Lee Holden answers the question:

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?


That's such a great question because doing nice things for people just fills you up with gratitude, and especially when you're maybe not feeling well, you're in pain, or in a challenging circumstance. Way back in the day I had a low back injury. I was playing competitive soccer. I was tackled by a competitive and rival team and I landed on my tailbone, and I was in so much pain, I didn't know what to do with myself. I'd never experienced pain like that. I had seen the team doctors, I had taken cortisone shots, a physical therapist didn't know what to do with me. I was out for the season, so I was really depressed.

I was 20 years old. I felt like I was at a high in my life. I was in college, loving my studies and playing collegiate soccer with all my friends. And all of a sudden in one second, I was injured, I was off the team, and I could barely even walk to class. I remember trying to walk to class and it took me about 30 minutes to walk across campus where normally it took me about three minutes. So I was just down and out. A friend of mine reminded me about a martial arts teacher and I went home and this martial arts teacher said that he would treat me for free because I didn't have any money. I had paid all my grant money to my classes and my schooling.

It was sort of the end of the semester, so I didn't even know what to do. And so he said, "I'll just treat you for free. I'm going to show you some Qigong exercises." He gave me acupuncture and moxa and showed me what I thought at the time was all these weird exercises, which later I realized were Qigong exercises. And it worked! I mean, I was so grateful for this act of kindness. It was a small act, maybe it was three treatments of acupuncture, moxa, some cupping, and showing me some funky exercises, but it was a catalyst that completely transformed my life. 

I teach Qigong and that was 29 years ago probably. And that one act of kindness created a huge shift. I don't even know if this person knows what a shift that was for me, but them just being willing to extend and reach out has had a profound shift in my life. I don't even know what I would be doing if that person hadn't given me that gift. So not only did it heal my back, it became my career. 

I think we don't realize that our small acts of kindness sometimes have profound impact on other people's lives. And so I try to remember that. In fact, I've over the years shown people Qigong exercises or given away treatments. A couple of times when I've seen somebody three or four years later, I'm always wondering, I wonder if that treatment worked, because sometimes you treat a person once or twice and then they leave and they never come back.

And I've experienced a few times where people said, "Oh, when you gave me that acupuncture treatment or that Qigong class that I took from you, well, here's what happened in my life.” And it seems to have had an amplification. And so from this one gift that somebody has gifted me, I've been able to return that in many, many ways. And so I think it's good to remember and to hold that in our consciousness that small acts of kindness can have profound impact and have a rippling effect out into the world.

Lee Holden first discovered the healing power of Qigong and Tai Chi after experiencing injuries that nearly sidelined his varsity soccer career at the University of California, Berkeley. Impressed with how these ancient practices healed his body and allowed him to return to playing, he made their study a priority. 

Today, he’s an internationally known instructor in meditation, Tai Chi, and Qigong, as well as a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and the author of 7 Minutes of Magic. His popular library of Qigong DVDs have made him a regular fixture on American Public Television and over 105 PBS stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Lee's unique Qigong programs have been seen in over 50 million households.

Lee’s expertise and down-to-earth teaching style have made him a popular speaker and workshop facilitator. He’s worked with world-famous healer Deepak Chopra as well as Mantak Chia, a widely revered Qigong expert. He’s also a stress management consultant to top Silicon Valley corporations like Apple, 3Com, and Cisco, and has been the on-set wellness consultant for several Hollywood film productions.

Lee is a graduate of U.C., Berkeley, with a BA in psychology. A doctor of Chinese Medicine, he’s a graduate of Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz, a leading acupuncture college in the U.S.

Click here to visit Lee’s website, Holden Qigong.

Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 11: Mindfulness & Meditation Summit