Category Archives: Personal Stories
Enjoying ourselves with an exquisite banquet, more than 70 members of the Costa Rica Taoist Tai Chi Association celebrated the Mid-Autumn Moon Banquet last Saturday, September 13th. Our MC was Liseth Weigelt, a 24-year-old young woman diagnosed 10 years ago with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, who has been practicing Taoist Tai Chi™ for the past 2 years, gaining lots of benefits for her physical health and wellbeing. After spending 5 hours preparing 300 won tons for the banquet with two other members she was on her feet for another 5 hours MC ing. After starting her Taoist Tai Chi™ on the floor as she was too weak even to sit, and her contribution was a pure joy to experience.
Many new members received the opportunity to learn more about diligent practice, responsibility and propriety when she shared the legend of Chang-O, entertaining everybody with beautiful images of the story, one of the most important holidays in Chinese communities around the world. Tales of mooncakes and the Jade rabbit followed before a beautifully scripted and managed links to testimonials from Marielos and Fransisco and illustrated sections on our help with families in need in the community and the development of our three new satellite locations. We had 12 new members from Tibás alone, for their first Banquet.
The special guest table included Mr. Rafael Gamboa, the building owner; Mrs. Roxinia Arguedas, our accountant and Dr. Ricardo Sáenz, Rheumatologist, who came with his young daughter. Dr. Sáenz has been frequently referring people to the arts without knowing who we were, but aware of the benefits of practicing Taoist Tai Chi™ arts. In gratitude to this selfless recommendation to his patients we wanted to receive him as our special guest for the night.
Starting with Indonesian prawn crackers and 3 different won ton varieties made by three Club members, DJ, Katherine, and Liseth, we opened the menu and relished the flavors of a great Chinese dinner.
The music came along with three Club members: Phillip Reed, guitar; Dimas Barrantes, voice and harmonica; and DJ Gonzalez guitar with a very sweet melodic voice (I guess that three was our lucky number for the evening!)
During the banquet we shared stories, images and videos about CIT Week & International Awareness Day, also about our next big new International Centre project, The Fenway! It was an opportunity to remind all the attendants of the many ways we can be involved in its development, showing that when we come together, we practice more than 108 moves and we can make this is an opportunity to keep offering the arts for future generations to come.
Without a doubt…a lovely evening!
Smiling faces, friendly greetings, sincere, caring, helpful people, with a sense of well being. This is who you will find at the International Taoist Tai Chi™ Centre beginners’ class. The first weekend accelerated class was held September 19th – 21st.
As you drive up towards the entrance you see statues and flags, several buildings that pique your curiosity, dragons and cauldrons, flowers, and did I mention flags, lots of flags, from several countries. Paths made of different materials, trails to explore, trees, clouds and as you step out of your vehicle: fresh air. There is a sense of sacredness and serenity here.
Even before the first hello is exchanged you feel welcomed.
Arriving for dinner and time to settle into a room allows time for registration before class. A tour of where linens are and directions to the meditation suites are given. Bernice and Sharon are greeters for registration and name tags are distributed. Before taking one step into the practice hall, Delores, Jane, Mar and so many others gave a mini tour of the centre, sharing their knowledge.
Time for class to commence. Do you remember your first class?
As participants file in creating lines I position myself near the front knowing I will need to hear the instructor. Fortunately, the class had many experienced participants as it became clear early-on that memorizing the 108 moves takes time. Ah, acceptance, a good lesson. I was here for the weekend and was determined to enjoy myself. Let go, breathe, and follow along.
The movement, the silence, the collective consciousness, how beautiful is this! Everyone is a mirror image of each other, reflecting a practice that is tremendously powerful.
After class, some stayed on to continue their practice, some stayed to visit and have a snack. The kitchen is always open and you are invited to help with preparation for meals and clearing and washing of dishes. The honour system is in place, all doors open. How refreshing. Yes, the food is delicious.
I settled in for the night feeling relaxed and energized at the same time. Although I awoke with vivid dreams, I was able to fall back asleep and felt refreshed in the morning and ready for a full day. Chanting in the temple, breakfast, three two hour classes with breaks for meals,and a tour of the property.
Each class offered instruction, repetition, tea, biscuits, fruit and story telling. Lots of laughter, some tears, exchanges of emails and and on Sunday, a raffle. I will wear my tai chi hoodie proudly.
Each person has a story, what brought them to this moment, why they sought out Taoist Tai Chi™ and each story has a happy ending. Each story has a happy ending, did you hear that?
Tai Chi equals equanimity, a connection is made, sublte and transformative. As you leave, a realization that the journey has just begun and that you will be back. Tranquility stays with you and can be accessed at anytme.
Tai Chi is truly for everyone.
Being healthy is really important to me — as it is to many of my fellow Tallahasseeans.
But it seems in our Western society, “healthy” can be increasingly based on taking medication — often lots of it. I am a hearty endorser of the right medication and I know that medication can and does save lives. However, I am equally convinced that a good amount of medication, prescribed and over-the-counter, is often only about addressing symptoms rather than the real problem. We often look for quick fixes to feel better, but they don’t typically solve the problem.
There are other ways to address health issues — in collaboration with medical doctors, and sometimes instead of them. I have found that in Chinese medicine, and particularly in practicing the Taoist Tai Chi™ Internal Arts, that these practitioners work to address the root cause of medical problems.
These challenges are often due to such contributing factors as living lives that lack balance and having circulation that is blocked by stress and poor structural alignment. Taoist Tai Chi™ is often not the fast way to address health challenges, but because it tends to address the true causal factors of an issue, the problem often disappears or becomes manageable with far less medication.
