Thursday, October 3, 2013

Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago - Celebrating Community Resilience

If you are planning on attending this year’s Bioneers event at Roosevelt University on November 1-3, now is the best time to buy your early bird tickets (Oct 3rd) or get in for free by volunteering.  For information and tickets go to  This is an event that strongly reflects the environmental committees values!

Elizabeth Wenscott has been hard at work with the Bioneers core team putting together a program that we think will strongly resonate with the folks within the Tai Chi Center of Chicago's, Sustainable Return and beyond. For three full days we will be bringing together leading innovators from all walks of life to exchange ideas, build networks and inspire a shift to live on the Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.  This is a fun, action-oriented gathering for people of all ages and experience levels who want to learn more about taking care of our planet.  

The program will include:

• A main stage with 7 nationally recognized keynotes speaking on topics ranging from hydraulic fracking for natural gas to saving honey bees and stopping violence in our city.

• Over 30 workshops, interactive panel discussions and skill-shares on topics including time-banking, workplace democracy, renewable energy and healthy food.

• Six world cafe sessions on FOOD, WATER, WASTE, ENERGY, SHELTER and COMMUNITY RESILIENCE hosted by our keynotes and Chicago area environmental leaders.

• Organizing sessions on tar sands, hydraulic fracking and coal extraction in Illinois

• An interactive discussion on creative methods for non-violent direct action, featuring: Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Non-Violence; Savitri D of the Church of Stop Shopping; Greenpeace activist Kelly Mitchell; and Debbie Southorn of AFSC.

• Friday evening reception with ecologist, cancer survivor and activist Dr. Sandra Steingraber and music by our own Rhapsody Snyder

• Performances by Capoeira Angola; Alex Yoffe on the Javanese gamelan; the women’s African drumming ensemble Sheboom; and our own Wellington Avenue UCC choir, leading the audience in “Sing for the Climate”.

• Sunday closing celebration that includes Nathaniel Braddock and members of his Occidental Brothers Dance Band International.

• Also, Elizabeth will be presenting a Reskilling on Saturday at 3:45pm.

Please join us for this exciting weekend and pass this message on to anyone whom you think might like to attend!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day - April 27, 2013

Have you wondered what Tai Chi or Qigong could do for you?

Do you want to know why so many health and aging experts 
recommend these practices to promote long, healthy life?

Find out for FREE!

    Join us on World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (the last Saturday of April) for a celebration of the health and longevity that Tai Chi and Qigong practitioners have enjoyed for thousands of years. On this special day, our teaching staff and students will travel the Northcenter community lead ing FREE guided practice sessions in both Tai Chi and Qigong.

    All levels of experience are welcome in this once a year event.

The Tai Chi Center of Chicago invites you to
The World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
Northcenter Wellness Tour
Saturday April 27, 2013
9:30 am - 2:00 pm

In case of rain showers, all outdoor venues will be cancelled and instead take place at the Tai Chi Center of Chicago.
Call 773.396.2653 if the weather is questionable and you want to know where we are.
    Choose one or more of these FREE sessions to discover what balance, breath and focused movement will bring to you:

    9:30 - 10:30 am Qigong @ the Tai Chi Center of Chicago
    11:00 - 12:00 pm Tai Chi @ the Tai Chi Center of Chicago
      (4043 N. Ravenswood Ave. Suite 228)
    12:30 - 1:00 Tai Chi & Qigong @ Northcenter Town Square
      (corner of Damen Ave. and Bell Plaine Ave.)
    1:30 - 2:00 Tai Chi & Qigong @ Wells Park
      (between Montrose Ave. and Sunnyside Ave. on Lincoln Ave.)

    JOIN US and learn how to improve YOUR well-being!

    World Tai Chi and Qigong Day (WTCQD) is an annual event held the last Saturday of April each year to promote the related disciplines of T'ai Chi Ch'uan and qigong around the world since 1999. For more information on World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, additional events, and the Tai Chi and Qigong Medical Research Library please visit

What's in a Name?

A Year in Retrospect

Elizabeth Wenscott - What's in a name?

