Healing my Heart with Loving Chi Kung

Crisis as a Creative Opportunity

I was a “Super Woman”. One who always gave out a lot of energy, with all my heart.  So, many people were shocked when they heard about my heart transplant. “How is it possible? She was the healthiest person I knew!” I was also surprised!

Have you ever looked back on your life as if it were a dream? I feel so well now that sometimes the transplant does feel like a dream. People who haven’t seen me for many years say, “You are ageless!” A doctor friend, who has known me for about 20 years, has seen many complications after transplants. She thinks that I have done exceptionally well because of how I took care of myself before and after the surgery.

My Health Crisis

Have you ever felt obliged to carry on in spite of how tired your body felt?  Saying, “My body will bounce back like before”. I did, until the stress load was too much. I experienced all the major stresses at once: divorce, and the threat of losing my work and home.  I had put my lifeblood into developing an island retreat centre for over 20 years, in Desolation Sound, BC. I was giving up `my baby’, my life’s work and spiritual home.

The last few years of my married life did not fulfill my needs. My heart’s flower was wilting. I was starved for both the giving and receiving of loving affection.  I longed for relationship in my work with people. As the bodymind is one piece, my “broken heart” manifested in my physical body as heart failure. The doctors said that a virus most likely damaged my heart muscle. I believe that the stress in my life made me vulnerable to the effects of the virus. My brother has similar, but not so severe, scar damage in his heart, so we could have had genetic susceptibility.

I had flu symptoms and still worked with a cough for about a month. My body gradually swelled until I was carrying over 60 pounds of excess water.  My belly swelled so large that I looked like I was having twins. My legs looked like two tight tires, and they were actually leaking water. My heart just could not keep up. I resorted to sleeping propped up on pillows, to save my lungs from drowning. I even had to be carried in a cart to the boat. I became like a child who needed tender care.  My practice was to accept whatever happened. The medical professionals tried their best but in the beginning I was given inappropriate medication. They were used to people with clogged up arteries and high blood pressure, which was not my case.

Supportive Practice

I had many tools from 20 years of devoted meditative and healing work. My faith in natural medicine was strong. I tried for nine months to repair my heart with alternative methods. It was too slow and the physical damage was already done. The valves were leaking and scar tissue was building up.

What kept me going so long was conscious breathing. A friend and caregiver encouraged me again and again to breathe deeply and steadily. The other practice that carried me through my pain was the Inner Smile, which helped me to accept and trust all the poking and probing into my body. My friends observed that no matter what happened my smile came from a place beyond the suffering.

The “Cosmic Smile” of unconditional love never left me.

Great “Team”

When I finally saw my lips turning purple and I could not lift myself off the toilet seat, I went again to the hospital. This time a new doctor sent me by helicopter to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. The medical team put in a pump to give me a few more days while we were waiting for a new heart. They had long discussions whether or not to give me a heart. They recognized my strong spirit and devoted support group so they put me on the top of the list for all of Canada.

Many people were praying for me. I was deeply moved by the kindness of my friends, family and care givers. The humour they had in the hospital was uplifting for all. Knowing that I was a vegetarian, we had a good laugh that I might “crave hamburgers” after the transplant!

The heart came just in time. They estimated that I had only an hour left! Going into the operation my two friends stood beside me like angels with their hands in prayer position over their hearts. Going under, I showered my body with unconditional love. Smiling inwardly invited a positive, big change into my life.

Coming out of the operation my brother saw me awaken with a smile, with tubes still in my mouth. This is apparently unusual. Afterwards I was more alert than most people, who are usually groggy.

In meditation I connected with the donor and thanked my friend on the other side. I introduced my organs to their new family member. Practicing the Fusion of the Five Elements meditation balanced the energy of my vital organs. This ancient science of internal alchemy restores natural energetic connections. My body was reprogrammed with loving acceptance. What a contrast to all the anti-rejection pills I had to take.

My friends massaged my body, which looked like elephant skin! The hospital room smelt beautiful from the essential oils! A Medical Chi Kung practitioner stroked my energy channels, especially the “Microcosmic Orbit”, up the spine and down the front channel. This would assure that my natural healing energy would circulate throughout my body.

My foot had nerve damage and I could not flex it. I hobbled around. There was a chance that the nerves might not grow back properly. I learned to walk again. Tai Chi walking got awareness into my feet. I stroked the nerves and told them to “kiss and dance together!”

It was spring when I got out of the hospital. It felt so freeing, like getting out of prison! The birds and blossoms were awesome! I felt like an adult with child awareness and a child with adult awareness. For many months I was in a state of awe. I cried with gratitude to hear the beauty of people singing. To be alive is so precious!!!

“The presence of death on your shoulder reminds you of the preciousness of your life.”

The surgeons repeatedly took “a little piece of my heart now Baby”.  Janice Joplin’s song took on a new meaning! Each time they made this invasive test, my mantra would be,

“My heart supports my whole body, my whole body supports my heart.”

Resurrecting my Body

My body was shape shifting. With all the stress half of my once lustrous long locks fell

out. My body was skin and bones. I had to sit on my hat in restaurants as my bum was so bony! My past was falling away, letting go of appearances, letting go of identities.

By letting go of our nightmares, our dreams resurrect themselves.

