When I was in Secondary school I was about three and a half stone or fifty pounds heavier than I am now.I wanted to do something about it. A medical student I knew got me a diet plan and I embarked on the diet and began walking to and from school. Each week I lost around a pound weight. I will always be grateful to my cousin Laurence who used to come for tea on Tuesday evenings. His encouragement made all the difference. He would ask how I was getting on with the diet, tell me how much better I was looking and how it was really working. I also encouraged myself by buying magazines with diet success stories and books about how to deal with 'food issues'.
When I began Tai Chi , I 'unconsciously' did the same. I read books about people who had succeeded, stories that inspired me , tales of people who, like me, felt they didn't have great talent at their art but plenty of 'love' for it. I didn't bother me that it took me 5 years to learn my first short form; I enjoyed each posture I learned. It did bother me that the applications were complete double dutch to me and I regularly felt completely stupid. But I kept going , knowing that my teacher said "The student needs 3 elements to succeed - talent, persistence and a good teacher," and of the three the one you needed least was talent. I spent time with my teachers and fellow students to absorb the feel of Tai Chi . Slowly , applications and postures revealed themselves (and still do) .
Last year I read of a heart surgeon who has a high rate of recovery among his patients. He encourages his patients to join a support group and be mentored by survivors who help them adopt new ways to live and be happy.
This is what we do when we learn Tai Chi. We find new ways to spend our time . We learn to look inside to find our own answers. We find support and inspiration in our group and much much more.
There are very few photos of me from that time but as soon as I find one I'll show you so you can see for yourself the change.