Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Season

Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
Winter Spring Summer Fall
January April July October
February May August November
March June September December 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Place is Profound Individuality

"I can only meditate when I am walking.  When I stop, I cease to think; my mind works only with my legs." 
-  Jean Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” 
-   Henry David Thoreau

"The silence of landscape conceals vast presence. Place is not simply location. A place is a profound individuality. With complete attention, landscape celebrates the liturgy of the seasons, giving itself unreservedly to the passion of the goddess. The shape of a landscape is an ancient and silent form of consciousness. Mountains are huge contemplatives. Rivers and streams offer voice; they are the tears of the earth's joy and despair. The earth is full of soul ….. Civilization has tamed place. Left to itself, the curvature of the landscape invites presence and the loyalty of stillness."  4
-   John O'Donohue, Anam Cara

"To find new things, take the path you took yesterday." 
-   John Burroughs

"Hiroshi Nose, M.D., Ph.D, a professor of sports medical sciences at Sinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, who has enrolled thousands of older Japanese citizens in an innovative, five-month-long program of brisk, interval-style walking (three minutes of fast walking followed by three minutes of slower walking, repeated 10 times).  The results have been striking.  Dr. Nose reported that "Physical fitness ― maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength ― increased by about 20 percent, which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training.  The walker's symptoms of lifestyle related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent, while their depression scores dropped by half." 
-  Reported by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times Magazine, "What's the Single Best Exercise?", 2011

Monday, July 28, 2014

Vacation Trip to Newport, Oregon

We went on vacation to the Oregon coast.  We traveled from Gold's Beach to Newport.  We camped at South Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon.  Cool, mostly clear skies, and windy along the coastal region.

On the first day we drove north up Interstate 5 to Grants Pass.  Then we drove west on the Bear Mountain Coastal Route to Gold's Beach.  We stayed at Jot's Resort on the north side of the harbor at Gold's Beach.   

We joined our daughter's family, the Flinn's, for camping at South Beach in Newport.   We played each day at a different beach along the coast.  

Yesterday, we came home.  We went from Newport to Waldport, then east along the Alsea River for 40 miles to the small burg of Alsea.  Then, we drove east to Monroe through some dense rainforest like environments.  Then, we drove south on Interstate 5 for 370 miles to Red Bluff. 

I will post some pictures later.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 52

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 52

"The beginning of the universe, when materialized, is considered to be a mother.
When a man finds the mother, he will know the children, accordingly.
Even though he knows the children, he still clings to the mother:
Therefore, although his body wanes, he never perishes.
The person who shuts his mouth and closes his doors
Will never perish.
If he opens his mouth and increases his affairs,
He will never be saved.
The person who sees the tiniest thing possesses clear vision,
The person who adheres to the weak possesses strength.
Use your light, but dim your brightness,
In this way you will not do yourself any harm.
This is called following the eternal Tao."
-  Translated by Chou-Wing Chohan, Chapter 52  

"While in the world gain possession of the Life-Spring in order that you may become a World-Mother.
When you have attained to Motherhood you will know your children.
When you know your children you will retain your Motherhood.
Then, though the body may disappear, You will not be hurt.
Close the door of the mouth,
Shut the doors of the senses,
Throughout life your body will not be fatigued.
Open your mouth,
Increase your business affairs,
Throughout life your body will not be safe.
To perceive the small is called clear vision.
To guard the weak is called strength.
Follow the Light, you will reflect its radiance.
Neglect the Inner Life, your body will meet with calamity.
This is called the eternal heritage."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 52

"The beginning of the Universe, when manifested, may be regarded as its Mother.
When a man has found the Mother, he will know the children accordingly;
Though he has known the children, he still keeps to the Mother:
Thus, however his body may decay, he will never perish.
If he shuts his mouth and closes his doors,
He can never be exhausted.
If he opens his mouth and increases his affairs,
He can never be saved.
To see the minuteness of things is called clarity of sight.
To keep to what is weak is called power.
Use your light, but dim your brightness;
Thus you will cause no harm to yourself.
This is called following the eternal Tao."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 52  

天下有始, 以為天下母. 
既得1其母, 以知其子.
既知其子, 復守其母.
塞其兌, 閉其門, 終身不勤. 
開其兌, 濟其事, 終身不救. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52  

tian xia you shi, yi wei tian xia mu.
ji de qi mu, yi zhi qi zi.
ji zhi qi zi, fu shou qi mu. 
mo shen bu dai.
se qi dui, bi qi men, zhong shen bu qin.
kai qi dui, ji qi shi, zhong shen bu jiu.
jian xiao yue ming.
shou rou yue qiang.
yong qi guang.
fu gui qi ming. 
wu yi shen yang. 
shi wei xi chang.
-  Hanyu Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 52  

"This world must have begun in certain way;
We may thenceforth consider it the origin (mother) of our world;
Once we manage to ascertain the origin, we could [apply it] to study its offsprings;
After we learn more about the offsprings, we may reciprocally eke out our knowledge about the mother (the origin);
This is my never-ending life-long quest.
If paths and openings of one's connections [to the outside world] are blocked, he will never be aroused to do anything in life;
If paths and openings of one's connections [to the outside world] are unlocked and he is properly motivated, he will never cease [from the quest described above].
One who perceives subtleties is brilliant;
One who maintains humility is strong.
One who would use [the light of Tao] to illuminate his [potential] brilliance will thus leave behind nothing that could cause misfortune to later generations.
A person, who achieves all of the above described fulfillment, is what I called the person with embodiment of the perpetual [Te]."
-  Translated by Lee Org, Chapter 52  