Recently I purchased a copy of The Language of Plants, A Guide to the Doctrine of Signatures, by Julia Graves. The book examines the Doctrine of Signatures, a 2000-year-old philosophy followed by generations of spiritual naturalists, monks, nuns and healers who carefully observed nature in search of plant “signatures” as a way to heal. The Doctrine of Signatures became an important part of the work of traditional healers and herbalists.
These healers looked at various plant signatures, such as:
Shape/Form – a walnut looks like a little brain, and walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function; kidney beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function, and they look exactly like the human kidneys.
Color – plants with a red signature were used for blood disorders; for example, redness in beetroot helps to cleanse and fortify the blood.
Location – clear ponds and rivers are associated with diuretics, and on their banks you find horsetail, mints and balotta, all of which help to cleanse the urinary system.
So this got me thinking. What were the Tai Chi masters envisioning when they gave the postures names like White Crane Spreads WingsNeedle at the Bottom of the SeaWave Hands Like Clouds, etc.? Now let me say… this is not the first time I tried to research this subject. But each time I tried, I came up empty-handed, because I do not read Chinese. Therefore, I was left to develop my own interpretation.
Take Needle at the Bottom of the Sea, for example. I imagine a beautiful ocean filled with the life that you would find, say, in Finding Nemo. The ocean is warm and gentle as I dive down to pick up a shining needle at the bottom of the sea and then return it to its owner. But sometimes it’s a dark, chaotic ocean, similar to the one in the movie, The Perfect Storm. I prepare myself, inhale, then, while exhaling, I dive. No matter how many times I get knocked around, I never lose sight of my goal—to pluck the nearly invisible needle in time for my next inhale.
Or, I'm just breaking some pore bloke’s arm!
I recently exchanged emails with Paul Brennan, who recently translated Taiji Boxing Postures with Drawings and Explanations, by martial art historian Xu Yusheng (1921). In this manual Xu explains that Under the Sea (Hai Di) is the name of an acupoint on the human body. However, there appears to be no acupoint with the name Hai Di, so it’s unclear which acupoint Xu meant. Possibly we could be aiming toward the point in the opponent's lower abdomen called Qi Hai (Sea of Energy). Needling "Under the Sea" means your hand has an intent of poking toward the "Under the Sea" point.
So why do I bring this up? I believe that not all teachings get passed on... therefore we must do our best to be the best students possible. Learn to quieten our mind so that we can find our own personal Tai Chi, our own "signatures,” and then adapt them to our lives, so that we might live harmoniously between heaven and earth, with a clear mind and healthy body.

Brief Notes of the Schools Activities - 2012

The Tai Chi Program
* The year began with another incredible Chinese New Year celebration that included the very funnyYear of the Dragon Puppet Show, which is 18:30min long!
* Another successful turn out for World Tai Chi Day & Qigong Day!
* Seminars included Hsing I, Tai Chi Sword and Tai Chi Knife (Broadsword).
* 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.
* Ravenswood Artwalk 2012 was incredible. The Tai Chi Program demonstrated several forms, weapons. Sas Stark gave us the opportunity to paint Dragons with the guidance of Tipsy Paint. Tracy Von Kaenel and her student performed an outstanding, FULL HOUSE Yoga and Aerial Yoga performance (I am still working on this video btw). And, Paul Dickinson provided another nature sounds track that set the ambiance for the weekend.
Outdoor Tai Chi Program
Sas Stark provided over 20 opportunities to practice Tai Chi outdoors! Stay informed, sign up here.
Meditation Program
Kipling Swehla created a baby, a real baby not the kind that you imagine growing in your Tan Tien.
Qigong Program
* Don Tomei reported that you know your program is robust when you find your students wanting to hang out with each other, even when class is finished!
Yoga Program
* Tracy Von Kaenel's Aerial Yoga program keeps growing and the new Zen Yoga class on Mondays just started this month.
The Health and Philosophy Program
* Lisa Hish had the Tai Chi student base harmonize with Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall in our bodies and in the natural world around us.
The Environmental Arm - Sustainable Return
Once again this year the environmental arm has been extremely active!  Stay informed, sign up here.
* 12 members of the school volunteered for the Montrose Beach Dunes special volunteer stewardship and Tai Chi workday.
* Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago, Elizabeth took on the role as Volunteer Coordinator and in the process recruited several members of the school to also participate. Don Tomei – Workshop Coordinator and Paul Dickinson – Stage A/V Manager. In addition Dan Menzel, Sarah Donnely, and Sara Zalek pitched in. Oh, and of course Laurel Ross was one of the Plenary speakers!
* Lisa Hish, Elizabeth and 7 school members helped set up a 137 pot community garden called Montrose Green Community Garden, as well as maintain 27 of those Grow2Give plots on the weekly bases. All produce from the Grow2Give plots were donated weekly to the Common Pantry. Over 400 lbs were donated!
* Elizabeth along with Laurel Ross launched a native plant corner parkway initiative through the schools local neighborhood community group called Northcenter Neighborhood Association.
* 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 Dragon came in with the new moon, and TC3 and friends of TC3 raised $1,833 for the Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary and the Parkway Corner Initiative! Looking ahead, put this date on your calendar, February 9, 2013 Year of the Snake Celebration and Fundraiser

