Alpine T'ai Chi

Alpine T'ai Chi

 About a year ago, for reasons still lurking just beyond reach, i decided i needed to get a little enlightenment. Not that i haven’t always been enlightening myself, or even allowing certain, trusted others to enlighten me, but i needed MORE.

I think my search started when i began getting accupuncture for a shoulder condition.  It just didn’t seem to “take”, so after a couple of months, my accupuncturist suggested meditation and T’ai chi. Said i seriously needed to calm my inner self, which is no secret to me-i mean hell, i’ve suffered spastic colon,ulcers, arthritis, all that shit that’s related to stress and stuff.  Well, i can already tell you i suck at meditation, just can’t clear my mind long enough.  The more i try to “let it go”, the harder it is.

So i found myself a T’ai chi studio, and i gotta say, after the first class i was like, yeah, this is a good thing. We started with 30 minutes to Qigong, which is essentially breathing and movement exercizes. It wasn’t at all strenuous, yet i felt power coming from rarely-used muscles. (And i might add i have exercized all my life.) After 30 minutes and a short tea break, we began learning the basics of T’ai chi, and now, after 9 months, i know nearly all of the 24 movements. It’s been very slow going, sometimes frustratingly so, but each time we go over that one movement for the seventy-ninth time, I GET IT. Really get it. Inside and out.

One qigong movement is knee circles–just rotating the knees each direction (together) 72 times. This has become a daily ritual, and i am convinced  it’s the main reason that my knees didn’t give out on me during the bone-grinding descents in the Alps.

My teacher, Cate, at Shoulders Down, is awsome, the kind of person i want as my life mentor. She’s the person who pops into my head sometimes when i am facing a dilemma. She’s that person that just being in the room with her gives me serenity. (She also cracks me up-an added bonus).

And the name– Shoulders Down–how perfect is that? Seriously! i’m that girl who’s shoulders are connected to her ears-walking around like richard nixon or Frankenstein or somebody. So now i’ve become more aware of my body and its reaction to particular situations, and am finally learning to calm myself from the inside-out. I look at the whole picture instead of being overwhelmed by the small stuff. Best of all, i BREATHE. Yep, i start my day with a little moving meditation–T’ai Chi– and i’m ready for what life throws at me. (well, mostly).

Refuge Lac Blanc

Refuge Lac Blanc

Lunchtime view from Lac Blanc

Lunchtime view from Lac Blanc

Honeykins and I love adventure travel. We’re also notoriously tight with a buck, so here’s how we’ve managed to travel to exotic places on a shoestring budget. I get those wilderness travel magazines (you know the ones, $12,999 to go on a walking tour of Ireland, ADULT BEVERAGES included!!!) Well, having been an adventure travel consultant and tour escort in a past life, (it’ll all be in my book–crazy, man!), I’ve done the research and can pretty much clone those very same itineraries for a fraction of the cost. We even stay in the same type accommodations, if we want (which, frankly, sometimes we don’t.) So on our most recent adventure, the aforementioned “Tour Du Mont Blanc“, an 11 day backpacking trip around the alps, we managed to save about $3000. Funny thing is, we met up with those poor bastards on their organized tour, and they looked miserable. The leader was useless, and they were stuck with each other for 2 weeks. Yikes!

Anyway, the trip was fantastic, and we met totally cool people that we hiked with off and on through most of the trip. If you havn’t been to the Alps, go. Go now. The glaciers are melting (everywhere,) and the beach will only be getting bigger. Here’s a shot of one of the mountain huts at Lac Blanc. Nice view, huh? You Betcha!