“Realizing the interplay of the Tao way of life
and the virtue of nuturing all things under heaven
will introduce you to the primal mother 
The mother of the world
resting peacefully with the mother
will introduce you to her sons and daughters
The sons and daughters of the world
these children can be exhausting
and though they mean no harm
trying to follow or control them
will only bring great danger to you

To be safe
rest peacefully with the mother
gently close your eyes
and look inward
softly direct your eyes
to listen within
lightly close your mouth
raise your tongue to its roof
and quietly savor the interior
gently lift your crown
sit firm with a relaxed hold
on your bodymind
and let her love
fill you up
you will never be empty

chasing children
brings calamity
no matter
how hard
you try
to follow
or grasp them
the whole universe is in the palm
of your hand
but without
you cannot see it
the real world is not open
to the rational mind
the ancient child asks
when you have rested sufficiently
in the arms of the primal mother
and you vision begins to clear
what occurs
it is an unexpected sense of making
that first arises within the bodymind
then you are engulfed in a benevolent flame
that outlines rather than burns
and I do not know if I am
the source or the witness
the senses play
leaping to and fro
mischievously acting against their nature
emotions of comfort and satisfaction swell
so that even the harshest rain
feels like a lover’s kiss
resting deeper
you fell as if an unseen enemy
has been vanquished
and life courses through you limbs
as the warrior’s belt collects you
the connection to the Tao source and way of life
becomes punctuated and definite
possessed of a wholly benevolent clarity
language leaves you
and a light and sensitive energy collects at your
visions cascade upon you so rapidly
that it becomes impossible
to divide or discern
what we normally regard as real
death becomes impossible
fire and force penetrate deeply
within you bodymind
and a new truth shapes you
into someone altogether different
you begin to breathe
the Tao way of life
as true respiration
within a quickening
that shines out
for all to see
spinning out of the quickening
you understand the mother’s children
you sing and dance
you paint and play
you look at the palm of your hand and
you see
you can still make mistakes
you can still be confused
you can still misstep
but you will always have the eyes of the Tao
should you ever see yourself as separate from it
you will cease
to see
-  Translation and Interpretation by the Reverend Venerable John Bright-Fey, Chapter 52

"Todo cuanto existe tuvo un Origen Común.
Este Origen es la madre del Universo.
Quien conoce a la madre
conoce a los hijos.
Quien conoce a los hijos
preserva a la madre
y su vida no correrá peligro.
Quien tapa los orificios,
y cierra las puertas,
vivirá sin problemas.
Quien abre los orificios,
y aumenta sus trabajos,
vivirá su vida asediado.
Ser lúcido es ver lo ínfimo.
Guiarse por lo flexible otorga fortaleza.
Usar la luz,
retornar y restituir la Iluminación.
No abandonar la vida de uno a la calamidad.
De esta manera, se practica la eternidad."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 52

"The source of life
Is as a mother.
Be fond of both mother and children but know the mother dearer
And you outlive death.
Curb your tongue and senses
And you are beyond trouble,
Let them loose
And you are beyond help.
Discover that nothing is too small for clear vision,
Too insignificant for tender strength
Use outlook
And insight,
Use them both
And you are immune:
For you have witnessed eternity."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 52  

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tao Te Ching English Language Corncordance by Gerold Claser.  An excellent English language concordance providing terms, chapter and line references, and the proximal English language text.  No Chinese language characters or Wade-Giles or Pinyin Romanizations.  Based on the translation by John H. McDonald, available on the Internet in the public domain.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tai Chi Ball Qigong

Martial Arts, physical culture, and Qigong enthusiasts can benefit from using a medicine ball when doing exercises.  There are many routines developed by Taijiquan and Qigong masters using a medicine ball.   Qigong Ball exercisers can get into a calm mode, mellow their mood, and go with the Flow. 

Medicine Ball Training and Exercises: Bibliography, Links, Resources
.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo.  A general introduction to the use of medicine balls in exercise programs. 

I developed my own medicine ball routine called:
Magic Pearl Qigong. 

Magic Pearl Qigong, Part I, Movements 1-8
.   Instructions, Bibliography, Links, Handouts, Resources, Mythological Associations, Lore.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo. 

The Magic Pearl Qigong can be a very vigorous physical culture routine if you increase the weight of the ball, lower the stances, and increase the number of repetitions of each movement.  Serious Qigong Ball enthusiasts use a very light wooden ball, move slowly, stay relaxed, sink, play.  

In addition, upper body strength and athletic fitness is also be improved by practicing longer Taijiquan Forms using weapons like the saber, sword, cane, and staff. 

Tai Chi Ball Qigong: for Health and Martial Arts.  By Yang Jwing-Ming and David Grantham.  Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, YMAA Publication Center, 2010.  Index, glossary, bibliography, appendices, 301 pages.  ISBN: 1594391998.  The best book on the subject.  Linked to the two instructional DVDs listed below.  VSCL.

