Saturday, December 31, 2005

Tai Chi and Good Health

"Everything about Tai Chi is relaxed, deliberate and focused in the moment. The simple truth is, when you engage in Tai Chi you're temporarily disconnecting your awareness from your present life situations - be it family, work, friends etc. Think of it as a momentary retreat from life to regroup your energies. If properly learned and practiced, the resulting benefits of bringing your life energy into a balanced, harmonized and integrated state can serve to increase your vitality, reduce stress, better control your emotions, modify your habits and much, and much more!"
- Si Gung Tiru Sadasivam, Tai Chi Chuan

Friday, December 30, 2005

Walking in Circles Around Body and Mind

"As for walking around stupas, the stupa is your body and mind. When your awareness circles your body and mind without stopping, this is called walking around a stupa. The sages of long ago followed this path to nirvana. But people today don't understand what this means. Instead of looking inside they insist on looking outside. They use their material bodies to walk around material stupas. And they keep at it day and night, wearing themselves out in vain and coming no closer to their real self."
- Bodhidharma, 515 CE

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, p. 101. Translated and with an Introduction by Red Pine.

One of many stories told about Bodhidharma, the first Zen Patriarch in China and the legendary founder of Shaolin qigong and gungfu, is that he spent seven years in seated meditation while facing a stone wall. Talk about wearing yourself out in vain!

The only thing that would "wear out" while walking around a stupa, or a mountain, or a bagua circle, or a lake, or a soccer field would be one's shoes. Thankfully, the Bodhidharma finally Woke Up after his seven years of staring at a blank wall, and resolved that all Shaolin monks thereafter would be required to exercise, garden, and move about much more.

Walking the Circle: Ba Gua Zhan

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Yoga Journal Newsletter

I really enjoy reading the e-mail neweletter from Yoga Journal. You can sign up for the excellent Yoga Journal E-mail Newsletter by visiting their webpage. Anyone interested in Chinese Qigong will find much useful information in this newsletter. I'm of the opionion that Qigong (Chi-Kung, Dao-Yin) is a type of Yoga, probably older than Hatha Yoga from India. The earliest Yoga Sutra by Pantanjali (200 A.D.), does not have any detailed instructions on postures or breathing exercises. These instructions began to appear in published works in India by the 16th century. Chinese Qigong (Dao-Yin) postures and breathing exercises have a documented history back to 300 B.C.. I'm sure cross-fertilization of mind-body arts occurred between India, Tibet and China since 1,000 B.C..
In many ways the country, source, or time of origin of a mind-body-spirit practice is irrelevant to a person practicing in 2005. "Just Do It" and do it every day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Bibliography and Links

This bibliography and links list provides a good entry portal to the world of Taijiquan and Qigong.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back Home Again

Karen and I joined our children and their spouses who all live in Portland, Oregon, for holiday celebrations. Everyone seemed to enjoy the festivities, fine dining, games, and conversations. Sightseeing, shopping, dining, and walking the streets of a big city like Portland is exciting for us both. We live in Red Bluff, California, population 15,000; therefore, going to Portland is a real adventure for us.

It has been raining for over two weeks in the northwest. Plenty of rain, but not enough snow in the mountains of California or Oregon. We have benefitted from over 8 inches of rainfall in Red Bluff during the month of December.

We went shopping at Powell's Bookstore in downtown Portland. They offer a very good selection of new and used books on T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Qigong, Yoga, Kung Fu, exercise, and Asian philosophy and religion. I purchased the book "Tai Chi Connections: Advancing Your Tai Chi Experience" by John Loupos (YMAA, 2005). I look forward to reading the book this week.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The One and the Many


Michael G. wrote to me 0n 12/19 and commented:
"Your work is very impressive.
I have one question: Do you feel the love from the one that is?"

I wrote back,

I feel deep and abiding gratitude for the love, goodness, beauty, knowledge, and successes in our lives.
I feel great sadness about the illnesses, tragedy, ugliness, ignorance, evil and failures in the world.
I try to act wisely on all of these kinds of feelings.

I feel love from the One That Is, and from the One That Is Not.
The One I am certain about is Many.


The Many Create and Elevate The One


"Simplifying our relations to things sometimes allows us to live
more complex intellectual and emotional lives.

Repetition and diversification are Nature's formulas.

Simplifying and simplicity are never simple matters.

The empty garden is already full.

The simplest garden is never simple.

It takes four seasons to know one year.

Complexity is closer to the Truth.

Diversity, multiplicity, relations, combinations, mixtures, complexity - rarely just one process or one thing.

