Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I walked up to Welles Park at Montrose and Lincoln. There weren't any formal games going on, so the park was pretty open. People all around but plenty of open space available.
I walked into the middle of the park and began to do the tai chi warm-ups. Always a little self-conscious when doing that in public, but I always like the feeling of sharing, however passively, the form I love so much.
By the time I got to the standing meditation, I was going into a zone. The self-consciousness was melting away and I was tapping into the energy of the air, the ground, the sun (glorious sun that day) and the people -- all strangers yet all ultimately family -- running, laughing, playing, flying kites, sunning all around me.
As I started doing the form, I had evolved to a state of calm acceptance and openness. I was able to process all the sights, sounds, smells, the breeze and warm sun on my skin, the other human voices into a symphony of earthly sensations.
I didn't so much *do* the form as let the form happen. I rooted to the ground (not a floor, not a deck, but EARTH), connected to heaven, breathed deeply into my center and swam effortlessly through the form with whatever physical presence I had, motivated by the spiritual, ethereal energy that animates us from within (or wherever).
I became a conduit through which all the energy around me passed and changed. I opened like a sail to the wind, like a flower to the sun, like roots to the earth and like a mother to the people around me.
My anger, frustration, worry, doubt, regret, resentment were passed into the air and the earth, which gratefully accepted them to be processed into new, pure energy. In return, I received fresh nourishment and light, filling my recently dark corners with illuminated essence.
Not surprisingly, on the walk home, I was fresher, lighter and more energized than on my walk there.
And so we prepare to begin a new chapter in the still short history of the Tai Chi Center of Chicago. And I, for one, am thrilled and honored to be a part of it.