Sunday, July 29, 2012
Mountain Top Tai Chi
How can I make the most of exciting travel plans?
"I'll pack Tai Chi to Go!"
Long trips have always been a physical challenge for me even as a child. How can I manage feelings of restlessness, anxiety, even pain and stiffness?
I began to prepare well in advance for two long trips by practicing coping skills suggested for attention deficit disorder. I visualized, wrote to do list, and consciously relaxed muscles and mind. I gained confidence as I pictured breezing effortlessly through airports.
Daily Tai Chi practice, physical meditation, based on *Tai Chi for Health programs created by Dr. Paul Lam topped my schedule. Dr. Lam's programs are easy to learn and follow with self-teaching DVDs. Best results happened with several short Tai Chi sessions daily. These exercises gave me fast acting pain relief plus time released qi (energy).
Acupressure points recommended by my Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine completed the picture. I use selected points after Tai Chi sessions and before cool down.
Travel day dawned chilly and grey as Paul and I drove to windy Chicago's O'Hare airport. Waiting for the shuttle bus in the damp chill, cold wind spread through me. Practicing Dr.Lam's "Open-Close" Tai Chi/Qigong exercise warmed me. It worked!
Travel is a blend of rush and wait. We whisked briskly through security, but faced a five hour boarding delay due to strong storms. In place of fidgeting (outward anxiety) or reading (going within), I consciously relaxed muscles and joints, deepened breathing, and visualized my Tai Chi form practice.
I Tai Chi walked gently up and down the crowded terminal picturing a cat as I placed my feet down softly on rock hard floors. Like a cat, I felt relaxed alertness. I smiled openly to myself as I heard and saw these words:
** "Become like a young kitten." "The cat is a Tai Chi master," Jou, Tsung Hwa.
"Relax, breathe, and think blue!" Thinking in colors is fun. Blue brings me great peace as I picture sky and water. I felt Tai Chi's meditation benefits kick in as I watched passengers hurry by or run frantically to catch that plane. I felt centered and calm.
The Flight of the Phoenix
It was 11PM in Chicago as Paul and I boarded. Too excited to sleep on the flight to Phoenix, I watched the jewels of stars above and strung pearls of city lights below etched in gold, silver, and turquoise.
Exercises from Dr. Lam's Tai Chi in Flight helped us stay limber. My favorite is raising the knee, supported by hands under the knee, to lift and give a gentle stretch to legs and back. When we landed in the middle of the night, we were free of stiffness and moved effortlessly up and out of our seats. I noticed much younger people struggled as they tried to stand up and exit.
The next morning came quickly after cut and paste sleep. As I peeked out through the window blinds, neon bright Arizona sunlight flooded my eyes. I opened the hotel curtains and reached for my sunglasses while viewing the street below and sharp southwestern mountains in the blue distance. I inhaled light and color.
Morning Tai Chi wake up concentrated on the first six movements of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Back Pain repeating cloud hands back and forth several times. I noticed my mind coming into sharp focus and feeling much qi (energy) flow for fast acting and long lasting results. Tai Chi for Health forms are easily cut and pasted into a small space such as a hotel room or lengthened as location and time schedules permit.
Later we united with our two grown daughters and their families for a joyous reunion lunch and a college graduation celebration for one of the girls. Walking through the sun dried heat to the ceremony, Paul and I easily kept up with young adults and our grandchild. Tai Chi builds stamina, a blend of play and rest.
Departure morning, back to the sunny airport, I watched planes take off and land while practicing Tai Chi walking. Airborn, Paul and I repeated Tai Chi in Flight stretching for a relaxed and enjoyable homecoming.
Road trip, a week later, the long trek back to Phoenix, Arizona began again. After driving to southern Illinois to pick up our son, in the thick heat of early evening, we drove on into the night. Crossing the Mississippi River by moonlight and spotting a barge on the historic river brought a moment of reflection and peace. We arrived, bone weary, in humid Tulsa, Oklahoma at 4:30 AM.