Taji Ball Qigong Course.   By Yang, Jwing-Ming, Ph.D.  Courses 1 and 2.  YMAA Publication Center, 2006.  180 minutes.  1 DVD, NTSC.  Directed by Yang Jwing-Ming and David Silver.   ASIN:B000EHT3DY.   VSCL. 
    "Deepen Your Tai Chi Training with Taiji Ball Qigong. Taiji Ball training is common practice in both external and internal martial arts in China. It can strengthen the torso, condition the muscles, and increase physical power by using the mind to lead the Qi. In Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), Taiji Ball Qigong training was once a major training tool to enhance Pushing Hands ability. However, due to its secrecy, fewer and fewer people have learned it. Today the art of Taiji Ball training is almost unknown. In Course 1, Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming teaches fundamental Taiji Ball breathing techniques, and 16 basic patterns of stationary and moving Taiji Ball Circling, both Vertical and Horizontal. Breathing patterns demonstrated: Wuji breathing Yongquan breathing Laogong breathing Four Gates breathing Taiji Grand Circulation breathing Course 2 focuses on 16 basic patterns of stationary and moving Taiji Ball Rotating, both Vertical and Horizontal. Dr. Yang offers detailed instruction as students demonstrate in the classroom, accompanied by an easy-to-follow demonstration of each pattern shown in a lush outdoor setting, with beautiful classical Chinese music. Regular Qigong practice accelerates the health benefits of Taiji. You'll enjoy reduced stress, a stronger immune system, and a deeper awareness of breath and body coordination. This authoritative guide can be used with any style of Taijiquan, and it is a great way for anyone to energize the body, raise the spirit, and deepen your understanding of Qigong and Taiji. DVD features: Over 100 Chapter Markers . Narration: English and French. Multi-Language Menus and Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish. Over 1 hour of additional DVD-only content. Hidden DVD-Outtakes bloopers Segment. Interactive YMAA Product catalog with Previews of All Other YMAA Video Titles."   


Taji Ball Qigong Course.   By Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.  Courses 3 and 4.  YMAA Publication Center, 2007.  200 minutes.  1 DVD, NTSC.   ASIN:B000NVRONM.   Featuring: Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, Ramel Rones, Aaron Damus, Kathy Yang, Ben Warner and Richard Krupp.  Directed by David Silver.  MGC.  "Deepen Your Taiji with Taiji Ball Qigong. Taiji Ball training can strengthen the torso, condition the muscles, and teach the practitioner to use the mind to lead the Qi. In Taijiquan, Taiji Ball training was once a major training tool to enhance Pushing Hands ability, but it is rarely taught in modern times. This multi-language DVD by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming contains two complete video courses, and builds upon the foundation taught in the Taiji Ball Qigong Courses 1 & 2 DVD. Dr. Yang offers you detailed instruction as you follow along with a YMAA class lesson. In Course 3, Dr Yang teaches 16 patterns of Taiji Ball Wrap-Coiling, both Vertical and Horizontal. Course 4 focuses on solo and partner applications, which help to develop coiling and neutralizing taiji skills. You will learn several Self-practice exercises: Flying Dragon Plays with the Ball. Taiji Ball Along the Edge. and 2-person Taiji Ball partner drills. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Over 100 Scene Selections. Narration: English. Multi-Language Menus and Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish. Interactive YMAA Product catalog with Previews of All Other YMAA Video Titles."   VSCL. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Returning to the Source is Serenity

"Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of things, but contemplate their return.
Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don't realize the source, you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.

Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready."
-  Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 16, Translated by Stephen Mitchell

"Even before I could speak, I remember crawling through blueberry patches in the wild meadows on our hillsides.  I quickly discovered Nature was filled with Spirit; I never saw any separation between Spirit and Nature.  Much later I discovered our culture taught there was supposed to be some kind of separation - that God, Spirit and Nature were supposed to be divided and different.  However, at my early age it seemed absolutely obvious that the church of the Earth was the greatest church of all; that the temple of the forest was the supreme temple.  When I went to the sanctuary of the mountain, I found Earth's natural altar - Great Spirit's real shrine.  Years later I discovered that this path of going into Nature, bonding deeply with it, and seeing Spirit within Nature - God, Goddess, and Great Spirit - was humanity's most ancient, most primordial path of spiritual cultivation and realization."
-  John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below

"In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like.  The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku.   ...  Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment." 
-  Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master , Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31 

The Three Step Practice

"First, come into the present. Flash on what’s happening with you right now. Be fully aware of your body, its energetic quality. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions.

Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest if you find that helpful. This is a way of accepting yourself just as you are in that moment, a way of saying, “This is my experience right now, and it’s okay.”

Then go into the next moment without any agenda."
-  Pema Chodron, 2012

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Those That Touch the Sky

"Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life."
-   Krishnamurti

Trees: Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Lore

"Larger and finer meanings are read into the older legends of the plants, and the universality of certain myths is expressed in the concurrence of ideas in the  beginnings of the great religions.   One of the first figures in the leading cosmologies is a tree of life guarded by a serpent.  In the Judaic faith this was the tree in the garden of Eden; the Scandinavians made it an ash, Ygdrasil;  Christians usually specify the tree as an apple, Hindus as a soma, Persians as a homa, Cambodians as a talok; this early tree is the vine of Bacchus, the snake-entwined caduceus of Mercury, the twining creeper of the Eddas, the bohidruma of Buddha, the fig of Isaiah, the tree of Aesculapius with the serpent around his trunk." 
-   Charles M. Skinner, Myths and Legends of Flowers, Trees, Fruits and Plants, 1911    

"Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence.  And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky.  For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual existence."
-  Kim Taplin,  Tongues in Trees, 1989, p. 14.     

