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Notes from the Tai Chi Gala

The Tai Chi Gala is an annual event, which is more like a conference and less like a big party, although there are, of course, some party elements, like evening entertainment and lots of like-minded people with whom to spend time. The participants are from a variety of traditions, and so are the faculty, which included a number of well-known and extremely talented teachers from places near (in Albany, which is where the conference is) and far (Texas and Tennessee), plus, of course, from in-between distances.

My sweetheart really enjoyed attending a number of push hands sessions (two-person energy exercises that can look a lot like fighting), while I really enjoyed the qigong sessions I attended. Qigong (pronounced chee gung or chee kung) is the term for a large variety of energy-cultivating exercises, many of which are done to promote good health (and which, according to a number of practitioners, can cure almost anything that ails you, if you do the right qigong exercises the right way). It's all mind-body exercise, and in more than one workshop I had teachers say something like "change your mind, and you change your destiny" or "what you think is what you become" or "when you can control your mind, you can control your body - control your immune system, control your healing". Which dovetails nicely with the 21-day meditation thing I did with Oprah & Deepak Choprah called "Perfect Health", in which they are constantly reminding listeners that changing your thoughts can change everything else.

Here I am with Sifu Sharif Bey of Yee's Hung Ga. Sifu Bey completely blew my mind (and those of my fellow attendees) with his session on "Southern Shaolin's 'Heaven, Earth, Mankind' Philosophy and Cosmology", in which he explained that "philosophy matters", because the same action taken with a different philosophy behind it produces a very different idea or outcome. And then he got into the symbolism of the "Heaven, Earth, Mankind" philosophy, and things got really deep, as he explained how the creative force in humans is so strong that we constantly create dreams and goals for ourselves, and then go ahead and create our own demons to retard our own creativity. He also pointed out that "the bloodhound never loses the trail. Why? Because it never occurs to him that he can." I can only say that I've got lots to think about, and could use hearing that lecture/discussion again, because WHOA.

I am deeply grateful to Sifu Donald Wong (also a Massachusetts State Representative), who not only led two excellent sessions (including one at 6 a.m., and if you know me at all, you know I don't like getting up early, but I insisted on getting to Sifu Wong's session - and my sweetheart was extremely happy to come, too), but also spent additional time with me, employing his tremendous talent with projecting his qi to help remove stagnant qi in an effort to help with my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. (He did my left knee last year, which at that time was the sorest joint in my body, and it stopped giving me problems, and is now the least sore joint in my body, more than a year later.) Despite the travel (which usually causes issue), bad sleep (ditto), and horrific rainfall today (again, ditto), I am not entirely wrecked, so I have to say that I believe there's been some level of improvement, which I hope to continue to improve on through further qigong, tai chi, and meditation.

Ooh - and I also participated in the Cha Dao, which probably means "way of the tea", more or less. It's the traditional Chinese tea-tasting ceremony, which was presided over by Sifu Ken Lo, who is the resident tea master at Chrysanthemum on Washington Ave., in Brooklyn, NY. It was definitely interesting - and very different from the better-known Japanese tea ceremony.

Also? If you're going to stay at the Airport Best Western in Albany, you ought to know that the beds are not especially comfortable. In fact, the most you can say for the beds is that they are a step above sleeping on the floor, inasmuch as they are located higher than the floor. (The staff was very nice about giving us an extra comforter and blanket. We slept atop TWO comforters with a sheet and blanket over us the second night, and it was manageable. Just.)


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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lizjonesbooks
Jun. 10th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
Sounds wonderful!
kellyrfineman
Jun. 11th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
It really was!
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Jun. 11th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
It really is fabulous, isn't it? He actually said the bit about the blood hound just before going on about how we create our own demons to hold us back. But I really loved his whole presentation.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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