Never just One: fruit, a hoe, the moving Sun."

- Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions


"An agricultural adage says the tiny animals that live below the
surface of a healthy pasture weigh more than the cows grazing
above it. In a catalogue selling composting equipment I read
that two handfuls of healthy soil contain more living organisms
than there are people on the earth. What these beings are and
what they can be doing is difficult to even begin to comprehend,
but it helps to realize that even thought they are many,
they work as one."
- Carol Williams, Bringing a Garden to Life, 1998

Green Way Wisdom - Complexity


Complexity is closer to the Truth.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Spirit of Gardening - Garden Digest Usage in 2005

The Cloud Hands Blog, the Green Way Blog, and the Valley Spirit Journal are all publications of Green Way Research. The author, compiler, librarian and webmaster of Green Way Research is Michael P. Garofalo.

The main websites of Green Way Research are:
The Spirit of Gardening
Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung
Zen Poetry
Months: Poems, Quotations, Links, Folklore, Resources, Chores
Cuttings: Haiku, Zen, and Concrete Poetry

Green Way Research publishes various websites at two Internet Domain Names:


Annual Usage Report for:


Usage Report for the Month of November 2005

Detailed statistics are available for the exact usage per webpage for all webpages at the domain. All statistics are for .htm or .html webpages served; and exclude counts for graphics files (.jpg or .gif) served as part of these webpages.

In November, 2005, the usage report showed the following number of webpages (.htm or .html) served from the domain:

Spirit of Gardening 112, 523

Cuttings: Haiku Poetry 35,444

Concrete Poetry 19,597

Zen Poetry 11,655

String Figures 7,439

Total 186,658


Annual Estimates for 2005:

Factoring in the fact that the summer months (June - September) have less usage than the October - May period, I can make a reasonable estimate of usage of the webpages (.htm or .hrml) at the domain, excluding graphics files (.jpg and .gif) served.

In 2005, I estimate that served the following number of webpages (excluding graphics files: .jpg and .gif) to people around the world:

Spirit of Gardening 1,148,000

Cuttings: Haiku Poetry 362,000

Concrete Poetry 200,000

Zen Poetry 119,000

String Figures 76,000

Total 1,905,000


The Spirit of Gardening website has served up over 8 million webpages from January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2005.

The Poetry Webpages have served up over 2,298,000 webpages from March 1, 2000 through December 31, 2005.

The Cloud Hands: Taijiquan and Qigong website has served up over 1,240,000 webpages from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2005.


Usage is Critical.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Chi Kung - Standing Like a Tree

"This practice is part of an ancient Chinese health system of exercises. One of the first references found about this type of exercise is in the Huang-Ti Nei Ching (Classics of Medicine by the Yellow Emperor, 2690-2590 B.C. E.) which is, by the way, probably one of the oldest books in the medical field. This posture, practiced and transmitted secretly in martial arts circles, has been openly shown to the public since the last century. Wang Xiang Zhai, a very famous martial arts master of that period in China, made of this technique the base of a new martial art that he called I Chuan (Mind Boxing). He used to say, "The immobility is the mother of any movement or technique."
- Victoria Windholtz, Standing Like a Tree
T'ai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Volume 19, No. 6, December, 2005, pp. 6-9.

Zhan Zhuang: Standing Like A Tree. Rooting Deeply Into Tranquility, Power and Vitality. A Chinese Meditation and Qigong Discipline. Bibliography, Links, Resources, Practices, Quotations, Notes.
By Michael P. Garofalo, 12/18/2005, 94Kb

Monday, December 19, 2005

Opening Up to Playfulness

T'ai Chi Ch'uan is for me, among other things, a way of playing. Playing to lift my spirits, playing to meet a challenge, playing for delight, playing to show off, playing for exercise, playing for no reason at all.

"We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing."
- Charles Schaefer

"The true object of all human life is play.
Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground."
- G. K. Chesterton

"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sun Lu Tang (1861-1933)

"When a modern day "New Age" practitioner of tai chi speaks of the art as being "good for his health and a way to align his energy with the energy of the Tao," that viewpoint came largely from Sun Lu Tang. Or when pa kua practitioners walk the pa kua circle on a California beach and talk of how "pa kua forms are physical embodiments of the I-Ching," their ideas derive largely from Sun Lu Tang. Or when modern day practitioners of xing yi opine that "the five forms of xing yi interact like the five basic elements in Taoist cosmology," they to owe their thinking largely to Sun Lu Tang."
- Elisabeth Guo and Brian L. Kennedy, Sun Lu Tang: Fighter, Scholar and Image Maker.

