Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanks * Abundance * Gratitude

Thanksgiving season in USA is rolling around again, entering our lives in celebration of The Great Harvest.

What is Thanksgiving?  Turkey and trimmings and family joy memories come streaming in like videos.  While writing I re-live childhood memories of helping my Mom in our tiny kitchen, I melted the butter and tore the "stuffing bread" into pieces.  We tossed it together and added the poultry seasoning.  I loved to eat it raw rather than cooked.  Actually I ate a lot of raw foods like buckwheat pancake batter, vanilla cake batter, and everyone's favorite raw chocolate chip cookie dough.

Chopping walnuts was my job.  I ate as many as I chopped!  We always made Holiday Cranberry Salad, a delicious blend of raspberry jello, chopped celery, crisp Macintosh apples, and fresh plump English walnuts.  Relatives arrived bringing food and laughs.  My golden collie, Lad, and white cat, Shadow, waited eagerly for turkey.  

What have I learned in Earth School about Giving Thanks?  Thanks-Giving:  what does "giving" mean?  When I give of myself to others how do I feel?  Joyous?  Drained?  Debra and I had a conversation.  She said, "Giving and receiving must be in balance, not too much either way.  There is harmony and action in giving and receiving."  What are motivations for giving?  Can giving be a selfish act (ego trip)?  What is unconditional giving/receiving?  

Reflecting about "Thanks-giving," I am "Giving Thanks For Giving."  "For-Giving," of course!  Why does for-giving feel like a chore?  Forgiving and freeing ourselves and others is so needed to "Let Go-Let God" and open the heart with genuine joy. 

Thank-full living inspires gratitude.  Positive unselfish intent is part of the recipe.

Unconditional giving and receiving, forgiving, letting go, feeling joy and gratitude is daily spiritual nourishment for ourselves and others.  Thanks-Giving is every day!

Related Posts:  The Great Harvest (Oct 2011), Out of Box Experience (Aug 2011), Grow Green (grow your mind, April 2011), Tonal Vision (the power of music Jan 2011) Giving Thanks Opens the Heavens (Nov 2010)  Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D., and Rev. Debra Basham, CHTP, NLP, HTt, RMT healing is a Now event.  purchase paintings and prints, request free PDF E-book, Silver Butterfly, Create A Vision, awaken your creative spirit.

Grow Green, photo by Emilie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A-B-C's of TAI CHI

Tai Chi, A Quiet Space

George Eddy, a Tai Chi Instructor and Martial Artist, feels that Tai Chi learning and practice has A-B-C essentials:  Alignment, Breathing, Centering.

A-Alignment:  Standing comfortably erect and alert, shoulders relaxed and quieting the mind prepare us for Tai Chi practice.  Pretending there is a string attached to the crown of your head, and feeling the gentle lift upward awakens the body like a sunrise.  Picture yourself taller than you are.  Coming into a posture of tallness invites the mind to expand.  Taller than you are is achieved without strain in body or pushing shoulders upward.  Knees are unlocked and feet are totally relaxed and connected to the Earth.  Some gentle qigong movements can loosen the body or a warm up walk in nature's beauty boosts the spirit before practice.

B-Breathing:  In Tai Chi and Qigong forms, gentle deep breathing calms the mind and centers the body for greater enjoyment of better health and well being.  Aligned with correct posture, as you inhale, expand the Dan Tien (lower abdomen) about three finger widths below the belly button.  As you exhale, gently contract the Dan Tien.  *Yang, Zhen Duo, stated in a seminar that while learning Tai Chi, it is better for the beginner to concentrate on the movements.  The correct breathing patterns will follow.  A qualified instructor can help you.  There are also many different kinds kinds of breathing for Yoga and Martial Art routines.  My grandfather, Rev. P. J. Chilcote, used to say, "Deep breathing is the science of health!"  Walk about, sit in a chair or lie down and breathe!

C-Centering  Aligned and breathing deeply and naturally, concentrate on your Center Point.  This Dan Tien is also known as the Elixir Field.  This is a birthing place of all life and energy.  As you practice Tai Chi and Qigong, over time, your Dan Tien builds a reserve of qi ("Chee" energy), like a bank account.  My Tai Chi teacher, Jiong Gu feels, "If you have $5, spend $3 and put $2 in your Tai Chi bank account."  He means to not extend your entire energy in Tai Chi practice or practice to excess.  "All in balance."   Qigong (Chi Kung) means Energy Excellence or Energy Mastery.  Gong (Kung) Fu means "Excellence (Mastery) over Time."   Tai Chi is free of schedules or agendas of learning and experiencing.  Let it happen!

George suggests before Tai Chi practice, after alignment, breathing and concentration on center point to picture a white blackboard (dry erase board) and wipe all you have written or drawn on it clean and fresh.  Stand in relaxation with a totally clear mind to step into your Tai Chi window of practice and enjoyment of life.  Images or words may appear spontaneously on your white blackboard.  What are they? 

George adds the 3 M's of Tai Chi:  medication, meditation, martial skill.

Medication:  Tai Chi and Qigong practices (forms) are deeply involved with becoming healthier over time.  Many people including Jou, Tsung Hwa; Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming; and Paul Lam, M.D. have managed or overcome physical challenges to become whole in body, mind, and spirit.  Countless others feel benefit.  In 1997 before beginning Tai Chi practice, I could not raise my arms even to shoulder level due to chronic pain.  Today I am healthier than ever and enjoy life fully, surrounded by many Tai Chi friends, family, and pets.  Relaxing while exercising during Tai Chi practice infuses energy down to the cellular level.

