What an amazing Tai Chi story I heard last week! Denise Kirshenbaum, a committed Tai Chi student and my writing coach, really took Tai Chi outside of the classroom, and into a life experience. I asked if she would share her story on my blog so you can benefit from her good Qi experience. From Denise:
I’ve been practicing Tai Chi for thirteen years with Arlene. Often she talks about learning to move our Qi. Qi is a funny thing. . . unlike our arms and legs, which we can clearly see, Qi is invisible. Over time, I learned to follow Arlene’s moves — Ward Off Left, Crane Spreads Its Wings — but what did it mean to move my Qi. And why would a person want to move it at all?
If you can move your Qi, you can do some pretty amazing things.
Recently my husband and I took a vacation to San Francisco. The thing he was most looking forward to was biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. My husband works very hard so when we travel, I want with all my heart for him to have a wonderful time when he is away from his job. Also, I love doing things with him. However, this bridge idea was freaking me out. I HATE heights, loud noise, wind, and crowds — all prominent features I imagined in a bike ride across this very large bridge.
On the morning of the ride, my mind was racing as we rode along the waterfront on our way to the bridge. How would I conquer my fear and do this ride without spoiling my husband’s special day? We pedaled up the steep hill to the bridge. At the top the noise was deafening as trucks and cars sped past. The bridge was packed! Bikers and pedestrians were all mingled together in an outer lane — a slender thread between two landmasses — surrounded on all sides by an endless expanse of sky and water. Buffeted by the wind, my heart was pounding. But as I mounted my bike and fell in line behind my husband, a thought suddenly came to me: Perhaps I could do this by moving my Qi?
I took a deep breath and concentrated all of my attention to moving my Qi out of my head – where, frankly, it was doing me no good – and into my hands that were gripping the handlebars and my and legs and feet that were doing the pedaling. To reinforce this, with every other stroke of the pedals, I chanted the word “Qi” — ALOUD. And it was working! Twice, we stopped for my husband to take pictures of the beautiful view that he had long imagined, while I just kept concentrating on keeping the Qi out of my mind and into my body. Each time I got back onto the bike, I repeated my strategy… “Qi”…”Qi…
It probably took ten minutes to cross the bridge, and another ten to get to Sausalito where we took a ferry — bikes in tow — back across the harbor to San Francisco. Looking across at the massive bridge, I could barely believe I had done it.
I had biked the Golden Gate Bridge!