Looking Back, Inward, Foward

Sas Stark

Looking back

What an interesting and evolutionary 12 months this last year has been, not just for me, but for the school and everyone who has been able to attend. Personally 2012 has been all about adding focus and intent to my tai chi practice. You would never guess at the scope of change focusing on one tiny “intent” could bring. By honing in (on the point at the tip of my sword, the desire to grow, and the desire to define my art and practice) and delving deeper into my familiar and comfortably safe practice, I find myself in a delicious new place.
Intent came into play again when I put my tai chi purpose into words, crafting another layer of focus. These guiding ideas infused my practice while I shared the beauty and power of nature with anyone looking to explore. Saturday mornings came alive.
Tai chi practice in Welles Park was ever changing. From weather, to attendance, to little league, or a carnival, and the energy just kept flowing. We deeply rooted to place, and were able to joyfully express our gratitude by volunteering at the Montrose Beach Dunes one hot August day. After clearing Cottonwood seedlings we found the perfect grove of trees for an tai chi practice nestled among sand and grass next to the Lake Michigan shore. This energetically juicy spot holds promise for outdoor gatherings in our future.
The wrap to my very full summer came at the Dragon painting event at Ravenswood Art Walk. The “Paint Off” between tai chi brother Chris Zalek and I was won with Chris’s entry of, “Trogdor, the burninator!” Who knew there was a Dragon buried deep inside that gentile sheep.

Looking inward

With all this attention to focus and intent, I discovered an inner discernment and voice for my practice. You will notice that the best observer of your intent is your Self. Typically (not at this school) learning and competency are gauged through comparison with others in class, yet understanding your challenge with intent needs no comparison, only your own judgement and evaluation. Building this inner awareness and evaluation process really opened the channel for a deeper inner dialogue for me and I have been able to slowly change my inner critic into the voice of an inner champion.
I encourage you to invite the supreme judge to weigh in on your practice by scheduling a private with Elizabeth to receive her sage advice and her laser like scrutiny. In the mean time, try building this self sustaining/perpetuating awareness and evaluation ability into your internal practice. You will like who you meet there.

Looking forward

I have two ideas for our coming year.
First, I’d like to invite you to a new class I will be teaching in the new year. Look for announcements about a Wednesday morning class featuring the Chen Man-ch’ing 37 posture form. This short form practice is grounded foundationally in the postures we practice here at the school, with slight variations. Begin your Wednesday with a simplified and invigorating practice. I look forward to sharing this with all you morning people (you know who you are), so please stay tuned for details.
Secondly, I’d like to invite you to join in an outdoor practice with me throughout the Winter months. I plan to find at least one Saturday or Sunday each month to take our tai chi to the lakefront, or to a park or perhaps a location you suggest. Check for postings on the school facebook page and at the school where I will announce the events. You will look at Winter in Chicago in a whole new way.

