What the hell am I doing?
I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was a cold January day in 2006. I was waiting on my front step for my friend to pick me up and take me to the airport. I had a giant backpack, a wad of cash, and my passport. I was going to Malaysia to spend a bunch of money to take an intensive kungfu course with a Shaolin Grandmaster who I had never met.
I was 27, I was in pain, I was stuck in life among the ocean of bad choices I had made. I was miserable, deeply depressed, and hated myself. It was the lowest point of my life. I had no idea my life was about to change forever.
Prodded on by my oldest friend, I had signed up for this course, even though I was pretty sure any kungfu skills I had at the time sucked. My friend had undergone a remarkable transformation after returning home from this course, but I was intimidated. The rules sounded strict. Then I watched him practice One Finger Shooting Zen, the hallmark internal force training exercise in Shaolin Wahnam. That scared the crap out of me. Then he went in to qi flow and I thought he had completely lost his mind. But then he showed me some simple kungfu skills he had learned and I was amazed that I was able to use them right away in sparring. Plus he seemed so much happier. I was intrigued.
Off I went. The course, while definitely being extremely challenging, was so much fun. I did well, I sparred with people twice my size and held my own. Turns out I didn't suck as much as I thought. I came home, continued my kungfu and qigong training, and I've never looked back. Nearly 13 years later, I am pain-free, happy, healthy, and every day my life continues to get better and better.
I would've never known the joys and the opportunities which would reveal themselves to me had I not taken that big scary leap of faith in the first place. Some of the most pivotal moments in my life since then have all started with that same sentiment: What the hell am I doing? My first day of acupuncture school, my first day in clinic, the day I agreed to take on my first kungfu student. As I sit here writing this my husband and I are preparing to spend more money than we've ever spent in our lives and buy a house. What the hell am I doing? But you know what? On the other side of that question is growth, change, and the courage to keep taking those leaps, no matter how scary they might seem.
So where does qigong training fit into all of this? Simple. In the qigong paradigm of looking at things, all ailments, be they physical, mental, or emotional, stem from a blockage of energy, or qi. When our joints hurt, or we are constantly tired or sad, something, somewhere in our bodies is blocked. If our energy can't flow freely through all of our meridians, our organ systems suffer. When this happens, it doesn't necessarily mean we have an actual organic disease (although sometimes it does), but can mean that perhaps we are quick to anger, or we get stressed out easily, or we lack confidence in ourselves and get scared easily.
When we practice genuine qigong, we better circulate our energy, which starts to wear away those old blockages. We also build energy, which not only allows us to tackle our days with zest, but also courses our meridians and prevents blockages from forming again. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are considered the seat of life. They govern things from reproduction, urination, water metabolism, all the way to less physical things like will-power and fear. The healthier our kidneys are, the better our energy is. We feel happy, open, and have the drive to tackle nearly anything, no matter how intimidating it may be.
Some qigong patterns work directly on the kidneys, Nourishing Kidneys is a great example of this. Some help out indirectly by inducing the flow of qi, Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon are excellent examples of this. While regular practice of these patterns can bring about a host of benefits, they can also wash away the parts of us that doubt ourselves, that say we can't do it, that say we'd better not try because we'll just fail.
Since I took that leap, that day in 2006, I've gained physical, mental, and emotional health. This enabled me to start a successful new career, to say yes to the man who would eventually become my husband, and find my own voice while sharing the benefits of these arts with others. Are you ready to take a leap? Learn more about our weekly classes here. It could be the best choice you'll ever make.