by Kim Ivy & Joyce Broderson
One of the reasons I love to teach is the spontaneous conversations that emerge with the students. Of all the conversations, however, one I published in a newsletter from 1997 with Joyce Broderson comes up over and again. The article and newsletter were regrettably lost until recently when an old student, Jennah Nicholson, told me she had kept every newsletter I had printed. Voila! It showed up in my mail a few weeks ago. I am thrilled to share it with a wider Web audience today. I am so happy to read it word for word again, and to sink into its timelessness.
Joyce: When I started classes with Embrace The Moon, there was one idea I left behind: my need to remember the form and the expectation of doing it right. My previous class experiences had already proven to me I would never remember anything beyond a class. So this time I changed my goal. All I wanted to do was just “be there.” I let go of all my expectations. Then suddenly the beauty of Tai Chi unfolded. When I gave up my need to remember then it was just there for me. For me, Tai Chi is not about being able to do, but allowing your self the freedom of not having to do. Since it is an evolving art form, for me there will never be any completion. And because of that, whatever I do each time is only one part of an ongoing process.
Kim: So for you Tai Chi is an exploration?
Joyce: It is an opportunity to truly become one with oneself. There is never a sense of failure, because that can only occur when you have expectations. The beauty is that you have the opportunity to stop, slow down and become part of the present moment; the practice is ever changing.
Kim: I notice you love doing “slow form” exercise.
Joyce: Yes! I began to accept the idea that in the practice there is no right or wrong, only degrees of change. To me the beauty lies in the subtleties of the form. Doing the Tai Chi as slow as I possible can allows me to experience those subtleties.
Kim: Do you like Push Hands?
Joyce: When I do Push Hands I am not looking for someone else’s energy, I am trying to identify my own. I am not interested in whether I push someone off balance or not, because until I know where I am coming from, I cannot know where I am going. I am not looking externally anymore; I have done that.
Kim: It is very nice; we see you in most all the classes!!!!
Joyce: When you experience something that you really like you want to maintain and grow that level of experience. Yet I do not expect to recreate it, because it is different every time. For me, it is positive and healthy, it is not a compulsion.
Kim: It is like an invitation?
Joyce: Yes. And about becoming clear. I realize clarity does not come by going fast. When I slow down, things that do not matter just fall away and what remains is what I want. In my Tai Chi and in my life.
Kim: You have a chance to meet many of the students…..
Joyce: I have really enjoyed the people I meet in all the classes. Most of them are there because they are looking for something, but it is not something external. The students are looking for something with an internal purpose. Even physical health is an internal process. And it really doesn’t matter what physical condition you are in because you do what you can. That level of being with people of like mind is what I want.
Joyce Broderson remains a dedicated student at Embrace The Moon as well, she has become one of our spirited teachers. She has developed a special workshop out of her mindful practice: Mastering the Art Of Slowness, which she will be presenting throughout the year.