|Annette was doing Wall Squatting against a mighty pine tree during the Mt. Shasta retreat four years ago.|
Annette McGee Rasch
I wanted to write and tell you about my progress. When I first started Chilel four years ago, I was searching for a way to integrate my mind, body, spirit and heart. I’d become disconnected from myself and the natural world I love so much. I'd gained weight over the years, going from 140 pounds to 230 pounds. My right leg had gone numb, my back was giving me trouble and my knees hurt. My heart raced too much and I was anxious too much, and wasn’t sleeping well. My stomach hurt, I had chronic diarrhea and lots of boils. I smoked too much and ate the wrong foods. It wasn’t a pretty site…
I had spent 25 years as a professional organizer/activist in the environmental movement. Daily reminded of all the ways we are harming the planet, I became very sad and angry about all the waste and destruction. For many years I worked more than sixty hours a week, to try and make a difference, until I became too sick. Finally I realized that while I worked hard to help keep our world alive, I’d forgotten to take care of my own personal environment; my own body.
Then 4 years ago, I was introduced to Chilel Qigong. I went to a six day workshop in Mount Shasta, and right from the start, I recognized the simple rightness and power of the form - and the chi field we connect into! Somehow the movements made complete sense to my mind and my body, and so my journey back to health began.
Though I still had trouble keeping my overactive mind on the simple, most important thing we all must face - the person in the mirror. So I kept doing Lift Chi Up and Pour Chi Down. And for those hours spent in the chi-field, I would notice that my heart stopped racing and I could calm myself down. But I didn’t really make a solid commitment yet. I’d get 35 days or 65 days into a gong, and then I’d skip a day here and there, and have to start all over. It took me almost two years before I completed a 100 day gong. Finally I did cultivate the chilel habit, and now, in these last two years, I do my LCUPCD automatically, plus other gongs of wall squats, 3 centers, arms, but I have not done that much level two yet.)
***Here’s the great part! In the last 9 months, I have lost over 60 pounds. My leg is no longer numb, my knees are fine, in fact almost all of my medical problems have disappeared. Frank asked me on the phone today why I thought I lost this weight. Here it is. I started doing LCUPCD twice a day. Doubling my gong. Morning and night. First thing and last thing, always VISUALIZING - bringing the chi into my "healthy, normal sized body", then releasing the extra weight. I had already been doing LCUPCD regularly for long time by then, and I started getting more and more irritated with myself because I could not place my hands directly on top of my feet because of this huge fat roll on my belly. So I started always visualizing the belly as flat and normal. And not just when I do LCUPCD. As I go through out my day, I "see" myself at my normal weight. When I lay in bed at night before I fall asleep, sometimes I do LCUPCD in my head, real slow. Visualizing some more, always bringing the chi into my healthy, lean body.
I have also learned to eat better. But I still consume a normal daily amount of calories, because I also work hard, garden, swim, hike, and do much activity. However, I know that proper diet and exercise alone have not been why I lost this weight, because at other time over the years, I dieted and exercised, and only lost a small amount of weight. The truth of why I lost this weight, I believe, is the visualization happening in my mind while I do LCUPCD. Over and over again, as I bring the chi in, I see my body as lean. This complete belief - combined with the LCUPCD. I convinced my cells that I was not overweight, and so the weight is disappearing. I have about 25 more pounds to lose, and am fully confident I will soon weigh 140 pounds again. (I weigh about 165 now, that’s down from 230.)
In just this last year I've made alot of changes. Now I make my entire living from training dogs and writing, and only do a small amount of direct environmental activism. I am finally learning to not let all the big troubles in the world consume me. My dog training business is growing, and I am discovering that I am a good teacher. The dogs are the easy part - it’s the people that have a little trouble sometimes; accepting the true nature of the dog. But I am able to help many of the people, and their children - as well as their dogs - to all understand each other better. This makes me feel good.
I also hope to begin teaching Level One of Chilel Qigong in Southern Oregon this fall. (I live in the SW corner of Oregon, about 7 hours from Sacramento) I am currently using Luke’s tapes and videos to demonstrate LCUPCD to a small group of folks in my town, to practice my teaching skills and also to help build a local chi field. People around here are loving it - they say I have a good voice. I’m signed up for this next six day Mount Shasta workshop, and will attempt to test for Level One teaching certification. But mostly, I am eager to be among a group of serious Chilel practitioners, to improve my form, be in the chi field there, and also, to learn more of the subtle aspects of Chilel. My computer is fixed now, so I can also go on the Chilel website & forum again. I really enjoy learning as much as I can about chilel.
Finally, Luke, I never forgot what you said at the Shasta workshop when another student kept asking you about tai chi, reiki, other qigong forms, yoga, etc. The student wanted to know why this form was better than the others, but you refused to make comments about the other forms. You kept saying that you could only talk about Chilel Qigong, because that is what you know about. Since I had done many other kinds of yoga, taichi and martial arts through out my life, I too was interested in your answer to this question. The student asked you again, and finally you said that: ‘If someone is digging a well to try and find water, and they dig eight feet down in one spot, and then dig 22 feet down in another spot and then maybe 16 feet down in even another spot, that they may never find any water that way. That if you want to find the water, it's a good idea to dig down deeply in one spot. To not jump around all the time, trying some of this and trying a little of that…’
So I’m digging my well, and there’s this smiling face in the water on the bottom, she’s Annette, and she’s healthy and happy.
I want to thank you both for bringing this Chilel Qigong into all of our lives. Much love and compassion, Annette McGee Rasch