Having studied and practiced Tai Chi Chuan for many years (including 2 periods of learning from a Chinese Master based in Thailand in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s) I fully recognise its power to promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. In my case, it also helped me to transform the somewhat frenzied energy of my teenage years into a more sustainable energy that has enabled me to juggle lots of things because it taught me how to focus completely on one thing at a time.
A totally unexpected discovery from my time in Thailand was Tai Chi Sword which made my heart beat faster the moment I saw a class in Lumpini Park. I don’t think I have ever worked so hard before or since as I tried to learn the whole form in the limited time I was there. My hard work was rewarded when, despite the fact I did not complete the course, the Master on hearing that I had to leave, gave me his wooden sword. It was (and remains) a humbling moment.
This, combined with my stint as CEO of the Marylebone Centre Trust (1989-92) a centre promoting the integration of ‘alternative’ therapies into mainstream primary health care, have meant an on-going interest in well-being. And having recently qualified as an Indian Head Massage therapist has fulfilled a long-standing desire to be able to help people feel better.
In recent years, when travel and training courses have almost taken over my life, it has been a pleasure and a relief to be able to escape just work with clay or make art or write – sometimes listening to classical music, but more often in silence. The pleasure of creating something new and the joy of beginning to know when to work further on a piece and when to just stop is intense and immediate. It is a new and continuous kind of learning – an experiment in letting go of intention and just seeing what happens.
” First, put aside the desire to judge immediately; acquire the habit of just looking.
Second, do not treat the object as an object of the intellect.
Third, just be ready to receive, passively, without interposing yourself.
If you can void your mind of all intellectualisation, like a clear mirror that simply reflects,
all the better.
This non-conceptualisation – the Zen state of No Mind – may seem to represent a negative attitude but from it springs the true ability to contact things directly and positively”
from: The Unknown Craftsman, 1972, Soetsu Yanagi
The Chinese call this phenomenon ‘Wu Wei’ – “Doing by not doing, doing by allowing things to happen”
Indian Head Massage (IHM) is a therapeutic treatment that is part of daily life in India. Parents, for example, regularly massage the heads and shoulders of their babies and children. IHM is based on Ayurvedic healing principles – stimulating the flow of subtle energy around the body – and has probably been practiced in India for more than 1,000 years. IHM was brought to the UK by Narendra Mehta who became blind at the age of one and for whom touch, therefore, had an added significance –... More
Undoubtedly it was my father who nurtured my love of music from my earliest childhood. He was a good singer and we would sing together for hours during long family car journeys in my childhood. He became an expert on the music of Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi and through him I developed a love of opera and am still moved to tears by the sheer beauty of the music (far more than the story) of Rigoletto, Parsifal, Don Giovanni and more. When I was 12 years old, I sang with the Finchley Children’s Music... More
During my childhood I spent a great deal of time with my grandfather in the National Gallery in London (or ‘the Nish’ as he called it). This has given me a life-long interest in fine art and my taste is eclectic – my favourite painters include: Piero della Francesca, Frida Kahlo and Gaugin! The early exposure to fine art has given me a strong interest in imagery and in illustration – impacting my training and other work considerably. I continue to dabble with art projects: illustrated ‘books’... More
My interest in health and wellbeing has taken many directions including: Completing a training in Optimum Nutrition (whoever would have thought I would become fascinated by the bio-chemistry of the citric acid cycle?!) Studying and teaching T’ai Chi Ch’uan for more than 12 years – getting up most mornings at 6am (this has become a habit even though the daily T’ai Chi practice stopped somewhere around 1985!). I am intrigued by the notion of invisible centres of energy and their subtle... More