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Confessions of A Chi Addict: Why We Stop

by Zayne Marston

Carla was a fellow classmate in Tai Chi class for a couple of years. When she first began learning this multi-dimensional art of meditative movement, I was struck by the cultural and physical challenges she faced. Overweight and exuding a tobacco scent, Carla initially approached this foreign way of uniting mind-body-spirit with an air of uncertainty and self-conscious timidity. She seemed to be an unlikely candidate for this internal and subtle form of exercise. Jazzercise or Stairmaster trouncing maybe, but attuning to this Eastern approach to health, wellness and self-defense must have felt quite alien to her. Yet, despite these differences, I was equally struck by her relentless determination to learn the life-changing, energy enhancing art of Tai Chi Chuan. And so it began…

I love to witness the magic of self-transformation. Undeniably, Carla is one of the determined ones. As she persisted, making gradual progress week after week, month after month, she began to radiate a gleeful presence in class. Compared to her original state two years previous, her eyes now sparkled, pounds dropped, spirits lifted and a grace of movement permeated her being. Sharing her amazement, Carla would comment to me, "I feel so light, so good," and, "Boy, my husband can’t understand what’s happening—he just doesn’t comprehend it at all."

Then suddenly Carla stopped coming regularly, weeks passing in between her attendance. During these lengthening lapses I inquired about her absence. No one knew exactly what was happening. Classmates would comment, "Her husband has issues." or, "She says she really wants to continue." Then, missing for what seemed like months, I wondered why she stopped.

How many of us have abandoned our commitment to evolve and better ourselves long after we have woven new disciplines into our life and begun to reap the benefits? I must confess that my "inner saboteur" has derailed life-enhancing dedication countless times. In retrospect, I realize that to stay on the beam of transformation requires vigilance and penetrating self-awareness to keep the forces of undoing at bay.

It is well worth exploring the concept of "inner saboteur" through posing the question, "What limiting beliefs do I carry that would invite an act of self-betrayal?" Our beliefs are intricately wired into the unconscious, acting as templates for our life experience. Efforts to change and heal filter through this template. This focused energy collides with false beliefs, activating them like a time capsule which short-circuits the original intention. This affects the outcome of our actions. So it is crucial that we do some soul-searching at the onset of making our commitment. Try to identify any beliefs that could steer you away from actualizing your passion, joy, healing, and wholeness.

What are these undermining beliefs? Foremost, examine how deeply you value yourself. Release any way in which you disqualify your Divine Right to a rich, joy-filled life because you don’t "deserve" it. Ask yourself, "Am I not worthy of reaping the rewards of my transformation?" As a start, try listing reasons why you aren’t, and you will begin to grasp the absurdity of this self-imposed limitation.

It’s easy to lose track of what inspires us to change. To overcome the tenacious nature of limiting beliefs, enliven your memory by listing reasons that inspired you to heal and transform. To strengthen your resolve, revisit these motivations by posting the list in a visible place like the refrigerator door. A powerful motivator is to project into the future the person you’ll become if you adhere to the commitment, and compare it to who you are now, prior to "making the vow." To gain the ultimate perspective, fast forward time to your deathbed, look back, and consider how it would feel if you had abandoned your efforts to enhance your life—yielding instead to self-doubt, negativity and forgetfulness.

Transformation means change. Your peers, partners and loved ones who don’t change with you may feel threatened. Don’t expect to be encouraged, understood and applauded by them in the course of your evolution. Others may resist your growth through indifference or criticism, however subtle. Don’t succumb to guilt if they accuse you of abandonment during your metamorphosis. To neutralize the undermining nature of these reactions, view the process as an opportunity to uncover pockets of self-doubt. Moreover, surround yourself with kindred spirits who support you in this process. Practice together and share your experiences. Group synergy is an effective way to cultivate support and stay on track.

Finally, as you begin to feel empowered through efforts of self-mastery, a new self is born that may result in a momentary loss of identity. In this segue to the emerging self not fully gelled, the ego scrambles to attach to the old and familiar which may weaken your resolve. There is also the issue of self-responsibility that accompanies the new sense of power which you have earned through disciplined practice and perseverance. Be sure you are ready to accept the task of nurturing your fresh being as you would tend a springtime garden. Otherwise any lingering doubts and confusion in this process could steal the rainbow that deservedly awaits you.

Above all, pray for divine assistance throughout this metamorphosis, asking your Higher Power to accompany you on this transformational journey. Know there is an unlimited supply of celestial grace and support for you at all times. As you rest upon the cosmic cushion of divine sustenance, combined with the awareness of the potential pitfalls addressed in this exploration, your efforts to transform will be unstoppable!

EPILOGUE: Eventually Carla returned to Tai Chi class. Her return bears testimony to the inexorable nature of the human spirit in pursuit of its passion. All you have to do is show up and resume your journey.

 Zayne is a seeker of vibrant health and vitality who knows that we have the power to transform our mind/body/spirit if we commit ourselves. Since 1977, he has offered individual and group Qi Gong instruction to fellow seekers of extraordinary health. Zayne is also a Marketing Executive for Himalayan Goji Juice, the longevity berry from Tibet. For more information call 413-625-9747 or email zayne@transformationaltimes.com

Transformational Times

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