I’ve wanted to learn Tai Chi for decades. I thought it would help me with balance — in a lot of areas. Yes, decades. But, for many one-reasons or another, the class schedules offered were never compatible with mine. Or something like that.
So! Last week, when the healing center I’ve benefited from in the past sent an email announcing a beginner Tai Chi class starting this week at a time of day that works perfectly for me, one day a week for six weeks, I called immediately: “Sign me up!”
Yesterday was the first class. To say it was the right decision at the right time would be an understatement.
Is quite right … for me
As requested, I arrived 10 minutes early to sign the consent papers and pay for the six week course.
While filling out the necessary forms, I heard another student talking to the teacher about creativity, an artist. She looked familiar. I asked her name; sure enough one of my absolute favorite artists. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, she’s … amazing. I mean, amazing.
We’d met more than a decade ago at one of her gallery opening events, then again a few times at other art & culture events over the years. I love her paintings, but they have always been beyond our price range (and still are).
We were so engrossed in conversation about how her work has evolved and that I simply must see her newest pieces, and and and — the Teacher finally stepped in and cut us off, ready for class. The Artist and I were equally delighted to learn that neither of us had any experience with Tai Chi and both eager to learn.
The class hadn’t even started yet and already I was inspired! (I will ask her if I can mention her name here and link to her art website.) As a creative person, just being a cohort student with her is humbling. I’m simply in awe of her vision, what she sees, and how she sees it.
Tai Chi 101
A small class of three students signed up, but only two of us showed. The Teacher said others might be joining us next week. I was concerned he would cancel with such a small roster, so was delightfully surprised when he shrugged, smiled, and said, “ready?”
I did the math. He was not doing this for the money; he was there because we were there and it didn’t seem to matter to him whether there were two of us or 20 of us. That’s a real Teacher, as far as I’m concerned. He is practically donating his time considering the reasonable price for the six-week course with only two students; a consideration on his part worth noting and acknowledging.
We learned about Chi, that it centers about 1.3 inches below the bellybutton; and Chi flows and breathing and bowing and preparation (warm up) moves. Learning and thinking about the circular flow of Chi (and empty and full) was the most fascinating part to me. I’ll be thinking about that for days no doubt as I get my head around it or part of it or something. I’m captivated by that part; a lot to ponder; how it gets built up in our joints and … still taking it all in.
The moves seemed almost silly at first but then the circular thing seemed to … it started to make sense or feel … natural in a way?
And yes, our Teacher is as awesome as he is considerate — and has a sense of humor, which helped put me and the Artist at ease.
I’m looking forward to next week’s class; confident that Tai Chi will be even better for my focus and stamina than I ever could’ve hoped. And, who knew that it all begins with nothing more than a single breath… I just love that. Like the Alef before the Beyt. (In Hebrew, Alef is the first letter, yet as is easy to see, the Torah, the Bible, begins not with Alef, but with Beyt, the second letter. The Alef is silent, the breath before the action. Yes, there is quite the Midrash — and then some — on the entire subject of the Hebrew Alef-bet and that first letter of the Bible. Quite fascinating, actually!)
The breath, the decision, before the sound. The Alef before the Beyt. Breathing and Chi. I have a feeling that Tai Chi is definitely for me and that it is worth the wait. Perhaps because I’m ready to receive the lessons now? Hope so.