Dear Master, esteemed fellow practitioners.
I am an Austrian practitioner who obtained the Fa in 2006. In 2012, I emigrated to Poland. Until June 2022 I lived with my husband in Warsaw. For the last 16 years I have worked almost exclusively for the media by Dafa practitioners. In June 2022, I left Warsaw and started working in the service department of a 5-star hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland.
From the frying pan into the fire
The only reason I took the job in Zermatt was because I really wanted to be in the breakfast service. I thought this would be the easiest service. As I was not in very good physical shape, I was afraid of having to carry heavy plates for 8 hours a day, as I knew from the restaurants I had already worked in. I also had a rota with regular working hours in mind. I thought that after an 8 or 9 hour day, I would still have enough time to do something online for Fa-rectification. As it soon turned out, this was a nice and very short-lived illusion.
The service at breakfast was very demanding. Everything was new to me. I had to learn a lot and it was very stressful. Nevertheless, I was able to learn quickly and do well with the tasks I was given. At the beginning, I still had normal working hours - about 6.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., with a meal break in between - but this changed quickly.
Suddenly, I was not only assigned to the breakfast service at the busiest time, but also to the huge terrace in front of the hotel. My duty roster consisted only of partial duties, where I was assigned daily - 6 days a week - from 8 a.m. until about 1 p.m. and then from about 4 p.m. until at least 10 p.m. - and beyond.
For the past 10 years I had been sitting in front of the computer. I had been practising the exercises regularly, but not much physical activity. I was battered from the heavy workload and pressure in the media and years of sitting in front of the computer. I was anything but physically fit. And suddenly I had to serve hundreds of guests for 10 hours plus, 6 days a week. I was running. At breakfast inside, on the terrace outside. And on top of that, I had duty hours where I sometimes didn't get to bed until 1 a.m. and had to be back at work in the hotel at 8 a.m. I had to be in the hotel for a long time.
In addition, I was exposed to the whims of my superiors, who were anything but squeamish towards me. I was overwhelmed with the new situation. I had arguments with some of my colleagues. One supervisor even sent me home from work for mouthing back. I was mentally and physically exhausted and couldn't believe where I had ended up.
From the hardship in Warsaw, I came to the merciless environment in the middle of the Swiss mountains. I went from the frying pan into the fire. I packed my bags and was ready to leave Zermatt. I had even found myself another job. Still, it was not easy for me to leave. After all, I had signed a contract. I was sitting on my packed suitcase in despair when suddenly a small voice inside me said, "You are a practitioner. It's no coincidence that you ended up here. It's all arranged. Giving up so quickly can't be an option." Okay, I thought. And I stayed.
I used every spare minute - of which I didn't have many - to learn the Fa and practise the exercises. I looked inward and understood that cultivation wasn't going to get any easier and that I would have to reduce my karma no matter what place I was in. I realised that this environment, all alone among ordinary people along with the high pressure of work, would now become a huge test for me. I also thought of the fate connection with the people in the hotel. I felt the high demands.
I started to cooperate unconditionally, and no longer talked back. Moreover, I did my work conscientiously, was helpful and always had a smile on my face. After some time, the situation changed noticeably.
I received increasingly positive feedback. For example, that I had a special charisma and that it was unusual that I would also do the cleaning work with a smile. They told me I was different from the others. They thought I was a young woman, although I am already 43 years old. Suddenly they wanted me with them everywhere. Asked me if I would go away with them.
I was surprised at how much the complicated situation I had recently found myself in had suddenly changed so positively.
In the Fa teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference, Master says: “There is only one big difference: in conflicts and other matters, you are able to look within yourselves, within yourselves, for the reason. "Have I done something wrong? Is it probably because of me that such a conflict has arisen?" That is the only noticeable difference compared to ordinary people. Of course, this difference will also show in your behaviour. Ordinary people will feel that you have a different aura and think that Dafa disciples are kind-hearted. They want to have something to do with you, because you're cultivators and the field around you is pure and merciful-something ordinary people don't have. So in that respect you are different, and people can feel that."
