Back in 2017 I heard that the county hospital in Brighton, the Royal Sussex, was opening a holistic clinic on the premises to unburden the Oncology Department. As you know, an overwhelming number of people are affected by cancer every year and the numbers are growing worldwide.
Two charities got involved in the cause: Sussex Cancer Fund and Macmillan Nurses (UK experts in cancer care.) Together with the National Health System, they decided to create and run a center for support and advice, as well as free complementary therapies.
When the idea was still in its infancy, I contacted them to request an interview to offer Qigong and Jin Shin Jyutsu, my two healing modalities, one for groups in the category of ‘physical activities’ and the other for one-to-one treatments. The recruiting panel of nurses and staff members had never heard of either. However, I persuaded them to give me a chance and I’ve been teaching there ever since.
Two years later, the Qigong class is going from strength to strength. People love it. I tend to offer 5, 6 or 7 week courses depending on the calendar and room availability for an hour a week. The first group in 2017 consisted of only 5 people, as no one knew what Qigong was. In the most recent group (February 2019) we had 26 people on the list. We have a spacious, bright room and I haven’t put limits on the number of students. Priority is given to new students and repeaters are welcomed too.
This holistic center is one of a kind. People affected by cancer directly or indirectly are entitled to six one-to-one treatments for free and as many physical activities as they’d like. Patients choose Qigong because it isn’t demanding at all (unlike other modalities in the gym) but rather gentle and replenishing.
Students enter the class and feel safe. Straightway. As they come in, I can see how Qi-depleted they are so I invite them all to sit down and remain seated the whole time, if they feel like it. No pressure, just pleasure. Then I ask them to start noticing their bodies as they adjust themselves comfortably on their chairs. Feet on the floor. Body centered and upright. They bring attention to themselves, their breathing, their posture, their inner state. They relax the body and mind as they connect with themselves, with the others in the room, with the space around all the way out into the universe, into the void. They follow my instructions to just be, be present and be in their hearts. It’s then that they realize that Yuan Qigong is more than a physical activity.
According to their feedback, they find the sessions calming and relaxing, pains tend to disappear and everyone feels lighter and more joyful for it. The effect is placid and nourishing. They’re learning that there’s more to life than waiting for help. When life is all about doctor’s appointments, clinical procedures, analysis and queues in the hospital, the Qigong class is a safe haven, the place to go and recharge. Over the course of the few weeks, I introduce them to REN XUE. Their self-awareness starts arising.
By the time they leave the classroom, they’re so full of vitality, they tend to stay in the café for a cup of tea to share stories with the other students, their new friends. They’re not alone in their ordeal and that realization makes them feel sociable and more hopeful.
So the word is spreading and the classes are growing in popularity for their effectiveness, warmth and depth. Needless to say, Yuan Tze’s visit last year left a big mark: the students who attended his talk and healing session are still talking about it. And they are telling others. Surprise, surprise.
For me, there are many rewarding aspects to volunteering at the Horizon center. From seeing how much they enjoy learning and practicing pulling Qi, Tian Yuan and maybe even Di Yuan, to observing and acknowledging improvements in their wellbeing, even some profound internal shifts from those who become repeaters.
My teaching has changed too. I offer ‘An Introduction to Qigong’ to invite new people in. Once there, I’m able to respond more and more effectively to their needs that are not just physical, but emotional and mental. They learn that the body, mind and heart are inseparable. New students benefit from repeaters’ enthusiasm for the class as this contributes to the building of the Qifield; it then becomes easier for me to discuss REN XUE throughout the course.
As students realize that life can feel good again they befriend the traumatic experience of cancer. Some even realize why they are where they are. ‘But not anymore’- they say to themselves. Now they see a door to a more harmonious path, wherever that may take them. I always encourage people to attend the next round of classes if they want to carry on exploring their journey to health, happiness, wellbeing and growth. I’m growing with them too and each course is a new beginning as well as a continuous progress of life cultivation.
I was lucky to come across this place. I wonder what we can do now to encourage other hospitals to offer something similar? If you can think of anything, please share it. I’d love to help further. Teaching REN XUE is an amazing life-changing tool to share.
Bill McMillan in California is encouraging us all to step out and approach specific health groups and institutions. I’m joining in from here to encourage others to take these steps and learn on the go.
Feeling grateful, blessed and supported by this special Qifield filled with Wu Xin,