Nourishing Life

My wife and I are on vacation in the Dominican Republic. This episode is not about how I live some amazing life, although it is amazing in many ways. It’s not about who we live a life of luxury, traveling to exotic places and living where we want and how we want. It’s about how change for the positive can happen when the environment for it exists.

Six years-ago Teresa and I were at the very same resort in the DR. We arrived the second day it was open. We opted to take the trip then because the price was outstanding by virtue of being new.

At the time the staff was not that fluent in English and we weren’t fluent in Spanish so sometimes we had a little language barrier. Also, there were many things all over the resort that weren’t completed or ready.

Some of the restaurants weren’t open that first week and many of the listed resort activities weren’t ready. The beach was in good shape and the pool was in good shape and while we aren’t much for drinking, it seemed the bars were all fully staffed and fully stocked.

We were told by the staff not to drink the tap water as it had the possibility of making us sick. We appreciated that bit of info about the water and took it seriously using only bottled water to drink and went so far as to use bottled water to brush our teeth as well.

That was all OK. We are pretty easy going and understand the world isn’t perfect. complete. We had a great time relaxing on the beach, jumping waves in the ocean and enjoying the delicious, fresh fruits, vegetables and wonderful meals that were prepared for us.

Being a new resort, the surrounding decorative vegetation was just being planted. There was more dirt to be seen than plants and flowers. The property, because the vegetation that was planted, was only planted recently did not have the time to grow to its normal beauty.

As my wife and I walked the property she mentioned how she wondered what it would look like had it all been filled in and the plants had time to grow and mature. Needless to say, it didn’t happen by the end of the week that we were there.

Here we are six years later. The difference is profound. Every square inch of the property is absolutely beautiful and filled with perfectly manicured flowers, bushes, ornamentals, and trees.

The four to six-foot palm trees newly planted in 2013 are now twelve to sixteen feet tall in all of the atrium gardens of each building. The fifteen to twenty-foot palm trees around the exteriors of the buildings are now thirty to forty feet tall.

The decorative gardens surrounding the buildings are perfectly manicured and completely filled in throughout the property. Purple flowers abound and you can hardly see dirt in any of the landscaping because they are so full of assorted greenery and flowers.

All of this happened in six short years because the environment was right for growth. Sun, warmth, rain, somebody caring for and tending to the needs of the plants.

In Chinese culture and martial arts, we would say that is Yang Sheng. Nourishing or Nurturing Life. As a matter of fact, I believe it is so important that we say it at the beginning and end of all our classes.

We say yang sheng in the spirit of not only nourishing our life but also the lives of those around us. Most of my students only spend a few hours a week with me or my staff. We say Yang Sheng when we train with each other multiple times throughout class at the beginning and end of each exercise, while looking each other in the eye, as a way of promoting what we want for ourselves and others.

The idea of nourishing or nurturing life is meant to be taken with us out into the world. Home, school, work, activities, hobbies. Everywhere.

This is also something you can do in your own corner of the world whether at work or at home.

What if you could start the day with the idea that I will nourish life at work or home or school or while out shopping for that matter?

How about starting with the idea that when I am speaking with my children, coworkers, husband, wife, in-laws, extended family, boss, coworkers, employees I started with the heart-centered idea of all conversations and actions start with Nourishing life.

This has made a profound change in my life. I’ve struggled with staying positive at times in my life. I always want to be positive but sometimes, when my load has been especially heavy it was harder. I would lose my place because of the challenges.

When I decided to be purposeful about reminding myself about Nourishing Life, mine and others, I became more positive, forward-focused and energetic. Framing my day, my work and my relationships with Yang Sheng helped immensely in making more positive choices and actions in my body, mind, and Spirit. It makes me feel better because I’m actually doing better by asking myself, how can I nourish life here.

I challenge you to do the same. Start your day and your activity with the Yang Shenging everything and everyone. You’ll be glad you did because your life will be improving anywhere you apply it.

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