Here I was in the US, and I hadn’t even made it out of the airport and I was completely broke. I didn’t have any friends or relatives in the US, and now I had no money and only the clothes on my back. At that moment, I was willing to get right back on a plane for another 16-hour flight to Korea.
What was I going to tell my students here and my students in Korea who were waiting for me to come back with stories of the American Dream? What was I going to do? There was nothing I could do that would make my stolen bag magically reappear. I did file a report with the police, but it didn’t seem very promising.
I had come to the US with a dream to share the ideal of healthy, happy people working together to create a harmonious world, but all I could think was, Maybe this means that I don’t belong here. The conversation raged on in my head … I could keep fretting and being upset, but what good would it do? Then again, it isn’t like I lost five cents or even five dollars and I can just shrug it off and forget about it.
Then I decided to do myself a favor. What I decided to do was to change my mind about the situation.
So I firmly told myself, “Look. You didn’t just lose $5000. As your very first course of action in the US, you just made a $5000 donation to the state of New York.” I mean, that guy must have really needed it desperately, and he must have been in such a hurry, to do what he did. So out of the kindness of my heart, I made a donation. More commendable still, I didn’t just give part of what I had—no, I was so generous that I contributed every last penny I had. Chuckling to myself, I resolved to work a thousand times harder and earn respect and success in the US.
When I thought of it that way, I started feeling better. On top of showing that I was a good person, I’d motivated myself to work hard to produce positive results. And that’s exactly what I did. I finally met my student at the airport and explained what had happened, and then I started from scratch in the US, just like I did in Korea.
As I offered care and attention to each person I met and began building the foundations for what has now become Dahn Yoga in the US, I felt the need to find a special place here that would help people connect with their sacred inner self.