Remain Patient, Be Present, Get Playful

Christopher Zalek - Remain Patient, Be Present, Get Playful

I’m always delighted to be writing for TC3 as we round the bend on another year, full circle. This is the first one that requires two hands to count out our anniversaries, and it just occurred to me that we have students who have been with the school for four, five or more years. Where does the time go?
I want to take this opportunity to share some personal insight here, because it was about that time in my study of Tai Chi that I felt as though I was hitting a plateau. I wasn’t feeling as refreshed by or engaged with my practice as compared to those first couple years. I was maintaining a regular schedule, and I knew that Tai Chi was good for my health and well being, yet restlessness and frustration continued to surface as I searched for something else that the form could teach me.
At best, it felt like treading water. At worst, a sense of stagnation began to settle in. And from a Tai Chi perspective, that’s just unacceptable, right?
If your practice is still rainbows and unicorns right now, that’s awesome. Move along to the next post; just remember to put a bookmark here should anything (dare I say it…?) change down the road. However, if this issue sounds remotely familiar, read on and we can look at nipping this thing in the bud together.
One remedy for boredom and frustration is to (perhaps not so) simply remain patient. Slow the form further, or try to soften more. Listen. Be more receptive, and soon you just might notice something that can carry you to that next level.
However, if your expectations and restlessness cannot be dissipated with patience alone, consider a more proactive approach. Choose one thing to observe, and give it your fullest attention for the duration of the form. This could be anything that will help you maintain a sense of playful engagement: Is my yang foot truly rooted with every step? Is there enough room in my foundation to adequately shift my weight? Are my shoulders as relaxed as possible? Can I follow my breath as I shift attention between my tan tien and the yang hand?
Keep at it, and you’ll find places in the form that are in need of more more attention. From there, you can dig deeper, either on your own or with the help of an instructor. The lesson here is to not look for what the practice holds for you, but rather consider bringing more exploration to the table. Get playful and mix it up; then do it again. Check in with an open mind on a regular basis. This is where the investigation becomes personal — and truly passionate.
So make the most of these last few Dragon days: get creative, and before too long you’ll have some nice juicy homework to keep you tuning and refining for the next year.

Tai Chi in SPACE!!!!

DAN MENZEL - Tai Chi in SPACE!!!!

With the advent of the twentieth century, we as a thoughtful, coherent species have spent a great deal of time pondering space travel. From solid fuel model rockets to tin can capsules on the moon, up to the solar panels that charge the Mars rovers of today, and as of yet, beyond. Perhaps even seeing a martian landscape through the eyes of one of our own astronauts in this lifetime!
We have put a lot of our brain-trust into the well being of the past and present life support issues facing astronauts. Things like keeping their lungs filled with oxygen, food systems that offer incredibly nutritious and efficient diet, and of course regimens of exercise. I think it is quite safe to say that “all of these are cornerstones in the healthy condition of the ship and crew“. Fascinating stuff, thus the proven relevancy that it has reached into our mainstream psyche, and permeates our everyday media. To the point where somebody exclaiming the likes of “ they don’t need that much oxygen!”, or “ just feed them junk food, or fast food”, or how about, “they don’t need to exercise, they’ll be fit enough once they reach their destination, hell, why not let them smoke as well!”. Statements like this in any crowd would start a maelstrom of comments to the contrary. Even saying this out loud as I write seems, er…just silly…Which brings me to my point.
We, each of us, the individual, is on our own spaceship. It is called “the body”. And we are each traveling at the speed of a lifetime, toward our own goals, upon our own paths, both inconsequential to each other, yet of extreme importance to ourselves.
And yes, the very life support systems our space travelers need are THE exact life support systems that each one of us must have for our individual quests in life.
So, I ask you: Why would you not take the steps necessary to ensure you, the very best possible chances for the freedom of a healthy journey leading you to your goals and desires? Isn’t it time to rise to your own occasion?
Our healthy lifestyle opportunities are endless, though, when it comes to deciding your first steps…
Honestly, I am a bit biased myself. Regular practice of Tai Chi Chuan over the years, for me, has shown me so many positive aspects of mind(intent), body(vigor), spirit(vitality) and breath. I have seen first hand how it relieves stress while gently strengthening my body inside and out. I am 54 and feel great. Besides the occasional cold, I rarely get sick. My focus and balance are sharp as my feet are grounded. And when I’m in the same room with other calm, happy, healthy minded people, no matter what age, my spirit rises that much higher. As we are all striving for a better future, together.
All the best,

