Mindful Moment: Joy Black, Qigong Instructor

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#MindfulMoment is an opportunity to learn more about the ONE Wellness team and how mindfulness guides their practice.

My career of nearly 40 years as a graphic designer and creative manager was always highly stressful, with many tight deadlines and the pressure to be creative on the fly. At times, it was very exciting, and I loved the challenges. Over time, though, it was detrimental to my health and well-being. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that when I felt tired, anxious, and depressed, my body was trying to tell me something. It wasn't until I also experienced insomnia, inflammation, weight gain, and an out-of-control emotional eating pattern, that it dawned on me that I needed to do something different. This was in the 1990's, and it took me nearly 15 years to get completely out of that downward spiral. Even today, I am still healing, and I understand that part of living is to continuously let go of what is ready to be released so that we can open ourselves to receive healing and growth.

My father's death in December 1999 opened a door to the discovery of my life's purpose, as I was spiraling downward: I was to become some kind of minister. Not a minister at a church, as he had been - always putting others first and genuinely living to give. I had been inclined that way myself, but I was now drawn to a healing ministry. I began in 2000 to research ways to help myself feel healthier, initially, so that I could avoid taking medications. I felt a passion for learning about self-care. I read many books, traveled across the U.S., as well as to China and Thailand to attend classes, workshops, and certification training in various healthcare practices, including: Yoga (Integral), Healing Touch, Meditation (many forms), Qigong/Tai Chi, Chi Nei Tsang, Reiki, Medical Qigong, and other Energy Work. I applied these healing practices in my own life and they gave me a degree of balance and mindfulness, but as I said above, it took me nearly 15 years to leave the career that was working so hard against me. Ultimately, I had to leave the unhealthy work environment to experience a strong healing. Cultivating a mindful approach to life is part of all these approaches. It underlays every healing thing that we do.

Mindfulness is a state of being that can underlay our doing. Living a mindful life is a way of being in the world - the real world - with all its goodness, awfulness, chaos, peace, and complexity. It can be very difficult to practice being mindful day in and day out - especially when first giving it a try - but it is doable. It has a lot to do with how we breathe. A lot to do with letting things go - certain ideas, judgments, emotions, things on our to-do list - things that take our energy rather than nurture our energy. Thoughts that carry us into worry about the future or regret for the past. Being mindful has to do with having clarity around what matters to us, and with respectfully saying no to other things. It has to do with being comfortable in our own skin, with accepting ourselves as we are, and with loving ourselves. Our ability to maintain a mindful state of being will be constantly challenged until we are able to lovingly peel away the layers of complexity in our lives - to uncover and open up the time and space for what gives us peace, and joy.

The opportunity to work with ONE Wellness came at a time when I was ready to expand my teaching and practice, and it seemed meant to be. The facility itself exudes a feeling of calmness and peace – through color, light, open space, and a sense of welcome. And the staff, teachers, and practitioners have caring hearts and healing energies.