Meditation:  Tai Chi can induce meditative states, When you practice with a clear mind and an open heart, the joy of peace of mind enters your world.  This sense of inner calm can radiate to all levels in your life.  During practice you may feel a dreamlike state of quiet meditation.  These peaceful states while your practice are also increasing range of motion, strength, and endurance in your body.  Mind becomes more centered, focused, and clear.  Goals are achieved.  Better balance between left and right brain functions may occur.  In my case, my left brain opened, allowing me to be able to write in an organized more analytical way.  One of my friends, a physician, had his right brain open to intuitive thinking after practicing Tai Chi forms. 

Martial Skill:  Tai Chi can also be practiced as a Martial Art.  A qualified teacher is necessary.  For a form practice student (non martial artist), awareness also increases and helps avoid accident or injury.  Better balance helped a friend of mine right herself and not fall backwards down steps while carrying groceries.  Another student became more aware in parking lots and took precautions.  Avoiding such situations is important plus following your intuition to "be there" or "not be there" as your feelings guide you.  The well-trained Martial Artist always looks for solutions to encounters without physical fighting.  Self confidence and assertiveness develops as we become grounded and clearly aware of our authentic selves and how to manage positive unselfish intent outward in our everyday lives. 

There are only extraordinary moments!  Tai Chi is our window of opportunity.  History of Yang Family Style Tai Chi and much more  No Ordinary Moments, The Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior books and more by gymnast and author, Dan Millman.  The New Earth, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  Free online "uncourse" and more.  Your Own Best Life, OWN Oprah Winfrey Network, also online.  Deep Truth by Gregg Braden, "A new world is opening before our eyes."  You Tube: The Technology of Emotion, Healing in Beijing No Medicine Hospital, "Healing is already here!"  Intent Leads Energy.  Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D, and Rev. Debra Basham, CHTP, NLP, HTt, RMT set your intention for healing "now."  purchase paintings and prints, inquire to receive Silver Butterfly, Create A Vision, free PDF E book via E-mail.

California Dunes photo by Rob

"Good Walking Leaves No Track Behind It," (Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu) photo by Emilie

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Autumn:  A Time of Gathering and Reflection

How can Tai Chi help?
In a class by the beach our teacher, Janet, explained there are three levels of Tai Chi practice:  Recreation, Relaxation, Transformation.

Notice that "recreation" is "re-creation" when we give our bodies, minds, and spirits a rest from the endless list of "must accomplish" activities and re-create a space for ourselves.  We regenerate and recharge needed energy reserves.  Tai Chi re-creation feels good as the body stretches and unwinds.  The mind centers itself.  Clear focus and awareness begin to develop in many areas of life.  When you practice Tai Chi in class as you become more comfortable, a few gentle moves can be included into a daily home routine.  Many Tai Chi students begin to write, paint, or sing, opening the creative heart-mind.  New Tai Chi friends appear.  Re-creation is here! 

As the student progresses, a sense of inner peace and well being begins to spread throughout the person.  Wholeness and connection is developing.  You may find your temper is not as quick.  Breathing is easier.  Sleep deepens and natural color appears in your face.  When you are working on the computer your attitude improves as frustration levels begin to change.  Kay says take a few deep breaths, get up and walk around a minute.  Say to yourself or out loud, "It's only a machine and I am in control!"  Now the students finds comfort increasing practice a little more than just 3-5 minutes a day outside of class.  Perhaps 10 minutes once or twice daily is better and easier now, as Tai Chi becomes a joy filled event.

Tai Chi "Trance-formation" is when Tai Chi becomes a way of life.  Tai Chi is a self-care daily health program and meditation combined.  "All is possible with the mind," Paul Lam, M.D. believes.  Tai Chi is strengthening the body and regenerating the spirit.  Creative energies and increased positive thinking may surprisingly open doors and windows of opportunity.  At this stage the student may practice one or several Tai Chi and/or Qigong forms fitted to the individual so that 20-30 minutes or more feels right.  Some may even want a quick review later in the day if they are in the stage of learning a new form.  Endurance, strength, and spiritual outreach connect to new levels, and enhanced enjoyment appears.  Rob thinks, "Tai Chi enters the entire arena of your life."  Intent leads energy, transform with Tai Chi. 

Tai Chi and Qigong are your exercises, designed by you for you!  You will be led to forms and exercises you need, what feels right for you is your path.  Tai Chi is not a substitute for qualified professional medical advice.  Consult a health care professional and qualified instructor.  "Tai Chi is free from competition and judgement.  All one energy in Tai Chi," states Jiong Gu, Tai Chi instructor and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  With Tai Chi and Qigong, the journey climbing the mountain and good company along the path makes the way much easier.  As we gaze from the mountain top, it's a beautiful sight!


Related Posts:  
Universe Shadows of Cranes  
Painting the Earth 
Carry Water Chop Wood 
 The Great Harvest ("Growing Home Again")

Dahlis Roy:  Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor

Fall Leaves, watercolor painting by Kay Wilson, Tai Chi Instructor, painting published with permission

Microclimate, photo by Rob, published with permission