Yoga With Tracy Von Kaenel - 2012

Yoga With Tracy Von Kaenel

2012 was a year of growth, both spiritually and in the amount of bodies with a desire to add yoga to their lives. The class sizes grew to a healthy number, a pure indication that something good is going on at the Tai Chi Center of Chicago. There were more requests for private yoga lessons and Yogassages as people once again acknowledged the importance of taking care of one’s self. And the Aerial yoga program has been steadily expanding, introducing dozens of new and experienced yogis to this unique form of the practice.
A group of yoga instructors from Iowa made the trip to Chicago to experience Aerial Yoga from Tracy Von Kaenel and are now offering it to their students in the Quad Cities. In fact folks from all around have come to study Aerial Yoga, including The Suburban Yoga Network Connection (SYNC) who brought their group to the city for a workshop. The 7 teachers enjoyed the workshop and then shared their enthusiasm with Yoga Chicago magazine. I was also blessed with enthusiastic instructors traveling to Chicago to learn the Aerial techniques from as far away as California and even Brazil. I even got Elizabeth (yes THAT Elizabeth!) to tip upside down on the sling a few times….wee!
The yoga classes enjoyed some specialty classes again this summer including a Chakra balancing class, Zen Practice, Cardio Yoga, and a lovely outdoor class in a beautiful hidden garden in the neighborhood. I continue to be impressed by the level of dedication from this enlightened group. Their spirits and energy continue to bring joy to the practice, in the studio or in the garden.
One of my personal favorite highlights of the year was in September. Yoga with Tracy Von Kaenel hosted a Yoga Retreat inviting those who’ve consistently studied with me the longest to a beautiful lakefront home in Kenosha for a full weekend of yoga philosophy, asana class, healing circles, delicious vegetarian food, like-minded community and lots of fun. It was a great experience and everyone returned with a new sense of centeredness and peacefulness, which they continue to share with everyone back home.
Our participation in the Ravenswood Art Walk this year included 13 yogis and yoginis participating in a choreographed piece that weaved together a flowing yoga practice, aerial yoga, aerial dance, and a community chant of Om Mani Padme Hum. It was very well attended and very well received. Thanks to all the dedicated yogis and yoginis for their hard work, and to our guest dancer Danielle…. all of them are amazing.
The only thing missing this year was even more yogis. Many of the regulars have had to stop coming due to circumstances in their lives. There’s not a class I teach that I don’t think of them and miss them. Every student who’s ever come through the doors of TCC is incredibly special to me, and such an important part of my life. My continued Samkalpa is for those students to find a way to get back into a yoga practice (whether it’s with me or not). I know how important the practice is to a harmonious life and I would love everyone to experience that.
I look forward to 2013 with open arms. There are some great new things on the horizon. The Aerial classes will be moving to a new time, Mondays 6-7p.m and we’ll be starting a new Zen Yoga class on Mondays from 7:30-8:30 pm. I’m excited about the Aerial move, as it will allow this energetic practice to be practiced at an earlier time of the day and also excited to close the day with a soothing and rejuvenating Zen practice. I bid a fond farewell to a very good year, and a hearty welcome to the next, which will be even better. Namaste.

Three Teachers

Don Tomei - Three Teachers

We all have three teachers.
1 – Our masters
Our masters are the ones who come before us, or who are inherently superior to us in some way. They see clearly in our dark corners. They easily fathom what confounds us. Of all the lessons we learn from our masters, the most profound is that there is a path to follow that can take us from where we are to where we want to be. From our masters we gain wisdom, certainty, direction, assurance and encouragement.
2 – Ourselves
The self lives in the only room we can never leave. It’s the perspective we can never change, the critic we can never please. But it’s also the only room we can decorate any way we like. From ourselves we learn discipline, accountability, pride and arrogance, but also shame, disappointment, confusion and regret. No teacher is closer to our inner thoughts than the self, yet none is more difficult to comprehend.
3 – Our students
Our students are the most demanding teachers of all. They judge us not with their opinions, but with their lives. Their trust is our ultimate master. We may claim some part of their success, but their failure is indelibly ours without question. From our students we learn humility, patience, courage, nurturing and selflessness.
All three of these teachers give us a priceless gift.
  • There is no more trusted guide than a sage master.
  • There is no truer friend than a centered self.
  • There is no greater honor than a devoted student.
Separately they allow us to explore a deep and profound art. Together they enable us to achieve mastery of our art and ourselves.

Experience is “my path” and every Person a Teacher

Sharon Fierro - Wellness Qigong

Meditating during World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
My experience this year has been predominantly as a student. With the awareness that each experience is “my path” and every person a teacher, I was blessed with many valuable teachings in 2012. So, I would like to share some of the many sources of my learning. My hope for the coming year, is to expand my teaching and work in the community to reflect these lessons.
My time caring for my aging parents in their final stages of life has been my greatest source of joy, sadness, reflective learning and healing. My mom has shown me the love, courage, wisdom and grace of a caring, compassionate woman of character. My dad has shown me the sweet vulnerability and strength of a man who has devoted his life to “taking care” of his wife and family. My brother has shown me another way of healing with his equanimity, sense of humor and devotion to our family as a whole. The practice of being present, accepting life “as it is” (and people as they are), reconnecting with my family and compassionately facing our loss has opened my heart.
During this time, a good friend contributed this valuable insight: “Sharon, this part of our lives requires a lot of resourcefulness, fortitude, compassion and patience and you seem to have deep reserves. Unconditional love just isn’t good enough…”
The generous teachings, support and kindness of Elizabeth Wenscott, Lisa Hish, my tai chi family and many friends helped create and restore these reserves, as well as inspire an awakening of the divine wisdom and teacher within. The writings of Zen teacher, Ezra Bayda in his book “Zen Heart” and Taoist , Michael Saso in “The Gold Pavillion-Taoist Ways of Peace, Healing and Long Life” served as inspiration as well. Thank you, divine teachers…. “Kindness of the Heart…Breath of Life…I bow to you, again and again. Lotus sitting on the water, beyond time and space, this is your way this is your grace…” by Snatum Kaur.