So people felt the power of Dafa in me, which touched me deeply. Without the Fa and merciful Master, I wouldn't have been able to last a month in that difficult environment.
Shen Yun logistics work for Austria and Poland
Besides the preparations, which I could do online in Zermatt, I had to be on site during the performances. Since I could only take a little time off in the middle of the peak season, I had to plan everything very tightly. My boss gave me the days off for Shen Yun, but cut all my other days off. Before I travelled to the performances, I worked for almost a month. I was only given the day off to travel to the venue, the days of the performances and one day after the show to return home. The following day I had to go back to work.
You have to know that Zermatt is very far to the southwest of Switzerland. Very close to Italy and France. Moreover, Zermatt is quite isolated in the mountains. A train journey from Zermatt to Zurich takes just under 4 hours. This means that the journey from and to Zermatt is long and somewhat arduous, as you often have to change trains.
First was my assignment at the performance in Austria. I travelled by train for 11 hours from Zermatt via Zurich, on to Salzburg and immediately back to Zermatt the day after the last performance. One day later I was back in my work routine.
Two weeks later, the performances in Poland were already underway. In Poland, Shen Yun performed in two cities. Bydgoszcz and Lublin. The two cities are about 4 hours' drive apart. We had a travel day between the shows.
As the events in Austria and Poland were so close together, I knew that I would most likely not have a single day off before the shows in Poland. So I found myself in a situation where I was just working. Even before Austria, I didn't have any time off for about 2 weeks. And in two weeks Shen Yun came to Poland.
I worked my 10-12 hour shift in the hotel and after work I made the final preparations for Shen Yun. Time was short, and the journeys to and in Poland were long. What added to it was the fact that my passport was almost expired and I still had to renew it during my stay in Poland. The pressure was on.
One day before leaving for Warsaw, I worked until 1 am, my train left at 6 am. I stopped thinking: am I tired or not, am I in pain or not, can I even stand all this, or not? It didn't matter, I just focused on what was important and that was Shen Yun.
I took the train to Milan and flew to Warsaw. When I arrived in Warsaw, I went to my flat, sat down on the sofa and knew that I didn't have much time before my onward journey. I was tired and thought: "Ok, you have 2 hours, then your train leaves for Bydgoszcz, what do you do? Sleep, practice, eat or shower?" I decided on the latter, packed a few things and took the train for another 4 1/2 hours to Bydgoszcz, as the set-up work started the following morning. During the whole trip I kept getting phone calls, as someone always needed something from me - which was quite normal so close to the shows.
I arrived in Bydgoszcz in the night and again had very little time to rest. I was totally exhausted. But when I came to the theatre the next morning and greeted the practitioners, I was overjoyed and infinitely grateful. I was close to tears and thanked Master. The performances in Bydgoszcz were a complete success and the cooperation among practitioners was very good. I felt that we were fulfilling our mission. It was great.
After the performances in Bydgoszcz, the journey continued the next morning to Lublin. I booked the first train to Warsaw to quickly renew my passport at the Austrian embassy. Time was once again very short. The journey to Warsaw was 4 1/2 hours. I had little time to make it to the embassy in time. And then suddenly the train stopped. We were stuck with a technical problem somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I was forced to cancel my appointment by e-mail because I couldn't make it to the embassy within the opening hours.
The lady from the embassy wrote back saying that she would wait for me. I thanked her from the bottom of my heart. For me, this was the only way to renew my passport before I had to go back to Switzerland. After more than an hour's delay, I finally arrived at the embassy in Warsaw, where we discovered that the fingerprint machine was not working. The staff finally got the machine working again after about 30 minutes, and I was told that the passport would not be ready for another two weeks. But I needed the new passport in 2 days to be able to enter Switzerland. We decided to issue me with an emergency passport, which would cost me another 100 euros in cash. But I had no more cash and card payments were not possible. The embassy was in a region where there was only one ATM for quite a distance, and that didn't work.
