Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn Retreat from Blogging

This is a busy time of the year for us in the garden. Karen and I remove all the dying summer vegetables, weed, dig the soil, add manure, and let the soil rest. We start digging holes for planting shrubs and trees in November. We remove dead limbs and trees.

Karen and I have a number of home improvement and home repair projects scheduled for the next couple of months.

I have a number of major writing projects (e.g., the CUESD Technology Plan for 2010-2015, and the EETT ARRA grant, etc.) at work, with some tight timelines. Consequently, I will be working some overtime until the end of October.

My home office computer has been giving me many problems.

Consequently ... I will be taking a break from posting to my Green Paths and Cloud Hands blogs.

What little free time will be used on the Five Animal Frolics Qigong webpages.

Best wishes to all for a great autumn season,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Five Animal Frolics

This week, I will begin again to working on reorganizing, updating, and expanding my webpages on the Five Animal Frolics Qigong (Wu Qin Xi). I moved all the Wu Qin Xi webpages from the Cloud Hands website over to the Valley Spirit Qigong website.

This month, I will be working on developing and improving the Monkey Frolic webpage.

The exercise set is considered to be Daoyin, or what is now called Qigong (Chi Kung). In this context, the word "Dao" means to guide, lead, show the way, slowly, inch by inch. The word "Yin" means to pull out, draw out, or stretch. So Daoyin are mind-body exercises that show us how to draw out the potential for diseases and restore an integrated or balanced state of well-being in body and mind.

Many people credit the famous Chinese physician, Hua Tuo (110-207 CE), with developing a popular Daoyin animal frolics set which consists of exercises based on the deer, crane, monkey, tiger, and bear. Hua Tuo's best student, Wu Pu, lived to be over 100, and wrote that Hua Tuo told him:

"Man's body must have exercise, but it should never be done to the point of exhaustion. By moving about briskly, digestion is improved, the blood vessels are opened, and illnesses are prevented. It is like a used doorstep which never rots. As far as Tao Yin (bending and stretching exercises) is concerned, we have the bear's neck, the crane's twist, and swaying the waist and moving the joints to promote long life. Now I have created the art called the Frolics of the Five Animals: the Tiger, the Deer, the Bear, the Monkey, and the Crane. It eliminates sickness, benefits the legs, and is also a form of Tao Yin. If you feel out of sorts, just practice one of my Frolics. A gentle sweat will exude, the complexion will become rosy; the body will feel light and you will want to eat."

The Animal Frolics Qigong (Daoyin, Chi Kung, Yangsheng) webpage development plan in 2009-2010 at the Cloud Hands website is: I intend to develop the webpages on the Animal Frolics Qigong in 2009-2010 in the following order: 1) June - August 2009: Animal Frolics Qigong and the Crane Frolic; 2) September - October: the Monkey Frolic; 3) November - December: the Tiger Frolic; 4) January - February 2010: the Bear Frolic; 5) March - April: the Deer Frolic; and 6) May - June: Dragon Qigong.

How the Five Animals are assigned to the Five Elements varies according to the "authority" consulted. I have used the following table of correspondences:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Adjusting Activities Because of Disease

Last July 14th, around noon, I became very lightheaded. I lost my strength, swooned a bit, and fainted for a few seconds. When I regained consciousness, I was very weak for two hours. I experienced some blurred vision for up to 20 minutes. I was very lightheaded for a half hour. I thought that my life as I had known it for 64 years was ending.

Paramedics gave me fluids, and transported me to the Shasta Regional Medical Center. I had a CT scan of my brain, an electro-cardiogram, and an examination by staff and a doctor. I seemed to recover, felt strong, and was sent home around 6 pm.

I rested for a week at home and followed up with visits to my primary care physician, and to my cardiologist. I did not have any of the lingering symptoms of a stroke or TIA.

I have felt some uncomfortable lightheadedness about five times since July. Periodically, I have some disequilibrium and balance issues.

I've have never before in my life felt profoundly lightheaded, suddenly very weak, or swooned and fainted.

