•It’s time to interview Work/Study participant Jesse! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hey, my name is Jesse and I come from the US. I’ve lived in China and learned some taiji and qigong before, but it’s my first time doing anything like this retreat.
•What is the reason you are here at Wandering Dao?
I came to Wandering Dao to explore my interest in qigong, taiji and daoist studies, and also learn how to heal my body. I’ve been studying Chinese language, Chinese philosophy and anything having to do with Chinese culture for seven or eight years now, so being able to do this program while being in China seemed like a really good opportunity for me.
•What kind of work do you do here?
I find myself doing all different kinds of jobs. My main focus is on creating the materials to promote the upcoming retreat and also the expansion of the center; but I also find myself participating in more creative projects like designing the restaurant, helping with the menu and building various structures and things to help improve the look and feel of the center. Since I speak Chinese, I also end up doing a lot of translating for everybody – which I enjoy!
•Were there any difficulties or challenges you have encountered?
Of course. We are uncovering a lot of emotions and past memories that we’ve chosen to bury safely over the years. So, with the detox cleanse and things like massage and stretching, a lot of these things have come to the surface for me. Ordinarily, I would maybe deal with these things in my own way: quietly and calmly, but since we are living in a community and particularly since I’m living here with my girlfriend, I’m forced to deal with these emotional uprisings more spontaneously – without having a chance to reflect in private first. But I think this is a good lesson for dealing with the challenges life will always throw at you.
•What are the favorite tricks you’ve learned so far? Are you able to apply them to your life? How?
Wow… I have a lot. Since I always have issues with my lower back I have been experimenting a lot with directing my breath into my spine even when I’m walking down the street or working at my computer. And on the more emotional side of things I’ve been working really hard at accepting what is and trying to approach life without trying to fix life. In order to do this I constantly remind myself that “we don’t practice qigong to feel good, we practice qigong to feel more,” as Daniel always says.
•What is your most memorable experience so far?
Raw lemon cake! (Kudos to my girlfriend!) No, but it actually has something to do with food. It was noticing that during the fast I was dreaming so much about going to the Indian restaurant after the fast, but when the fast was finished, the thought of eating Indian seemed so heavy and oily, and I didn’t want to go any more!… (LOL. – editor’s note)