faire.
Il m’a fallu du temps pour comprendre le message que nos dirigeants nous répètent semaine après semaine. Ça montre l’importance de la régularité aux rencontres, de la qualité de l’écoute. Le fait de me sentir connectée au reste de notre communauté taoïste m’aide dans ma pratique. Le fait de savoir que nous entendons tous le même message en même temps m’aide à développer cette connexion et à sentir le soutien des autres par leur simple présence. Il m’aura fallu du temps pour intégrer ce message. Je rencontrerai d’autres difficultés le long de mon chemin, mais le lien avec les autres et la leçon que j’ai apprise ici m’aideront à les surmonter.
Merci à nos dirigeants, pour leur patience. Merci à tous les participants pour leur soutien.
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!
So I spent months practicing the danyus at the bar, to get lower and straighter. But as soon as I let go of the bar, everything froze. I couldn't go down anymore, I felt tension in my hips, in my back, in my shoulders. Then one day, shortly before the beginning of in-person sessions, I decided to focus on something else. I finally gave myself permission to do danyus for the fun of it, and no longer out of fear of what others would say.
My danyus immediately became lighter, more elastic, more relaxed. I was no longer doing it because I had to, but out of pleasure. I had finally let go. I understood that the point is not to do nice danyus. The point is to do them.
It took me a while to understand the message that our leaders tell us week after week. It shows how important it is to meet regularly, to listen well. Feeling connected to the rest of our Taoist community helps me in my practice. Knowing that we are all hearing the same message at the same time helps me to develop this connection and to feel the support of others by their mere presence. It took me a while to integrate this message. I will encounter other difficulties along my path, but the connection with the community and the lessons I have learned here will help me overcome them.
Thank you to our leaders, for your patience. Thank you to all the participants for their support.
- Christiane, Québec
- Laure, Québec
Transformation, petit a petit | Transformation, Little by Little
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.
Depuis, lorsque je regarde une de ces calligraphies, j’imagine un petit guerrier masqué muni d’une épée qui voyagera à l’intérieur de mon univers pour amputer les racines de mes résistances, si je le laisse entrer chez moi. Je m’imprègne de sa silhouette. Je place le symbole en fond d’écran de mon téléphone pour le voir chaque jour et le reproduis plusieurs fois à l’encre. Puis, je laisse le travail se faire.
Les jours et les nuits qui suivent me révèlent un peu plus à moi-même, par des flashs, des rêves, des pensées ou des situations qui me confrontent à la vertu elle-même. Ce n’est pas toujours reposant de lever le voile sur la raison d’une résistance intérieure à l’une ou à l’autre des huit vertus. Ce que j’apprends dans ce processus me surprend, me bouscule et me brasse mais, dans le même mouvement, m’apaise, à partir du moment où j’accepte de ne pas tout comprendre.
Il y a quelques mois, je me suis imprégnée du symbole de la vertu du sacrifice, reliée à l’organe du cœur, et je me suis posé cette question : « Sincérité du cœur, spontanéité, justesse et désintéressement, si je pouvais laisser ces dispositions me guider en toute circonstance, aurais-je alors le courage de faire ce qui est juste ? » Il se trouve que dans des situations d’urgence ou de danger, je perdais mes moyens, comme paralysée.
Mais lundi dernier, alors que trois hommes ivres ont commencé à se battre, bouteille de vin en verre à la main, dans un wagon de métro dans lequel je me trouvais, j’ai aussitôt appuyé sur l’interphone et signalé la situation au conducteur du train. Je ne me suis pas reconnue. Il y a quelques mois de cela, j’aurais été figée dans ma stupeur. La seule chose à laquelle je me souviens avoir pensé entre le moment où j’ai entendu les voix monter et vu la bouteille de verre menaçant la tête d’un des hommes contre la porte du wagon, c’est : comment empêcher que ça aille trop loin pour ces hommes comme pour les passagers ? Le reste est venu sans réfléchir.
Je sortais d’une séance ou nous avions travaillé l’équilibre dans la séquence « mouvoir les mains comme des nuages » quand cela s’est produit. Le travail des vertus et la pratique physique de l’équilibre m’ont tous deux aidé à réagir vite dans cette situation.
En découvrant la source enfouie d’une résistance à une vertu, parmi des souvenirs lointains, j’ai l’impression de créer du vide à l’intérieur de mon corps et d’apporter plus de lumière à ma conscience. Au fond, ce n’est pas moi qui creuse, mais un petit guerrier masqué qui exécute les mouvements d’un enchaînement en prenant différents visages, selon la vertu qui m’appelle.
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.
Since, when I look at one of these calligraphies, I imagine a small masked warrior with a sword who will travel inside my universe to amputate the roots of my resistances, if I let him enter my home. I imprint myself on his silhouette. I put the symbol in the background of my phone to see it every day and reproduce it several times in ink. Then I let the work happen.
The days and nights that follow reveal a little more to myself, through flashes, dreams, thoughts or situations that confront me with virtue itself. It is not always relaxing to lift the veil on the reason for an inner resistance to one or another of the eight virtues. What I learn in this process surprises me, moves me and shakes me up but, in the same movement, soothes me, from the moment I accept that I don’t understand everything.
A few months ago, I absorbed the symbol of the virtue of sacrifice, connected to the organ of the heart, and I asked myself this question: "Sincerity of heart, spontaneity, rightness, and selflessness, if I could let these dispositions guide me in all circumstances, would I then have the courage to do what is right?" It appears that, in situations of emergency or danger, I would quickly lose my nerve, as if I were paralyzed. But this past Monday, as three drunken men started fighting, glass bottle of wine in hand, in a subway car I was in, I immediately pressed the intercom and reported the situation to the train conductor. I didn't recognize myself.
A few months ago, I would have been frozen in my stupor. The only thing I remember thinking between the moment I heard the voices rising and saw the glass bottle threatening the head of one of the men against the car door was: how do we keep this from going too far for these men as well as the passengers? The rest came without thinking.
I had just come out of a session where we had been working on balance in the sequence "moving the hands like clouds" when this happened. The virtues work and the physical practice of balance helped me both to react quickly in this situation.
By discovering the buried source of a resistance to a virtue, among distant memories, I have the impression of creating void inside my body and bringing more light to my consciousness. Deep down, it is not me who is digging, but a small masked warrior who is executing the movements of a sequence by taking on different faces, depending on the virtue that calls me.
- Laure, Québec