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The Last Leaf of Fall

Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving!

In this week of reflection and thanksgiving I am grateful for the many opportunities I have been given to experience the facets of love. I woke this morning to the essays that follow below. They were the catalyst for the thoughts you are about to read.

It has been a year filled with gentle invitations to explore love and even more revealing – to feel love. As I reflect in this moment, my eyes have found the last leaves of Fall – withered and crafted by the elements of nature, they cling to the snow covered branches outside my window.

What if I was that last leaf of Fall. What if, the wind was love and once again it sent out a quiet whisper to the leaf.  A gentle invitation to simply…let go.

To the leaf-

One day soon you will choose to take me by the hand, you will find safety in my presence and we will fully embrace-to dance and play. With wild abandonment,  you will connect and follow me without struggle. Drifting slowly, I will lead you to opportunities for transformation. We will move as one and joyfully participate in the many emotions of the heart – together exploring, listening, noticing, feeling & letting go. When you choose to fully embrace me – I will take you unconditionally into my arms. I will be there as a calm and silent presence-patiently holding space for you. I will sit with you upon the earth and together we will stay and be present in that moment. I will whisper softly to you – let go.  You will open fully to my presence.  The rigid unyielding outer shell will crack and crumble.  Your true nature will be revealed as you merge into the earthy soil.  And, I will transform you yet again.

My invitation to you this week- Let go of the branch and let the winds of change take you by the hand.

At the 2018 TaijiFit Immersion in North Carolina.  I worked with David-Dorian Ross and De Anna Holloway one on one, the focus point of our time was a pivotal observation I wrote to them about concerning my daily interactions with people and how I perceive the energy they bring to the encounter and how it manifests in my body.  I am usually triggered and it can come in during an amazing opportunity to stand infont of people in a performance or an opportunity to teach and lead. It definitely makes its presence known in meetings and casual opportunities to ask questions, engage and exchange thoughts and ideas.

Recalling the observation’s essence, I wrote- “I feel everything, until I feel nothing…what do I do with the energy that approaches…it approaches me too fast…it keeps coming at me…unrelenting in its intensity…it backs me into a corner with no way out.”   Expanding further I would add that It revels in its power to make me feel small…it approaches with an intense need to shut me down and shut me up.  It takes hold of me and makes me hurt everywhere.  It silences me. I push away to break free of its grip and I run.  It follows me persistently trying to keep a firm hold on me.  It does not stop the moment I shut down and fully disconnect. I replay the experience over and over again in my mind.  It spills out and contaminates every encounter that follows-because I am the last leaf of Fall that resists the whispered invitations of the earthy, crisp wind to let go of the branch.

My usual response to the question “How does it make you feel or how does it feel is… fine or good.  Or, I don’t know.” My mind tells me not to feel anymore…my heart longs to feel anything and learn to change my center…change my story.

I don’t allow or even know how to begin to sit in my feelings and allow them to fully express in a healthy way.

My entry point is, to many people, a simple question —

I have been invited to ask myself- “In this moment I feel——(at ease or uneasy)” and then let the wind take it from there.

It is for me, the most important aspect of my personal practice in Taiji. It is a space of great tension and many hidden resistance patterns that attempt to protect me.

Taiji (Tai Chi) is a delivery system for Qi (Chee). Qi is life Breath, life energy, life force. A spoon! It is a system that delivers nourishment and energy to the body. It is so much more than making shapes with my body and memorizing forms.

Taiji provides a safe space and a slower pace to explore energy through movement. It is an opportunity to begin to take the wind by the hand-to embrace it fully as a friend, to dance and play while noticing the energy in and around me.

Taiji “forms” practice, the kung fu (the high level work or meritorious work of knowing yourself) can be found in playing with individual moves and combinations that you repeat in a looping manner, flowing from side to side. AND, it can be found in playing with a series of moves that link together to create flow that travels from one side of the room to the other repeatedly. BOTH, are powerful opportunities to explore movement. BOTH, deliver a constant stream of information as we drift together to the earth.  BOTH invite me to sit upon the earthy soil and listen as the wind leads me to the tension in my body. BOTH, can be used as a tool to improve the condition of the human spirit.

With this intention-(to connect, follow, listen & gather information without judgment)  at the center of my forms practice BOTH can become an effective, accessible and repeatable modality for gathering information about my body. One just requires more time over the other to achieve the same desire outcome referred to in the TaijiFit method as FLOW.

TaijiFit is a method that invites the body to keep moving, keep breathing & keep smiling. It leads me to the tension I carry inside my body-both physical and emotional. It is waiting unconditionally with compassion and offers a quiet invitation to explore and let go or release what I am holding on to.

TaijiFit is a method of introducing or re-introducing practitioners, of all levels, to the inherent beauty, power and joy in exploration through movement-it invites the practitioner to re-connect body mind and spirit and remember what it feels like to just play. No preconceived notions-no right and wrong, good and bad…no judgement, no comparison.

