A Journey of a Thousand Steps …
In the midst of a February freeze and falling snow, 112 people gathered to transform mind and body. Peer encouragement, the enthusiasm of an instructor and the curiosity of what you do after 20 years of Taoist Tai Chi® practice were just some of the reasons that brought out so many people for their very first programme. Seeing Taoist Tai Chi® arts friends make the commitment to get out on a weekend made it just a little easier to show up even with all the aches and pains.
Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism President Marsha Eberhardt visited Calgary for the 40th anniversary. We all practiced together to further develop our understanding of the practice from the very first move of the set. With such a large number of participants, an equally large number of volunteers were required to make things run smoothly. In fact, everyone volunteered!
With smiles and enthusiasm, participants were organized into teams. Each team had a leader who helped guide the volunteers in their tasks of helping with preparation and serving food, cleaning and set up of the hall, recycling and compost. Many volunteers had already been working beforehand to plan and organize the programme that went off without a hitch. The Western Region Management Committee helped guide and oversee all of this work. This kind of volunteering mirrored the principles of giving and working together. We were encouraged to see what makes coming together in a large group so special.
When asked what she would take away from the programme, one participant realized that it was the sitting in the very first move. Though she had been practicing for a few years, she never knew about the small sit at the beginning. Wide-eyed and cheerful, she knew she would take this gift with her.
Coming to a national programme for the first time, another student said she had been in a car accident and was seeking relief from pain with the tai chi practice. She explained that the tor-yu was painful and wondered if it was possible for her body to do this practice at all. After explaining that many people see her as young and strong and do not stop to pay attention to the difficulty that pain causes her every day, she asked for help.
With kindness and compassion, the leader was able to observe and help her practice with an enhanced spaciousness and movement in her body which relieved the pinched nerve pain. Her face shined with relief when she realized it was possible to do this tor-yu without pain. The participant expressed the relief and joy that she now had confidence that Taoist Tai Chi® practice was an art for her too.
Many participants come to Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi® practice with hope for relief from health concerns but also the fear that it might not work. Sometimes it takes letting go of the fear for change to happen. A journey of a thousand steps starts with just one step but, as Marsha explained, you don’t have to do them all at once.
What a relief that the journey does not have to be taken alone.