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On Being Pliable

Sifu Molly Kubinski of Shaolin Wahnam Twin Cities practicing Merry Go Round at Agua Norte Cabin in Grand Marais, MN
Mental flexibility is as important as physical flexibility

Over the course of my life, one of the pieces of feedback I used to receive both personally and professionally was that I was too rigid in my thinking. During all those moments, I was 100% sure I was in the right. In hindsight though, that very rigidity of thought often led to missed opportunities- whether it was for a new job, a friendship, or a chance to learn or experience something new.

My Scandinavian heritage traces back a long line of people stuck in their ways- it’s practically a point of pride, not to mention a much-loved joke about Midwesterners. But it also limits our chances to grow and expand in our lives. These days, I’m happy to say that I’ve learned to embrace new experiences and viewpoints, and it has greatly enriched my life as a result. I truly don’t think I would have arrived here without my Qigong practice.

Our Qigong practice gives us many benefits, including glowing health, joy, and stamina. But the mental clarity that continues to reveal itself as we train throughout the years may just be the thing that brings the greatest good in life. As our minds calm, we begin to see the stories we tell ourselves and our limiting beliefs as just that, and we’re able to try new things that open up and expand our minds, not just making us happier, but ultimately deepening our practice as well.

And of course, as we grow, sometimes we still find ourselves stuck in the hard ‘no’ from time to time.

When I announced a return to in-person learning, I mentally insisted that it had to be just that. A student (you know who you are) asked if I’d be willing to hybridize the class and live-stream it at the same time. My answer was basically no. Too much work, too much equipment, uncertain logistics, etc.

But I can’t deny how beneficial adding tech into my classes has been. Now my students get recordings of all our classes for review, which improves their practice. Students from all over the US and even Puerto Rico have been able to join my classes, which wouldn’t have been possible before, and in one case, I was able to provide live transcription of classes for the hard of hearing.

I started to realize I needed to bend.

As it turned out, my rental space was already prepared for this and had a whole setup in place. Providing a hybrid option was far easier than I thought it would be. But I never would have learned this had I clung to the hard ‘no’.

We all want to be healthy and happy. We all want to feel like we make good choices in our lives. This is the subtle benefit of Qigong- closed minds open, closed doors open, unexplored paths illuminate, and mental and spiritual joys unfold in front of us.

So, I’m glad to be wrong. Next month, I’ll be teaching the 18 Jewels, a therapeutic set of Qigong exercises designed to induce powerful energy flow to address specific mental and physical ailments. This is a great place to start or continue your healing journey and create your own mental flexibility. And of course, you can jump in wherever you are- locally in our in-person group, or from whatever corner of the world you call home. Hope to see you there.

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