When things seem to be falling apart, summon your chi!
“Your operation is cancelled. Please reschedule at a later date.”
We got this brief e-mail last Saturday, two days before my husband Bill’s operation for spinal surgery.
A lifetime of lap and ocean swimming created a painful bone spur in Bill’s neck. He has suffered through chronic pain for several months. He has not been able to swim or do much of anything for weeks. It was an almost impossible task to get scheduled with a top neurosurgeon. We waited three months for this appointment.
We looked at each other in complete shock and despair. We just couldn’t believe it. We were in the hotel in Boston, everything prepaid. It was a Saturday. The doctor’s office was closed. We could not reach anyone. What to do? Stay? Go home? Twenty-four hours later another brief message: “The doctor has had an accident and is gravely ill”. We sat in silence, our frustration transformed to compassion and sadness. How could we still feel angry? Our doctor was fighting for his life.
What to do when things fall apart?
Over the years we often watched the legendary tennis player Rafael Nadal. So many times he struggled through gruelling matches lasting hours and found himself virtually certain to lose. Then we would see him clench his right fist. He would squint his eyes, going deep inside himself. Suddenly, he would pump his forearm, back and forth.
“Look! We would cry, he is summoning his chi!”
Chi is divine energy that pervades the universe.
A change would come over Nadal, subtle but unmistakable. Sure enough, despite impossible odds, he would play perfect shots with stunning consistency, winning when all but the loyal few knew he was beaten.
Bill and I looked at each other in the hotel room. Together we repeated forcefully, “Summon your chi! Summon your chi!” We both did the same gesture that Nadal does.
We looked inside ourselves, and felt strong energy to succeed fill our hearts.
I have no idea what our neighbours in the room next door thought we were up to, but it worked for us. Over time “summon your chi!” has become a motto, a mantra we repeat when times are tough and we wish to support each other.
We flew back to Bermuda the next day. A neurosurgeon at Mt Sinai Hospital in Miami, who was too busy to see us months ago, called. An appointment had opened up. Today we leave for Florida.
Positive energy. Powerful energy. It’s here, around us and in us all the time. The challenge is to access it. To choose it. To activate it.
During our lives together, we have learnt several lessons about how to deal with unexpected setbacks.
Lesson 1: complaining makes you feel worse. Summon your chi!
Lesson 2: no playing victim: “Why did this happen to me?” Don’t waste time in self-pity, summon your chi!
Lesson 3: no one is going to do it for you. Get back on your feet and put one foot in front of the other. Summon your chi!
When Bill and I summon our chi together, it is also a form of love and support. We are stronger together. We are a team. If Bill is struggling, I am there for him. If I am afraid, Bill is there to comfort me. Together, we are confident and powerful. And we always remember our vows: “For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, we love and cherish each other”.
We all have inside us an inner strength. It is there if you ask for it.
Nina London is the founder of Mermaid Wellness Centre for Women and a certified Chi Gong and Laughter Yoga teacher. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their bodies and mind. Contact her at www.mermaidwellness.com and on Instagram: mermaid_wellness