Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yoga Classes with Michael P. Garofalo

Michael Garofalo currently teaches three yoga classes each week at the Tehama Family Fitness Center (TFFC) in Red Bluff, California.  

Here is his current yoga teaching schedule at TFFC:

Monday Class:  5:30 – 6:30 pm
Tuesday Class:  5:30 – 6:30 pm
Thursday Class:  5:30 – 6:30 pm

These classes feature an eclectic blend of Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and Chinese Qigong Yoga.  All these practices emphasize flexibility, correct alignment, being quiet, balance, efficient breathing, coordination, and composure.  Hatha style Yoga includes strength building, balancing exercises, popular and traditional Yoga postures, inversions, Warrior poses, and longer stretching sequences.  Vinyasa style Yoga emphasizes flowing movements, strength, building warmth, and coordinated breathing.  Chinese Qigong style Yoga includes standing dynamic stretching exercises, energy (Qi) work, flowing movements, and the Animal Frolics and Brocades.  We will also introduce participants to numerous techniques used to reduce stress, uplift mood, improve concentration, and explore mind-body-spirit consciousness.   

Instructor:  Michael P. Garofalo
YogaFit Level IV Certified Yoga Instructor (200 Hours, 2003-2006)
Group Fitness Instructor Certified (AFAA) 2012-
® Trained Instructor 2012-
Personal Fitness Trainer Certified (2007-2009)
Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Certified
M.S., B.A. Philosophy

For More Information You are Welcome to Telephone Mike at 530-200-3546

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Keeping Your Head Warm in Kolhapur

Pheta Turbans are popular in Kolhapur, India.  It gets cool in Kolhapur.  Lots of local colleges and career schools in Kolhapur probably have handsome young men wearing some unique or zany turban to a party of some clique.  

In the colder winter months in Red Bluff, California, I wear a sock cap (beanie, knit soft cap, wool cap), scarf, winter gloves, sweat shirts, layer pants, and jacket.


Here is some old guy with jacket and turban trying to stay warm somewhere on this, at times, cold Earth.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Green Man

'Every man marvelled mightly what it should mean
That a man and his horse should be the colour green.'
-  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, anon.
   An Irish poem translated by Caitlin Matthews

     "Through northern and western Britain, this day is the focus of many May-time customs.  These customs, banned by Parliament under the Commonwealth of the seventeenth century, wer reinstated at the Restoration of monarch, when King Charles II mad his triumphal entry into London.  Know thereafter as Oak Apple Day, it is celebrated in Britain by the wearing of sprigs of green oak leaves.
     An earlier veneration was restimulated by an incident that befell Charles II when he was but a prince.  Fleeing from the parliamentarian soldiers, Charles was forced to hide in an oak tree.  But he face peering out from among the green leaves, originally in the primeval forest but now also in contemporary May-tme celbrations is a much earlier one, that of the Green Man.
     This Evergreen God is one of the earliest deities.  He is represented in many summertime customs by mummers and disguisers who wear garlands of leaves and flowers or cover their bodies in greenry to ceremonially show the Green Man to the people.  He come out of the primal, all-encompassing forest that once covered the earth, dynamic and vigorous, with pulsing sap of summer in his veins.
     The Green Man is the irrepressible wildness of the world of vegetation.  He bides in the stillnes of the deep forest or dances in the sun-flled arcs of leaf-green light that filter through the branches of the tree canopy.  His name is delight, and his meaning is mysterious - a potent sexual forces that invigorates the earth at this time.  As the Evergreen God, he is likewise potent in the wintertime when he plays a riddling game at the thresholds of the year with such daring ones as Sir Gawain.
     Ask your spiritual allies to take you to meet the Green Man in meditation or soul-flight."
-  Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year, Harper One, 1999, p.224.
Walkers Between the Worlds:  The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus.  By Caitlin and John Matthews.  Rochester, Vermont, Inner Traditions, 1985, 2003.  Bibliography, index, 441 pages. 