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chapters of Time

Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo

"To these delights of a garden, age may add a further interest which can hardly be distinguished from beauty, for the mind, at least with those who have the historic instinct, is always longing to be connected with the past, and dreading for itself confinement upon the plane of time, delights in evidences of the long continuance of nations, families and institutions, in hale and vigorous old age, in long-settled peace beyond the turn of Fortune's wheel, the 'scornful dominion of accident.'  Restfulness is the prevailing note of an old garden; in this fairy world of echo and suggestion where the Present Age never comes but to commune with the Past, we feel the glamour of a Golden Age, of a state of society just and secure which has grown and blossomed as the rose."
-  Sir George Sitwell, On the Making of Gardens, 1909  

"Only the ephemeral is of lasting value."
-   Ionesco

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dancing Puts a Smile on Your Face

Here are some young, trim, and athletic ladies doing a nice dance routine - Gangnam Style.  Great exercise.  Lots of hip movement.  Lovely long hair.  "Hey, sexy lady!"  Ah, to be young and full of provocative liveliness ...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Improve Your Health by Walking More and Walking Faster

"There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It's the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.
Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes."
American Heart Association, The Benefits of Walking

Ways of Walking  Hundreds of quotations, sayings, poems, quips, and insights about walking.  

"Walking is one of the simplest and easiest ways to get the exercise you need in order to be healthy—and almost anyone can do it. Walking can strengthen bones, tune up the cardiovascular system, and clear a cluttered mind. This uncomplicated but important activity continues to attract researchers, reports the March 2011 issue of the Harvard Health Letter. Recent research indicates that:  Later in life, walking becomes as much an indicator of health as a promoter of it. After age 65, how fast you walk may predict how long you have to live. Walking, or gait, has long been recognized as a proxy for overall health and has been measured in many studies. Researchers have found a remarkably consistent association between faster walking speed and longer life."
-  Harvard Medical School, Research Points to Even More Health Benefits of Walking


Friday, July 11, 2014

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 53

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 53

"Ah, that I were wise enough to follow the great Tao!
Administration is a great undertaking.
The great Tao is extremely simple, but the people prefer the complex ways.
While the palace is extremely well appointed, the fields may be full of tares, and the granaries may be empty.
To dress grandly, to carry sharp swords, to eat and drink excessively, and to amass great wealth,
this I call stylish theft.
That it is not Tao is certain."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 53 

"If I were possessed of the slightest knowledge, traveling on the great Way,
My only fear would be to go astray.
The great Way is quite level,
but the people are much enamored of mountain trails.
The court is thoroughly deserted,
The fields are choked with weeds,
The granaries are altogether empty.
Still there are some who wear clothes with fancy designs and brilliant colors,
sharp swords hanging at their sides,
are sated with food,
overflowing with possessions and wealth.
This is called "the brazenness of a bandit."
The brazenness of a bandit is surely not the Way!"
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 53   

"If, in some unexpected manner, I
As one endowed with knowledge should appear,
To walk according to the mighty Tao,
T'is only bold display that I should fear;
For plain and simple ways Great Tao suggest,
But people love cross-paths and by-ways best.
The halls and courts are splendid, but the fields
Uncultivated are, the granaries
Empty; to put on ornamented robes,
And keen-edged swords, to gorge with gluttonies,
To pile up wealth; this, robbers' pride I call,
But, of a surety, not Great Tao at all."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 53  

"If I had but little knowledge I should, in walking on a broad way,
Fear getting off the road.
Broad ways are extremely even,
But people are fond of bypaths.
The courts are exceedingly splendid,
While the fields are exceedingly weedy,
And the granaries are exceedingly empty.
Elegant clothes are worn,
Sharp weapons are carried,
Food and drinks are enjoyed beyond limit,
And wealth and treasures are accumulated in excess.
This is robbery and extravagance.
This is indeed not Tao."
-  Translated by Wing-Tsit Chan, 1963, Chapter 53   


-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 53

shih wo chieh jan yu chih.
hsing yü ta tao.
wei shih shih wei.
ta tao shên yi erh min hao ching.
chao shê ch'u. 
t'ien shên wu.
ts'ang shên hsü.
fu wên ts'ai. 
tai li chien.
yen yin shih.
ts'ai huo yu yü. 
shih wei tao k'ua.
fei tao yeh tsai.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 53

"If I had the smallest seed of wisdom,
I would walk the Great Way,
And my only fear
would be to lose my way from it.
The Great Way is very smooth and straight;
And yet the people like better the complicated paths.
The courtyard is very clean and well decorated,
(Their cities appear powerful.)
But the fields are very weedy and wild,
And the grain silo's are very empty!
(But they have lost the skill to feed themselves.)
They wear beautiful clothes,
(They value appearances over substance.)
They carry destructive weapons,
They use the tools of destruction to get their needs.)
They over fill themselves with food and drink,
(They indulge themselves in the fruits of the conquered.)
They own more riches than they can use!
(They are greedy.)
They are the messengers of lawlessness!
As for Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
what do they know about it?"
-  Translated by John Trottier, Chapter 53