TaijiFit is accessible to all, delivers repeatable results & is effective in gathering information stored in the body. It takes practitioners directly to the essence of classical Taiji-the essential principle of FLOW.

Flow is characterized by movement that is continuous (no stops and starts), harmonious (it feels good) and synergistic (all parts of the body moving together as one). Its focus is directed towards how movement feels vs. what it looks like.

For me, this principle is completely transforming the way I experience Taiji.

For me, it is revealing how I experience energy in and around me throughout my day.

For me, moving during my personal practice is a sanctuary to safely explore movement. I am beginning to notice and feel as I move with the energy that is in and around me.

And now, as I begin to share Taiji with others through a teaching method/modality called TaijiFit the same sense of safety is developing. I notice when the energy ebbs and flows evenly. I notice when it surges uncontrollably. I notice as it slows and becomes increasingly restricted and stagnant due to the tension I hold in my body.

Right now-the discovery process raw & messy- I still avoid it  or shut down by disconnecting from the energy. It is my goal to transform the sanctuary found in my personal practice and move my center toward a source of empowerment vs. a source of protection.

For me, it is an awakening that starts with saying yes to the wind and to each and every way it (love) is present in my life. What follows are the two short essays that found there way to me this morning.

My gift to you through this holiday season is time to be present in the moment.  Use this Winter Break to begin a personal practice-a sanctuary to listen for the subtle whispers of the wind.  Embrace, listen & explore.

For me, it started this morning amidst the bright blue sky of Fall and a cold stillness just before the crisp wind began to call.  Will you say yes to wind and let go?


When we take the time to sit with our emotions fully, it will become apparent that the emotion was a catalyst for much needed healing. Our emotions color our lives with varying palettes. Sometimes we feel a strong emotion in reaction to something that has happened, but emotions also visit us seemingly out of the blue, flooding us unexpectedly with joy or grief or melancholy. Like the weather, they come and go, influencing our mental state with their particular vibration. Sometimes a difficult emotion hangs around longer than we would like, and we begin to wonder when it will release its hold on us. This is often true of grief stemming from loss, for example, or lingering anger over a past event. Usually, if we allow ourselves to feel our emotions fully when they come up, they recede naturally, giving way to another and another. When an emotion haunts us, it is often because we are afraid of really feeling it. Emotions like despair and rage are powerful, and it is natural to want to hold them at bay. Certainly, we don’t want to let them take us over so that we say or do things we later regret. When we are facing this kind of situation, it can be helpful to ask the spirit, “How long do I need to sit with these emotions, how long do I need to feel these emotions before they can pass?” If you ask sincerely and wait, an answer will come. Setting a time limit on your engagement with that difficult emotion may be just the technique you need to face it fully. When you have a sense of how much time you need to spend, set a timer. Sit down and make yourself available to the emotion that has been nagging you. All you have to do is feel it. Avoid getting attached to it or rejecting it. Simply let it ebb and flow within you. Emotions are by their nature cyclical, so you can trust that just as one reaches its apex it will pass. Each time you sit with its presence without either repressing or acting out, you will find that that difficult emotion was the catalyst for much needed emotional healing.

Release Emotional Energy Blocks and Healing-BY LAURA FINE (DailyOM)

You know your list of “should” and “should not’s.” ‘I should have gotten out of bed on time.’ ‘I should exercise more.’ And you know your should not’s; ‘I should not have yelled at my child.’ ‘I should not have eaten that second piece of chocolate cake!’ When you find yourself repeating a behavioral pattern you have judgement about, it’s highly likely due to a conflict between your conscious and subconscious mind. Often where the conscious and subconscious mind are in conflict, there is an Emotional Energy Block. The good news is, this Emotional Energy Block is actually showing you where your inner work lives. There are reasons you can’t “talk” away these blocks with positive thinking. Just like a splinter rises to the surface to be plucked out, there is a strong body/mind sensation trying to find its way to the surface of your awareness for healing. You can learn to stop decades of repetitive painful self-destructive behavior. By awakening energy blocks, you’ll experience surges of energy that will help you be more open in your relationships, feel more relaxed and alive, be more physically healthy and achieve your goals. You can develop unique and powerful practices to call on whenever you find yourself stuck in an emotional energy block. Sincerely, Dawn Nader dnader01@mac.com CertifiedTaijiFit Instructor Certified Silver Sneakers Flex Instructor Independent Contractor Let’s start a new class in your community. Private Classes Available 200 Hour Certification for TaijiFit & Over 10 years experience Wushu-Yang Style Tai-Chi & Straight Sword. Find out more. Visit: dawnnadertaijifit.me

1 Comment

  1. Mike r says

    Very thought provoking and interesting. While the flow is important I also seek the stability. The anchor of my physical and emotional flow. It is the center point that allows for the ebb and flow of my qi.When it is quiet it is protecting me. When it is moving, it allows my emotions to be on display. Sometimes too rapidly and that is where the practice of releasing at a more relaxed and comfortable pace has its challenges.

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