These unpleasant experiences are new to me, and, of course, quite disturbing. I have had some disequilibrium and balancing problems for over a year.

Therefore, to deal with these health problems, my coping procedures will include:

1. Properly hydrate with water many times during each day. Dehydration can cause lightheadedness and weakness.

2. Stand up slowly and carefully: breathe deeply a few times, sit up straight, stretch out my legs, and prepare myself to stand up slowly. Orthostatic hypotension can cause lightheadedness.

3. Walk 3.5 miles at daybreak four days every week. Gently strengthen my heart.

4. Take all of my medications correctly and on time. I need to be especially careful when taking my diabetes medicine. Low blood sugar can cause lightheadedness.

5. Loose 20 pounds of my body weight before January, 2010.

6. Long term problems with diabetes include a deterioration of the peripheral nerves. I already have diabetic neuropathy problems in my feet and ankles. Autonomic neuropathy in diabetics is frequently connected with lightheadedness and fainting when standing up.

7. I do have "mild heart disease" and have tried to manage my Type II diabetes for 15 years. As a 64 year old man, I must be realistic about my health situation. Things are likely to go bad. Don't be a wimp! Steer clear of depression about these realities.

8. Update my will, and related details, and prepare for the inevitable visit from the Grim Reaper.

9. Don't take on too many new projects, activities, and tasks. Reduce work related stress. Stay calm and steady.

10. Have good and regular nighttime sleep habits.

11. Continue with my practice of Taijiquan, Qigong and Yoga. Explore how these mind-body arts might help with diabetes and heart disease.

12. Listen to and follow the advice of my physicians. Research my medical situation by reading what experts have to say.

13. Do not work outdoors in temperatures over 90 degrees F.

14. I don't smoke, drink very little alcohol, and don't use recreational drugs. I can't see how these indulgences would help with lightheadedness and imbalance issues.

15. Smile, laugh, enjoy each day, be productive, be helpful to others, and hope for the best.

So, my focus, for a few months, in this blog, may be on topics related to the above health and fitness concerns. My posts may also decrease.

Readers with some good suggestions about methods or practices for improving my health are welcome to share their ideas on the blog or write to me.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Family Visit Time

My daughter, Alicia Flinn, drove from Portland to Red Bluff last Thursday, and arrived in the afternoon. She brought her two daughters, Katelyn Alice (3) and Makenna Erin (1). So, we have been busy with grand-parenting activities with a 3 year old and a 1 year old child, and visiting with our daughter. They will all return home to Portland on Tuesday morning.

Photos and highlights of our family visit are on my Green Paths in the Valley Blog.


Alicia and Mike, daughter and father.


The blue hot rod was fun for Makenna and Grandma GG (Karen) in the front seat, and Katelyn and Grandpa Pacos (Mike) in the back of this speedster at Jackson Heights Elementary School playground in Red Bluff, California.

Everyone enjoyed themselves during our Labor Day weekend family visit.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Qigong Classes in Northern California

Qigong, Chi Kung, Dao-yin, Yangsheng Gong, Chinese Yoga
Current Qigong Class and Practice Schedule

Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo

Outdoors, Monday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center (Red Bluff, CA)

Indoors, Monday, 5:30 - 7:00 pm, Tehama Family Fitness Center (Red Bluff, CA)

Outdoors, Friday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

Indoors, Saturday, 9:30 - 11 am, Tehama Family Fitness Center

Sunday, 7:00 - 8:30 am, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Center

We practice the Eight Section Brocade Qigong, Five Animal Frolics Qigong, Muscle-Tendon Transformation Qigong, Dragon Qigong, Post Standing, and some Hatha Yoga.

Valley Spirit Qigong Website

Blog Posting Schedule:

Green Paths in the Valley Blog: Posting on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Cloud Hands Blog: Posting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Cloud Hands: Taijiquan Website

Yoga Classes

Nearby cities: Chico, Orland, Corning, Los Molinos, Red Bluff, Cottonwood, Anderson, Redding

Tehama Family Fitness Center in Red Bluff, California

Contact Mike by Email