|Posted on July 18, 2014 at 3:15 PM|
For the Vital Force: Teacher’s Conference 2013, by Julie Heryet of Placerville, California.
I don’t know where to begin – so incredible was my experience at conference this year. I didn’t think my first Teacher’s Conference (Portland, 2012) could be beat, but Minnesota was amazing. For me, getting to go to conference and connect with the T’ai Chi Chih community and DO T’ai Chi Chih with 100 other people is about enough reason to be a T’ai Chi Chih teacher – right there. To be a teacher and NOT give yourself the gift of a conference - well all I can say is you are really cheating yourself. This year’s conference was SO spiritual – so unifying, pulling us together in our common intention, strengthening our connection to each other and the bigger picture. I felt so spiritually well fed at the end. The presentations were awesome – I didn’t even KNOW I had tense feet – but now they are happier. The TEDxTalk was so moving and inspiring, and I have carried April Loeffler like a little angel on my shoulder ever since August. She whispers, “Listen to that inner voice – there is that within you which knows….” Her talk and group exercise in which I got to be the “Dreamer” helped to crystallize what I’ve always known about my connection to T’ai Chi Chih: That I was led to it by listening to an “inner voice” connected to the greater voice of Universal Spirit (Prajna), and it has made all the difference. My “dream” was to have the courage to get up on stage and share something of myself which might be useful to others - like how to teach T’ai Chi Chih in prisons, perhaps? Until April encouraged me to share my dream and have it challenged and affirmed by others, I never would have considered the idea. And that was just the first of several transformational experiences I had at conference. In addition to the pure joy of the presentations and the international dancing, there were heaps of opportunities for me to grow both personally and as a teacher. I learned from Pam that Seijaku can simply become a deeper part of my T’ai Chi Chih practice, that it doesn’t duplicate or replace it. I learned from Bill Moore how to connect myself to the ground at a deeper level than I’ve ever experienced before. I discovered that I could be videotaped and the sky didn’t fall. The calm, gracious spirit of our recording artist really helped me to overcome my shyness and anxiety – it was unbelievable that she was able to turn it into something I didn’t just survive, but actually enjoyed! And all this was capped off by having the honor and privilege of being one of four leaders for our group practice on Sunday morning. What a gift! The energy and bond I felt with Neal, Stacey and April as we led the group was SO powerful. Again, I not only survived it – I ENJOYED it! Amazing! I marvel at the person I’ve become through my T’ai Chi Chih practice – and it is because of all the wonderful teachers I’ve met, who carry Justin’s message so faithfully, and are so willing to help others along the way. Finally, a real bonus that I got from leading that practice was some feedback I received from Carmen about a few of my moves. Just in case this might be helpful to someone else, her corrections were as follows: 1) I was leaning back slightly. She suggested that rather than tuck my butt under so much on the backward weight shift, that I allow my rear to come back and sit on an imaginary stool behind me; 2) To allow my forearms to have a little more involvement in wrist circles Taffy when doing the circles. I was only using my wrists to the point of making it look tense, and 3) During Light at the Head and Temple, she suggested that I come up to more of a standing position before opening and closing the hands, so there is more room to sink down during the sinking part. Thank you to the Minnesota team and the presenters and Sister, Pam, Sandy, Dan and Bill, and to our fabulous recording artist, and to Justin, who set this beautiful ball in motion. A shout out to Stacey, Neal and April – you guys rock! (P.S. I just sent my students the link to my Youtube video. How cool is that!?!)
Categories: T'ai Chi Chih