Maybe you start your day focused on wanting to feel centered, at peace: You try breathing exercises or listening to music, a supportive book on tape.
But as the day continues, the typical scenarios creep in. It’s up to you to shoulder frustrating family issues. You don’t feel you can rely on anyone. You’re late and stress continues to build. You find yourself wound up in thinking and begin feeling depressed about the day ahead. Then work drama - whether due to co-workers or having to climb the mountain of too much - and the overwhelm has set in. Each day ends up lacking in richness, love, kindness - no matter what you do.
Have you experienced this?
I certainly have.
My home for 18 years was ruled by chaos.
My mother’s alcoholism was unpredictable in our home. No one was safe from her hurricane of rage. Her illness wrapped me into an early life of physical, mental and emotional abuse.
Throughout the violence and chaos of our home, I was privately and publicly shamed for showing emotions. So, I swallowed them.
At our intense family dinner table, I unconsciously used the act of eating to physically swallow down emotions. It was my practice of not feeling. Of internally linking my emotions with food to rid myself of feeling so I would be safe.
This practice developed into a serious eating disorder that has taken the lives of many.
But I was lucky.
I stumbled into meditation when I was 18.
I hated it.
I thought, how does anyone do this?! My legs are falling asleep. My body is in pain. My brain is swirling with thoughts! And I’m feeling lots of unhelpful emotions! Who designed this practice?!
While practicing meditation hell, I also stumbled into karate.
I loved it.
The focus. The centeredness. The physical power?! These were essential to a kid who had only experienced chaos and powerlessness!
These two practices, movement and meditation, lay the foundation for what came almost 10 years later.
I still remember my first class in Taiji. I was seated and watching my first teacher, Paki Sukwattana, and the group of students move through the form. I was overwhelmed with a sensation I had never had, but I knew it in an instant: home.
I was finally home.
All of my main taiji teachers - Paki Sukwattana, Jeff Burton, Nina Deerfield were pivotal in my training. The annual learning I was so lucky and honored to have through the Guang Ping Yang Association were from incredible Masters like Henry Look, Y.C. Chiang, Hui Liu, Randy Elia, and Paul Taylor - these teachers can’t possibly know their impact on my life.
These practices lead us to live in the essence of life rather than the dry outer edges. They teach us that we are enough - just as we are - and living from our essence is exactly what this world needs.
You’re invited to experience the simple power of these practices by trying one simple taiji movement. Again, it’s not meant to change your life. It’s an invitation to shift it. I'd love to hear about your experiences with it.
Here’s to an authentic life!
Want to try a simple taiji movement?