Almost eight years ago, I followed my husband in taking a beginning class at the Taoist Tai Chi™ Society on Thomasville Road, and I have continued my Tai Chi practice to this day. I have seen amazing things happen there — to me and to others — and I have heard of amazing things that have happened to others all over the world to those who have persisted in what is called the “dual cultivation of mind and body.” It is for those reasons that I persist.
What have I seen? A woman who no longer has to take heart medication. Another woman – over 60 — with two herniated disks who now is as flexible as a 40-year old. An elderly man who is able to flexibly move what used to be a frozen shoulder. A woman getting taller as she ages. People with MS, Parkinson’s, strokes, traumatic brain injuries — the list goes on — whose lives have been significantly restored because of a series of 108 specific, continuous movements that are designed to work with the body as a system to achieve better health.
Through diligent practices of these 108 moves over time, I have found my Type A personality has become almost a Type B+! Because of my work in Taoist Tai Chi™, I can actually relax, even during stressful times.
There are moments where I feel so connected to life, because I am so much more connected within myself. And as I get older, I know that with Tai Chi I have the best shot at remaining flexible, balanced and healthy.
True change typically doesn’t happen overnight. Turning the clock back on one’s health issues takes time and diligence. Like water over rock, the rounding of edges takes time. But the results I have seen and experienced have convinced me that the Tai Chi can address the root causes of problems, not just the peripherals.
If you’re interested, I hope you will join me at the society’s next open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the National Center, 2100 Thomasville Road. During the open house, you will learn how to do some Tai Chi, experience brief lectures on specific impacts of Tai Chi on your health, take a tour of the center and get a taste of this amazing art.
At 1 p.m., stay and join us for a free vegetarian meal (called a “jai”). Consider signing up for a beginning class – they all begin between Sunday and Sept. 13. You’ll be making a modest investment and potentially reaping phenomenal dividends. I hope to meet you there.
On July 17, 2014 Anneli Whyte celebrated her 91st birthday with her many friends at Stratford Branch. She has been a member for 23 years and attends 4 or 5 times a week. Anneli is a fine example of find balance, have fun and keep coming. She attributes her ability to stay active and still do line dancing to her years of Taoist Tai Chi ™. Anneli is an inspiration to us all.
At a hospital in Mexico, after major abdominal surgery, there were two or three tubes draining things out of my body and an IV dripping things in…. Perhaps it was a relatively easy surgery but with stitches all the way up my belly, I was weak and a bit frightened. The nurses encouraged me to get out of bed, to try to walk.
I stood up and held the IV pole firmly, careful not to twist the bag of input-fluid. There was a small bag hanging beside my chin, and I had to support it with my other hand. But I made a sort of sling to hold it up so I could have a free hand. Another bag collected urinary output. It was on the floor at the bottom of the IV pole, dragging along when I moved, big and heavy. My hospital gown flapped open at the back. I was not ready to walk down the hall this way.
The stitches up my belly were bound firmly with a good Mexican swaddle-wrap, the kind they use for babies. That’s reassuring – at least I could be sure I wasn’t really going to burst open, even if that’s how it felt.
Walking was difficult, but it had to be done; this sewn up body had to function again. I remembered the foundations of my Taoist Tai Chi™, remembered the Tor-Yu. This will work, I told myself. And so I stood in the middle of my room, holding the IV pole, and placed my feet carefully. Forty-five degrees for the back one, straight ahead for the front one. I pushed from my back foot, gently-gently now, slowly, and felt the muscles of my wounded belly move diagonally. “Gently,” I told myself, “Be careful.” I leaned onto that front foot, squaring my hips. That wasn’t so bad, I told myself – now go back. And I pushed from the front, pushed my body back, feeling the movement as my torso turned, that gentle pull across the stitches. Felt my legs working, helping to put the blood up and around.
After several days, I was allowed to go home. Not home to Canada – I couldn’t fly until the stitches were removed – but to my Mexican home, where my daughter would take care of me until I could travel. I lay in bed much of the first few days, then sat outside on the patio where there was more space, where there was warm air and sunshine, and shade when I needed it. My body began to heal. To encourage it to function better, I did Tor-Yus every morning, feeling as weak and wobbly as a baby kitten.
One afternoon my daughter went out to the market for more fruit, and while she was away I tried to devise a way to loosen up my insides, to massage that solid pillar of abdominal re-arrangement. An internal massage was what I needed. A belly massage. As I tried out a different tai chi movement, I kept my eyes focused on a small lizard perched in the sunshine on the edge of the fountain. I turned my foot to 45 degrees and stepped forward in a Brushed Knee, to feel the massage running diagonally up and across my abdominal muscles. The lizard kept his eyes firmly focused on me, as I advanced toward him. And so I turned my body, first in one direction, then in the other. Four Brush Knees. Four abdominal massages. The lizard blinked slowly and raised his chest high, lifting up on his front legs, alert to the advancing menace here in his courtyard.
I let the lizard have his territory. I retreated, Warding Off Monkeys, and massaged my wounded belly in a different direction as I headed backward. The lizard sank down into the sunshine, secure in his territory. We did this dance together several times, the lizard and I. I advanced and retreated, warding off lizards in the Mexican sunshine.
My doctor was astonished at how quickly I was recovering, and I told him my secret. “A Bellyful of Tai Chi.”
- Laurie Lewis, Kingston Branch