My co-worker asked me if I wanted to take an energy related class with her. The class she picked was in a city which was quite a long distance from where we worked, so I suggested that we look for something a little closer. I Googled it and found Dan’s class (shhh – don’t tell Dan the biggest reason we picked his class was because it is close to work J).
I had never heard of Qigong, so I researched it and found that it is considered to be a part of Ancient Chinese Medicine, and that it is supposed to help reduce anxiety, improve balance and generally improve overall well being, among many other health benefits.
We decided to attend. In class, we learned many different Qigong routines which were designed to ‘work’ on different parts of the body– most of them intending to ‘open up’ blocked energy centers or to remove stored up ‘negative’ emotional energy and replace it with healthful emotional energy. These routines were done while practicing a specific breathing method. I don’t consider myself to be an ‘energy’ person so this was all very new to me.
After a few classes I talked to Dan about a problem that I’d been struggling with for several years. I was having panic attacks at work (and pretty much any other place I felt trapped). As soon as the door closed for a meeting (or church, or a wedding, etc) my heart would begin to pound, my face turned red, I would lose my ability to concentrate and I was overcome with an overwhelming need to leave. It was preventing me from advancing at work. Without hesitation Dan said Qigong would help. He encouraged me to practice at home in addition to attending classes. I was willing to try – I figured it couldn’t hurt. I attended class regularly and I took notes of the different routines we learned, so that I could practice them at home. To my amazement, I began to ‘feel’ the qi as I did the routines!
I had been practicing for approximately 6 months when I realized that I had begun to sleep really, really well. I had always been a very shallow sleeper and had experienced frequent periods of insomnia, and now I was getting deep restful sleep on a regular basis. Great sleep became my new normal. I was still having panic attacks, so I continued to attend class and practice at home. Gradually I began to notice changes in how I felt “inside”. I was less fearful and more comfortable. I also noticed that an always present sense of intense self-consciousness, was now gone. I was beginning to understand that I was re-working myself from the inside. I kept attending class and practicing at home. I was laughing more and worrying less. And eventually I noticed that a deep down feeling of ‘I Can’t’, had become a feeling of ‘I Can’ (I didn’t even know that I had been living with the feeling of ‘I Can’t’, until it was gone).
In the end, the resolution came about really quickly. I got to the point where I felt capable and ready to put myself into some of the work situations I had been avoiding. Also, I had discovered this key point: when I did get nervous or scared, all I had to do was fully accept it (“I’m scared – it’s okay”) and then my ‘panic’ would completely disappear. It works. I am no longer having panic attacks. I am now handling customers, taking business trips and leading meetings – all with greater ease than I could ever have imagined possible. My life has improved beyond anything I had hoped for. I actually went through a short period of feeling sad as I came to the realization that I had reached my goal – this problem had consumed so much of my life for the past 8 years, I almost didn’t know what to think about once I was ‘better’.
I continue to take classes from Dan. He is an excellent teacher who knows Qigong inside and out, and he is genuinely concerned about the well being of each one of his students, and as the Buddhist proverb goes: “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.“