Summer of 2015, on our first visit to YangZhou, Ruby took us to a nationally famous garden. Ancient calligraphy on a stone wall caught my eye: Shang Shan Ruo Shuai. The best possible kindness that one could have is to be like Water. This Chinese proverb has been passed down through our culture for generations.
Same as me, Ruby believes in the virtue of following the wisdom of water.
Ruby was two years younger than me. Barely 5’2’’, less than 100 pounds, her slim frame looked like she couldn’t hold much strength. Yet, she was one of the strongest women that I have come to know.
Ruby was introduced to us by a Plat brother in China, as one of the generous donors of the Loving Heart Confederation.
Ruby grew up poor in a rural area of China with limited education and became a multi-millionaire through hard work and a driving desire to be an entrepreneur. Starting from a one-woman show twenty years ago, she now owned a big manufacturing plant producing vehicle cooling systems, with customers all over China and Europe.
Earlier that morning, Ruby took us to taste the best Bao Zi Dian, a hundred year old restaurant that specializes in buns. She smiled and took care of everything. She wanted to make everyone happy.
Ruby was always smiling on the surface.
One day, on our four-hour long-distance call between YangZhou and Orlando, Ruby told me that her husband had changed. “He now looks at me like I am lower than a pile of dog shit. I don’t know how to make him happy.”
Sometime later, Ruby became my student in my feminine awakening classes.
I began to learn that underneath that smile, there was so much hidden pain. She was enduring a horrific marriage, being emotionally and verbally abused by her husband, Wang, who was her high school classmate, now a VP of her company.
Ruby was not the only one hiding things.
A month later, I woke up to a WeChat voice message left on my phone. Ruby was laughing and crying at the same time. From the unusual tone, I knew something was seriously wrong. “Teacher, I have just discovered that Wang has been sleeping with many of my workers in the factory, including Xing.”
My heart skipped a beat. I had just met Xing a few months ago in the factory when Ruby invited me to do a relationship training for her workers. Xing came into the factory at the age of 18. Ruby had taken her under her wing and treated her like her own daughter. A decade later, Xing had become her closest assistant.
“I am the biggest fool in the world. Everyone knows but me. I am the laughing stock.” Ruby’s sobbing pained my heart. “I had no one to talk to, Teacher. So I am leaving you a message. I am so sorry.”
I called her back and she poured out more tears. “I can’t leave him. Getting a divorce will ruin our reputation and the factory. I feel there is a dark cloud over my head and I can’t get out. I have never lived for myself, teacher.”
I wanted to reach out and hold her in my arms. Tears are water. They taste bitter and salty. But water also has endurance. It can carve a new path even through the toughest terrain.
“Do you want to change and live for yourself now?” I asked.
“Yes.” She responded, firmly, 8,000 miles away. “But I don’t know how.”
Gradually, step by step, Ruby and I worked on awaking the Goddess within, getting her power back as a woman. She got Wang out of the factory, rejuvenated the team and filed for a divorce.
A couple of years later, I woke up to another WeChat message. “Thank you, teacher, for leading me to the path of light. I feel I am living my second life now.”
Indeed, water has carved a brave new path for her. I smiled.