This week, we had the OMazing and humbling opportunity to visit the children at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.We had previously opened Walks for St. Jude on both Coasts, and we were especially honored to be invited to the facilities in Memphis. When we arrived at the airport, a woman approached my OMazing partner and after finding out why we were visiting, she said, “Wow, you guys must be a big deal for St. Jude to invite you because they are pretty picky about who they let visit with the kids.” Okay, so that made us a little nervous, because we wanted to do right by these kids. We took a deep breath, sent all our love out into the world, and continued on our journey with renewed strength and resolve to bring some light and goodness to St. Jude.
There really are no words to describe the experience, and yet, I feel compelled to share it with you so I am going to do my best. To be honest, it was one of the hardest things we have ever done, and at the same time, one of the most rewarding things we have ever had the honor to do. To be able to teach kids yoga, meditation, and positive thinking, and to be able to help the kids learn these tool that can help them and potentially make a difference in their lives, was one of the most spectacularly profound opportunities we have had, and we are beyond grateful.
When walking into St. Jude, fierce emotions immediately hit us in the gut. We’ve been to a lot of children hospitals, but there’s just something about St. Jude that immediately tugs at your heart. We stood there and watched as child after child walked into the hospital, holding their sibling’s hand, or being carried and held by their parent. We saw the look in the parents’ eyes, the pain, sorrow, fear, hope, strength, faith, and love beyond measure. We just wanted to reach out, to help, and to scream with them “it’s not fair!”.
Looking around, we noticed kids of all ages, 1-18, all nationalities, all races, all languages, from every part of the country. Cancer does not discriminate. We wished more than anything that we had a magic wand so we could heal all those beautiful sweet children, and their mommies and daddies too. There was nothing we could do, except do what we do, and hope that it was enough, that for one minute, we would help them forget, help them heal, help them smile.
And so Wuf Shanti appeared. Science has proven that yoga, meditation, and positive thinking can help the healing process, and we believe that it can do just that. As it turns out, while they all looked different, they did have one glorious thing in common: a smile. As soon as Wuf Shanti came out, the kids ran to him with glee, their faces lit up in happiness. These miraculous sweet children, even with no hair or in red wagons (instead of wheelchairs), even while not being able to go to school “off-campus” with other kids (St. Jude has a school for the kids so they can feel like they are still doing regular things), even with having to be hooked up to tubes or going to one medical test or another, were still so happy, with smiles and laughter all around. There were no tears, just a lot of high-fives, peek-a-boo, dancing, laughing, and hugging. It was an absolute joy to see, and there is a big lesson in there for all of us as adults too.
Our guide at St. Jude was a wonderful woman, Amy, the lead Child Life Specialist. She was celebrating her 18th year with St. Jude. She is one very strong compassionate loving human being. Think about it, every day for 18 years, her sole mission has been to lift these children’s spirits. She has to come to work with a smile on her face every day. We did it for one day, a microcosm of her life. Our hearts are so full of love, and our eyes full of tears. We were so grateful to see those smiles, and yet heartbroken to see so many children battling this horrible disease, from babies to teens. Our hearts go out to everyone that created such an OMazing hospital and research center to support these kids and their families.
After leaving the hospital, we took a few hours just to BE in life, look up from our phones, see the trees, go within ourselves and meditate in gratitude. (We also threw our gluten-free diet out the window and decided to go eat regular pizza…a lot of it…sometimes you just have to do that.) After decompressing in quiet solitude for a bit, we brought our focus back to our mission, promoting health, wellness, and happiness in children. We focused on the smiles.
The joy, smiles, and peace is what doing this is all about to us. This makes it worthwhile. If you are reading this, please take a moment to close your eyes and send love and light to the kids and grown-ups at St. Jude and suffering from cancer all over the world. Deep breaths in and out, be grateful for your health and your life. It is a precious gift.
We can’t thank you enough St. Jude for showing us the true meaning of faith, love, compassion, kindness, and gratitude.We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great things happen recently, our TV show getting picked up by the Children’s TV Network and local PBS stations, our mobile app about to be released, Adam Levine posting about us, but nothing as meaningful and special as visiting St. Jude. It was an honor, a privilege, and a blessing to be with those sweet souls. They are the real heroes.
Hug your kids today. We are going home to do just that. Not sure we will ever be letting go anytime soon.
We are including some pictures from the trip, including one with the Child Life Specialist, Amy; however, none of the kids are in the pictures because we want to respect their privacy. You will also see pictures of the butterfly gardens and sampls of the artwork on the walls, created by the children, which exemplify the spirit of St. Jude.
“The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.” For more information on St. Jude, please visit https://www.stjude.org/about-st-jude.html
Now, more than ever, we are beyond grateful that the Children’s TV Network is distributing our videos to their children’s hospitals across the country. We feel blessed and grateful beyond measure to be able to bring Wuf Shanti to the kids, and we will keep going, until we can help as many children as we can. Join us. Together, we can change this world.
To learn more about Wuf Shanti: https://wufshanti.com/2017/07/learning-wuf-shanti/