I have always done some kind of dance or yoga classes but it was my poor health which prompted me to learn Tai Chi from Ric. I was living beside Jubilee Park and would see Ric practising most days. It was clear he was a Master, and it was also clear that I was needing some help for my health as I was coming down with one virus after another. Also being in my mid-forties I was beginning to think about aging. I was inspired by my aunt who had learnt Tai Chi all through her seventies.
I wondered if I would ever have the patience to do such a slow practice as Tai Chi- now I find I love this slowness, so much happens within it. Practising in the park I enjoy not only my own slowing down but the sense that the whole world around me in the park also seems to be in slow motion. I feel on much firmer foundations after my Tai Chi lessons and I try and take moments throughout my days to practise a little more to touch base with the grounding, spaciousness and calm I have found through Tai Chi.
Practising Tai Chi outdoors is very important for me as I love to feel the connection with the earth and the natural surroundings. I also particularly love the way that birds and dogs show up to have a look at what we strange humans are doing.
Learning Tai Chi from Ric Lum over the last four months has been highly enjoyable and very beneficial. I feel much less stressed, my digestion has improved and my energy levels are higher and steadier. I love the spaciousness of the practice along with Ric’s simple yet subtle teaching methods. I always feel I’ve progressed each session and doing Tai Chi alongside Ric is a wonderful experience which clears mind, body and soul. I feel I can look forward to years of learning from Ric; he is a skilled, patient, good-humoured and generous teacher who teaches on many levels at once.
*Sent*: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 9:22 AM
Subject: 1.07 “soft feet…”
Being introduced to this lesson on such a cold day when my toes felt like ice I didn’t think I would be able to experience soft feet at all. And when I did first try it though I did soften a bit I thought I would just sink down and stop. But after practising a bit more I did experience that there was an energy movement that did indeed come out of the softening and surrender to Mother Earth. It was quite strong and was most surprising. But I observed that while my left foot was eager for this my right foot struggled and resisted until eventually it trusted my left foot’s experience..
As a result of practising I could feel a shift in my awareness and then quite intense nausea. I recognised this nausea as something that happens for me whenever I am introduced to a ‘new lesson’. Today was the most intense experience of it since it first happened with ‘E.F.H.’- this was a practice that had a very big effect on my practice and attention, so I am guessing this will also be true of ‘soft feet…’
One other thing – although my toes got even colder and number during the lesson I did once experience a quick flash of heat through the sole of my foot – most surprising- hard to recognise even it was so paradoxical.
Thank you for this lesson- it moved me in a number of ways.
*Sent:*Monday, October 23, 2006 12:11 PM
Subject: *Something from Sally*
During class today I felt a shift in how I was experiencing ‘E. I. F.’. Until now I had experienced it more as an attraction ___ to the earth, images of magnets or glue or Velcro coming to my mind. Then recently I started to focus more on the relationship of my foot to the earth, when it was raised above the ground. I realised there was a connection still working then. Today I felt more the relation as one of connection and even longing to return home. This feeling of return home then started working through both my feet.
While I have intellectually and spiritually thought of earth as home before this time, it feels very different to have the felt sense of this through my feet? it makes me realise how deep Judeo-Christian thinking is in me, even although I didn’t have a religious upbringing. The experience also brought back a dream I had a month or so ago. In it I am walking on stilts playing a very beautiful Irish melody on a simple Irish flute. In the dream I effortlessly step off the stilts to walk on the earth without missing a beat. As I have no particular personal association with Irish music or flutes I wondered if this was a return to my Irish ancestry which is part of this earthing process I am experiencing. An interesting thought to be coming home to my Irish ness through Tai Chi!
*Sent*: Saturday, August 26, 2006 5:03 PM
Here’s a few comments about my recent lessons while they are fresh:
_Doing “Flatten …” the first time I initially felt sick , just as I had with ‘Eyes … Hands” – again a whole new orientation and awareness . But by the end of the first lesson I felt an energy source in the middle of the soles of my feet connecting me deep down into the earth – grounding like I’d never experienced it before Since then I have been unable to wear boots or high heeled shoes to work so strong is my feeling of needing to keep my feet flat on the floor when I most need to ground. I’ve also had a series of dreams about getting the right shoes for me to move in and other references to Earth in my dreams.
_Starting Push Hands I felt I was in totally foreign territory to the extent that I have not had the words to even begin to think about what I’m doing and seeing. It?s very unsettling at times and at other times absorbing even while I don’t know what I’m doing (or should be doing).
The effect on me varies. Generally I come to class tired at the end of the day. Then I find myself getting energized, feeling very alert and absorbed. Times goes quickly. Then towards the end I feel like I’ve had a huge workout – my muscles ache, particularly my lower back. Last class was the first time I had any words or thoughts about what we were doing – and these were the ones you gave us about yin and yang. My mind can’t grasp much but my body is having very new experiences – I had huge dreams about it after the last class in which I was aware of my body aching and heat arising as a result of Push Hands, and of a huge snake who could be companion or killer. Of all the practices I’ve done so far this is the most stirring and confronting. I can feel it changing me, undoing old patterns.