I was well into my Ai Chi practice at our local YMCA, when I heard someone clear their throat on the deck nearby. “I’m going to use this lane in 10 minutes,” she said. “I’ve reserved it for a private swimming lesson.” I had signed up for an hour and had felt lucky to nab one of the 2 lanes that were not shared with another swimmer, (a practice established when COVID began). I sighed and moved to another lane to begin my practice again. This time I was next to a lap swimmer who did a lot of splashing. Our carefully devised plans do not always work out, and while both positive and negative life events can raise stress levels, it is the unexpected changes that are the most difficult and stressful~ the changes we didn’t count on.
As I began my practice again next to the splasher, my mind turned to a conversation I had during a Zoom meditation session a few weeks earlier. After sitting in silence with our group for 30 minutes, our leader asked about our experience. I happened to have an “ear worm” during the whole session~ a song stuck in my head that played relentlessly, over and over. I asked if the participants had any advice for getting rid of distractions like that, and the leader asked why I needed to have it gone. My immediate response was that it was too distracting to enjoy the peace of meditation, but I mulled over his reply later. There will always be distractions in our lives and we can choose to allow them to make us feel stressed, or we can accept that they are there and go with the flow. I could have made that song a part of my meditation rather than an annoyance. I could let the sound and feeling of the splashes become a positive part of my Ai Chi practice. We always have a choice.
Ai Chi is practiced all over the world. The most peaceful place that I have done Ai Chi was in an indoor hotel pool in Stockholm. The pool was dimly lit by 2 pots of fire, and only one other person (a silent Swede) was in the pool. It was easy to find calm in this beautiful space. My blog statistics show views from across the globe and I am curious about the Ai Chi experiences of practitioners in other places. Please share a snapshot of your Ai Chi practice (either a picture or a brief written summary) in the comment section.
And if you are interested in sharing your cultural experiences with the larger Ai Chi community, the Ai Chi Newsletter is interested in highlighting Ai Chi from around the world. Please contact Julie at [email protected] to share. Photos need to be in high resolution (original photo files are the best option). They also need a contributor name and email contact, plus a brief description (photo caption) of what/where the photo shares, and permission (technically from anyone recognizable in the photo) to publish.
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