Last weekend I spent my free time at the Women & Spirituality conference Minnesota State University, Mankato. I was honored with leading a session on Tai Chi Chuan and Meditation, plus being able to partcipate in the rest of the conference. Although this conference is nearly thirty years old, I had never been. So when the opportunity was presented to me through my Tai Chi school to lead a session, I chomped at the bit.
It had the standard conference formula: a key note speaker, workshops, and opportunities to socialize. The key note was an Indian lady who studied global agriculture and spoke on the necessity of keeping our nourishment sacred. She said that women are the "sacred seed keepers," that seeds hold the essence of life within them until conditions are right for growth. She spoke about corporate farming, seed patents, and the impact of corporate farming on third world countries. This topic was new to me, and as she spoke I began to realize that I have less control over what I put in my body than I once thought.
Lunch was an interesting adventure. Minnesota State has partnered with the likes of Taco Bell and Chick Filet for its students, sort of ironic that hundreds of conference goers went from hearing the evils of corporate food to eating Taco Bell! I settled for a special-ordered turkey burger from the burger place which was of little consequence. I sat with two women I had never met named Linda and Emma (or maybe Eloise). They were putting on a workshop on trance dancing. Linda was a small gray haired white lady with horn-rimmed reading glasses wearing a tie-dyed tee shirt. Emma was an overweight cheerful black lady with curly hair. They were very friendly and quite the pair, but could not convince me to try trance dancing.
My session was in the first time slot. I only had four partcipants, but I went with the flow and allowed it to be more conversational than classroomy. We had a relaxing meditation, and they all took to the Cloud Hands posture fairly easily. I was able to make sure they got the attention they needed and the group chemistry was on point. While I was teaching, I found myself being more and more at home in my own skin, like leading these ladies in Cloud Hands was exactly what I was supposed to be doing at that point in time. I lost myself to each moment, peppering our exercise with quotes from the Classics and reminders to tuck hips and drop shoulders. The words flowed from my mouth as naturally as the Mississippi flows south, and I am thankful to have had that experience.
After my session was complete, I was free to indulge in what others had to offer. Of the three I attended, the class called "The Energy Anatomy of Relationships" was by far the most telling and most insightful to my personal situations. I learned about how we slip into survival mode in our adult relationships, residual from our child-parent relationships. We can also end up co-dependent by allowing the person we are in a relationship with to take our energy without ever returning any of theirs. That was a familiar story to me, and I learned that when I offer anything in any relationship, it must come from a place of love and/both wisdom in order to discern the difference between truly supporting the other and being preyed upon.
All in all it was a telling weekend for me. I felt at home, and with friends. It was a conference where words like "chakra" and "aura" are thrown around freely and where nearly every face smiled and said hello, at least. The energy was positive and light and I felt at ease the whole time I was there, and I look forward to going again next year.