The past three years I returned to practice Tai Chi with the Laozi Academy that I trained with almost two decades ago. When I trained initially I was so busy that I took Tai Chi for granted. I never delved very deeply into the theory or gave much time to Chinese culture or Taoism. I basically did the physical exercises and took in some of the general theory but my mind back then was so full of friends, family and work. The last three years has really opened my eyes to the culture and theory around Tao. Not that I am particularly bright enough to understand all of it. I do struggle at times but I do have moments of clarity and understanding that I find rewarding. Some of the herbal remedies have been very beneficial and the physical practice as always is relaxing. There is also the benefit of learning good dietary recommendations and so forth. Over the past few months I have been enjoying steeping dried hawthorn berries with a small amount of chrysanthemum flowers and dried citrus peel. There are a number of health benefits from hawthorn. It is good for cardiovascular health and skin health. Lately I have been having a small amount of steeped hawthorn and chrysanthemum at work early in the day. Normally I would have it occasionally in the early evening.
The other cultural highlight has been learning about Chinese teas. I grew up drinking tea at home as my mother brewed tea in the morning and afternoon. Later in life I participated in coffee culture through work but it isn’t as appealing as tea. My collection and appreciation of tea has only grown over the past three years and coffee has waned in comparison. I have a friend who had a rather checkered past with the authorities and when I gave him some of the high quality tea to try he loved it so much, and felt so relaxed that he instantly wanted some to take home. Tea is relaxing and there are many health kicks. I trained for a while so long ago yet I didn’t have the mind to relax and take in all of the culture and theory that abounds from Taoist practice. Now that I am back I have learnt more in the last three years that I ever did before and I feel good about it. Better late than never as they say.