Michael TJM Focal Point Interview

FOCAL POINT: Finding a Higher Self - How Tai Ji Men Restored the Balance in My Life

Special Interview with Michael Selfridge


*Michael = Michael Selfridge
*TJMLA = Tai Ji Men, Los Angeles

TJMLA: Please introduce yourself.

Michael: My name is Michael; I have been a member of Tai Ji Men since 2005. I’m currently working in the banking industry as a real estate appraisal analyst. I tend to be a calm person who is equally comfortable relaxing at home as exploring the beautiful world in which we live.

TJMLA: How did you find Tai Ji Men?

Michael: There are certain milestones that we pass in life where we take pause and reflect upon our personal progress; my 30th birthday was one such milestone. Upon reflection, I came to the conclusion that I needed to find a better way to manage my life stress and work towards a higher degree of personal fulfillment. I had read a bit about qigong in general and on many occasions, my wife and I had driven past Tai Ji Men with its distinctive yin-yang symbol proudly displayed in the window when out on errands in Los Angeles. So we decided to stop in at the academy, what we found was a warm positive environment and we quickly decided we had come to the right place to improve ourselves.

TJMLA: What have you improved through practicing qigong at Tai Ji Men?

Michael: Tai Ji Men is a place full of supportive brothers and sisters. One thing that made a remarkable impression on me was, given that my Chinese was exceptionally poor when I started and that I was the first Anglo-Saxon to join the academy, coming to the academy early and seeing the class leader diligently looking up terms in a Chinese-English dictionary so that he could best help me to understand the exercises. We all have grown significantly since those early days. While I have always considered myself healthy, I am certainly more fit and healthier since beginning to practice qigong. Also of great importance to me is I’ve developed a deeper sense of wisdom, being able to look at the good in things and better manage the stress that comes from daily life.

TJMLA: How have you cultivated Tai Ji Men’s principle of holistic health through qigong practice in your daily life?

Michael: We all know life is filled with stress, such as conflicts with co-workers over the best solution to a problem or project deadlines where there just doesn’t seem like there is enough time to complete the necessary tasks. With all of life’s pressures, it is easy to lose our cool; I know that was a problem I encountered regularly before joining Tai Ji Men. I’d come home from a rough day at work and my wife would do something insignificant and I’d find myself yelling at her, this really tore me up inside because I knew it wasn’t really her fault and she didn’t deserve to be yelled at and I can only imagine how bad that made her feel. After joining Tai Ji Men, I learned to meditate and to find a sense of balance. By taking a few minutes in the morning to center and calm myself, I found that those workplace stressors that frustrated me so much before rolled off me like water off a duck’s back. We can’t get rid of the stress in our lives, but we can change how we respond to it and by calmly confronting those challenges, I’ve found that they are so much easier to overcome.

TJMLA: What is the most significant improvement that you’ve gained by practicing at Tai Ji Men?

Michael: Prior to joining Tai Ji Men, I had a relatively mundane daily life. I lived, loved, worked and played; all of these things are quality pursuits. Tai Ji Men promotes the wisdom that we are all part of this world and need to take actions to make it a better place. To that end, we frequently conduct international cultural exchanges and attend United Nations events, with the intent of developing a greater unity between people in order to overcome our mutual challenges. Since joining Tai Ji Men, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to visit five continents, meeting diplomats, heads of state and countless inspirational citizens of our fine world. I’ve seen firsthand the collective and inspirational power that we can have on our world leaders. These experiences have broadened my perspective, expanded my confidence and given me a greater sense of purpose and I cannot imagine where else I could have had so many wonderful opportunities.