Greetings from Dunedin

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by | November 14, 2014 · 4:42 pm

Sets on our new lawn by participants of the International Program Week in Dunedin

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Open Door in Warsaw, Poland Oct 15th

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On Wednesday, October 15th, the Warsaw branch of TTCS in Poland had a great pleasure to welcome 53 guests at Open Door. All together along with members, over 90 people participated in the activities conducted by two regular instuctors: Mariola and Zosia. We were also honoured of the presence of the district head of the Social Affairs and Health Department – Mr. Miroslaw Starzyński.

His warm words and a great kindness for the Society helped to overcome shyness and encourage all guests to join exercises.

 After more than one hour of practice, during which we familiarized new people with Taoist Tai Chi Society, we invited everyone to a hot meal. None of the springrolls were left and we still had time to practice a bit more.

The Open Door was once again a great proof of how strong Master Moy Lin Shin’s teaching are and how important it is to work together in harmony.

We would like to thank all the members for their commitment, starting from the preparation of the leaflets, through active participation in many demos and encouraging people to come to the Open Door, preparing posters in the windows of the club, cutting the vegetables, wraping spring rolls, cleaning the clubhouse and taking good care of our guests during the event, so they could feel warm and friendly atmosphere.

 Our eyes and mouths kept smiling through the whole day. Our joy is even greater now, because the very next day several new people, who came to Open Door, joined a beginner’s class.

In Polish language:

W ostatnią środę w naszym ośrodku na Miedzianej odbył się Dzień Otwarty. Ponad 90 osób w tym 53 gości miało okazję uczestniczyć w zajęciach poprowadzonych przez instruktorki: Mariolę i Zosię.

Szczególnie uradowała nas też obecność pana Naczelnika Mirosława Starzyńskiego, którego ciepłe słowa i ogromna życzliwość dla Stowarzyszenia pomogła przełamać nieśmiałość i zachęcić wszystkich gości do wspólnego ćwiczenia.

 Po ponad godzinnym ćwiczeniu, w trakcie którego przybliżyliśmy nowym osobom nasze Stowarzyszenie zaprosiliśmy wszystkich na ciepły poczęstunek. Żadna sajgonka nie ostała się na talerzu. Po jedzonku poćwiczyliśmy wspólnie jeszcze dobre pół godziny.

 Dzień Otwarty to po raz kolejny wspaniały dowód na to jak silne są nauki Mistrza Moy i jak ważne jest to, abyśmy działali wspólnie w harmonii. Dziękujemy wszystkim członkom za ich zaangażowanie, począwszy od przygotowania ulotek informacyjnych, poprzez liczny udział w wielu pokazach i zachęcanie osób do przyjścia na Dzień Otwarty, przygotowanie plakatów informacyjnych w oknach klubu, krojenie warzyw, zawijanie spring rolls, wymuskanie klubu i zaopiekowaniu się naszymi gośćmi w trakcie wydarzenia, tak, aby mogli poczuć przyjazną atmosferę.

 Bardzo cieszymy się z naszego wspólnego sukcesu, widać to w naszych uśmiechniętych oczach i buziach.

Radość nasza jest tym większa, że już następnego dnia na zajęciach grup początkujących pojawiło się kilkanaście nowych osób z Dnia Otwartego.

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Central Region Program in Orangeville, Oct 25 – 26

A Central Region Program Weekend and Branches Meeting took place at our Orangeville Centre on October 25 & 26. Co-hosted by Peterborough and Ottawa branches, we had record attendance of 170 people! Word must have got out about the talented breakfast crew.

Thank you to the Central Region Management Committee for a wonderful weekend of learning and being grateful. We were led by the dynamic duo of John Balinski and Jim Gazzard. Their clear, simple instruction with tor-yu and don-yu had us laughing and relaxing, and saying ‘thank you’. The opportunity to work in small groups with a seasoned leader was beneficial for both the seeing and the doing.

Two phrases that stood out for me were Relax and Open, and Let It Go, which can apply far beyond just the physical tai chi that we do. At the Branches Meeting on Saturday we discussed the whys and hows around the new donation direction our organization is taking. What do we need to know as instructors and how do we talk to our classes? Much different than a fee-for-service, these arts are taught with the understanding that the culture that Master Moy Lin Shin shared with us is one of giving. We respect and honour this culture by asking for donations and giving people the opportunity to give from their own heart. The discussions and sharing were very heartfelt and a great starting point to filter back to our locations.