Next day, hazy sun painted dusty plains spotted with sagebrush and longhorn cattle. We practiced Tai Chi and stretched out at refreshing rest stops. Tai Chi kept us limber. Lunch in Tucumcari, New Mexico gave a panorama of colored mountains and stark sands. I watched and daydreamed as mesas, deserts, and tumbleweed blurred along while pondering similarities and differences of quick air flight vs. longer Earth view by car. Gratitude for both experiences became blended reality.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, fresh breeze blew as we practiced Tai Chi under shadows of dark blue mountains laced with silver clouds. As we rode into the southwestern velvet night, stars sparked brighter than belief.
A new day brought a wind down through mountainous Flagstaff and steep, lush green Oak Creek Canyon. On into Sedona, Arizona to view the Red Rocks reminded me of pioneers cutting paths through uncharted raw land: Zen and Now.
In Phoenix, our daughter's wedding was perfect! We noticed the desert heat was much more intense than on our first quicker trip. A short stay then into the car again for the long return home.
Mountain Top Tai Chi
On the way out of Phoenix, Arizona, we climbed high in the mountains. Morning sun toasted the view by painting rocks, sand, and shadows with brush stroke combinations of lavender, snow shadow blue, and sun ripened orange. Perfect stillness invited a Tai Chi experience. Fine gravel crunched underfoot as I practiced. Sunset Point Overlook on I-17 was/is "one perfect moment" in my memory bank.
On the drive home, I remembering practicing Tai Chi at 3 AM "Somewhere in Texas." We wound easily around Zen Time and No Schedule as we drove. Sleep came easily with relaxing cool down.
Tai Chi Travel
"Re-Creating" with Tai Chi PRN (as needed), coupled with relaxation strategies are part of a bargain round trip ticket. Bonus miles include sustained relaxed state and increased enjoyment of life: a balance of inner and outer harmony.
Homecoming is happy with freedom from discomfort, crash and burn emotions, and significant jet lag. ***Debra used Tai Chi in Flight DVD for flying to and from Thailand with excellent results! Tai Chi Travel works!
Tai Chi Travel 1-2-3
1) Relax: Ease muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints, clear mind of thoughts.
2) Breathe: Switch to deep breathing, feel centering and deep peace.
3) Think Blue: Visualize color/colors, scenery, or Tai Chi Forms.
Now: Practice Tai Chi on the Mountain!
Related Posts: My Healing Story (top tab, July 2012), Tai Chi Nurturing Life (Apr 2012), Recreate, Relax, Transform with Tai Chi and A-B-C's of Tai Chi (Nov 2012), Carry Water Chop Wood (June 2011), Universe, Shadows of Cranes and Color Y(our) World, (March 2011).
* http://www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/ Paul Lam, M.D., is a family practice physician in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Lam manages arthritis and can help others improve health as well with unique Tai Chi for Health programs. Free Newsletter, Articles, DVDs, music, workshops and more. This post is based on Tai Chi to Go, article from Dr. Lam's online newsletter, June 2006, reprinted with permission.
** http://www.taichifarm.org/ The Tao of Taijiquan and other books by Jou, Tsung Hwa, mathematician and Tai Chi Master.
http://www.drhallowell.com/ Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., expert advice includes Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction. Dr. Hallowell experiences ADD and suggests coping skills.
*** http://imaginehealing.info/ Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D and Rev. Debra Basham, CHTP, Executive Wellness Consultant, create ways to visualize your healing and help your pet heal as well.
http://dbasham.blogspot.com/ New blog posts are Meaning Conversation: Body Dialogue and Detach.
Photos: Mountain Top Tai Chi, photo by Paul
Oliver Cat, photo by Emilie
Friday, July 20, 2012
Paul said, "Your mind views the immediate rabbit!"
Meanwhile I saw the mental picture of a drawing Maddy made. I knew where the drawing was and retrieved it.
"Like a predator on the hunt, you view the immediate rabbit. If you look sideways to another rabbit, get distracted, or stop to think logically, you will not reach your goal of catching the immediate rabbit!"
"The rabbit represents your goal. It can be a long term or short term goal."
I focus on the immediate rabbit when I am at peak concentration to achieve my goal!
