May 2017 | Choosing To Live

Many people who meet me as a yoga teacher have later told me that their first impression of me was something like "she hasn't had a day of hardship in her life." Or "I'm so surprised to hear these difficult stories about your life”, or “I had no idea, you always seem so happy.”

I think one of the reasons wisdom started to seep out of me was BECAUSE I had witnessed and experienced hardship. Experience became my teacher whether I asked for it or not. My childhood was a long stream of relentless yelling, fear and feeling worthless. When I escaped from that I more than experimented with drugs and alcohol, I didn’t respect my body, and others didn’t respect my body. There was a feeling of deep loss and sadness that stayed with me for most of my young adult life.

So, I haven't quite figured out exactly what it is that creates this impression of a flower in a greenhouse, never encountering the harsh conditions of the world,  living a charmed life. And I don't need to.  I choose to feel pleased that I don’t infect others with a past that is anything but uplifting.

I do know that at some point in my twenties I decided I didn't want to spend days, weeks, months, or even years sitting alone in a dark corner, over-analyzing events from the past, complaining, sobbing and trying to put the pieces back together, justifying what could have or should have happened so I could try and understand all the suffering from my past. I stopped expressing my woes to anyone who would listen. I didn't want to be stuck in my story and asking why didn't ever help. So I made a conscious relentless effort to climb out of the hole of buried emotions and pain.

So I smile today in front of my students, because I choose to love life, not because it's been easy. I let go and make relationships better so the past doesn't steal my present. My happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them and accept them (when I can do this) without wishing or even demanding that they were different. 

Our suffering comes from wishing it were different. How many times do we do this in a day? We don't like the president, we're stuck in traffic, someone didn't say or do what we wanted or expected? 

We can't define our intelligence or wisdom by the number of arguments won on the inside or the outside, but rather by the number of times we can say “This needless nonsense and negativity is not worth my time.” I choose to let go, to accept, and I choose to look at what I have instead of what I have lost. I choose to act on what I CAN do about it. This doesn't mean we don't make tough choices, it doesn't mean we don't stand up for our values, it means that we are OK with whatever choice we make and it doesn't disrupt our internal equilibrium any more, or quite as often. 

At almost the same moment on my journey, this choice was greatly supported with my practices of Yoga and Qi Gong. Over time it stopped being something that I did, but who I was.  It became my life. I’m not exactly sure when that transition happened, but I am certain that the shift has made all of the difference in my willingness to live and appreciate my life and not simply to survive and get by.

This level of understanding is a subtle but palpable contentment that flows through us until it becomes us.  We find and build our internal strength through thepractices of yoga and Qi gong ahead of time, preparing us for the unexpected moments life brings us. If we wait until the dam breaks and the water is already flowing, its too late.

When I first heard the mantra or password of Pangu Shengong, words that were divinely transmitted to Master Ou Wen Wei, what I didn't realize at the age of 24 was that these words offered a beautiful way of life, a way of LIVING that was far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. The words carry a stream of healing with them. They have been so well received by so many and I hope you'll use them in your life when you need a little support and guidance. 

Take Kindness and Benevolence as Basis

Take Frankness and Friendliness to Heart

Speak with Reason, Treat with Courtesy

Act with Emotion, Accomplish Results