A good way to start the week. Amid any chaos, stress or uncertainty you feel, remember to breathe.
The image of a tree is central to Tai Chi principles – rooted, flexible, changing, flowing, centered in now. As we move fully into summer, I share one of my all-time favorites:
Advice From a Tree
“Stand tall and proud.
Sink your roots deeply into the earth.
Reflect the light of your own true nature.
Think long term.
Go out on a limb.
Remember your place among all living beings.
Embrace the joy of the changing seasons
for each yields its own abundance.
The energy and birth of spring,
The growth and contentment of summer,
The wisdom to let go like the leaves in fall,
The rest and quiet renewal of winter.
Feel the wind and sun and delight in their presence.
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you and
the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life.
Earth, fresh air, light.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Drink plenty of water.
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes.
Remember your roots.
Enjoy the view!”
— Ilan Shamir
Tai Chi is often called “meditation in motion”. The slow, deliberate movements and continual shifting of weight promote stillness within. The body starts to relax. The mind slows down. The chatter lessens. The focus is in the room, solely on flowing from one movement into the next. We move from vertical and horizontal lines, edges that are sometimes sharp in our life to a circular, smooth sphere in the room or by the tree. Our body moves with ease and calm. This is what “mindfulness” looks like, feels like.
Tai Chi could also be called “mindfulness in motion”. The mind moves the Qi (energy). Energy is the force, not the muscles. The focus is on the moment, right now. Nothing else.
This morning, Maya Angelou, a woman of great wisdom and peace, died. She was eloquent and authentic. She was mindful and present. She exuded “mindfulness” in her her words, in her calmness, in her steadiness, in her speaking truth. I looked up to her as a role model and had the opportunity to see and hear her talk two times. For me, being in her presence was like being with Tai Chi, focusing on the moment. Everything else faded away for she brought us to the now.
As I move through and around with Tai Chi this afternoon, I will think of Maya Angelou and say thank you. For she made a huge difference to so many. Her strong attribute of “mindfulness” made that possible.