"Quisiera poseer la sabiduría
para poder marchar por el Gran Camino
sin temor a desviarme.
El Gran Camino es llano y recto,
pero la gente elige los senderos tortuosos.
Cuando la corte imperial se adorna de esplendor,
los campos se llenan de malas hierbas
y los graneros quedan vacíos.
Los barones y reyes visten ropas lujosas,
Tienen mas posesiones de las que llegan a usar,
se hartan de bebida y de manjares,
Acumulan tesoros y riquezas en exceso.
Son gobernantes-ladrones.
Robar y ostentar no es seguir al Tao."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 53

"If I have a grain of wisdom,
I walk along the great Tao
And fear only to stray.
The great Tao is easy indeed,
But the people choose by-paths.
The court is very resplendent;
Very weedy are the fields,
And the granaries very empty.
They wear gaudy clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
Exceed in eating and drinking,
Have riches more than they can use.
Call them robber-braggarts:
They are anti-Tao indeed!"
-  Translated by Herrymoon Maurer, Chapter 53  

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tao Te Ching English Language Corncordance by Gerold Claser.  An excellent English language concordance providing terms, chapter and line references, and the proximal English language text.  No Chinese language characters or Wade-Giles or Pinyin Romanizations.  Based on the translation by John H. McDonald.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chen Taijiquan Saber Form of 23 Movements

Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan Saber (Dao, Broadsword) Form.  23 Movement Form.

Chen Style Taijiquan Broadsword Form, List of 23 Movements (PDF)

This 23 Movement Single Broadsword (Dao) Form was Created by Chen Zhaopei (1893-1972), 18th Generation Chen Style Taijiquan Grandmaster, in the 1930's.   

   "The Chen-style Single Broadsword Routine is a kind of the Chen-style Taiji short weapons.  There are thirteen movement in the routine, so it is called the 'thirteen broadswords.'  From 1930 to 1938, the famous Taijiquan master, the Chen-Family descendent of the eighteenth generation, Chen Zhaopei had added nine movements at the basic of original routine during teaching Taijiquan in Nanjing city.  So it became the popular Taiji Single Broadsword routine in Chenjiagou village. 
    The Chen-style Taiji Single Broadsword routine is short and refined, the usages of the forms are clear.  There are thirteen kinds of rolling, closing, pricking, blocking, cutting, hacking, scooping, cross-cutting, twisting, shaking, supporting, slicing and tilting.  They really reflect the characteristics of the Chen-style Taiji Single Broadsword, combining hardness and softness in harmony, equaling stress the quickness and slowness, dodging and transfers, relaxing and nimble, springing and shaking, sticking to each other without being separated, twine to neutralize the force.  It remains the momentum of liking a fierce tiger and cutting forcefully to the Hua Mountain.  It's short weapon, but it can be used as a long weapon."
-   Chen Zenglei, Chen Style Taijiquan, Sword and Broadsword, 2003, p. 322 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Hsing I Chuan Five Animals

"Dragon Body - This imaginary beast is common in Chinese fables and folklore. The dragon could fly high, riding the mists, contracting and twisting it's body like a snake through the clouds. Xingyi places high importance on this for every transitional movement in the art should embody the spirit of the dragon, expanding and contracting, striking out with mystical prowess.

Chicken Leg - This is one of the most basic fundamentals of the art of Xingyiquan. A chicken can run very quickly and stop suddenly, keeping it's weight on one leg, ready to peck. Xingyi's five elements all encompass this theory by stepping forward onto one leg before it issues it's strike much like a chicken does. By mastering this, you can advance, retreat, turn and change forms very quickly because the weight is always ready to transfer.

Eagle Claw - While the hands are relaxed and held in gentle curves when in transitional movements, when striking, they must become like the fearless bird of prey's attacking talons, digging and grasping with an iron grip. This is especially seen in the beginning movement of Pi Quan when the hands draw down towards the Dan Tian. This is also very important in Xingyi, for many of the art's applications consist of grabbing with one hand while simultaneously striking with the other.

Bear Shoulders - Bears are large animals that can can generate a great deal of power from their great rounded shoulders. The Xingyi practitioner must mimic this to obtain maximum power in his art. By rounding the shoulders and hollowing the chest, the body actually "gets behind" the arms and hands, so when you strike, the power doesn't come from the arms, but from the whole body.

Tiger's Head Embrace - The tiger is a very regal beast. They are powerful and strong animals that exude the finest and most fearsome aspects of nature. In Xingyi, the head must be held erect and slightly back, but spiritually, it must also capture the imposing manner of the tiger, letting it's blank cunning show in your eyes and it's ability to pounce.

- Xonghua Xinyiquan

Xing Yi Quan (Hsing I Chuan): Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes, Notes. By Mike Garofalo.

Xing Yi Quan Xue: The Study of Form-Mind Boxing.   By Sun Lu Tang.  Translated by Albert Liu.  Compiled and edited by Dan Miller.  Burbank, CA, Unique Publications, 2000.  ISBN: 0865681856.  312 pages.  Includes a biography of Sun Lu Tang (pp.1-41) by Dan Miller.  The work was encouraged and supported by Sun Jian Yun, and an interview with her is included.  Translations by Tim Cartmell, Gu Feng Mei, and Huang Guo Qi.  This original book was first published in 1915.  It was the first book ever published that integrated Chinese martial arts with Chinese philosophy and Daoist Qi cultivation theories.  The book includes many photographs of Sun Lu Tang.  

