Tai Chi for Peace | by Billy Edelen

I don't speak about it often but I've become a regular tai chi practitioner. It's even become an evening ritual and I see it becoming more of a tool in my pursuit of self mastery.

My tai chi practice is one I began by just setting aside 5 minutes every morning starting consistently in June. I had to look at the video of the form and slowly integrate and coordinate the movements myself. Now the form is in My body. I keep it flowing and it's as if each time I do it I become  more connected ton the movements and energy in my body.

It's a great tool to monitor your energy. Where your attention and energy is flowing in your body you can redirect your focus to hold your posture differently so you can sink deeper into the horse stance and become more rooted into the ground. This rootedness and embracing of gravity is then balanced by a sense of pushing away from the ground. This creates grounded and elastic strength in your legs. Ready for power and speed but also for enduring strength. This is balance. This is wholeness.

It's really helping me feel the connection between toe and crown, toe to pinky finger and managing the awareness and placement of my body's energy. It's so subtle but I feel as I'm tapping into the life force of my body and then shaping it with an awareness that is simultaneously control oriented and one of complete surrender - letting go.

By nature I am an anxious person ready to move on to the next thing. As a result (or vice versa) in my body I am light on my feet. My tai chi practice directly exposes this so I cue myself to slow down even more and to sink my weight and be heavy into the earth.

Grounding my energy down through the body into the earth directs the anxious energy away from thoughts and energy rushing to my head. Instead the awareness present in my consciousness in brought to my physical vessel and its deep rootedness to the external world around me.

My number one thought I use to reprogram my anxious nature is slow down. Or let go. The simple awareness of my rushed anxious nature and then a direct command to create a more positive pattern is essential to self awareness. This ultimately leads to a growth mindset and brings us further on our road self mastery.

I'm a spiritual man and I've come to realize it's not just me with the control. I feel that I am a summation of IT ALL packaged neatly and precisely into me. This would seem to give me ultimate control so I must give over to this wave of letting go - like these waves crashing down the Ohio River as fall ushers in its first damp day. This fresh cool air is something I am thankful for as I'm also excited to keep sharing my journey.

That brief aside to describe the scene is my attempt to craft present moment awareness into my writing. Your attention being with each word you are reading is a sign of deep presence.

Slowing down by moving slower. More observant to my movement. In the simplest way I can articulate this is what my tai chi practice is teaching me.

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