Swimming Dragon Tai Chi

When tai chi & qigong matters most

How do you handle stressful situations like this?

It’s me again. Been awhile right? I know I’ve promised you monthly blog posts and I apologize for not keeping my end of the bargain. The good news is that I’ve been working on some really cool (and FREE) tai chi & qigong content for all of you to learn and enjoy for at least the next few months.

Oh, and there is that whole hurricane Sandy thing. For those of you who don’t live near the East Coast, this was the WORST hurricane I’ve ever experienced in the Boston area. I couldn’t believe a few roads just minutes from my condo was completely under water! What freaked me out the most was not the violent winds making my condo building sway from side to side, the downpour of rain, or the big branches breaking off and flying into my brand new car; it was the news of 4 people that I really care about are without power, public transportation, and limited supplies. Two of these people are my martial arts/qigong teachers from New York City.

The worst part about this is the unknown. My brain would constantly have trouble thinking of anything but the worst-case scenario. No returned phone calls, e-mails, or text messages from either of them.

It’s at this moment, this whole long week during which I am immersed in that uncertain space that I call the “void”, that I find my tai chi & qigong practice comes in the most handy. sometimes I love the body-transforming benefits of my practice, or the sweet calm I feel when in jam jong (standing meditation) after a challenging class. Yet, the most life-changing payoffs of daily training go much, much deeper than that.

As I face the unknown this week, I’m finding that my that human toolbox contains secret compartments I was unaware of until they were called forth by this specific situation. But, I can always train and find ways to flex these inner muscles even if I haven’t experienced an intense call-to-action from life:

For example, you put yourself into the man-made “void” of the wuji posture the first few times and feel the burning in your calves and bottom of your feet or stay in a leg-shaking gong-bu (archer stance) for a few breaths than you thought you could. When we take ourselves to the edge of what we know, and try to trust the ground that builds itself underneath us even as we take that next step out, we begin the battle between courage and fear of falling that is the hero’s journey leading you to fly one day, or maybe today-in mind, body, and spirit.

The beauty of these reminders in my own tai chi & qigong practice is that they help me be a better me, and better within’ my relationships. I need me to be clear and open and available for whatever comes. Tai chi & qigong helps me default not to the fear-based freakout waiting to take me off center. Rather, I find myself straddling two worlds. I’m witnessing how my mind and emotions are careening all over the place like a drunk person at a nightclub. At the same time, I’m able to remind myself of what a good friend of mine said today:

“When you have ACTUAL information on your teachers’ status, you will deal with it in the best way you know how. Until then, stay rooted – you don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”

I find that all over-worrying does is make us less effective at handling your business when it’s time to take care of it. It blocks your chi that enables to make clear decisions, and less dependable in general for yourself and those closest to you.

It’s fine to feel things, and wonder about the unknown. But the tai chi practitioner begins to discover that it’s even more productive to add another powerful perspective to the experience of feeling everything: the choice to be present above all.

I’ll keep everyone posted… until then, send some good chi to everyone affected by hurricane Sandy.


Photo credit: urbanfaith.com

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