The best part of teaching Tai Chi occurs when a student has an “a-ha” that resonates deeply. Recently Julia told me about her “epiphany” and I asked her if I could share it with you. I am moved by her experience and I hope you will be, too.
“Arlene, I wanted to share with you that I’ve had an epiphany about the form that I feel has changed my connection to it and given me food for thought. Often, after our class, as I’m going to bed, I read a little bit in the Paul Cavel book on tai chi principles because having the class fresh in my mind helps me to connect to the principles that he talks about. This week I was reading the part where he talks about the flow of yin/yang through the form and the concepts of “close/open” – how you soften/gather to close and stretch/release to open. He uses roll back and press as the example. As you know, I’ve mentioned connecting to that feeling before at that part, I love the “softening” feeling of the transition to roll back, then the rolling back and pressing forward. All of a sudden it hit me that the whole form has that dynamic – it’s a whole string of softening (gathering) and stretching (releasing). I actually jumped out of bed to go through part of the form with this new insight! I see now that I don’t have to wait for that feeling at roll back and press, I can access it throughout the whole form (work towards accessing it).
There is something so beautiful and moving to me about that aspect. That you soften/gather and then stretch/release, over and over. And that it was there all the time in the form but I never saw it. And how life is like that too.
But I never would have connected with that from just reading a book. It’s the process of us going through the form over and over. And maybe you’ve even said it but I didn’t “hear it” as often happens. Feeling it internally had to catch up with the brain.
So thank you, Arlene, I’m really enjoying this process and look forward to whatever other epiphanies await.”
Thanks for sharing, Julia. This is beautiful.