"Of the three internal arts, Xing Yi is probably the most straightforward to understand in terms of practical fighting applications. Grandmaster Sun, however, believed that the most important reason to practice martial arts was the improvement of one's health; developing fighting ability was merely of secondary importance. Sun himself certainly benefited in both respects. In 1933, at the age of 73 and shortly before his death, Sun was examined by a physician and found to have the body of a 40-year old. Furthermore, throughout his life he was an awesome fighter: He worked as a professional bodyguard, taught martial arts at the Presidential Palace, and never lost a challenge match.

Certain health benefits of Xing Yi training are obvious. It is a low-impact exercise requiring little jumping, few low stances, and smooth rather than ballistic movements. As Sun notes in his book, it can be practiced by anyone, both the young and old, and the sick and infirm. Healthy people will grow stronger, while those with a disease will recover their health. However, in addition to the external physical benefits, Xing Yi practice offers a sophisticated system of internal energy training that stimulates the major energetic pathways within the body.

At the core of Sun Lu Tang's Xing Yi Quan system is the 12 animals set. This set consists of 12 lines of movements, each emulating the fighting techniques of the 12 animals that come from heaven and earth. These are the Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Water Lizard, Chicken, Sparrow Hawk, Swallow, Snake, Tai Bird, Eagle, and Bear. Regular practice of the 12 animals set benefits the practitioner both externally and internally. Externally, one learns the physical characteristics of each animal-the explosive power of the tiger, or the strength of the bear, for example. Internally, each animal form stimulates the internal energy, or Qi, in a particular and beneficial manner. The remainder of this article describes both the energetic work and the fighting applications of four of the animal forms: the Dragon, Tiger, Eagle, and Bear."
-  Justin Liu,
 Cultivation and Combat: The Fighting Animals of Xing Yi Quan.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Yang Style Tai Chi Standard 24 Movements Form

The first Taijiquan form I learned in 1986 was the Standard 24 Movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan Form in the Yang Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.  At that time there were no books or instructional videotapes on this popular form.  Since that time, nearly 25 years have passed.  Now there are dozens of books and instructional DVDs and webpages on the subject of the 24 Form. 

Mike Garofalo 'Playing the Pipa'

My webpage on the Standard 24 Taijiquan Form has been the most popular webpage on the Cloud Hands Website for many years. In the sidebar of this blog, you will find a quick index to this webpage.

Standard Simplified Taijiquan 24 Form.  Research by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. This webpage includes a detailed bibliography of books, media, links, online videos, articles, and resources.  It provides a list of the 24 movement names in English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish, with citations for sources of the movement names.  It provides detailed descriptions of each movement with black and white line illustrations and  photographs.  It includes relevant quotations, notes, performance times, section breakdowns, basic Tai Chi principles, and strategies for learning the form.  The Peking (Bejing) Chinese National orthodox standard simplified 24 movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan form, created in 1956, is the most popular form practiced all around the world.  This form uses the Yang Style of Taijiquan.  Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California:  Webpage URL:  File size: 269 Kb. 

This webpage provides many good suggestions for a person learning this form on their own if there is no Tai Chi class in their area. 

The best book that I have seen on the subject is:

The Yang Taiji 24 Step Short Form: A Step by Step Guide for All Levels
By James Drewe  London, Singing Dragon Press, 2011.  382 pages, black and white photographs, charts, detailed descriptions, training tips.
I give information on many other fine books by other good authors on the 24 Form in my webpage: Cheng Zhao, Foen Tjoeng Lie, Eric Chaline, Le Deyin, etc.. 

My students tell me that their favorite instructional DVD on the 24 Form is:

Tai Chi - The 24 Forms
By Dr. Paul Lam

I have taught this lovely Tai Chi form to hundreds of people since 2000.  Everyone tells me how much they enjoy learning and practicing this gentle form.

I also teach and enjoy playing the Chen Style Taijiquan 18 Movement Form created by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. Actually, in the last year, I prefer practicing the Chen 18 Form more.  

Monday, July 07, 2014

July Gardening in Zone 9

July - Quotes, Poems, Sayings for Gardners

Months - Quotes

High Summer Feast Day, August 1st

July Gardening Chores 
For Red Bluff, California, USDA Zone 9

Water plants: take advantage of cool morning hours, use daytime shade.
Water plants deeply and less frequently.
Water potted plants carefully on very hot days.
Mow lawns, but don't mow low. 
Mulch and compost: straw, cuttings, leaves, twigs, chips, shredded paper, garbage.
Water compost pile areas.
Manage cutworms and other garden pests.
Weed around vegetables and shrubs. 
Plant for autumn vegetable crops. 
Use straw mulch to help control weeds and cool soil.
Maintenance on lawn mowing equipment.
Pick and save or eat fresh vegetables and fruits.
Dry fruit in sun. 
Water plants.  Use irrigation ditch water efficiently and effectively. 
Get up early to work in the cool morning hours. 
Thin out excess fruit on trees.
Mulch with straw, chips, compost.
Train vines on support structures.
Read, listen to music, relax and sleep in the shade.
Tend to and enjoy annuals in bloom. 

