29 July 2016
A quick Thursday photo. We never remember to take a photo on the busiest day... Never mind, here's a representative bunch of the lovely T'ai Chi folk.
Weeklong Workshop Thursdays are traditionally deep, challenging and rewarding. Yesterday saw much laughter, some tears and really wonderful work by all. Working through, and sometimes despite my frustration has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned in life, and I learned it at The T'ai Chi Centre, thanks to Mark. I simply have never stuck at anything as wholeheartedly and for as long as I have our T'ai Chi. Here's a few tips if you're new to this intense way of working, or if you find yourself unable to work even if you're an old hand...
•Don't take it too personally if things don't immediately work. (Take take the work seriously, but take one's 'self' with a pinch of salt.) Keep trying different things. Everyone feels different.
•If you don't understand, ask Mark (or an assitant.) Put your hand up, go over, ask aloud... Not getting the help you need? Find a (friendly, respectful) way to be heard. Catch someone at break, be patient in the meantime. Alternatively, penetrate the mystery on your own via sheer bloody-mindedness/ ingenuity.
•Refer to principles: what are you doing that is not recommended? (Bum-out, trying too hard, leaning, feet in the wrong place, not turning the waist, hard force, doing something 'at' your partner, etc, etc)
•Don't expect to 'get it' first time, hard work gives depth to our practice and also sets you up for helping more junior students out when they learn the new thing.
•It's OK to get things wrong, to fail. Doesn't matter how many people say that, it still feels ****y, but it's true. Try again, fail better.
•If you get things to work with someone first time, enjoy it...
Apologies if none of that is news.
Good practice is turning up, sincerely attempting to do the work, connecting warmly with others and leaving our stuff at the door. All four of these can sometimes feel hard, but they are actually treasures. I have genuinely never regretted doing those things, and they, rather than any esoteric practice or arcane empowerment, are what have actually transformed my life.
Phew. Now I must drink tea. See you later for the last day of the intensive.