Once again, Jos, Louanne, Peter and Roselidden provided a wonderful haven of tai chi, qi gong, calligraphy and excellent food – away from the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ that punctuate our everyday life.
The elements, cycles, pulse, listening, and being-in-the-moment emerged as key principles as we worked through sequences from the Short Form and undertook three different calligraphies. The Short Form sequences were augmented by Push Hands exercises which were really helpful in grounding the movements; they were also great fun and led to much laughter. Of course, we also practiced the Short Form in its entirety, variously bringing to the movements the qualities of Earth, Water or Fire.
Like Tai Chi, Calligraphy seems to work at so many different levels. For me it prompts an intensity of concentration and focus that little else can match. My challenge is not to allow this to well up as anxiety but rather – in full readiness – to surrender to the moment, allowing unity between me, brush, ink and paper. Each of the three calligraphies we did on this Retreat consisted of two characters: Formlessness and Heart-Mind; Sun and Moon; Cloud and Moving-Water. The Sun and Moon calligraphy featured on the day of the full moon which emerged early evening above the horizon in its full wonder. Some of our Cloud and Moving-Water calligraphies are shown below.
As ever, a key feature of the Retreat consisted of starting the day at Gunwalloe Beach – there we did Qi Gong and Tai Chi, walking meditation, practiced calligraphy in the sand and reflected on the wonder that was all around us. Some of us (not me!) even took the opportunity to swim.
This was the 8th such retreat offered by Jos and Louanne at Roselidden, and some of us ‘Old Hands’ have attended most or all of these. Lovely to meet up again, and also a delight to welcome and practice alongside several new participants. A huge Thank You to all involved!