It was announced that our usual Central Region Annual Report is going to become part of a larger National Annual Report for 2015, featuring very condensed summaries and photos of the activities of all branches in Canada. This is a wonderful opportunity for local branches to connect with the larger family of FLK TTC in Canada, and to remind ourselves that our individual locations, no matter how small, are a reflection of this larger group to which we all belong and support. We were encouraged to formulate a plan for promotion in 2015, keeping in mind that the number one reason people come through our doors is by word of mouth – which makes perfect sense for an organization that prides itself on its oral traditions.

In terms of Relaxing and Opening we were also encouraged to take that mindset with beginner class scheduling. Let’s be ready for new students whenever they are ready, not just when we’ve planned to receive them on our calendars. Start anytime, come and we will help you learn Taoist Tai Chi™, and much more if you are open to it!

Thank you to all the volunteers who looked after the many tasks of the weekend — really just opportunities to give a little in return for so much.

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International workshop in Slovakia, Oct 18 -19

TTCS of Slovakia hosted 2 day workshop in Bratislava on October 18 – 19. The workshop was led by Marsha Eberhardt. We welcomed 184 participants from many countries – Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, England, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic.

 Our location started to fill Friday afternoon. Seniors cooked wonderful Thai soup for incoming participants. They welcomed each other, sat around rounded tables, drank tea and talked till late evening.

The program started Saturday morning in a school gym nearby. We divided into small groups where people worked together on their Tai Chi and discussed some topics. Groups had also tasks as cleaning, preparing refreshment and tea, serving food and washing dishes, so organization of the workshop ran very smooth.

Because of the great number of participants, lunch and dinner were served in 2 places at the same time – in our club and in a restaurant, which is in the same building. This worked very well and we were able to eat without long breaks.

 We had an interesting experience during Saturday evening session.  The lights went out during one of our Tai Chi sets, so we found ourselves almost in the dark. But fortunately no panic and screaming occurred. People stayed peacefully together in harmony movement, enjoyed the extraordinary moment and continued with the set while the lights gradually started to work again.

 The breakfasts were prepared and served in our location. More than 40 members slept there, so it was pretty lively during the weekend. Moreover, Sunday morning after breakfast we did chanting there. This was a powerful moment. Massive sound filled the whole space and started us for upcoming practice. Then we continued in gym and program finished with lunch at 2pm.

 Many people said this was the best workshop yet in Slovakia. It was definitively our biggest event yet. We did a lot of work, learned a lot and had a lot of fun.

 And yes, of course we did a lot of don-yus and tor-yus :-)

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5-day International Workshop, UK National Centre, Edinburgh, Great Britain

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The workshop started with Tai Chi sets and then the President of the Society in Great Britain, Crispin Barker, welcomed everyone and introduced the workshop leader Marsha Eberhardt, President of Fung Loy Kok. 16 different countries were represented including Australia, Canada, USA as well as 13 European countries; a really “international” International Workshop.

Marsha drew us in and together with interesting observations and insights into the Taoist path and how our training in the internal arts is about so much more than just physical health, important though that is.

The opening chapter; our journey had begun…

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After choosing group leaders we were introduced to the workshop co-ordinators who would help us with our care-taking tasks. It was striking to see how many people were involved in this and of course they represented just one layer of volunteers looking after the workshop.

Over the 5 days we found ourselves drawn deeper into the internal work of Taoist Tai Chi™ through instruction, practice, helpful imagery, informative talks about physiology and anatomy and personal stories and experiences both from the past and those happening right there in the workshop.

The structure of the workshop soon gave the training a rhythm which provided some familiar, secure base from which to investigate and improve our internal universes: breakfast, chanting (before the 10am start of the workshop for those who wished – and many did), sets, standing, walking, foundations, instruction, sharing, questions, observations, group practice, lunch, tasks, sets, talking, sharing, dinner, set, foundations, sharing. Every day was different and unique but recognisable and with a friendly face, just like the dedicated breakfast and kitchen teams. It was a rich mixture and soon we were open and wanting to tell and hear stories and experiences of our tai chi.