The Effort is a Part of the Beauty; The Simplicity and the Repetition

Christine Wallers - 2012

The effort is part of the beauty; the simplicity and the repetition.
Snowstorm, Nightwood, Tree Fort, The Angelus, Defibrillator, Francesca Woodman, Jellies,
The Finite Passing of Infinite Passion, Orlando, Vermillion, Cary Grant, Tequila, Nova, Castenada,
Tattoo Heart Ink, Father Beaven, BLB, StreamLines, Carmel, Spaulding, Agnes Martin, Cercius,
Light Sleeve, Lake Superior, H2 Recorder, Sophie Calle, Vaishali, Skype, Bram, Mavis Galant, Perfect Mix.

I am a Cliché

Kipling Swehla - Meditation 

Version 1 
I am a cliché. It's been eleven weeks, 19 hours, and 37 minutes since I was a normal, self-absorbed human being. I do not mean this in a derogatory way. I don't have anything against how I was. It's perfectly normal. But now, normal is inconceivable. I wouldn't describe myself as a workaholic but I would say if I was awake I was focused on all the things that I needed to get done. Then my daughter was born and that pretty much changed everything. She has a way of making the present moment the only thing that exists. It’s very calming and amazing watching the uncarved block take shape...
Version 2
 I’m unbelievably angry. 20 children were just gunned down by means of a semiautomatic assault rifle. People ask how can something like this happen. It’s obvious. The US Congress has become a brothel and laws can be bought and sold by the highest bidder. The NRA has given millions of dollars to politicians to make sure there are no laws or even discussions on limiting access to weapons intended to unleash rapid mass casualties. These politicians had no objections to spending a Trillion dollars on an unprovoked war in Iraq while simultaneously trying to eliminate every penny spent on health care and mental well being because “there isn’t money in the budget.” You may ask what does this have to do with Tai Chi and meditation and my answer is Everything!

Final Version 
It is Sunday afternoon and I just got back from doing Tai Chi twice then meditation. When asked this morning “how are you?”, instead of giving my normal flippant answer, “I am”, I couldn't help but to answer “I’m angry.” It wasn’t until standing meditation, focusing on slow deep breathing, that the anger dissipated and I became grounded.

 Tai chi and meditation are a spiritual practice. Spirituality isn't something you can sit in a pew and have a collared man unleash onto you or something that somebody reading from a book can logicate into your brain. (I realize logicate isn't a word but it should be.) The spirituality of Tai Chi and meditation are experienced by observing and by doing.

 Watch a baby breathe, her abdomen rising and emptying versus an angry old man breathing into his upper chest rapidly inhaling and exhaling like a semiautomatic weapon expelling spent shells.

 See a baby fold and easily put her feet in her mouth compared to a dry brittle stick breaking with the slightest bend.

 Observe children during horseplay, tumbling and laughing, as opposed to a bar fight with clenched fists, tightened muscles, and angry words spewed.

 Admire the way liquid hits liquid and grows while becoming one in contrast to a metal axe being dulled while chopping and splintering wood.

 There are many quotes in the Tao Te Ching reiterating this such as “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, If you can dream - and not make dreams your master, If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it.”

 Okay, maybe that was Rudyard Kipling’s poem If but seeing as I was named after the guy I feel okay slipping that in.

 My point in all of this is that it is time for us who do Tai Chi, meditation, and other such arts to lead by example. In cities, the anger of honking drivers is contagious but now is the time to show that inner peace and calm are equally contagious. Tai chi isn't something you should do just a couple hours a week, it is the way you should live your life 24/7. It is the way you sleep, the way you wake up, the way you eat, the way you interact, the way you talk, walk, and stand. It’s time for Tai Chi to drown out the insanity which seems to be taking over the world.