Control wasp nests in the eaves of the house and porch and outdoor sheds.
Control ant invasions in our home.
Maintain evaporation cooler and house fans.

Cover all windows with shades on the outside, keep interior blinds and curtains closed.
Use indoor fans to move cooler air from cooler to office area.
Water trees and shrubs  slowly and deeply.
Stay hydrated at all times while working outdoors. 
Use shade for cooling, wear hats, wear light white long sleeved shirts.
Don't water the leaves of plants from 10 am to 8 pm - water roots. 

"Gardening helps us realize somatically, viscerally, the laws of growth and gradual unfolding.  We can't pull the plants up to make them grow, but we can help facilitate and midwife their blooming, each in his own way, time, and proper season.  I have learned a little about patience and humility from my gardens.  It's so obviously not something I'm doing that creates this miracle!  I also like to reflect upon and appreciate the exquisitely, evanescent, transitory, and poignant nature of things in the garden. 
If you love the Dharma, you have to farm it.
Go to a garden
And just stand in it.
Breathe in the air, the fragrances,
the light, the temperature,
the music of the different plants, insects, birds, worms,
   caterpillars, grasshoppers, and butterflies.
Inhale the prana (cosmic energy) of all the abundantly
   growing things.
Recharge your inner batteries.
This is the joy of natural meditation."
-  Lama Surya Das, "Awakening to the Sacred," 1999


The colorful gate pictured above is located at the entrance to our Sacred Circle Garden in Red Bluff, California.  The color green symbolizes Earth, yellow symbolizes Air, red symbolizes Fire, and blue symbolizes Water. This photograph was taken in 2009.  Most of the plants have nearlytripeled in size since then.  


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Beethoven's Late String Quartets

The late string quartets, recorded by the Emerson String Quartet, include Opus 127, 130, 131, 132, and 135.  These are my favorites.  Perfect for a quiet summer morning. 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Walking and Mental Clarity

"For someone who walks regularly, their body is better able to deliver oxygen to all systems, including the brain, because they’ve improved their cardiovascular function. Not surprisingly, regular walkers report better mental clarity and ability to focus. Creativity is enhanced because walkers have the ability to relax their mind and let it wander around while they’re walking. Outdoor strollers can have the benefit of beautiful scenery as well as just seeing things from a different perspective, which stimulates creative thought and the imagination.  Whether you want to improve your body, your mind or both, the benefits of walking should encourage you to make the time to do it."
Mental Benefits of Walking, Creating a Good Life

"Recent studies have indicated the numerous "mental benefits" of walking such as: slowing mental decline, lowering Alzheimer's risk, improving sleep, improving mood, and improving concentration."
The Mental Benefits of Walking from Arthritis Today, 2010.


"Scientific studies have shown that their are numerous benefits of walking: improves insulin sensitivity and thus prevents diabetes, improves one's sex life, saves you on gym costs, can reduce the need for certain medicines, reduce fibromyalgia pain, helps with overcoming certain cancers, reduces stroke risk, and improves memory."
The Eight Astonishing Benefits of Walking, The Mother Nature Network

Walking: Quotes, Sayings, Poems, Information    Compiled by Mike Garofalo.  

The Tour de France begins today.  The Tour begins in England this year.  The riders will race in the beautiful green rural Yorkshire area today.   The Brits are bicycling sports enthusiasts so the turnout should be excellent.  Millions of people will line the 118 mile racing course.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 04, 2014

4th of July Holiday Celebrations

In America, the 4th of July is a National Holiday.  Most people have a three day weekend holiday this year.  Americans celebrate our "Independence Day" on this day.

Family gatherings, outdoor meals, games and sports, visiting with friends, fireworks, and summer fun activities are all popular.  Some towns also have patriotic parades.

I hope everyone has a very safe and peaceful 4th of July weekend holiday.  

May we all be able to find a government that enables us to create and work for a better life, respect liberty, and pursue happiness.  May be enjoy freedom from religious oppression, and be allowed to speak our minds in a civil manner.  May we avoid hatred, fear, stealing, lying, and fighting for impractical idealistic causes.  We should not enslave people, disrespect the rights of women, and persecute minorities.  Let us encourage gun free zones in our civil society.  Let us cultivate peace, tolerance, patience, and prosperity.  Let us work at our jobs diligently, intelligently, creatively, and with pride.  Let us preserve and protect our environment for future generations.  Let is strive for good health, vitality, and positive mental health.  Let us mind our own business when appropriate, and avoid listening to men with extreme and angry opinions and facile solutions to difficult problems.  Let us encourage kindness, generosity, simplicity, and community cooperation.  May reason and justice be our guides.  May we deliberate calmly and avoid extreme and inflexible opinions.  May we remember and respect the hardworking and decent wise women and men of the past. 

Best wishes to all.

