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Annette Leal Mattern: You're Never In the Wrong Place

By HERWriter
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“You’re never in the wrong place.”

My Tai Chi instructor was speaking of my practice but I knew his meaning transcended the Tai Chi class and referred to life in general.

“The idea is to respond skillfully to an attack; not to defeat your opponent but to prevent injury to yourself by using opposing forces to your advantage. Your opponent’s defeat then becomes a consequence of his own attack.”

The metaphor was inescapable. Master Lim was speaking of any challenge faced by anyone, anytime. The notion that any life event could be seen through this lens resonated with me.

Years ago, I asked people to stop referring to my longtime relationship with cancer as a battle because I didn’t want to live with the thought of a constant conflict going on inside of me. It seemed like too much anger and bad energy, especially as I was the source of both opponents on the battlefield. I had come to peace with my body, even accepting its propensity to create tumors that are ever more challenging to manage.

Preparing myself physically, emotionally and spiritually was not a new thought and has been the core of my teachings for many years now. But the concept of using opposing forces to my advantage was another step forward in my beliefs about, not just surviving, but thriving in the world of chronic illness.

So, as we approach a new year, I know that I am here in this place, sharing these thoughts with you at this time because it is where I am supposed to be. I am in the right place and thankful for it.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.