A Practice 20 Years in the Making

“About 20 years ago, I was teaching English in Hong Kong while living at a retreat center in the New Territories. Each morning as I left to catch my train, I was greeted by perhaps a dozen people practicing Tai Chi on the grounds. The scene and movements made an impression of peace and harmony in motion, and something in my gut longed to join in.

A few years later found me living and working in New York City. I finally took the step and joined a studio in Manhattan, though I was only able to move through about a third of the 24 Posture form before relocating to Colorado. On my own, I often repeated the postures I knew as a form of meditation.

Finally, last year I found Gu Feng Tai Chi Club thanks to Chris Liu Perkins and in January was offered the opportunity to join. With the very patient, caring instruction of Laura, Tony, and Eladia, plus the shared support of other “newbies”, I started over and built my practice posture by posture, then began to link and weave them together. By August, I more or less had the basic postures in my body’s memory and was nervously happy to take part in the club’s demonstration at the 2009 Boulder Asian Festival.

Finally, after two decades of wishing, I now feel that I have a toehold in Tai Chi practice. (And the clear recognition that I am only at the beginning of a multi-layered and multifaceted journey!) In moments of stress or distraction during a day, I will pause and practice standing meditation, silk reeling, or part or all of the form, as a way to draw back toward balance and the center.

Perhaps someday I can return to that place in Hong Kong and take part in a morning practice, and offer a thank you for planting the vision in my mind. In the meantime, I thank Gu Feng Tai Chi club for helping it take root in me in the here and now.”