"I call upon loud-roaring and reveling Dionysos,
primeval, two-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord,
savage, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped.
Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure,
you take raw flesh, you have triennial feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked
with grape clusters.
Resourceful Eubouleus, immortal god sired by Zeus
when he mated with Persephone in unspeakable union.
Hearken to my voice, O blessed one, and with your fair-girdled nurses
breathe on me in a spirit of perfect kindness."
-   Orphic Hymn (#30) to Dionysos


Monday, May 28, 2012

Better to Take a Walk

Today is an American holiday called 'Memorial Day.'  A day to remember all those that died in the many useless, stupid, horrible, and crushing wars of the past. Most of the men that started or fought in these destructive rampages where merely pawns in the hands of nations or dogmas or greed or dictators or petty warlords.  There were a few heroes, and many evil men, and mostly just extremely scared folks crying and screaming as the bombs exploded and bullets whizzed by and their loved ones were murdered.  So, let us remember on this holiday and celebrate the real joy that everyone felt when we heard "The War Has Ended" and people could live again in peace.     

I recommend that we adopt an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to Limit the War Making Powers of the U.S. Government.    

Time for my early morning walk, 5:45 am.  The temperature outside is 53 degrees F.  The skies are clear at daybreak today.  Walk on dear friends - in Peace.  

"It is good to collect things; it is better to take walks."
- Anatole France

"It is good to have an end to journey towards;
but it is the journey that matters in the end."
- Ursula K. LeGuin

"A fact bobbed up from my memory, that the ancient Egyptians
prescribed walking through a garden as a cure for the mad.
It was a mind-altering drug we took daily."
- Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks

"There is an art to wandering.  If I have a destination, a plan - an objective - I've lost the ability to find serendipity.  I've become too focused, too single-minded.  I am on a quest, not a ramble.  I search for the Holy Grail of particularity, and miss the chalice freely offered, filled full to overflowing."
-   Cathy Johnson, On Becoming Lost

"Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."
-   Henry David Thoreau   

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Metta Sutra

"This is what should be done
By one who is killed in goodness,
And who knows the paths of peace:
Let them be able and upright, 
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied. 
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be,
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be born,
May all beings be at ease.
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill will
Wish harm on another. 
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Free from hatred and ill will.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection. 
This is said to be the sublime abiding,
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world."
-  Traditional Buddhist Scripture, found in "Awakening to the Sacred" by Lama Surya Das, 1999, p. 301 

Alternate translations of the Metta SutraRanamoli | Amaravati | Piyadassi | Thanissaro

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons 

The Good Life

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bai Bi Yun Dong: Swinging Arms Exercises

I am developing a webpage on Bai Bi Yun Dong (Swinging Arms Exercises).  It it includes lessons on various forms of this popular exercise, an extensive bibliography and links, and a brief introduction. Here is my description of the Swinging Arms Form One.

1.  Swinging Arms Exercise - Form One
Swinging the Arms Forward and Back, Up and Down
Pendulum Swing

1.  Stand with your feet at a hip width distance apart, less than shoulder width, feet pointing straight ahead.  Keep the knees slightly bent.  This standing stance should be comfortable.  Release tension in the body, soften, stay loose, open the chest, keep an open mind - in short, maintain Sung

