Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Taijiquan Outdoors

I enjoy practicing taijiquan and qigong outdoors in the springtime.

During the March and April months we have many trees in bloom in Red Bluff, California.

The white blossoms of the cherry trees are always treasured.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zhang San Feng and Wudang Mountain

"Mount Wudang, also known as Can Shang Mountain or Tai He Mountain, is located in the Qin Ling Mountain Range of northwestern Hubei Province. Because the scenery around Mount Wudang is so majestic and beautiful, it has been given the name The Famous Mountain Under Heaven. Wudang is a major center for the sudy of Daoism and self-cultivation.

The legendary founder of Wudang wushu was Zhang San Feng. Zhang San Feng was a Daoist who lived in these mountains to cultivate the Dao during the Ming Dynasty. Zhang San Feng was born in 1247 A.D. in the area of what is known today as Liao Ning. Zhang San Feng is a very famous figure in the history of Chinese wushu. His martial abilities and healing techniques were superb and he was known to have cured many people of illnesses. This brought about great admiration from the common people. The emperor of the Ming Dynasty erected a monument on the mountain to commerate the contributions of Zhang San Feng. During Zhang's younger years he met Daoist Huo Lung (Fire Dragon) with whom he studied the Dao. After attaining the Dao, Zhang moved to Wudang Mountain and cultivated an additional nine years. Many historical documents suggest that Zhang San Feng was the person responsible for synthesizing the wushu of the common people with the internal methodology and philosphical principles of Daoism. Wudang wushu is primarily known for its internal styles.

Zhang San Feng created Wudang wushu by researching the basic theory of Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, and the Eight Diagrams (Ba Gua). Wudang wushu has a very close relationship with the theories of Taiji, Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, the Eight Diagrams, and the Nine Palaces. Zhang San Feng was able to incorporate the Daoist practice of changing the Essence into Internal Energy , Internal Energy into Spirit , and Spirit into Emptiness to form the theory of Wudang wushu."
- Introduction to Wudang Martial Arts

Chang San-Feng

Grandmaster Zhang San Feng: Bibliography, Resources, Links, Quotes, Notes

Wudang Qigong

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan Short 18 Form

Thanks to three readers who made comments and suggestions regarding my new webpage on the Chen Style Taijiquan Short 18 Form of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei.

I do intend to complete that webpage, someday. For now, it is still useful for Taiji players wanting to begin learning the form.

I have regularly used the instructional DVD and book that I recommended for the study of this short Chen form. Those resources are excellent tools for self-instruction and home practice.

Since I still work for a school district, teach yoga and taijiquan, and am an active gardener, my progress on new webpages is often quite slow. That's OK by me: slowing down, steady progress, absorbing, quietly flowing ....

Actually, I'm quite active with my studies in Druidry and Tarot Ceremonial Magick. As a member of the ADF Feather River Druid Grove and the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, I've been active in online discussion groups, High Days Celebrations, and studying books and their formal initiatory studies programs. I often listen to OBOD lectures on my MP3 player as I walk in the early morning.

I will be updating and improving my Months webpages each month, starting with April.

Warmer Spring weather and more sunshine has spurred growth again. Beauty everywhere.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Hole in Your Life

by Portia Nelson

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place
but, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street."

An activist might get some friends together to fill up the hole with gravel.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mostly Sitting Still and Learning to Be

Looking north from the shoreline at Point Reyes.

Looking east from the hills of Point Reyes.

I spent the past week camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park near Point Reyes National Seashore. I attended a Four Foundations of Buddhist Mindfulness workshop at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center not far from San Anselmo, California. Lots of people out enjoying the pleasant weather and beautiful lush green hills.

Back home now in Red Bluff. Much to reflect upon in the next coming months.

Here I am reading in the afternoon shade of the eucalyptus tees that surround our tea house. As I read, a hose is slowly watering the new fruit trees I planted. Hard work!!

"My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever."
- Mary Oliver, Messenger

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just Being Kind

"So many gods
So many creeds
This wind, that wind.
While just the art
Of being kind
Is all the sad world needs."
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Wise sayings often fall
on barren ground;
but a kind word
is never thrown away."
- Sir Arthur Helps

Lifestyle Advice for Wise Persons

Kindness (Metta)

The Dalai Lama's Rules for Living
  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good and honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Steps to Failure

Ten Steps You Can Take to Guarantee Failure

"1. Make your goals vague.
2. Make your goals difficult to visualize.
3. Think and speak negatively about your goals.
4. Avoid planning incremental steps.
5. Don't Do - Talk.
6. Wait until you are motivated.
7. Don't set a date.
8. List why it's impossible.
9. Don't research your goal.
10. Think of anything except your goal."

Achieve It: Ten Steps You Can Take to Guarantee Failure

Friday, March 12, 2010

Neuromuscular Integrative Action (Nia)

Fundamentals of Nia:

The joy of movement is the secret of fitness.
Fitness must address the human being, not just the body.
Movement must be conscious, not habitual.
Use you body in the way it was designed to be used.
Use your body to heal your mind, emotions, and spirit.
Take the path of least resistance.