We felt really immersed in the path that Marsha had outlined and described to us, engaged in an exciting adventure of exploration and discovery. As we told our stories we were also creating new ones, new biographies, fresh perspectives, and horizons. The moves we knew so well in the bodies we knew so well fell away revealing new moves and invigorating our bodies with new energies. During the process pains, stiffness and habits fell away clearing a space for the spirit. Day by day this was more and more visible in everyone; we were taller, more upright, happier and our eyes shone more brightly. We were more aware and acknowledged each other with more clarity. We were waking.

IMAG3680 1When Marsha talked she talked directly to our hearts. When she talked about dual cultivation of body and mind as a way to fan the spark of goodness we all have, were born with, we understood because we felt it happening – right there and then. When she told us how the Taoist Tai Chi™ arts help us be better in the world by removing the dust of the world we understood because we felt the dust dropping away from us and could see more clearly what was important in our lives.

Through this process of transformation that we were offered and participated in we realized how the circulation can be altered by our intention, our movement of mind and body, and our balance. We moved from the muscular and mechanical to the elastic, the sticky, pushing from the feet and simultaneously pulling up from the ground, letting go and lengthening, hanging the spine and dropping to separate, allowing the body to stretch and open. It all felt so good. So this is what it is to be a human being.

From the tor-yu and dan-yu to the first moves of the Tai Chi set, wave hands, hit tiger and even a little lok hup on the last day, we explored these ways of moving and made new connections. Everyone was together in their journey but it was individual and personal; our discoveries were our own, our challenges were our own but it was so nice to be able to share with everyone and to be able to relate to everyone’s experience because however individual, from 2 months experience to 30 years experience the process was the same, the common denominator that harmonized and levelled us and brought us joy.

IMG_3028Posture affects the emotions, Crispin explained, during a talk where he shared his knowledge, gained from physiotherapy as well as Taoist Tai Chi™, about the skeleton and the internal organs. We could feel it. The straighter, more aligned we became, the better we felt.

 On Friday we were once again honoured by the presence of Kenny McAskill, the Justice Minister for Scotland, a member of the Scottish Parliament who has a genuine wish to see people be the best they can be and enjoy quality of life, and consequently fully appreciates what it is that we do and how we help people. We invited him to a presentation about the Fenway, made by Edinburgh branch President, Ken MacLachlan and he was interested to learn of the Scottish connection between Edinburgh and Dunedin (the Gaelic name for Edinburgh), Florida.

 It was such a rich week and we seemed to look at Taoist Tai Chi™ from every angle. On the last day Marsha told us that Master Moy Lin Shin had once said that a monk on the mountain was ok, a monk in the town was better, but a monk in the city was best because that’s where people need the most help.

This help meant that together we’d somehow rewritten our stories. We came to the workshop as supporting characters in other people’s narratives, our energies scattered and spirit diluted by the demands of the world but we left as the main characters in our own stories, our energy increased and centred and spirit collected and strong once again; more able to share this help with others. We remembered the way, stepping more definitely on the path, living in the legend that Master Moy scripted for us. How can words express our joy and happiness to be on this journey together? How can words express our gratitude and good fortune? They cannot. As Marsha told us, Master Moy said we can only say thank you for this gift by sharing it with others. So we left with light hearts to go back to our classes and say thank you.

 In the grand, beautiful and historic city of Edinburgh we felt ready to go back to the hustle and bustle of city life with balance but already many of us had our minds on the upcoming workshop in Madrid and also our appetites had been whetted for the workshop in Helmond in January.

 Moved by the spirit of helping others an unprecedented number of people stayed behind after the workshop to help clean and tidy the centre before they continued their journey home. You really made a difference.

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Awareness Day in Perth, Western Australia

At least 200 members joined in for an Awareness Day event at the Perth Cultural Centre on Sunday 26 October 2014.  We were honoured to have as a guest Dr Yit-Seng Yow, Senior Vice-President of the Chung Wah Association. Aside from one brief shower of rain, the weather was delightful and everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time. There was a constant stream of passers-by and some stopped to watch or even join in a free beginner class.

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