2.  Keep your head over your shoulders, and the head in line with the spine.  Lift the crown of the head and tuck the chin a little.  Shoulders are kept relaxed, but don't slouch.  Maintain central equilibrium.  Keep an upright posture. 
3.  The feet are grounded and rooted into the earth.  Feet remain flat on the floor during the entire exercise.  The feet should point straight ahead.  The knees are over the feet.   
4.  Look forward, soften and widen your visual focus.  Take in the whole practice scene.  Don't try to block sensory feelings, zone out, or escape being fully present in the simple here and now.
5.  Arms should be loose, relaxed, and hanging gently at the sides of your hips.  Hands should remain soft and relaxed. 
6.  Gently raise both arms up in front of the body, palms facing down.  Raise the arms up to about shoulder height or less, depending upon the mobility or comfort range of motion for your shoulder joint.  The arms are fairly straight with only a slight bend in the elbow. 
7.  Allow the arms to gently move down and back to the sides of your hips.  Continue to lift the arms up behind the body, palms facing up, to a height you are comfortable with, depending upon the mobility of your shoulder joint.  Most people draw the hands up behind the back at considerably less than a 30 degree angle up from the hips.  Then bring the arms downward until the hands are along sides of the hips.  The arms are fairly straight with only a slight bend in the elbow. 
8.  Continue moving both arms at the same time from the hips, up to about shoulder height or less in front, down to the sides of the hips, and up the back, then down to the hips.  Be gentle.  Take your time.  Both arms will gradually begin to effortlessly swing up and down, forward and back, up and down.  Relax!  The arms are fairly straight with only a slight bend in the elbow. 
9.  Breathing is natural, comfortable, effortless, unstrained.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  The tongue rests gently on the upper palate.  
10.  The knees will gently begin to bend and straighten slightly as the arms swing forward and back.  A swinging rhythm will establish a bending pattern and movement flow in the knees.  Don't keep the knees stiff, locked, or rigid.  Go with the flow. 
11.  Continue to swing the arms forward and back until you have warmed up your body, loosed the joints, and established a comfortable and flowing motion of swinging your arms.  Slowly increase the pace of your swinging. 
12.  Avoid rapidly snapping the lower arms or hands as you draw you arms downward from the front.   
13.  Enjoy swinging your arms forward and backward for as long as you like.  Start with a swinging practice of two to four minutes, and gradually increase the practice time as your body becomes conditioned to the exercise, your stamina increases, and you find benefits from doing this exercise. 
14.  As you near the end of the exercise period, slow the swinging pace down and reduce the range of motion in the swing.  Gradually slow down and finally stop.  Stand and rest for awhile.   
    This dynamic stretching exercise helps various parts of the body and is an excellent warm up exercise.  It stretches the biceps as you draw the arms back and up.  It stretches the triceps as you swing the arms up and forward.  The relaxed fingers and wrists are stretched on the downward fall of the arms (a nice counter to the flexed and tensed positions of the hands on a keyboard).  The shoulder joint and tendons benefit from the gentle range of motion activity, and the deltoid muscles are exercised.  The pectoral muscles are stretched on the backward movement of the arms.  Strength gains, although very modest, are primarily in the deltoids, latissimus, obliques, quadriceps, and trapesius.  If the swinging arms activity is continued long enough the heartbeat will increase slightly.  This kind of rhythmic activity has a calming effect on the body and reduces stress.  Stephen Sinatra, M.D., claims this exercise will benefit the thoracic duct and help the heart.  Chinese Qigong masters claim that Qi flow is enhanced and the body energized, blood pressure is reduced, and various diseases are prevented or healed. 
    There are alternative versions of this Swinging Arms exercise practiced and recommended by different folks.  Some people like to quietly count the repetitions on the forward up swing as it helps them to focus and maintain a regular breathing pattern.  Some people just swing one arm forward and back, and alternate between the arms.  Guo Lin's Qigong, a Walking Qigong, for cancer patients, alternates the arm swing from side to side, but the elbows are bent more and the waist turns from side to side as the arms swing upward.  Some people enjoy stepping in place or walking forward in a coordinated manner (e.g., Yang Jwing Ming) as they swing their arms forward and backward, up and down.  Swinging the arms or pumping the arms during brisk walking is a popular exercise.  Some swing the arms higher up in the front, up to face level or higher.  Some rise on their heels as they swing the arms up.  Some rock the toes up and down, or the heels up and down as they swing their arms.  Some like to talk with others as they swing their arms, others prefer being quiet.  Some hold very light dumbbells or kettlebells in the hands while doing this exercise for greater strength gains, although repetitions are kept low.   
-  By Michael P. Garofalo, Swinging Arms Exercises: Bai Bi Yun Dong

                                     摆 臂 θΏ 动

Here is an informative video presentation with some creative adaptations of Swinging Hands by Shifu Mike Pekor of Tai Chi Kung Fu of Long Island: Tai Chi Swing Series  UTube, 9:21 minutes.  I also describe this version in my new webpage as Swinging Arms Form Two.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 61