Sun Style Taijiquan: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes
By Michael P. Garofalo, 12/18/2005, 130Kb

New resource:
"A Last Interview with Sun Stylist Sun Jianyun." Tai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Vol. 29, No. 6, December, 2005, pp. 36-37.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Picking Up Leaves

As I played with the Yang Long Form, each of my steps crunched leaves under my feet. As I reached down to pick up the needle from the bottom of the sea, I picked up a few leaves from the gray winter grass. As I crossed hands in the horse stance, a fig leaf fell on my fingers.

despite fascination
do not be concerned
that form is emptiness
and emptiness is form
It is All
a brown falling leaf
no different

- Michael McClure

Last day of Autumn,
dead leaves dropping--
form is emptiness.

First day of Winter,
ditch completely dry--
emptiness is form.

- Michael Garofalo, Above the Fog

Dead Leaves Dropping.


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Green Way Wisdom - Zen Poetry


Friday, December 16, 2005

Returning Home

I was in Sacramento for six days. I took a YogaFit Level I retraining/reintegration workshop over the past weekend. Then, I worked for the State of California, Department of Education, Technology Division, to review Enhancing Technology Through Education grants for Round 4 and Round 5.

The City of Sacramento, California, is also the State Capitol for California. It was a lovely time of the year to visit the town. The mornings were cold and foggy, and the afternoons cool and clear. Many trees still had very beautiful autumn leaves - the yello ginkos were especially dramatic. I enjoyed meeting some new people and sharing activities together with them. A delightful experience!

Friday, December 09, 2005

SF Parkour

"Hi Mike! I have a question for you. I am part of a group called SF Parkour. Parkour is a new sport that is kind of like urban gymnastics. We run around and jump off, over and through things, trying to be as fluid and interactive with our (urban) environment as possible. Information about this "sport" (if you can call it that) can be found on our website.

We're trying to find a slogan for our group. I thought that starting with a cliché or platitude and altering it somehow to be relevant to our sport might sound cool, so I did a Google search for common clichés and found your site - a smorgasbord of clichés. Half way through the B section I thought well crap, this guy's thought about clichés a lot, I should just ask him if he's got any suggestions. If you have any good suggestions, post 'em, or email me and I will. Also, if it helps your inspiration, whoever's slogan wins gets $50 and a T-shirt. Meanwhile, I'll be making my way down the list..."
- Jeff, December 8, 2005

Meadlad Jeff doing some precision jumps over posts and pipes
at the creek near the UC Berkeley Campus, California.

Also, take a look at my post on "Walking the Circle."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Art of Peace

"The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter."

"One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train."

The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Qigong - Bibliography

Good Books on Qigong

Ch'i Kung: Bibliography, Resources, Links, Lessons, Guides

The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing. By Kenneth S. Cohen. Foreword by Larry Dossey. New York Ballantine Books, 1997. Index, notes, appendices, 427 pages. ISBN: 0345421094. One of my favorite books: comprehensive, informative, practical, and scientific.

The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine. By Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D.. Chicago, McGraw Hill Contemporary Books, 2nd Edition, 2000. Index, bibliography, appendices, notes, 500 pages. Foreward by Margaret Caudill, M.D., and by Andrew Weil, M.D. ISBN: 0809228408. An excellent introduction to traditional Chinese medicine and modern research on the topic.

The Healing Promise of Qi: Creating Extraordinary Wellness Through Qigong and Tai Chi. By Roger Jahnke, O.M.D.. Chicago, Contemporary Books, 2002. Index, notes, extensive recommended reading list, 316 pages. ISBN: 0809295288.

The Root of Chinese Chi Kung: The Secrets of Chi Kung Training. By Yang Jwing-Ming. YMAA Chi Kung Series #1. Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Yang's Martial Arts Association, 1989. Glossary, 272 pages. ISBN: 0940871076. There are newer editions of this book. Yang Jwing-Ming has published many other excellent books on Qigong and Taijiquan.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Refining Oneself to the End

"T'ai Chi Ch'uan bases itself exclusively on gentleness, softness, naturalness and bringing you back to your original nature. Daily training makes the muscles and bones become softer and more pliable, and it especially causes the breath to become natural. These are the results of disciplining and refining the ching, ch'i, and shen to the end of your days. How then can you consider dispensing with your kung or wish to suffer bitterly."
- Chen Yen-lin, 1932, Cultivating the Ch'i,
Translated by Stuart Alve Olson, p. 30.