The Five Principles of the Body's Way:

The body thrives on dynamic ease.
The body demands balance.
The body is balanced in yin and yang.
The body's way demands simultaneous mobility and stability.
The body itself reveals the body's way.

The Nia Technique. The High-Powered Energizing Workout that Gives You a New Body and a New Life. By Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. New York, Broadway Books, 2004. Bibliography, glossary, 324 pages. Illustrated with photographs. ISBN: 0767917308. Nia is a newer fusion exercise system, and "Nia" stands for "Neuromuscular Integrative Action."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pulling Onions Again

Here I am pulling up some nice onions
in May of 2007.

Pulling Onions

636. Chaos breaks its own rules to allow Order to play.

358. Gratefully, shit happens!

676. The ten thousand things are more enchanting than the Silent One.

427. Walking needs earth, space, and the walker.

372. Sometimes, just one 'thing' is critical because twenty other 'things' are just so.

633. Take the time to melt into the Details.

296. Gardening is a kind of deadheading - keeping us from going to seed.

674. Don't interfere, be still, and listen to the litanies of bees.

106. Tooth and nail, and the stench of a dead animal on the wind.

96. When life gives you onions, it stinks.

670. A rake is spaces held together by steel.

680. In the student's mind there are few possibilities, in the teacher's mind there are many; but only time to realize very few.

Pulling Onions by Mike Garofalo
Over 680 quips, one-liners, sayings, and "insights" from an old gardener.

When I walked this morning I listened to Ken Cohen's lectures on Daoism. He suggests that gardening is one of the contemplative mind-body Daoist arts leading to insight, enlightenment, enchantment and compassion.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Planning Ahead

World Tai Chi Day on Saturday, April 24th, 2010

My Taijiquan and Qigong Class at the Tehama Family Fitness Center will be cancelled on the following dates.

My Taijiquan Class Canceled On:
Saturday, March 20th
Saturday, April 3rd
Monday, April 5th
Saturday, May 8th
Saturday, June 5th
Saturday, June 26th
Monday, June 28th

I will be attending a Mindfulness workshop at Spirit Rock, a YogaFit advanced training workshop on anatomy, a Taoist retreat near Sebastopol, and the Eight Winds Druid's Festival in Washington.

If you enjoy doing Taijiquan, Qigong, and Walking in the early morning you are welcome to join me. Here is my morning training schedule.

"When we are distressed, going outside for some fresh air, taking a walk in the park, or wandering deep into the woods quickens our attention, bringing us instantly into the present. Being outdoors provides mental space and clarity, allowing our bodies to relax and our hearts to feel more at ease. Putting ourselves in the midst of something greater than our personal dramas, difficulties and pain - as we do when we walk in the open plains, hike in rarefied mountain air, or ramble on an empty beach - can give us a sense of space and openness, lifting us out of our narrow selves. Similarly, gazing up at the vast night sky helps us see our problems and concerns with greater context and perspective. The natural world communicates its profound message: things are okay as they are; you are okay just as you are; simply relax and be present."
- Mark Coleman, Awake in the Wild, p. xv

Walking: Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Links, Resources

Friday, March 05, 2010

Michael P. Garofalo: Experienced Part-Time Employee

I retired in 1998 as a Library Administrator for the County of Los Angeles Public Library.

However, I have been "semi-retired" since 1999, and continue to work part-time in a number of ways that might be useful to your organization.

I you are interested in having me work for you, lets talk: 530-200-3546.

Grant Writing and Grant Management

Educational Technology

Website Development and Blogging

Substitute Teacher

Yoga Teacher

Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong Teacher

String Figures Performer and Teacher

Experience and Qualifications

Michael P. Garofalo, M.S., Red Bluff, California


Technology and Media Services Supervisor and Grant Writer for the Corning Union Elementary School District

Short Biography

I work in the following areas:

Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern California, U.S.A., Cities and small towns in the area: Oroville, Paradise, Durham, Chico, Hamilton City, Corning, Rancho Tehama, Los Molinos, Tehama, Proberta, Gerber, Manton, Cottonwood, Anderson, Shasta Lake, Palo Cedro, Igo, Ono, Redding, Shasta, Colusa, Willows, Williams, Chester, Orland, Susanville, Weed, Gridley, Marysville, Yuba City, CA, California.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Walking Admid Winter Beauty

At the end of the street I walk on, I come to Highway 99 West. This portion of Hwy 99 was constructed in 1926. Highway 99 is a major highway in the West, from San Diego to Seattle.
Interstate 5 replaced Highway 99.

The nearby Shasta Yolla Bolly mountains are covered with snow. We rarely get any snow in the valley where I live.

The almond orchards are in full bloom.

The prune plum orchards have yet to flower.

I am very fortunate to have such a beautiful area for walking. I can walk in all months of the year.

Monday, March 01, 2010

String Figure Art and Games

In the above photograph, I am teaching some some string figures to girls at the East Los Angeles Library in 1978. I was the Community Library Manager of this large Los Angeles County public library for six years.

Strings on Your Fingers: String Figures, String Tricks, String Games, Knots. I will completely update this webpage in March, 2010.