Today’s segment is about Joy and Tai Chi., the third in a series of articles about How Tai Chi Affects Miss T., a local South Florida resident. In case you haven’t yet read the other articles in this series, starting with How Tai Chi Has Impacted Miss T., Part I: The Waist, I will summarize: Miss T. is a kind woman in a wheelchair, carrying about 100 extra pounds, has diabetes and has neuropathy which means she has lost feeling in her extremities due to nerve damage, for which tai chi is having the most profound effect.
Part II in the series, The Hand, talked about the open and stretching position of the hand in tai chi exercise: how the fingers are separated as far as possible facing the sky, how the thumb is extended 90 degrees forward (in an L shape) and the wrist is stretched back as far as possible. We talked about how, after doing one of the many exercises that includes this position, Miss T. was able to send blood flow in and to the hands and feel her hands pulsing. She has built chi in her hands, life energy that heals.
The process of tai chi stimulates body proteins that produce pain killers and elevate mood which create pleasurable feelings in the body. The end result for Miss T. is joy. which comes from that sense of security that accompanies personal control. Miss T. could feel her hands because of her own joyous control over her body through tai chi.
The kind of joy we are speaking of is what we feel from success, conquering the enemy, protecting our family from harm, saving a life. It is true power. Tai chi and the joy Miss T. feels from it are big factors in empowering her life.
JOY is our topic and how this feeling can affect the tai chi student’s life. Imagine being in control of the joy you put into your own life.
The last time Miss T. and I worked the hands, Miss T. exclaimed, “This is better than a shot of whiskey.” Not only does she have a great sense of humor, especially about all her diagnoses and what might be thought by others to be an impossibly challenging position, but she is joyous and gives her joy away to others, when possible.
The pulsing of the lowered her hand position kept her with hands hanging down and a grin on her face for several minutes.
No matter how many drugs we take, there is little that can bring joy like healing ourselves or healing others. Imagine doing tai chi, getting happy from the result and becoming powerful because of it. Or the gift I am given by being able to teach tai chi to someone else.
Miss T. is the kind of person who notices her daily joys. This comes from building awareness through tai chi, her generally great attitude and from lots of practice with adversity. Her joy is infectious. It also multiplies itself so that she has a chance to keep a reserve for the times she will need it. It is very hard to access this reserve, when pain strikes or when the body starts to fail. But, the study of tai chi is a study in regulating your joy and your appreciation of it. Especially if we are as determined as is Miss T.
The warrior is appreciative. The warrior regulates joy so there is some left in times of adversity. Tai chi trains the warrior. The warrior gives back.