"Magical", I recall, was a term used by Paul during the opening and closing sessions of the Tai Chi Workshop Sydney 2001. This descriptive term epitomized the experience for me. Embodied within that experience came a heightened awareness of the continual interplay of Yin and Yang, creating a fine balance within the unfathomable energies of the universe.
The magician's art seeks to mystify the audience through deceptively simple illusions. Underlying apparently effortless illusions, however, there are several key factors inherent to every successful performance. Not the least of these factors is hours of long, hard preparatory work by key players - whether seen or unseen during the final performance. Likewise, the Tai Chi Workshop's magical quality can only have been the result of hours of hard work by a dedicated team. Thank you team!
A great venue is always necessary for any successful enterprise. It seemed unlikely that the right place for a Tai Chi workshop could be found so close King's Cross, one of Sydney's (or even the world's) more infamous locations. However, St Vincent's College created the perfect setting, with just the right atmosphere of harmony. The nestling together of Yin and Yang was clearly reflected in the bustle of King's Cross, and tranquility of the College.
Then there were the people. They came from across Australia and as far away as the United States of America. Diverse backgrounds brought together with a common interest. Everyone working hard to increase their skills and knowledge in seven days of concentrated effort. On the never-ending road to perfection, it was a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas, techniques and styles. But it wasn't all work. Balance was created through leisure time spent with new friends. Incredible support was apparent throughout the entire workshop. The organising team was always around to smooth the way. Instructors were ever present to guide and encourage. Individual participants could be seen helping and supporting one another throughout. Thank you everyone!
Relaxing and allowing the energies of the universe to perform their magic was even more personalized for me. I arrived from New Zealand with an avulsion fracture to my right ankle, injured a mere three days before the start of the Workshop. Normally preferring to remain quietly unnoticed I was a little out of my element. It's hard to remain unnoticed at a Tai Chi Workshop when you are on crutches. However, I was at the Workshop specifically to qualify for an instructor's certificate in Tai Chi for Arthritis. So, it seemed I had some serious lessons to learn. Namely, how it feels to learn Tai Chi with pain and disability, and accept help with grace. Lessons well learned.
Preferring to be as independent as possible I found myself accepting assistance with difficulty and a certain lack of grace. One person in particular spent extra time and energy in treating my injury with something I can only describe as 'light therapy'. Although payment for the treatment was never raised I puzzled over some token with which I could show my gratitude without giving offence. The answer remained elusive until the final evening. With no effort on my part the perfect solution was provided. I was selected by Paul to choose the winning ticket for first prize on the final evening. And guess whose ticket number I pulled out!!! Universal energies at work again. Or, as Paul said "Magical".