It’s late in September and I’m standing under two loquat trees looking up at the moon drifting like the sun behind the clouds with the silhouette of the mountains carving through the sooty horizon. I am living at The Happilization Centre in Spain in my second year as a Tai Chi teacher trainee under Master Choy. I have come out to practice before I sleep. I usually prefer to practice in the day but today it feels flowing and effortless to be out in the cool evening moonlight. I can feel my connection to the chi energy is growing, I feel a tingling in my hands and feet and as I finish and close my palms softly in front of my chest, I feel a deep sense of love, peace and gratitude for the silent beauty that is connecting me to everything. I can surrender my life to the universe.
A few years ago, I might have looked up at the same sky but with an anxious heart, feeling disconnected and searching to find my place in this grand array, wanting to know the unknown. It’s amazing how much can change when you start to accept the unknown, humble to unlearn, when you start to question, am I truly happy? What is happiness? It's ok not to know!
As I walk back to the house, I stop and connect to a trumpet flower, rose and another climber that are growing nearby. The trumpet flower started as a tiny plant Master Choy bought and now it is silently and steadily making it’s way over one of the healing domes. With this plant, he taught me to start connecting with softness to mother nature and I see in this moment how it takes time and patience for things to grow.
Over the past year, under his amazing guidance and support, I have dived deep into my heart, body, mind, spirit and I am learning to grow a relationship with the very person I have run away from for years, myself! I have travelled the world, lived and worked in different places and for the first time last year, I stopped, slowed down and turned within. I also got to know the insecure, thorny, hard and judgmental, lonely inner selves in me, the unhealthy relationship I had with my body, which started to manifest as IBS.
I have realised that the love I was searching for was actually right here in me, waiting to be planted, watered and nurtured like a seed. I have been cultivating that seed in small steps and growing myself with softness, kindness, appreciation and care. We are learning to be soul gardeners, to grow an inner home and garden full of beautiful qualities, joy, unity, love, peace, harmony, wisdom, so we can find healing in the light. To learn to connect with Mother Earth and Father Sun.
Master Choy has helped me challenge my old beliefs and perceptions, always turning every negative upside down, inside out, helping me to see and break old patterns I didn’t even realise were there. ‘To know thyself’ he often tells us, his words, clear and loving, with deep peaceful pauses where you feel as if you are nothing and everything at the same time. If you come and learn with him, be prepared for a healthy, joyous, ego shake up!! He has taught me not to run away from problems but to slow down and transform them through the Rainbow Tai Chi tools and practice. Wow, what a gift to flow with through life!
He helped and empowered me to self heal my IBS with the art of listening. Listening to my body, not with the mind but from the heart! Learning to be unconditionally loving and present with the discomfort. Alongside herbs he suggested and lots of patience, I am growing a trust and acceptance within and my body is now flowing better than ever!
It is a dance that re shapes me every day and I feel immense gratitude that I have this opportunity to unlearn, grow and cultivate true wisdom alongside an incredible community of fellow students. Everyone here is so uniquely wonderful and support and challenge me to grow to become the truest version of myself. I have never laughed so much in my life as I have at the Happilization Centre, I have cried lots too but the tears are all lovingly embraced! A tear, no different from a raindrop?
I LOVE POETRY! In fact, you will often find me at the river or somewhere in nature with my notebook and pen scribbling endless pages of inspiration and insights. Recently, I have been watching the otters launching themselves effortlessly into the rapids, spiralling in playful abandon. Teaching me how to let go and flow! Also a pair of herons, water snakes, long tailed tits, dippers, kingfishers and terrapins just to name a few. I have an inner romantic in me, that loves roaming in the wild with a flask of tea and sometimes my guitar! Haha sometimes I have to be reminded that I am human and have other duties here! Tai Chi has deepened my love of nature and helped me to connect and express those inner/outer experiences. Sensitivity can be transformed to become a beautiful friend.
Master Choy suggested I put together a book so over the past year I put together some poems from my journey of inner transformation at the Happilization Centre. Each poem has a photo taken at the time I wrote the poem. My style is quite short so even if you don’t normally read poetry it is digestible! If you would like to buy a copy, get in touch or it is available on the website.
Do you feel drawn to come and join us for Summer School 2021? I couldn't recommend it more highly. Come and join the otters, empty to the river, laugh, heal, grow, be-come one from within. Nourish your body with delicious rainbow meals and vegetables from our garden cooked by Master Choy's wife, Christine. You will see the world with fresh new eyes and learn to access that deep peace which already flows in you like an ocean. From inner peace comes the outer peace, what better gift is there to bring to the world? When you look back at the end of your life, what do you want to bring to this lifetime, what qualities do you want to share? Thank you for tuning in, thank you for being so uniquely you! The first step is the last step (Master Choy).
One of the Otters in a quieter part of the river near their home ....
Being by the river ...