March 22nd, 2014 by Jan

Every once in a while I need to salute someone I cherish in my life. It is the goal of today’s bloggy post to let one person know, I see them. I believe others see you too. I know this bloggy thing is my thing, and I don’t mean to tell stories out of school — but today I’m going to.

Today it is my goal to sing the praise of Sheila Fee.

I met Sheila at the Anne MacDonald house in North Vancouver. She was a student in the tai chi class I inherited. She did not chose me as her teacher, I invaded her class.

I’m grateful to say she didn’t run out the door though and believe me, she had good reason to. I told everyone in the class, that all the tai chi they had learned up to that point, would need to be suspended. I told them, I didn’t ask, I told them, we would start at the beginning of the Yang curriculum and work our way though it. That it would take a while and if they trusted me, we would go on an amazing adventure together.

Sheila stayed, and I’m happy to say, we did indeed take that adventure. I believe there is more to come.

Sam once said, that when he met me, he saw that I was very interested in Tai Chi. That was no surprise to anyone, but he followed that sentence about 8 years later with, “and now, because of the art, you have become interesting.” I felt that was one of the nicest complements anyone has ever given me.

I’d like to say the same thing about Sheila. When we first met, she was interested, open and willing. She persevered, practiced and questioned. Sheila came to class no matter how the rest of her day had been. I know there were times, when she would rather have gone home — crawl into the bath or taken to her bed. Instead she came to class, only to hear — no, no, no, no… uhm…. Almost, no.

I’m not sure if I can describe what I saw happen over the years, but I will try. I recognize it because this transformation also happened for me. I think it happens for everyone at some time who digs in and studies this art with full sincerity.

Here goes:
You know, when all our dramas, traumas, joys and celebrations spin not so much around us, but catch us up in them?  It seems like we are a part of the chaos, spinning, with no control, and it is all just too much. Then, day by day, we start a practice, and gradually, we find our centre and our boundaries start to become clear. We spend more time finding our structure. More time with dan tien, and the spinning of this crazy world doesn’t actually stop, but it slows down enough to see that our struggles and joys have a clarity about them. Life is easier to deal with because we are standing well. Our legs are stronger, and our shoulders are down, we know where our breath is. We seek stillness and by doing that — we have a different view of life.

I’ve had the fortune to watch Sheila find her centre over the years, and what I see is a strong woman claiming her space in the world and making a difference.

Today, I find Sheila interesting — very interesting. My life is better because I know her.

Today I salute Sheila Fee, and I salute the art that brought us together.

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