Six Months On...
The initial lockdown of 2020 took so much away from so many people, many lost livelihood and income, on a more personal level there are those who lost loved ones. People who experienced the virus at its most potent, lost strength and full health. For me everything stopped workwise - I lost every bit of income and had no idea how long it would be lost for or whether any of it would ever come back.
Six months on - my corporate work is still a distant memory with little sign of it returning in any shape or form in the near future, private work is coming back but there are no guarantees of how much or whether it would need to stop again. I'm not looking for sympathy - Lockdown was a very good time for me in many ways. Some of the benefits have been immense. For starters I spent more time with my family when it was most needed, I shopped for my shielding mum, did a lot of jobs at home, helped my son focus on his studies to finish the year at college, Meditated much more deeply and ate cheese!
In the depths of the lockdown I decided I would look at how to convert Tai Chi which I've taught in person for the last 7 years to an On-line Zoom class. I knew it wouldn't be easy - fellow teachers of Yoga and Pilates could set up a camera that pointed at the mat they were working on and "Bob's your uncle - there was a class". Tai Chi - often referred to as "Meditation on the move" would be harder as the clue is in the phrase - it's on the move!
A PTLLS qualification helped as I converted the basic lessons from my first Tai Chi Classes into an online offering. I planned to keep the cost low so that people who had lost income might still be able to join. The first block of six lessons was set.
Getting to grips with Zoom, videoing and uploading proved more than problematic. Part of solving it was to upgrade the internet - something we'd planned for ages and not got round to. Superfast fibre to home boardband had changed so much for me!
Next was the need not just to make the class affordable but to satisfy my need to make sure the content was available to all, so that if a zoom session was missed you could still study that weeks form and continue to learn. Web editing skills were the next thing to be improved. Hidden password protected pages only available to those who purchased a block of six lessons came next. Finally getting video content uploaded without affecting my website package or using all the internet meant opening a YouTube account and learning to upload videos and keeping them unlisted so they were only available if you had been given the link - they remain "unsearchable" to others.
Already I'd created an online class, upgraded my IT skills and internet provider but the biggest gain has been the depth of understanding of chi - energy I have gained in pulling it all together. Teaching about energy, it's uses, transit round the body, how to build it, hold it and release it - all from the other end of a camera has meant that I've had to pull together a massive amount of supporting information. I've had to produce infographics and find ways to impart information that supports both live Zoom lessons and still makes sense to those playing catch up when they can't join a live class.
As I update my website and create another Members Only area for the third block of Zoom Tai Chi and see the wealth of information all in one place, knowing that there are more resources to add, feeling confident enough to add dates for block 4 of Zoom Tai Chi. I am aware how deep my knowledge is for the first time. How much Tai Chi has been a part of my life for 35 years, that its not just part of my life - it is a way of life. One that governs movement through all things, (without thought these days), one that makes space for meditation, calmness, me-time and the ability to not react without first considering.
As I sit with all this knowledge, all these years of movement, all these years of calmness and consideration I am bought back time and again to the teachings of Buddha, "Appo Deepo Bhava - Be a light unto yourself" and "All that we are is the result of what we have thought".
There have been many occassions where I have been called "Sensi" or "Sufi" in the past. I have always denied myself the title, not feeling I have mastered enough to deserve the title. As I reread the Tao Te Ching again and absorb the taoist teaching of Lao Tzu on yet another level of consciousness I know I have mastered enough to be deserving of the title.
I feel incredibly humbled by the journey I have taken to get here, and give my deepest thanks to those who provided the encouragement along they way. Most of all my thanks go out to my Tai Chi Students, old and new, near and far, in person and virtual. Without you I would not feel a master and would not take the title Sufi.
This has been the greatest gift - afforded by students and of course the time spent in lockdown.
Fo Ru Dong Hai (May your happiness be as great as the eastern sea)