In 2012, one of my goals was to share martial arts with as many people as I can. I was doing exactly that before arriving at the mountain. Five years later, much has changed but my goal remains the same.
This journey has been unique with surprises, failures, frustrations, successes, revelations, and more. I intended to post more often about my experiences but it’s one of the things I’ve failed in.
I share this because I will post more often in my final year. At least once every other week. I hold myself accountable to you.
Recover, Recharge, Renew
I remained at the Center for the first summer seminar (Qigong-1 Embryonic Breathing). Everything is different compared to the semester lifestyle, from the schedule to lectures to the direction the meal lines move in. I enjoyed my time, but after enduring my roughest semester yet, I was ready to go home.
The spring semester left me disillusioned, frustrated, and lacking in self confidence. I normally burn out during the long semesters but this was at a new level. In 5 months, I got about 20 nights of quality sleep. I’ve considered the possible causes but in the end, I don’t know why. I tried different remedies to improve my sleep but none of them worked long term.
There’s something about the Center that disrupts me because I sleep well whenever I’m away.
I was a walking piece of toast on the verge of breaking apart. Performance went down, irritability went up, patience (especially for B.S.) decreased, and I questioned whether or not I should return since being at the Center was clearly bad for my physical, mental, and emotional health.
I made a commitment and I’ll stick to it while the opportunity for turnaround exists. This summer has been one of rest and reflection.
The break started with 1 day of rest and then a workshop at GateWay Taiji in Portsmouth, NH. We had a great group eager to refine sword basics, San Cai Jian, and staff basics. I love teaching students who understand the importance of repetition and don't get ahead of themselves with quantity.
Three days later, my family went on the first big vacation in many years on a Danube River cruise.
(More images on www.instagram.com/michellehlin)
YMAA Boston hosted our workshops on Soft White Crane Qigong and Qi Xing with another great group of students. In fact, I really enjoy working with everyone who attends our workshops. Teaching in this setting reminds me of one of the main reasons why I train. I needed this.
There was one junior student who took the workshop despite knowing he'd be the only kid. It was refreshing and hope-renewing to see young students who train because they want to. I can not emphasize this enough.
Immediately after teaching for 6 hours or so, we rehearsed for a demo and drove into downtown Boston. I’m not a fan of performing but I also needed this to kick my butt and remind me of who I am.
Our Shuai Jiao workshop at YMAA Quebec was cancelled due to low registration numbers. I love visiting the students and school but I welcomed the break. The summer season can be tricky to plan workshops but I look forward to returning next year.
In between work, training, tennis (AKA "fetch"), and vacation, I questioned my goals, decisions, and next steps. My time at the Center will soon come to an end and everyone’s been asking what I’ll do afterwards. I am working on it. For once, this final year will be about me. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’ve got more to give.
“I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul.” - William Ernest Henley