Lockdown arrived so no classes, all usual routine was gone. I felt all at sea. Practicing sets daily as usual, but I found that by the end of a set I had tears streaming down my face, even though I did feel calm. It was troubling. What to do? I decided to stop the sets and go back to the beginning, so foundations only became my new daily focus.

Along came weekly zoom classes & Saturday chanting – these were, I felt, well out of my comfort zone. But I joined some sessions and they felt nervously awkward. But with encouragement to ‘keep doing it’ as part of our training I was, within a month, hosting a weekly zoom session myself and attending the Saturday calls. At first, I did find the chanting challenging, the discussions motivating.

I remember Andrew saying something like ‘we are stronger right?’ I thought 'actually no’, I do not feel that. But I kept going; adding sets back into my practice. I was practicing tai chi for longer, chanting twice a week and joining various zoom calls. I was starting to feel very connected and phrases, I’d heard mentioned on Saturday, kept popping into my head, giving me comfort.

Although I still had worries, I was feeling more relaxed and the body was quieter, but there were masses of thoughts going on in my head. I figured I needed something else. Quiet sitting had been mentioned in a discussion and I was determined to give it a try. Even though the thought filled me with panic. Surely, I could manage 1 minute? So, I started, 1 minute twice a day every day. It was surprisingly difficult. But I kept going and soon was managing 5 minutes twice a day. My mind felt liberated and I was sleeping better, with no dreams. I have now increased this to 20 minutes once a day and it feels about right for now.

With the practice of all the Taoist Tai ChiTM arts I now feel more balanced, without worry. I am stronger, happier, brighter, calmer, more connected and have better relationships with those around me.

I had not welcomed this lockdown year and at times it has been tough but I have found that it has given me what I needed not necessarily what I wanted. And I can now look positively forward.