I was tired and annoyed and had to go on to Lublin. I tried to keep a sincere mind and thought: "Ok, I'll travel without a passport." Although I knew that I would probably need a passport when I checked in on my way back to Switzerland, I decided to continue my journey to Lublin and abandon the idea of an emergency passport. I let go of all human thoughts regarding my entry into Switzerland without a passport and continued on to Lublin to see Shen Yun.
As in Bydgoszcz, the shows in Lublin were a complete success and the cooperation among each other was very good. When the shows in Poland were over, I travelled back to Zermatt immediately the next day. I was able to enter Switzerland without a valid passport. Everything went smoothly.
To help with backstage in Israel
Back in Zermatt in my work routine, I had the desire to do more for Shen Yun. I checked the Shen Yun website and saw that Shen Yun would soon be performing in Israel for a week. From then on, all I could think about was how I could make it to Shen Yun in Israel.
I contacted a coordinator in Israel and asked if any manpower was needed. Meanwhile, I learned that other Polish practitioners would be flying to Israel to help with the performances as stagehands.
I also wanted to go to Israel, but I knew that the screenings would take place right over Easter and we would have many guests at the hotel. I also knew that we were always short of manpower at the hotel and that my absence would put a gap and great pressure on my colleagues. I knew that helping out at Shen Yun in Israel, for a week and right over Easter, had not been agreed with my boss in advance. I saw little chance of getting to Israel. Moreover, I didn't even know if my help would be needed at all. Moreover, my valid passport was in Warsaw and the shows in Tel Aviv were already three weeks away.
My desire to help in Israel with Shen Yun was strong. But I had no passport, no commitment from the main coordinator and little chance of getting time off over Easter. Although everything seemed hopeless, I still started the preparation process. I asked my husband in Warsaw to send me my passport by express to Zermatt. Then I asked my boss if I could get a week off for Shen Yun in Israel at Easter. Who, as expected, said "no".
I didn't let up and asked again and again in the following days whether I could go to Israel. The answer was always the same: "No". Time was running out for the shows, my passport had still not arrived and there was no answer from the main coordinator in Israel as to whether I was needed at all. I let it go. I thought it was my stubbornness to want to go to Israel so badly now. I decided to follow the natural course, stopped asking my boss if I could get time off and focused on the work at the hotel.
A few days later, my boss suddenly approached me and said: "Well, maybe it will work out with Israel after all". In addition, the Israeli main coordinator contacted me and told me to come. I was needed as a stagehand. I took it as a hint from Master and immediately booked my trip to Israel, as the shows were already taking place in a few days. At that time, however, I had neither my passport nor a definite promise of leave from my boss.
Everything was booked. I could now do nothing but let go of all human thoughts and worries about whether I would get leave or whether my passport would even arrive. I got rid of the restless heart, did FZN and followed the natural course.
Finally, my boss approved my week's leave for Shen Yun and my passport arrived in Zermatt exactly one day before my scheduled departure. I flew to Israel and supported Shen Yun as a stagehand for a week at the Tel Aviv Opera House. The stresses and strains of the last few months were gone, I felt blessed.
I would like to conclude my report with a poem from Hong Yin, which has constantly accompanied me on my path over the past months:
Climbing the Tai Mountains
Climbing up high stairs, a path of thousands of feet,
Winding, steep, difficult to take steps;
Looking back, like watching the cultivation of righteous Fa,
Stopping in mid air—hard to be saved.
Persevering, lifting the feet, the ten-thousand-pound legs,
Forbearing hardships, advancing whole-heartedly, discarding attachments;
Dafa disciples—thousands, millions,
Completing Gong, reaching Consummation at high places.
Thank you Revered Master!
Thank you dear fellow practitioners！
(Submitted to the European Fa-conference 2023 in Paris)
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