White Crane Spreads its Wings; Repulse Monkey; Grasp Sparrows Tail; Snake Creeps Down; Golden Cockerel; Fail Lady Weaves the Shuttle; Needle at the Bottom of the Sea: these are just some of the names given to T’ai Chi movements of the Short and Long Forms. For many of us, these names have not carried a lot of significance: seemingly arbitrary albeit rather colourful.
In what might be his last retreat at Roselidden before he takes a sabbatical from teaching, Tew explored the ancient Chinese mythological origins of these terms, and in so doing, provided us with a whole new framework of understanding by which to enrich our practice.
The theme of the retreat was, “The Basic Ground”. Through talks and exercises, we were reminded of the importance of continually returning to that which is fundamental to our practice: connection of body, heart and mind with the Eternal; the interplay of Yin and Yang as they flow out of the Wu; the emergence of the elements from that interplay of Yin and Yang; bringing the qualities of the elements to our intentions and movements. And what all this means for how we bring balance and harmony to our lives and to how we live our lives in relationship with others, and with the world.
Thank you Tew, for what you give me, and the many thousands of others who, directly or indirectly, are touched by your love and wisdom. May you have joy and fulfilment in your sabbatical!