Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Year in Retrospect 2011

Elizabeth Wenscott


For me this fall begins a three-part celebration. In October I turned 50. Now some of you are probably saying, "Whoop-de-doo! It's not like you turned 100 with 20/20 vision and all of your teeth for goodness sakes!" And normally I would agree. But this year is a little different... a little extra special, possibly worthy of the front page of a magazine. Or maybe even my own cable TV show.

Because this year not only did I turn 50, but I will also have been studying Tai Chi for 30 frickin’ years and teaching and making the world a better place for 20 years. Pretty cool right? YOU BET!

At this point you are probably thinking I should say something really tai chi'ish, something wise and inspiring, right? Well when I reflect on what is possibly THE most momentous, gargantuan event of the half century, a little sound happens in the back of my head. POP! Just like the sound of one of my 50th birthday balloons that had too much air. Because at that moment, I am reminded that this year also begins my teacher’s 60th year of practice!

So no. I don't have anything wise and tai chi'ish to say, other than repeating what the masters have said for hundreds of years.

How wonderful is Taiji quan,
Whose movements follow nature!
Continuous like a jade bracelet,
Every movement expresses the Great Ultimate...

Li I-yu


Brief Notes of the Schools Activities

The Tai Chi Program
The year began with another incredible Chinese New Year celebration that included the very funny Year of the Rabbit Puppet Show.

Several student sent in awesome essays for the 2011, Tai Chi & Nature Essay Question. Portions of these essays will be shared in the next newsletter!

Another successful turn out for World Tai Chi Day & Qigong Day!

Seminars included Da Lu, and Xing Yi.

Intensive Tai Chi continues to grow on Sunday mornings at 9am. If you know the whole form and are in the Ongoing program, then consider coming to the session. No instruction is given. It is just an opportunity to practice the form twice through.

Dan Menzel made another "When is the Best Time For Tai Chi?" Videos.

Ravenswood Artwalk 2011 was incredible. Dan Menzel and Laura Brownstone demonstrated 2 Person Tai Chi Staff and Sas Stark and Chris Zalek killed just about everything else Tai Chi related. Laurel Ross sang with the Bullfrogs Community Choir and Sara Zalek and Aurora Tabar encouraged us to HUG. Check out the Group HUG performance, a one hour video condensed to 15min. This video also features the naturesounds that were recorded by Paul Dickinson.

Meditation Program
Several of us neigong meditators went on a field trip to the Smart Museum for a group meditation with AD Zen Gate as part of the Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan exhibition.

Qigong Program
Don Tomei and Sharon Fierro lead two very popular Qigong classes at the Chicago Green Festival.

6 Healing Sounds Qigong will be the next class offering 2012!

Yoga Program
Tracy Von Kaenel launched the Aerial Yoga Program class.

Out of the new Aerial Yoga program came two outstanding performances at this years RAW Flow and Aerial Yoga Demo and Arial Yoga Dance with Tracy Von Kaenel

The Health and Philosophy Program
Lisa Hish ended this year with the beginning of what will be an in-depth look at WATER both in our bodies and in the natural world around us.

Elizabeth Wenscott has been privately teaching Sharon Fierro the I Ching. Hopefully more will follow!

The Environmental Arm - Sustainable Return
Once again this year the environmental arm has been extremely active!

Lisa Hish and 5 school members set up and maintained the schools first community garden plot!

Elizabeth launched a native plant corner parkway initiative through Northcenter Neighborhood Association and the North Branch Restoration Project where students will get to volunteer and help plant corner parkways while learning about why native plants are so important and why they help our tai chi.

Several members of the Tai Chi Center of Chicago learned about the origin and fundamental principles of biodynamic agriculture in both theory and practice. Special emphasis was placed on practical applications for a smaller scale yard, garden or vegetable plot.

Year of the Rabbit came in with the new moon, and TC3 and friends of TC3 raised $1,200 dollars for the Oregon Natural Desert Association's, Save the Pygmy Rabbit program! Looking ahead put this date on your calendar, February 11, 2012 Year of the Dragon Celebration and Fundraiser. Believe me this will be a fun celebration! If you were born the year of the Dragon or have a friend or family member born the year of the Dragon please bring them to this celebration.

Double Happiness

Double Happiness is when happiness collides with happiness making it even bigger! This year the school celebrated the civil union between Patricia Benjamin and Martha Fourt. Congratulations to you both!


Don't breathe unless you mean it!

Our crops are under attack!
When I was watering the community garden one of the lettucy-shrubbery-ish looking plants, a medium-sized, up-to-no-good rabbit jumped out and ran away across the yard. It was definitely eating something. By the way, I know this is weird, but the rabbit kind of looked like Kip.

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