I find that emphasizing the quality of "Sung" while practicing Taijiquan or Qigong is very useful. For me, "Sung" includes meanings such as relaxed, loose, pliable, yielding, responsive, open, soft, flexible.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Circles of the Fight

"When you are in a matching situation with your opponent, there are three circles of offensive and defensive domains or territories. These circles are large circle (Chang Ju, i.e., long range), middle circle (Zhon Ju, i.e., middle range), and short circle (Duan Ju, i.e., short range). These circles are also called rings. In a battle, you should not stay in the same rign, which allows your opponent to set up a strategy against you easily. Your rights should be variable, random and confusing to your opponent. Not only just the size of the rings, but also the height of defensive and offensive actions should vary as well. When this happens, you will generate more confusion for your opponent and this will allow you to execute your techniques effectively and efficiently."
- Yang, Yu (Ban-Hou) 1837-1892
Translated by Yang, Jiwng-Ming, Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style, p. 24

Most people doing Tai Chi will be concerned about the following three circles. The first circle is the area in which you are standing. Where are you rooted? How is your footing? Are you stable, balanced, and in control? Are you safe? It includes the spherical area your arms and legs can extend to while keeping at least one foot rooted. The second circle is the area into which you are stepping next. Is it safe to step? Will you be able to stay stable, balanced, and in control as you step into one of the eight directions? It includes the spherical area your arms and legs can extend to as you step and move in a new direction. Will the first circle support your full weight on one leg as you move into the second circle? The third circle is the area into which you can walk, move freely, and move around in safely. It may be the whole area of a park, the dojo or kwoon, your backyard, your back porch, or as far away as you can walk.

Qigong, Dao-yin, Chi Kung.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Gong Fu

"Gong Fu is an ancient Chinese term describing work, devotion, and effort that has been successfully applied over a substantial period of time, resulting in a degree of mastery in a specific field. Although the term is synonymous in the West with martial arts ("Kung Fu" or "Gong Fu"), it is equally applicable to calligraphy, painting, music, or other areas of endeavor."
- Andy James

"The most essential factor is persistence -- the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come."
- James Whitcomb Riley

"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."
- Jessie Owens

Will Power - Quotes and Poems

A Blog to Visit:

Ghataka This blog features interesting commentary in Italian, a variety of quotations, a beautiful format, and some very creative graphics. The subtitle is: "In the Upanishads "Gathaka" describes the Union between Soul and Matter." Take a close look at the spinning graphic for "Om Mane Pade Om."

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Motivating a Web Publisher

Kudos, Praise, Awards, and Feedback in November, 2005:

I have been publishing webpages since 1995, and remain well motivated to continue my learning and creative efforts. I find delight in researching and writing on topics of keen interest to me. I satisfy an ongoing desire to learn more about the advances in computer software and hardware. I enjoy the many pleasures of social computing, and in making new friends. It is very satisfying to develop a product or service that is popular with readers. Web publishing has enabled me to earn a good part-time income as a writer and webmaster. My professional development as a librarian (M.S. L.S.) has expanded greatly over the last decade because of web publishing. My philosophical interests are able to flower and bear seed, and my "love of wisdom" continues to grow.

I get email feedback from readers nearly every day. Many offer good suggestions for improving a webpage or blog I publish. A few disagree with my comments and ideas. Many write to thank me for my publications, praise my work, and encourage me to continue. Some thank me for helping them find something they had been looking for on the Internet. Some want to exchange links because of common interests.

I thank everyone who has taken the time to write to me. I answer all legitimate email messages sent to me.

Best wishes to you all for a fine winter!

Some of the kudos and questions sent to me are posted on the last day of each month in the Valley Spirit Journal.

The Spirit of Gardening website has a long kudos, feedback and awards webpage.

The Cloud Hands: Taijiquan and Qigong website also has an extensive kudos, feedback and awards webpage.

The Zen Poetry website has a kudos, feedback and awards webpage.

Thank You!!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Tai Chi Chuan

This weblog provides news and information about daily additions to the Cloud Hands: Tai Chi Chuan Website. This website offers over 40 large webpages on Taijiquan, Qigong, Ba Gua Zhang, and internal martial arts. It offers numerous detailed guides to the Yang and Sun Styles of Tai Chi Chuan. Over 1.2 million webpages from this website have been served to readers around the world since January, 2003.

Qigong, Dao-yin, Chi Kung.


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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Northwestern U. S. Taiji News

April 1-2, 2006. Tai Chi for Arthritis Workshop. Workshop led by Troyce Thome. Coordinated by Robin Malby. Pleasant Hill Community Center, Pleasant Hill, California.

Smiling Panda Qigong, Michael Eakin, Stockton, CA.

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