I worked out 3 times a week and went walking every day. It was awesome how my muscles grew back. I showed off my new set of muscles! Four months after the operation I gave a workshop at Hollyhock Retreat Centre with my friend Dave. It was miraculous to be on my feet again! The breathing exercises and beautiful nature gave me a good boost.

I had more dental work done in one year than most people have in their lifetime. My teeth were damaged by the absence of saliva in my dry mouth while I was affected by extreme water retention everywhere else. Breathing helped me to ease the intense discomfort in the dental chair as the freezing wore off. I would send the vibrations out through my bones and feet to the mountains and breathe in the strength of the mountains to endure. I relaxed below the pain with another mantra,

“I am calm and relaxed. I breathe deeply and smoothly.”

My lifelong passion and source of bliss is dancing. It makes me feel alive. Dancing has helped me to gain confidence in my body again. It stirs my creative juices. My motto for my “New Heart, New Start” is…

“Let your light shine! You could be dead tomorrow, so why hold back?”

My well spring of rejuvenating power is tapping consciously into the sexual energy, “the fountain of youth”. Taoist sexual practices for health and longevity enliven and balance the hormones. The practices channel sexual energy to deeply nourish the body.  I enjoy moving this essential life force through me in many wonderful, playful ways. One lady saw me dance and said “That young lady was 25!”

There is so much love in my life. It feels like love saved my life. My heart is ever opening. The more I open to love, the more creative energy generously flows into my life. I have a more profound sense of compassion for those who are suffering. Who isn’t suffering in some way! When I wake up in the morning I smile to my heart and flood every cell with smiling energy. My day starts with loving acceptance and fresh inspiration.

A New Life

After living on an isolated island for twenty years, what a contrast to live downtown in a big city! I was immersed in nature and now I am immersed in human nature. From my peaceful apartment I watch with my heart’s eye the children in the playground and the street people gathering recycling bottles in their carts.

Riding the bus for hours every day gives me time to practice deep breathing. I breathe into my kidneys, the batteries of the body, and build up my energy. This practice centres me in my Tan Tien, the energy centre below the navel. I feel protected from all the “weird” and stressful vibrations in the bus. Deep breathing also seems to guard me from picking up infections in the city environment.

Going through the divorce settlement was difficult. Responding with an open mind and heart has helped me to transform my old patterns. I longed for fairness and freedom. Now that the retreat centre is sold, the dust is settling and new pathways are opening up. The world feels like my home.

My Vision

I feel like I have gotten back on my horse after a bad fall and I am riding again! Sharing Chi Kung with others feels very fulfilling. I am convinced of the restorative, regenerative and transformative qualities of these energy-directing exercises that integrate our mind’s intention/awareness, vital breathing and compassion into wholeness. It is wonderful to share these life-enhancing practices with responsive people in different parts of the world.

When people have gone through a medical trauma, they are usually numb, disconnected and frozen. The warmth of the Inner Smile and internal fire can melt the ice. Breathing practice helps us to sense and feel our body as one piece. We embody spirituality by giving our loving attention to the microcosm that we are.

I am truly blessed to have effective tools and a sacred space which invites inner work. The essence of the original training at Silent Ground continues to grow in creative ways and in varied spaces. I am blessed to be granted a second wind. My vision broadens.

Chi Kung, energy medicine of the future,

 boosts our virtues, so we can live our highest dreams.

Join me on a retreat for a powerful exploration of what you would like to heal in your heart of hearts. Make your personal crisis into a creative opportunity. The tools you will learn will help you to transform stress and suffering as it arises. They will come in hand to support your healing journey into radiant wellness.

Minke de Vos

Senior Universal Tao and Inner Alchemy Instructor



For a great "holiday that heals" check out Mars Hill College, near Ashville in North Carolina http://www.healingtaoretreats.com, where I will give 3 different 5 day long retreats, June 22 - July 10.

If you are already planning ahead for the summer, we are giving our annual 1 - 4 week Summer Retreat,
July 21 - August 17, on Read Island.

"Heart Chi Kung” DVD includes 6 Chi Kung practice sessions that are designed to heal, strengthen and open the heart and body to greater love, joy and balance. Music by Solala Towler.

Please contact me if you are interested in supporting my documentary, “Heart of a Dancer”, Healing journey from near death to new life. Spiritual teachers share their wisdom about the energetic nature of the heart. Inspire your self to live from your Heart, the Love Centre.


In the darkest
there is light
When your world
becomes some other world
and you are like a child in your helplessness
When the self slips away
like some dream awoken from
When you are crushed
and the power you thought you had
is washed away or
wrenched from your hands
...then you line up with the ones
who know
then you polish your boots
for the last leg of the journey
Then you begin to kneel on the ground

in a new way surrendered
Then the compassion you were born for

is ripe like sweet fruit in grateful hands.

in love  to most beautiful Minke.......from Dayna


Grace is a drop

from heaven bestowed

a teardrop

transformed by love

a pearl

polished by ocean’s waves


into shining eyes

dropping peacefully

into one pond

for us to swim

with delight,

with ease

in the bliss

beyond suffering

Minke de Vos


This is love: 

to fly toward a secret sky,

to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.

First to let go of life.

Finally, to take a step without feet.     

                                                                                 ~ Jalaluddin Rumi