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It was November 2020, nine months after 24-year-old Carolina Avendano began living by herself, and eight months after her city Calgary, Canada, entered into a lockdown that shut schools and most businesses. She was utterly alone. The pandemic restrictions meant she couldn’t visit her sister despite living in the same city.
The prolonged isolation had caught Avendano in a crisis that she had largely kept to herself. Outwardly, she was the model of productivity—living independently, working two tutoring jobs, volunteering online, while completing a double degree in math and education. But inside, she had never felt more lost and empty.
“I knew I was out of balance in every sense of the word,” Avendano told The Epoch Times. Her body was sending alarm bells: she was underweight, she suffered from an eating disorder and headaches, and her period hadn’t come for more than a year for no apparent cause. She said little about her struggles to her family, who anxiously noted how she getting thinner even as she insisted they were exaggerating.
A turning point came on a rare trip outside when Avendano randomly walked into a cafe and habitually glanced at the community board for yoga and meditation classes. There, a blue flyer showing a man meditating by the seaside caught her eye. Avendano had never heard about Falun Gong, a spiritual practice consisting of three core values, truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, along with five slow-moving meditative exercises. But the online meditation workshop advertised on the flyer seemed to be exactly what she needed.
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