When is that? Through the years, including early school classes and beyond, my creative logical blend of clear focus generally seems to work best between the hours of 11 AM-3 PM. Before or after that physical time, my concentration seems to be in auto pilot, coasting or resting (recharging) mode. I am learning to make the most of my optimum physical and mental energies to catch the Immediate Rabbit!
Everyone has totally unique brain pathways of processing and storing information much like our personal computers, phones, web sites, blogs, social networks and more we custom design for us by us!
How can you better optimize catching the Immediate Rabbit?
Related Posts: Universe Shadows of Cranes, Steps to Achieve your Goal by Dr. Paul Lam (Mar 2011) Catching Up, and Grow Green, stimulate new neurons in your brain, (April 2011), and My Healing Story, new top tab on Out of the Blue (July 2012)
http://www.drhallowell.com/ Answers to Distraction, Delivered From Distraction and other books from Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. Dr. Hallowell majored in English in college, as a young medical student, he discovered his own challenges with Attention Deficit Disorder and reaches out to help others.
Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet. A young boy growing into adulthood writes about his personal experiences with Autism. Numbers, colors, images, designs and more shape a compelling read.
http://www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/ Dr. Paul Lam is a family practice physician in Sydney Australia. He developed arthritis at an early age and learned Tai Chi to manage his condition. Now he travels the world to introduce people of all ages to the benefits of Tai Chi practice. Research, articles, books, E-books, DVDs, music CDs, workshops, free newsletter
http://www.youtube.com/ Full Introduction to Tai Chi for Beginners and more
http://imaginehealing.info/ Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D, and Debra Basham, CHTP, Executive Wellness Consultant, help you paint vivid pictures created with own your imagination to encourage healing.
firstname.lastname@example.org Request Silver Butterfly Create A Vision, PDF free illustrated E-book. Paintings and prints available.
Eyeing the Rabbit, ink and pencil drawing by Maddy
Monday, July 9, 2012
"Spirit is the silent spaces between the thoughts,"
We travelers hopped the South Shore train to Chicago to enjoy a day at the Field Museum on a sunny summer morning. I had never been on a train before! The awe, majesty and power of trains always leaves me speechless.
Tai Chi practice had strengthened and balanced me for the trip. I was fully prepared. During the ride, I practiced some Tai Chi in Flight by Paul Lam, M.D., to aid comfort and range of motion. When we were directed to "move up" several cars to consolidate space and facilitate exiting, I had no trouble navigating the swiftly swaying machine.
Viewed from the train, Downtown Chicago buildings blossomed up like concrete and steel flowers. Then we exited the train and briskly walked to the museum in the bright sunshine and warm breeze. There were long concrete steps to climb up into the Field Museum. Again, Tai Chi prepared me. We quickly bought our tickets and entered the special exhibit The Horse (2011). My whole being lit up! First I saw the mock ups of prehistoric horses with three toes! They had tan and grey patterns with black leg barring mimicking our Tomcat Tom's coloring and markings! I remembered reading that some dinosaurs may have had red/orange color with orange ringed tails. I thought about our two golden cats, both sporting orange rings on their furry tails. I absorbed images rather than thought/words.
I turned, I saw it. My heart smiled! One of the horse head panels from Chauvet Caves in Southern France was reproduced in full color along with some horse art from other caves. A panel of four "living" horse's heads and shoulders simultaneously froze and warmed me with awe and wonder. The artist painted various ear positions, eye and muzzle expressions making each horse unique, personalities revealed for the viewer. I felt rather than saw. The three dimensional effects went way beyond the skill of known "artists" 40,000 years ago. Chauvet cave paintings were created approximately 35,000 years before the the art work of Ancient Egypt appeared. All are fully alive in space and timing.
We slowly wound around the horse exhibit. Coming into view were several original Currier and Ives lithographs. One displayed a portrait of Sham, the Godolphin Arabian. Time stopped! Sham was a much darker bay color than I had imagined. I lingered and felt details and skills of intricate design, becoming one with the horse.
