Tai Chi and Me

big belliesTonight I went to my Tai Chi class. It’s the third week out of a ten-week session. My two buddies bailed tonight---both with pretty good excuses. I was tempted to bail too, but I didn’t. Lately I find it hard to be committed to anything, so I took it as a challenge. I was going to go and actually STAY for the whole thing. I would be good for me. And it was.

This isn’t my first go-round with Tai Chi. I took a class a few years ago after I bopped myself in the head with a dumbbell doing bicep curls during physical therapy. My therapist suggested I join his class. He said it would help me with my balance and probably prevent me from giving myself a concussion. I figured I couldn’t afford to be anymore spaced out than I already was and having a little balance in my life is not a bad thing, so I took the class. So did my husband. Though we have no problem being committed to each other, sticking to anything that remotely resembles exercise is a whole other thing. We went. For a while. And I know we’re better off for the experience.

As I was flailing about trying to learn the intricate set of moves, my mind kept drifting away. “Will I outlive my money? Who’s going to take care of me when I’m old? Will bone xraywe ever be able to sell our house in a down market? Will my car make it through another year? Oh look, there’s a cat outside the door. FOCUS…FOCUS…FOCUS.”

Then my Tai Chi lady said the most profound thing. She said that we may not be able to control our surroundings, but we can change the way we look at them. Hmmm…change the way we look at our surroundings. That’s gonna take some work. At that moment I wasn’t sure how I was going to implement those words of wisdom in my life, but I remember saying to myself that I would figure it out later. Then something amazing happened. I began to focus. I began to get the moves down. I put aside my worries and I did Tai Chi. Sure, I still flailed about, but somehow that didn’t matter. My mind was quiet and my body just seemed to follow along. That night, I understood Tai Chi.

And I even learned a little Chinese: Xie-Xie (pronounced sha-sha). It means thank you.

Former radio personality and producer, Rosemary Boyle also writes for therapy on her blog.

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