nature's handiwork

nature's handiwork

While reading today’s post on my friend and fellow-blogger Elizabeth Harper’s site today, I was reminded of something.

The day that HK and I were to leave Vancouver this summer, I took one last run along the seawall to my favorite little park that overloooks the sea. The park, a tiny spit of lush greenery rarely frequented by people (although there was a resident bald eagle that hung out there), was the perfect spot to practice t’ai chi in the mornings.  So, after my last session on that last day, I took a minute, really took a minute, to look around me and observe the beauty that I knew I would miss until the next trip out there.

There, right n the very beach that I had run along so many times, was the most beautiful piece of mother nature’s handiwork. It was a fallen tree that had obviously been there for a long, long time, but up until now, went unnoticed by yours truly.  As I was appreciating the carved-out formations of the bark, I noticed a stone that was lying at the tree’s base. The stone was black, smooth, with a thin white line that completely encircled it. I picked it up, rolled it around in my hand, and realized that this rock, far from perfect, had probably been there all along, from the day we arrived in Vancouver until the day we left. To me, that rock symbolized the journey that I had taken while in Vancouver, and how on this last day, I had come full circle in many ways, both physically emotionally.

 tree3tree2

full circle

full circle

I was so thankful that I had my camera with me, because I took a photo of it as a reminder to self that I need to slow down and look around.  Beauty is everywhere.

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).