After the intense horse show, we were ready for a lunch rest at the museum. Refreshed, we entered the Egyptian Rooms, showing reproductions of tomb paintings, hieroglyphs, sculpture, jewelry and more. Another artist, a museum worker, told me the Egyptian artists used egg tempera and water color based paints for vivid color and long lasting effects. Of course, I loved the sculptures of Bastet, cat goddess, the most. She is sometimes shown with kittens. Royal Temple cats wore collars of precious metals and jewels. I pictured Chessie, our own Egyptian model, stemming from small African Wild Cats living along the Nile in ancient times. Chessie, sporting her earrings and ruling cats and people in a Temple of ancient Egypt, is easy to see.
Breezing through the taxidermy exhibit always draws me near as I saw the Cheetah family and Snow Leopard cubs with painted backdrops setting the sage. I felt again power of deer, fox, wolf, and many birds. Again I felt stamina and enjoyment without fatigue thanks to Tai Chi practice.
"I want to go to the gift shop!"
On our way out of the museum, "Here it is!"
Oh, how fun to view all the treasures and wander through the "everythings." In my palm, I rested a small hand painted statue of Bastet made in Egypt. I resisted her, knowing so many sacred items are already waiting at home. I stopped and picked up a Hieroglyphic Book with basic meanings and translations. Maddy bought the book!
Taking the town bus then walking up to the Millennium Park in Chicago was fun on the run as we prepared to enter the train's pick up point. Millennium Park has beautiful peaceful gardens, a Zen moment in a busy concrete jungle. The train was welcome rest as we sank into the large seats. Home in time for sunset was icing on the cake for a day filled with space and timing.
Maddy and I enjoyed leafing through the Hieroglyph book. Maddy quickly picked up the techniques and meanings. Her work shows personality in the figure of "cat" plus icons like "goddess" and "animal" added to a name.
"You are more than the best you can imagine,"
Mrs. Harris is a Sand Cat (June 2012), The Little Chessie That Could, more fun with hieroglyphs (Sept 2011), Welcoming Mrs. Harris (May 2011), What Kind of Animal Are You? (Jan 2011)
http://www.deepakchopra.com/ quotes from Deepak Chopra's 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey as shown on www.oprah.com/OWN, The Best of the Oprah Winfrey Show.
http://www.fieldmuseum.org/ Field Museum Chicago IL USA
King of the Wind, The Story of the Godolphin Arabian by Margaret Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis.
http://www.amazon.com/ Write Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Angela McDonald, fun with Hieroglyphs.
http://www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/ Dr. Paul Lam, a family practice physician in Sydney, Australia creates Tai Chi for Health programs. Articles, research, DVDs, music, workshops and more
email@example.com Silver Butterfly Create A Vision is a Tai Chi journey with a mystic twist. Request free illustrated copy PDF format. Paintings and prints are available.
Silver Tower, Chicago, photo by Emilie
Chauvet Caves ink sketch by Dahlis of horse panel (positions of horses vary from original cave painting)
Hieroglyphs by Maddy: Mrs. Harris, our orange cat, (Ms. Hrrs + cat emblem.) Egyptian Hieroglyphs have no vowels.
Madison (Mdsn + Goddess emblem)
Dahlis (Dhls + Animal Skin emblem)
Monday, July 2, 2012
Language is possible without writing.
The first communication was art! Carved, scratched, sculpted, and painted in caves, on cliffs, and inscribed on bones, stones and shells. Art forms were used as oracles, shamanic rituals, and even star maps.
Taurus the Bull was prolifically painted on cave walls such as Chauvet and Lascaux caves in France, and Altamira in Spain. Totem symbols of a successful hunt or more? Egyptian tombs and Cretian art showed many bull paintings. Why?
Parade of Stars
Frank Edge, an astronomer, "saw" beyond the animal paintings and figures noting that the "dots" on the art work actually represented star maps of the sky at that time! Lascaux Cave's Hall of Bulls (15,000 B.C.) features the dominant bull (Taurus) plus Pleiades, Orion and Gemini, Leo and Virgo for a star parade of our current Zodiac and a few others all around the horizon of the cave in a circular shape.
Altamira in Spain (15,500 B.C) displays an entire painted star map sky as you look up to view it! It is the picture of the Summer Solstice sky in that era: a sun path, a spiritual journey through time.
