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Posted on 11-30-2016
Introducing Master Gladys Wesley-Kennedy
By Mike Hart, publisher
I have only met a few people in my life whom I would describe as spiritual pioneers. I had the pleasure of meeting on, Master Gladys Wesley-Kennedy, the past month. Master Gladys is the founder of a spiritual practice called The Whai (pronounced the way). It draws from Zen and several other eastern philosophies and practices of which she is a recognized master. When I sat down to interview her I was not sure what to expect but I found her not only very knowledgeable but a genuinely nice person. She has kindly offered to write a series of articles for Natural Awakenings-Houston which I feel you will find both interesting and useful. So you has a feel for who she is let me tell you a little of her story.
At age 36 while pregnant with her third child her doctor found a mass in her breast. Cancer had killed her grandmother, her mother and two weeks prior her older sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Because of her pregnancy she had her first surgery without anesthesia. Over the next year she had a total of twelve surgeries, two of which were botched leaving her unable to use her right arm. She had watched her significant others including her sister die. Death seemed to be all around her.
She decided to try yoga since she couldn’t pick up her baby or play the piano. She went to a small shop whose sign said “Yoga-Tai Chi”. A tiny Asian woman escorted her to a room and had her lie down. She began waving her hands over Gladys and in no time Gladys was asleep. This may not seem like anything much except that since her cancer treatments had begun she had not been able to sleep without help. When Gladys awoke, the woman touched her chest and said, “Cancer.” Then went on to tell her, “Sometime God give people disease not to kill them but to get attention. Some day you be master.”
Gladys quickly left thinking that this was too strange and unlikely. After her radiation treatment she decided to go to the yoga class. She was very self-conscious when she entered the yoga studio, not just because of her appearance but because she was the only non-Asian person there. After class everyone hugged her. She suddenly realized that through the year of her medical treatment everyone had treated her as a leper, someone which a disease. These people accepted her.
When she went in for her next doctor visit the doctor slammed down her file and demanded, “What have you been doing? You no longer have cancer! Your blood count is as if you never had chemo. Your breast looks healthy. Where is the burn from your radiation treatment? Tell me what you have been doing?” She was asked to go to St. Luke’s to the head of oncology. During a Cancer Awareness Day she met a Zen master and was asked to travel to Korea to study to become a master. After four years of living in the monastery, she was the first non-Asian to be ordained a master.
On returning to the United States the modality that is The Whai began to come to her as she combined Zen, yoga and several other paths into an integrated whole. In closing she told me, “There is a healing mechanism within us. We point you back to that mechanism, lead you back to the root of your wellness.” It is with great joy that I welcome Master Gladys Wesley-Kennedy to the pages of Natural Awakenings-Houston.
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