During five weeks camping in six states, teaching Tai Chi and Qigong at four different locations, and meeting over 100 wonderful souls on the journey, I met no one who was completely without some kind of pain or sorrow. And yet, this was a happy journey, and the souls I met were vital, engaged, and enjoying their practice. Their challenges were revealed in gentle ways.
While assisting my teacher, Roger Jahnke, at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, participants shared some of their challenges as we guided them into the gentle movements. “Two left feet,” no previous experience, zero body awareness, balance issues, neurological disorders, past broken bones, medications, surgeries, arthritis, immune disorders, physical and emotional wounds did not stop these souls from progressing on their journey, and graduating the 25-hour Tai Chi Easy Practice Leader Training.
While leading Five Element Qigong workshops in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, shared slices of life included horrendous accidents and hospitalizations, end-of-life issues with family, financial hardships induced by medical costs, and yet here too, the souls were smiling, laughing, planning picnics, trips to the lakes, and finding serenity in their practice.
Finally, three days before my first presentation at the National Qigong Association Conference in New Jersey, I began to experience strange and painful symptoms myself. Increased Qigong practice, intense self-observation and a serendipitous public service announcement on the radio made me realize I had probably contracted Lyme Disease while reveling in the wilderness preserves and campgrounds of the Northeast. A trip to the Geisinger Clinic confirmed it. With early detection, three weeks of antibiotics, and assisting my immune system with consistent Qigong, the microbe will likely be fully eradicated from my system. I decided to incorporate my Qigong method for dealing with the pain and annoying symptoms into my NQA presentation, and conversations with colleagues at the Conference. An astonishingly large number of souls also have or had Lyme disease, and some have had it more than once. It was only by revealing my own challenge that others were compelled to share theirs. Because otherwise, they were busy learning new healing methods, sharing their own Qigong wisdom, and generally having a wonderful time.
“Into each life some rain must fall” say the lyrics of an old Ink Spots song. Gardeners know rain as a necessary thing. My fellow travelers on the healing path showed me that even destructive storms can be met with no resistance, but objective observation, wise preparation, gentle persistence and a whole-soul openness to the infinite possibilities of well-being.