Later in Egypt 4-6000 years ago, Taurus the Bull, was also pictographed into a round head (sun) and horns above his head (crescent moon). This symbol for Taurus ("Taw-ruse") is his Zodiac emblem. The globe with horns definitely connotes a bull's head! The head and horns may have gradually evolved into the letter A. The alphabet came along about 3,500 years ago. Egyptian tombs and murals from Crete showed many bull paintings, symbols of strength painted during the Taurian Age.
Chartres Cathedral in France, 700 years ago, sports the Zodiac glowing in the 12th century glass. There is Taurus again, shining pink, in his glass prism! He stares at us with a haughty gaze. A Zodiac appears in a Cathedral?
Paint It Forward
I love to experiment with cave painting! Imagining myself as a cave artist, I have fun playing with color and texture.
My best inspirations come from Chauvet Cave in southern France. "African" animals roamed freely there 40,000 years ago. There are many big cats painted there including The Lion Panel, showing 74 racing lionesses. Joining in on the walls are the ever popular bulls, dynamic horses, and more.
Many animals are close up heads and shoulders showing realistic expressions, emotions, and three dimensional muscular structure instead of stick figure pictographs. Bold sure strokes carve out the story boards. Painting skills are way ahead of their time. Chauvez paintings date 30,500 years before Egyptian Tomb art! Master Artists taught children secrets of painting! Is there a Cheetah painted in Chauvet Cave?
It was also in Chauvet that the first "domestic" dog paw print was found on the cave floor along with his four year old child companion's print as they ran and played together. The wild wolf print (top of sketch) is longer in shape than the dog's rounder paw print.
Are we rewinding back into a picture world? We love our endless photos, files, and images, "visions unlimited." How great is this?
The Painted WOR(L)D!
This is the One Hundredth post on Out of the Blue!
Already Done (June 2012), Running With Horses (Mar 2012), The Great Harvest (Oct 2011), The Little Chessie That Could, fun with hieroglyphs and Starstruck (Sept 2011), By An Unfaltering Trust (July 2011), What Kind of Animal Are You? (Jan 2011)
Chauvet Caves, Southern France
www.donsmaps.com/chauvetcave.html scroll down a bit to the "Leopard" who really has Cheetah's round spots and slender body type.
http://www.science.org/ Blog comments by Giles Tosello, an artist and scholar of prehistory, believes one of the artists may have been a young woman. To paraphrase: The fluid feminine lines and details of closeup views suggest strong emotional impact. The artist hid in the grass and observed the predators then painted the scenes from memory to speak a silent painted story.
Lascaux, Dardogne, France discovered in 1940, Zodiac Star Map and Altamira, Spain Full Sky Star Map. Ancient Star Pictures article by Laura Lee.
Simcha Jacobovici, award winning investigative journalist, The Naked Archaeologist TV program and http://www.youtube.com/ excerpts and full episodes. Previews, Who Invented the Alphabet, True Blue and The Return of the Hillazon (Tekhelet, sacred blue color)
Ancient Writings and Practices
Write You Own Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Angela McDonald. Scholarly fun for all ages.
The Complete I Ching, the Definitive Translation by Taoist Master Alfred Huang. I Ching symbols were originally carved on oracle bones. Discover deep meanings behind the symbols.
T'ai Chi Ch'uan and I Ching, A Choreography of Body and Mind by Da Liu. How does Tai Chi practice connect with ancient symbols?
http://imaginehealing.info/ Imagination is another dimension in healing with Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D., and Debra Basham, Executive Wellness Consultant, CHTP, NLP, HTt, RMT.
Retreat is latest post on Yellow Brick Road, Your Path to Heart and Health
firstname.lastname@example.org Request free illustrated E-book, Silver Butterfly Create A Vision, the story behind Out of the Blue. Paintings and Prints are available.
Crazy Horse oil painting cave style by Dahlis Roy flanked by Chinese classical writing done by a friend and natural wood
Wolf (top) and Dog print ink sketch by Dahlis
Leopard Shell, gift from Susanne, plus Time torn from a magazine. Collage photo by Dahlis