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 54

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 54

"He who is well established in Tao cannot be pulled away.
He who has a firm grasp of Tao cannot be separated from it.
Thus from generation to generation his ancestral sacrifice will never be suspended.
When one cultivates virtue in his person, it becomes genuine virtue.
When one cultivates virtue in his family, it becomes overflowing virtue.
When one cultivates virtue in his community, it becomes lasting virtue.
When one cultivates virtue in his country, it becomes abundant virtue.
When one cultivates virtue in the world, it becomes universal.
Therefore the person should be viewed as a person.
The family should be viewed as a family.
The community should be viewed as a community.
The country should be viewed as a country.
And the world should be viewed as the world.
How do I know this to be the case in the world?
Through this."
-  Translated by Wing-Tsit Chan, 1963, Chapter 54  

"He who plants rightly never uproots.
He who lays hold rightly never relinquishes.
His posterity will honour him continually.
Whoever develops the Tao in himself will be rooted in virtue.
Whoever develops the Tao in his family will cause his virtue to spread.
Whoever develops the Tao in his village will increase prosperity.
Whoever develops the Tao in the kingdom will make good fortune prevail.
Whoever develops Tao in the world will make virtue universal.
I observe myself, and so I come to know others.
I observe my family, and all others grow familiar.
I study this world, and others come within my knowledge.
How else should I come to know the laws which govern all things, save thus, that I observe them in myself?"
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 54  

"The good planter never uproots,
The good keeper holds to his prize,
And sons and grandsons shall bring their fruits
In a ceaseless sacrifice.
Who practises Tao in his life,
His virtues will ever be sound,
Who practises it with his children and wife,
His virtues will greatly abound.
Who practises it in his town,
His virtues will last and extend,
And if in the state or the realm, then down
His virtues will flow without end.
Test others by oneself alone,
Test families by one family,
And in one town, and state, and realm will be shown
The test of what others will be.
How know I that this single source
Throughout the whole world will act so?
By this, that it is, in its ceaseless course,
Forever the self-same flow."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 54 


-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 54

shan jian zhe bu ba.  
shan bao zhe bu tuo.  
zi sun yi ji si bu chuo.
xiu zhi yu shen.  
qi de nai zhen.  
xiu zhi yu jia.  
qi de nai yu.  
xiu zhi yu xiang.
qi de nai chang.
xiu zhi yu guo.  
qi de nai feng.  
xiu zhi yu tian xia.  
qi de nai pu.
gu yi shen guan shen.  
yi jia guan jia.  
yi xiang guan xiang.
yi guo guan guo.  
yi tian xia guan tian xia.  
wu he yi zhi tian xia ran zai.
yi ci.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 54
"Since true foundation cannot fail
But holds as good as new,
Many a worshipful son shall hail
A father who lived true.'
Realized in one man, fitness has its rise;
Realized in a family, fitness multiplies;
Realized in a village, fitness gathers weight;
Realized in a country, fitness becomes great;
Realized in the world, fitness fills the skies.
And thus the fitness of one man
You find in the family he began,
You find in the village that accrued,
You find in the country that ensued,
You find in the world's whole multitude.
How do I know this integrity?
Because it could all begin in me."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 54 

"Who is firmly established is not easily shaken.
Who has a firm grasp does not easily let go.
From generation to generation his ancestral sacrifices
Shall be continued without fail.
Cultivated in the individual, character will become genuine;
Cultivated in the family, character will become abundant;
Cultivated in the village, character will multiply;
Cultivated in the state, character will prosper;
Cultivated in the world, character will become universal.
According to the character of the individual, judge the individual;
According to the character of the family, judge the family;
According to the character of the village, judge the village;
According to the character of the state, judge the state;
According to the character of the world, judge the world.
How do I know this is so?
By this."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 54   

"Lo que está bien arraigado no será arrancado.
Lo que está bien abrazado no será soltado.
Será honrado de generación en generación.
Si la cultivas en tí mismo,
la virtud será verdadera.
Si la cultivas en tu familia,
la virtud será abundante.
Si la cultivas en tu pueblo,
la virtud será grande.
Si la cultivas en el Estado,
la virtud será poderosa.
Si la cultivas en el mundo,
la virtud será universal.
Por esto, conoce a otros por sí mismos;
Mira a la familia como familia.
Mira al pueblo como pueblo.
Mira al Estado como Estado.
Mira al universo como universo.
¿Cómo puedo entonces conocer el mundo?
Porque lo veo por mi mismo."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 54

"Who plants well will not have his work uprooted.
Who embraces well will not lose what he holds.
The offerings of his sons and grandsons will never end.
Who thus regulates himself has virtue which is genuine.
Who thus regulates his household has virtue which overflows.
Who thus regulates his neighbourhood has virtue which excels.
Who thus regulates the state has virtue which abounds.
Who thus regulates the world has virtue which is universal.
Therefore let every man prove himself.
Let each household, neighbourhood, and state do the same.
Let the world also follow the same course.
How do I know that it must be thus with the world?
By what has just been said."
-  Translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 54  

"Who is firmly established is not easily shaken.
Who has a firm grasp does not easily let go.
From generation to generation his ancestral sacrifices
Shall be continued without fail.
Cultivated in the individual, character will become genuine;
Cultivated in the family, character will become abundant;
Cultivated in the village, character will multiply;
Cultivated in the state, character will prosper;
Cultivated in the world, character will become universal.
According to the character of the individual, judge the individual;
According to the character of the family, judge the family;
According to the character of the village, judge the village;
According to the character of the state, judge the state;
According to the character of the world, judge the world.
How do I know this is so?
By this."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 54   

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tao Te Ching English Language Corncordance by Gerold Claser.  An excellent English language concordance providing terms, chapter and line references, and the proximal English language text.  No Chinese language characters or Wade-Giles or Pinyin Romanizations.  Based on the translation by John H. McDonald