I just had my 17th Shaolin Wahnam birthday at the beginning of February this year. That is to say, I marked a full 17 years of training as a Shaolin Wahnam student under Grandmaster Wong Kiew-Kit. Usually, I note this day with much reverence, although I admit that I was preoccupied with preparing for surgery this year, so the day slipped by me. But once I was past that, the milestone quickly came back to me, along with a flood of gratitude.
Many of you have heard my story, of how the Shaolin arts, particularly Cosmos Qigong, steered my ship out of the stormy waters of chronic pain, fatigue, fear, and depression into a life of vibrance, joy, and fulfillment. Many of you are also in the process of writing your own stories, coming into a life that is brighter and more beautiful than before you began your training. While I can’t pretend to control or fix the less savory things in our world, I am confident that with each person who takes up this practice, this world does become a better place.
A certain amount of looking backwards allows us to acknowledge how far we’ve come, when done correctly. It helps us validate that we are making progress, and encourages us to persist when we feel stalled out. Anniversaries are a particularly good time for this time of positive reflection.
While our traditional birthdays come around once a year, Grandmaster Wong likes to say that every day is your birthday. That is to say, every day presents a chance to either start anew, or build on the good work we’ve already done. Our practice is like that. Little bits of effort, done consistently over time, adding up to monumental achievements.
So, I invite you to reflect on your practice birthday. Where were you when you began? How were you? Where and how are you now and how is your life different? Better still, leave your comments here to help inspire others who are on their journey. Together, we can all celebrate. Happy birthday to you all.