These articles from The Vital Force tell students’ stories of T’ai Chi Chih’s gifts.
“I did my practice to find peace”
By RH, Parma, Ohio
Without a doubt, the last 18 months have been the most difficult in my life. My son was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2012. From that day until his death in October 2013, and through this grieving process, life has been a very different process. The world seems to move in a strange way, as if my life is separate from the whole.
I did my best to focus on the positive through each of the three brain surgeries. Watching the process of radiation and chemotherapy was difficult – being aware of all that these protocols destroy. My son had been so physically fit and healthy. He was an avid athlete (he qualified for the SWAT team of the FBI when he was 40), so the worst part was watching the gradual physical deterioration.
Through this incredibly difficult journey, I had one constant: my regular T’ai Chi Chih practice. I did my practice to find peace. I did my practice to find courage. I did it at the hospital when I needed to calm myself. I did my practice looking for hope. Each time I did my practice I felt a new beginning, and I could face it all again.
TCC brought me to the groundedness I needed to remain in the moment and with it came peace and knowing that in the end, we would all be okay. This too was part of the process of life experience.
I talk to my son, Joe every day, as I know he is near and I will see him again. I miss him in the physical. I do my TCC practice each day to find peace, hope and joy in this moment.
TCC’s Gentle Power
By SB, Richfield, Minnesota
In October 2012, my beloved husband of 40 years was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was a terrifying and devastating diagnosis. My T'ai Chi Chih practice helped me to stay grounded through all of the tests, scans, biopsies, surgeries and visits to the various doctors. We were told in the beginning that Jim's cancer was curable because it was contained in his left lung and that once removed, the cancer would be gone. That was not what the cancer had in mind.
Jim recovered well from the lung removal surgery in December but then something went terribly wrong in January. He could no longer tolerate the smell or taste of food and, in the end, lost over 100 pounds from October to mid-March. TCC kept me calm and helped me focus. Jim was in terrible pain that was helped by watching Sandy's seated TCC DVD. He could not physically follow the movements but watching her and listening to her voice helped him relax, decreased his pain and allowed him to sleep. We were also blessed by a healing visit from Antonia when she came to Minnesota for her annual retreat.
Jim died on March 16, 2013 surrounded by family. TCC helped both of us stay grounded through this difficult experience. It provided comfort and helped us accept what was happening and to transition from one life to a new one for us both. TCC helped me carry on, offering quiet strength and comfort in the gentle rhythmic movements that transcend the present realities of life.
Reprinted by permission from the February 2014 issue of The Vital Force.