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I’ve been unusually stressed lately. I feel insecure as I’ve gained what feels like a significant amount of winter weight; my current freelamce job comes to a close at the end of the month; and my personal endeavor also approaches a giant transition as I complete my first hobby year. The combination of the three has caused a less than smooth ride since the turn of the calendar year and I am searching for balance once again – the balance I found during meditation earlier in the year. I imagine we all have these moments- where the waves keep knocking the ship we’re on–despite several previous months of smooth sailing.
When my friend asks me if I’d like to do a t’ai chi class with her, I don’t think twice . “This will be perfect- right before my long work trip to Arizona.”
As Kim and I arrive at our introductory course-, I already feel calmer. There is a silence in the room – and our instructors are so zen that I begin to believe that t’ai chi must secretly be some sedative type drug- and not an active class-despite always seeing people doing the exercises in the parks.
We watch as our set of instructors simultaneously go through their routine. Seven minutes later-after just watching- I already feel a weight off my shoulders. It feels as though a silent dance with relaxation is gracefully puiretting in front of me. It’s really quite beautiful.
Then it’s our turn. We begin to drift into our first movement- thoughts enter my mind.
I know – I’m not supposed to be thinking, but I am.
I feel as though this is the first time I’ve done something so relaxed in weeks. I feel like it’s the first time my thoughts have come through without white noise- without distraction- without a block. Normally, I would chase thoughts away – but instead, here and now, I welcome them – and I step, sway and breathe into them. We seem to be speaking to one another — the thoughts and me that is. I breathe again into them as though I am meditating on them.
As we pivot on our right foot and bring our arms up, I recognize the stress I’ve endured the last few weeks. I work on a reality crime television series so rarely there is a break in the action- but tonight there is.
I’ve already broken my resolution of not worrying about that which I cannot control – but t’ai chi let’s me focus on how I can face that resolution and make a comeback. Right here , right now- I am centered.. I know, again, I shouldn’t be conversing with my thoughts – but I am. I am calm. I am cool. I am collected. I hear a song play in my head – I feel the moves smoothly transition from one to the next and like meditation, I begin to a feel a greater sense of grounded-ness– a greater sense of balance–a greater sense of “it’s all going to be okay.”
Shift weight left- return to center , arms on strings – I continue to follow effortlessly— this is definitely what calm means.
As a teacher fixes my posture- I remain still while my inner dialogue continues . “You’re going to be just fine Libs — no you’re going to be great .”
T’ai Chi Chuan
School of T’ai Chi Chuan