Vickie's Article
Sun Taijiquan School

Practice to Life - "Tai Chi Living"

By Vickie Lee Levy

April 5, 2004 (Full Seed Moon)

Chi is ever present; the challenge is learning to find the balance in both our inner and outer landscapes.

From opening to closing, Tai Chi is a circle of never-ending energy harmonizing the inner and the outer. We root ourselves with the earth, gather energy, release energy, and repeat the cycle. It is the same with the seasons of our earth and with the cycles of our lives.

If we're paying attention, we will realize that times of inner stress and restless energy very often coincide with the need for some significant outer change. It is during these times that we need to release energy that is no longer serving us so that we can gather new energy from the never-ending source. Lzo Tze said, "Empty yourself of everything, return to the source of stillness."

From my very first class, everything about the form resonated with

me. I was introduced to my tan-tien (below the navel and the center of physical energy) and I learned how to breathe. I discovered my roots and learned how to walk again - heel, ball, toe - T, empty, bow. With new breath and roots, I began planting positive seeds throughout my life and I watched my faith in my own ability grow through the challenges presented to me by my teacher and through the practice I shared with my peers.

Like nature in the spring, Tai Chi empowers us to discover a continuous revelation of self. It is an awareness of being that emerges through focus and practice of the form itself and then slowly but surely, it begins translating itself into every part of our lives. From simply opening windows and jars to breathing deeply while driving or during stressful business situations, Tai Chi living (as we call it at our school) is mindfulness and balance in everything. It is about following a natural flow of events. It is about practicing when one million other things are competing for your time because you know that while your form will never be perfect, you are on the path that's perfect for you. From discovering new friends to seeing the beauty and potential in others, Tai Chi living gives us the power to live each day with excitement and grace. No matter how dark a night falls or deep a hurt goes, we have within us the power to empty ourselves and return to the source.

Tai Chi teaches us to balance both our inner and outer landscapes by training us to harmonize body, mind, and spirit. Every movement is a curve or circle with

no beginning and no end. Through the outer conditioning and toning of our bodies, our inner force is developed and strengthened. Through the inner conditioning and toning of our hearts and minds, our outer force is developed and strengthened.

From this center, we are rooted with the universe and each day our lives are new because if we are emptying and renewing, we are new each day. Just as all seeds of nature are unrealized potential and hope nurtured and protected by the universe, so too are we! Just think: we are a continuous process of unlimited potential in motion! How amazing!

Copyrightę 2004 by Vickie Lee Levy