Speech given at 2016 Annual Tai Chi for Health Conference, Syndey Australia:
Speech Title: The Inner Pearl
We start out life as a blank page (held up blank sheet of paper as a visual). But then life happens upon us, we collect our own diverse set of experiences; hardships and heartbreak, and hopefully some joys and triumphs (gradually crumpled up the paper into a ball). So much happens to us, that eventually through it all, we can lose our way.
Add to this, we are quick to recognize our weaknesses and slow to celebrate our strengths. It is our human nature to study our scars, and in the process, we can lose our own self worth (places crumpled paper out of sight in pocket).
But we are the fortunate ones, because we have this marvelous intervention called Tai Chi! I believe through Tai Chi we reclaim the best part of ourselves. It is through Tai Chi that we can express this reclamation of self outwardly, through silent, beautiful shared movement.
I know. I have seen the transformation in my students. I have recognized it in some of the stories you have graciously shared. I have felt it within myself.
I want to leave you with an analogy. You may not remember my words, but you might remember this image: I thought of the oyster.
The oyster resides at the bottom of the ocean floor and is tossed about by the tides and currents of its external world. Along the way it collects nicks and gashes on its outer shell. It lays down additional layers of shell to protect itself against outside influences. It might even gather a barnacle or two. It fully insulates itself from the harshness of its external environment.
But the inside of the oyster! Now that is a completely different scenario. Inside the oyster there is a steady but calm ebb and flow of water as the oyster takes in its sustenance and nutrients. Now there are a few granules of sand and shell inside the oyster. Perhaps these are small remnants from the hardships it has endured, which have made their way inside. These granules shift back and forth as the water flows through the oyster, causing a bit of internal abrasion. However, over time, with this gentle but steady influence, a beautiful thing is made......the pearl.
Tai Chi is like that. With its gentle and steady influence, Tai Chi creates in each of us, our own Inner Pearl.
Written by Susan Thompson, OTR copyright @ 2016