“Hand in Hand – Beautiful Ballet Dancers”

Li Ma was a beautiful promising professional ballerina when she lost her right arm in a car accident in 1996. She was only 19. Her handsome boy friend walked away from her.

She tried to kill herself, only to be saved by her parents. Her love for her parents gave her the strength to live.

She learned how to live her life independently.
She learned how to write Chinese beautifully and how to do many things, including combing her hair, which she had to cut short from waist-length to shoulder-length. She learned to cook and to wash clothes… In a few months she opened her small bookstore.

Five years later in 2001, she was invited to compete in the 5th National Special Performing Arts competition for the handicapped and won the gold medal. That success gave her the hope that she would return to her beloved stage.

In 2002, a handsome young man – Tao Li – fell madly in love with her. She ran away from him for fear of being hurt again.
After she disappeared in Beijing, Tao searched everywhere for her despite his parents’ strong objection and ridicule.
He finally found her dancing in a bar. They have never been separated since.

They were very broke when SARS was spreading because all theaters were closed. In 2004, he got a license to be her legitimate agent and was trying to help her develop a unique performance. On a cold snowy night, when the two were huddled in an underpass, waiting for the sunrise in order to catch a bus (after a long day at a movie shooting site working as extras), she suddenly had the urge to dance in the snow with him.
She had used her dance to tell him her story so many times before and this time, after their “dance” ended, he suddenly realized that THIS should be her unique performance.

In September 2005, Li met a young man – Xiaowei Zhai – who was being trained to be a cyclist for the National Special Olympics. He had never danced before.
He climbed on a tractor when he was 4 years old and fell off it and lost his left leg. His dad asked him, “The doctor will have to amputate your leg. Are you afraid?” He couldn’t comprehend what would be so different, so he said no. His dad said, “You are going to face many challenges and difficulties in life, are you afraid?”
He asked, “What are ‘challenges and difficulties?’ Do they taste good?” His dad laughed with tears, “Yes, they’re like your favorite candies. You just need to eat them one piece at a time! (Then his dad ran out of the room in tears.)

He’s very optimistic and athletic with a great sense of humor. He had tried high-jump, long-jump, diving, swimming, and finally settled on cycling. His coach believed that he would be able to get 2-3 gold medals in the National Special Olympic Games. (In the video interview, you can see him doing the bridge posture with great ease!)

He initially didn’t understand how he could “dance,” so Li invited him to see her performing “Hand in Hand” with another male actor. He felt that he saw a perfect soul dancing on the stage and agreed to give it a try.

Li & Tao treated him like their younger brother and they stayed under the same roof during more than 1 year of intensive training and practice. One would not be able to imagine the kind of challenges and difficulties they faced. He had NO dancing background and she is a perfectionist. There are so many touching stories.

Much determination has gone into the making of this performance. Just for that one stunning “drop” move, he landed her on the hard floor more than 1,000 times!!! To get the move right, they started at 8 a.m. and got the first successful move shortly after 8 pm!
All they did was to train and to practice from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. day-in and day-out until the three of them ran out of money in early 2007 …

In April they were finalists among 7,000 competitors in the 4th CCTV National dance competition. It was the first time a handicapped couple ever entered the competition. They won the Silver medal with a high score of 99.17 – not to mention the highest audience popular vote.

They became an instant national hit.

By Chris on YouTube: semjase76

Suggested to Zen Moments by Julian Hanbury.

Published on Zen Moments with kind permission from the Author

From Interview with Ma Li (馬麗) and Zhai Xiaowei (翟孝偉)

For the original article, click on (mniej informacji) (More information) in the top right hand corner

The music is composed by San Bao, and is originally from a very popular TV program in China, named Qian Shou (牵手 hand in hand).

Zen Heart By Ezra BaydaZen Heart: Simple Advice for Living with Mindfulness and Compassion
By Ezra Bayda

“This book is like a personal retreat. I’d like to read it once a year. It has the best of the Zen spirit—not indulging but experiencing every ounce of life, good and bad. You will have to read closely, because the lessons are more difficult than they appear. At the same time it is a beautifully simple reflection on what it means to be, rather than to try to be. ..”—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and A Life at Work

“I feel like someone’s handed me a treasure of useful tips that I can use for a lifetime or more. This is a book to come back to again in one or five or twenty years.

He breaks up the path into three stages:  Briefly, the Me-Phase is about becoming aware of our conditioned patterns of thought and action. Being Awareness is expanding our perspective in the wider container of awareness, the one mind, you could say, which is where Zen is normally concerned. Finally, Being Kindness is connecting with our true compassionate nature. All three are indispensable phases of the path.

In each phase, Ezra offers practical tips and advice to help us gain more understanding and awareness and urges us to remember that the point of all this is not to change ourselves, but rather to become aware of the manifold ways we cut ourselves off from this life. It’s not as simple as just “being here now” as Eckhart Tolle might maintain. The ego is tricky, and a lot of the work to be done is psychological in nature.

This is where this book excels — in giving us tools with which we can clue into the ego’s antics, our own particular conditioning…” Amazon Customer Book Review

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