Posts tagged Tai chi
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Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits; it is known for its relatively slow movements.
A while ago, I auditioned for the role of “someone doing Tai Chi,” but I didn’t get it. As a result, I became interested in learning, and I eventually joined a group where the Tai Chi master, Ms. Li, would teach us during the weekends. In 3 years we have learned many different styles, getting to the point of mastery. Recently, she decided to teach us Tai Chi with the use of a fan called “Tai Chi Fan” or “Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan.” We were so excited to be considered to learn this advanced form of Tai Chi, because it means, to some extent, that we are ready to move forward, that we are advancing to a higher level.
Once we started to practice Tai Chi Fan, I constantly thought about the words “higher level.” One day, while meditating, I thought about how I could do the same in my life, on a spiritual level. When I thought about it, I imagined myself levitating from the ground, not physically but spiritually or mentally. As I searched, I heard **the Voice ask, “What is a higher level?” I responded by saying “The higher level as I imagine it would be free from the attachments that hold us back and prevent us from moving forward.”
“How?” the Voice continued to question. “How do you reach that?” I murmured, “It is from the love.” The Voice answered, “Yes, it is very simple. It comes from love. First, you love yourself. That is the first and the basic level. The next, you have to go beyond yourself and love others. Moreover, you put others ahead of yourself.” At that point, the Voice seemed to disappear. I didn’t understand it at that moment. I didn’t think about it much because I was making an herbal juice concoction for my children, who all have high cholesterol. I don’t want them to take medication if they don’t have to, so I make this juice for them by using a recipe that a friend had used, which helped her.
That day, I was tired, but I knew that I only had an hour and a half to prepare the juice before I would see them. As mothers, we will do anything for our kids. So I gathered all the ingredients and went over the tedious procedure consisting hand squeezing lemons, chopping garlic and juicing ginger. I had finally finished, and I gave it to them before the end of the day. As soon as I got ready to bed, I could feel the soreness in my arm, a recurring injury from an old car accident because I had been laboring over the juice.
When I finally laid in bed, the pain was more than I could bear and I started to cry. While I was crying, it dawned on me what the Voice had said about putting others before myself. Yes, it took the unconditional love a mother has for her children to be able to do it. It is simple. We just need to go an extra mile to give love to others. The pain I experienced helps me to understand how to reach this higher level… I need to have this unconditional love for not just my children, but for others as well.
Yes, indeed, it is time to ascend to the next level. It will certainly make it easier if we know that we are all part of the universe. Everyone in this world is somehow related. If we regard everyone in need as our children, we can easily enlarge our love and put others ahead of ourselves thereby to bring us to a higher level.
“For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35
One day I received a text message from my acting agent informing me that there was an audition in Santa Monica for someone who knew Tai Chi. Being Chinese, Tai chi was a part of my ancestry; I felt its calming powers flow though my veins. The only problem was that I had never actually learned how to do it. So, naturally I did what anyone else in my position would have done: I consulted the oracle (YouTube). Full of confidence the next morning after having spent hours studying Tai chi videos, I thought I would ace the audition. But when I went in, I was shocked to see at least eight other decision-makers in the room – from casting directors to product representatives and more.
When the cameraperson asked me if I knew Tai chi, I knew I couldn’t say I didn’t know. My acting coach taught me that once I showed up to an audition, I couldn’t reveal any problems with anything they asked me to do. But deep inside, I knew that I was in trouble. Despite the fact that none of them were Asian, I suspected that at least one or two of them were skilled Tai chi practitioners.
During the audition, I tried to recreate what I had seen on YouTube but feelings of remorse for being dishonest about my skill level dominated my performance. They thanked me for my appearance, but I still left in embarrassment. I decided that night that I needed to learn Tai chi. I went to the park the next morning, where I knew I would find at least one group of people practicing. Ready to learn, I joined the first group I saw and began to imitate their movements. Luckily, a master teacher who would visit from time to time frequented the group I picked. We all benefited greatly from her teachings. Because of my strong desire to learn, I went there every day, seven days a week. I would never be ashamed of myself again for misrepresenting the truth. The only way I could fix things this time was to truly learn Tai chi. Over the last two years, not only have I practiced diligently, I’ve also learned many different styles.
What I learned through this experience is that life can be full of unpleasant circumstances. Yet, we have the ability to transform these small, otherwise insignificant moments of discomfort into large and lasting opportunities of personal growth. If I hadn’t been open to receiving the motivation that transpired from my own shame I probably would have never learned the many different styles of Tai chi. Now, it is one of my favorite activities. It has not only helped to improve my overall health, but it has also helped me learn how to relax and calm myself down. The benefits of mastering Tai chi are simply too numerous to count.
I enjoy acting so much, and it has provided me with a plethora of opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone and learn new things. Without acting, I never would have had such a desire to master Tai chi. But, acting has just been one of many a catalysts for growth and exploration in my life. Our environment constantly calls for us to learn new things all the time – we are simply tasked with recognizing these opportunities and welcoming them with open minds and hearts. Once we are able to do this, then we will be blessed with broadened perspective and endless miracles in our lives.
Here is the Yang Style 24 Forms beautifully executed.
The form was the result of an effort by the Chinese Sports Committee, which, in 1956, brought together by four t’ai chi teachers – to create a simplified form of t’ai chi as exercise for the masses. The creators truncated the traditional family style t’ai chi forms to 24 postures; taking about six minutes to perform and to give the beginner an introduction to the essential elements of t’ai chi ch’uan, yet retain the traditional flavor of traditional longer hand forms (in general, 88-108 postures). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24-form_tai_chi_chuan