2014: A Year to Remember

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season and that the year to come will be filled with love, light, and just the right amount of challenges faced and overcome to keep you playing the game with joy and curiosity.

2014 was just such a year for me. Please allow me to share a few of the highlights with you.

25 Years as a Taijiquan Teacher

This is a biggie. In 1989 I got a phone call from my teacher, Grandmaster William C. C. Chen, asking me to teach a class at the Y in Staten Island. I had never even considered such a thing and protested that I wasn’t ready. He assured me that I was, and besides, there was nobody else available. A lot has happened since then, but that’s a tale for another day. Our traditional year-end class party was particularly festive, as we toasted a quarter century of explorations into “What else is possible?”

That first 25 years passed rather quickly. I wonder what the next stage will bring.

20 Years of Alchemy

Tai Chi Alchemy in Sedona celebrated two decades in September with me seriously questioning if it had run its course. That was met with a “not so fast, Buster,” from a bunch of enthusiastic Alchemists. Everyone agreed that this is an important part of our lives and requires an attitude of co-creation. A record number have already registered for next year’s event, September 18-20. (Early commitment opens up many possibilities for planning and participation, so keep those cards and letters coming folks.)

TCA has come a long way since 1994. The “Tai Chi” in the title has moved beyond the narrow examination of the martial practice of taijiquan towards the living expression of its principles in healing, meditation, and every aspect of life. In the early days, competitive juices flowed freely and a martial flavor dominated our exercises. Now, we seek to empower even the weakest member with a taijiquan that uses jin rather than crude, muscular force.

We enter the next decade with a renewed sense of purpose. Please join us for one heck of a good time.

Finding You in a World of It

2014 began with this book project knee deep in mud. I didn’t know how, but I was resolved to release it by TCA in September. It took some earnest pleading with various higher powers and a whole lot of nose to the grindstone, but assistance kept appearing from previously unknown sources. Again and again, Micaela and I took it to the edge, trusting that the help we needed would be there when we were ready.

Of course, Micaela came through like the pro she is, and the book wouldn’t be the same without her exquisite cover and illustrations. Maria “held space” for the project and was instrumental in clearing obstacles and providing inspiration.

Beatrice Aranow kicked ass as editor. Jonathan Bricklin wrote a perfect Foreword. Mike Ricciardi did a great job on photography. Victoria and Mark Drumbakis threw a terrific book release party at the New York Open Center. It is a joy to have such talented and generous friends.

Maria demonstrates rooting.

Perhaps the most surprising ally of all was my magical, serendipitous, synchronistic meeting with the amazing Renee Rhodes: visionary, sculptor, and clinical psychologist. From the first we got on like Mentos and Diet Coke.

She immediately asked me to present my work at her Forest Summit, a gathering of doctors, nurses, psychologists, and energy healers from the New England area. I am really grateful to be introduced to this wonderful group and hope to work more with them in the future.

I just learned that Finding You in a World of It had a brief visit to Amazon’s Best Sellers List in Philosophy and Spiritual Growth. Please order a bunch for your friends and family, and also write a review for Amazon. That is how the word gets out. I would be immensely grateful.
A review of FYWI will appear in the January issue of Nick Scrima’s excellent Journal of Chinese Martial Arts. If you have not yet subscribed to this wonderful publication, you really want to take advantage of the best martial arts journalism around. Recent articles include William C. C. Chen’s Essay on Breathing and Tom Vandegriff’s Recollections of Zheng Manqing (Master Chen’s teacher). $35 per year gives you online access to a wide range of top-notch articles.

Many thanks to Stephe Watson for hosting our annual Chinese Scholars Garden event at his Someday Farm in Connecticut. His intrinsic curiosity and martial expertise continues to inspire everyone he meets, and this event is one of my favorites each year. And thanks to the illustrious David Shaver, Sifu at Peaceful Wolf T’ai Chi in East Haddam, CT. Maria and I gave a really fun seminar there, introducing the ideas of Finding You and showing their practical applications.

These are just a few of the highlights of a remarkable year. There are a bunch more people to thank. I hope I have shown my appreciation in person. I hold you in my heart.

So, what is ahead for 2015? I keep asking those higher powers, “What could be better that this?” and “What else is possible?”

Because we are just getting started.