When Life Makes You Fret, Do Qigong
By Denise Minter
It was a Friday night when my oncologist phoned me with the news. We all know it’s not a good thing when your oncologist calls you at 7:00pm on a Friday night. I was not prepared to hear that I had a very aggressive form of breast cancer. I was not only worried speechless by the news, I found myself in a dense fog as I heard the clock now ticking for me to get it together. It was time for me to change. Fretting was not going to help me. Maybe it was my New Jersey upbringing, maybe it was my work in the quick-moving film industry, and maybe it was for my young son and dear husband, but I knew the time was here for me to wake up and jump-start every cell in my body to begin healing.
I am here today in deep gratitude for having found Qigong, and for the fine teachers who guided me to learn these ancient movements, sounds, and meditations — and eventually trained me to become a Qigong teacher to help others. The form of Qigong I studied — and became certified as a teacher with the tutelage of Master Mingtong Gu — is called Zhineng or Wisdom Healing Qigong. It was designed to be so gentle that it could be done throughout a lifetime and even through a limiting illness.
We are trained to do many things in life, but waking up inner wisdom is not usually on the curriculum at school, at the doctor’s, or at home. Yet when life brings us a worry so compelling, we can seize this opportunity as the time to begin.
For those of you who are facing health or world worries, I am sharing with you the themes that helped me climb out of a state of alarm and into the present moment to focus on what is really needed to heal body and mind.
Bravery — Qigong unlocks our inner courage. When fear turns us to stone, our mind, body, heart become sluggish, allowing illness and sadness to take power. Fright is insatiable if we do not resist. Through daily Qigong practice, my emotional response to worrisome events began to change. I learned how to transform my fast heartbeat, my racing mind, and my sad and aching body. I learned to release the strings of stress and find the courage to “relax.”
Dedication — Qigong allows new potential through practice. To this day, I practice my Qigong daily, and I practice again as I teach daily classes to guide others. Neuroscience research shows that regular mind/body practice can help the brain actually grow new neural pathways, while ancient teachers called it “opening the flow of Qi.” After my cancer diagnosis, I was practicing Qigong six hours or more per day, using a combination of movement, sound, creative visualization, and meditation.
Resilience — Qigong forms new strength for chronic illness and life challenges. With Qigong movements that are gentle yet powerful, the muscles and ligaments of the body grow strong and flexible, stress is released for more balanced emotional wellbeing, and the mind gets clear and focused. Qigong allows me to boost my energy throughout the day naturally, so I can keep up with my full life at work, at home, and in my community.
Openness — Qigong wakes up our inner beauty. Through this practice, I am more aware of the joy in the world around me and within my body. When I feel stress or worry, I do my Inner Smile practice to support my immune system. When I am happy, I have greater capacity for friends, family, and our world.
Self-Care — Qigong helps me fit my life better. It simply adds a more whole me, with my mind and body more awake, to my daily living. It complements western and traditional medicine. I did my meditations during chemo and radiation treatments and had less anxiety, stress, and side effects. I do my practice each morning before I get on the bus to work, so I am awake with balance, joy, and purpose for my day’s journey and in my community service.
I have not forgotten that Friday night call, but its memory no longer paralyzes me. I move in the world differently now, and have gratitude for my new energy and presence. Qigong helps anyone who wants to age better, and especially in these turbulent times, when the body and mind needs new levels of strength and empowerment to thrive. Even when we think we don’t have the bravery or the dedication to change, learning Qigong helps us remember that we do.
Denise Minter is the host of Daily Shine Qigong classes at WakingUpEnergy.com, offering live-streamed online courses for all abilities. Denise is a certified Qigong Instructor in Wisdom Healing Qigong, and has studied extensively with Zhineng Qigong masters from China and the United States. Click here for a special two-for-one offer for Denise's online Qigong class.