While it has been quite some time since my last blog entry, life has continued, and my ability to hold the 8 Qigong Principles aligned is still challenged, daily.
Fayne and I have been blessed to have been working with Veterans within the North Texas VA Health Care System since October 2012. Fast forward 4 years and we have worked with over 800 hundred Veterans with thousands of issues from PTS(d) and chronic anxiety to chronic pain and depression. The transformations we have witnessed in quality of life, are nothing short of amazing. In all the measurements we take on physical, mental, emotional and social levels, through our detailed questionnaire, our Veterans are reporting no less than a 44% improvement, in every measurement taken. Additionally, we have had no complaints filed against us and no reported suicides of our students and many are reducing or eliminating their symptomatic medication loads for pain, elevated blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
Yet in light of this wall of evidence that our Training Mindfully with Qigong Principles extended group education program works very well, The VA has informed us that they will not be renewing our contract for 2017. We have been told that this is strictly a budget issue and that they now have people “trained in Qigong” that can “do it in house.” For them to tell us they can train internal staff in a few weeks to do what we have been training almost our whole lives for, is hard to take. For them to say that we are too expense is to grossly underestimate the skill we bring to the group training environment, the quality of the TMQP program, and the incredible success of our graduates. Plus the fact that our per Veteran served cost is less than $15.00 per class, including the many off classroom hours of administrative requirements involved in managing our formal VA Clinics, is hard to accept.
To say this is a blow to Fayne and myself is to understate the impact on our family. As of this week, we now have two young men in college (out of state) and this contract represented about 80% to 90% of our annual income. Yes, you could say that we put too many eggs in one basket and I would agree, however, the demands on our time to manage this government program, and the roller coaster ride working with the VA has been, in great part, created this vacuum. Extending our programs into Fort Worth two years ago year, then taking it away this year with a potential promise to return, plus the requested addition of a new Plano class and a seated Spinal Cord Injury Program for 2017, had us choosing not to backfill our teaching schedule as we planned to serve more Veterans weekly. This conversation from our Director carried forward into late June. Then, suddenly, we were told they were opting not to offer SimplyAware new contract.
We could be bitter and resentful but we are not. We are mostly sad, and hopeful. Sad because we have grown quite fond of working with these amazing people, from all walks of life, we call Veterans. We cherish the opportunity to meet them where they are, sharing perspective shifting insights and traditional Qigong training to help them find their physical, mental and emotional alignment. From this place of alignment, they are able to make choices that are firmly in line with their true, most beautiful nature. Fayne and I are hopeful, because if we practice what we preach and stand in our Qigong Principles, we know deep in our hearts that if this door is closing, the universe has something even more powerful in store for SimplyAware, and our family.
We know, our Training Mindfully with Qigong Principles program empowers people to step into their truth and maybe that is what was most uncomfortable for the VA. We witnessed many of our Veterans shedding years of pain and suffering, greatly reducing, and in many cases, eliminating their symptom relieving medication load while reconnecting with their friends and families with an authenticity which is beautiful to see. So if the 4 years we had within the VA’s medical, military and government bureaucracy did nothing else, it gave us a mound of evidence that this training works very well.
When we broke the news to our current classes, they were understandably very angry. In their experience, the VA has a history of taking away programs which prove beneficial. We encouraged them to use the tools they have been working so hard on these past few months. We told them to stand in their Qigong Principles, align themselves, speak their truth in a manner which honors them, and then, most importantly, TRUST that this transition will work out best for all involved.
We we first received this major, life changing news, Fayne and I checked in with each other and both said, I’m not scared. Is this scary? Yes. But we are not scared because over the past 14 years we have witnessed so many significant shifts in our world that turned out to be exactly what was needed, in that moment, that now we simply TRUST that everything will work out as it should. That does not mean we will just sit back and let the money come rolling in from...wherever. It means that it is again time to sit quietly, align ourselves within our Qigong Principles and listen for the next steps on this beautiful journey. Stay tuned!