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 61

"Here is the formula
for discovery
of the original self

see yourself as a great river
identify wit the fountainhead in the mountains
identify with the watercourse across the land
identify with the emptying into the great sea

this is the receptive
rest peacefully within the shape of
an empty vessel
blanketing your bodymind with stillness

tranquil sitting
balances the naturally expressive
with the naturally receptive

see the great river within you
see the great river beneath you
see the great river above you
see yourself as small within the great river

the great and the small have no meaning
on their own
because they are the same thing

they wish to serve each other
bring them together
as the river connects the mountain spring
to the vast ocean

and the original self
will appear."
-  Translated by John Bright-Fey, 2006, Chapter 61 

"A great state that is useful is like a bond of unity within the Empire; it is the Empire's wife.
The female controls the male by her quietude and submission.
Thus a great state by its service to smaller states wins their allegiance.
A small state by submission to a great state wins an influence over them.
Thus some stoop to conquer, and others stoop and conquer.
Great states can have no higher purpose than to federate states and feed the people.
Small states can have no higher purpose than to enter a federation and serve the people.
Both alike, each in his own way, gain their end, but to do so, the greater must practice humility."
-   Translated by Dwight Goddard, 1919, Chapter 61 

"The great country may be compared to a low-lying lake where many rivers converge;
it is the mixing place of the world, the reservoir of all under heaven... the Feminine of the world.
Femininity always overcomes Masculinity, by stillness,
her tranquility gives rise to her humility.
Thus it is that the great country can win over the small country by this practicing of stillness and humility.
And the small state by the practice of humility and deference to the large country can gain the large country and become one with it.
So it is said that by practice of quiescence and humility the great can absorb and conquer the small without effort,
and the small and insignificant can gain riches and treasure by submitting to the great.
The great state wishes to keep and nourish its people, and help others.
The small state wishes to help its people by joining with the peace and strength of the larger state.
Both states get what they wish by submitting.
Greatness lies in placing oneself below."
-   Translated by John Dicus, 2002, Chapter 61 

"A large country is the low level of interflowing rivers.
It draws people to the sea-end of a valley
As the female draws the male,
Receives it into absorbing depth
Because depth always absorbs.
And so a large country, inasfar as it is deeper than a small country,
Absorbs the small-
Or a small country, inasfar as it is deeper than a large country,
Absorbs the large.
Some countnes consciously seek depth into which to draw others.
Some countries naturally have depth into which to draw others:
A large country needs to admit,
A small country needs to emit,
And so each country can naturally have what it needs
If the large country submit."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 61 

"A great kingdom is like the mouth of rivers; it is like the female, or the hub of the world.
Females frequently win males with their serenity.
Serenity means humbleness.
Therefore when a great kingdom is humble, it wins small kingdoms.
When a small kingdom is humble, it wins great kingdoms.
This is why with humbleness one can win and will win.
A great kingdom should not excessively conquer.
A small kingdom should avoid undue vassalage.
In order for both great and small kingdoms to have their wishes, it is better for great kingdoms to be humble."
-   Translated by Thomas Zhang, Chapter 61 

"A great country is like low-lying land
into which all rivers flow.
It is the meeting place of everything upon the earth,
the female of the world.

The female can always overcome the male by stillness,
by taking up a lower place.
And so by taking up a lower place,
a great country can win over a smaller one.

By taking up a lower place,
a small country can win over a greater one.
The one wins by becoming low,
the other wins by remaining low.

A great country wants nothing more
than to unite and feed its people.
A small country wants nothing more
than to come and serve its people.

Both get what they desire,
but it is fitting that the greater should abase itself."
-   Translated by Tim Chilcott, 2005, Chapter 61 

"A large state is like low-lying land where the flowing waters meet:¹
The female of the world.
It is the stillness of the feminine which overcomes the masculine.
Keeping still is to keep to the lower position.
Therefore the large state can conquer the small state by giving way to the small state.
And the small state can conquer the large state by submitting to the large state.
Thus, in order to conquer one must yield,
And those who conquer do so by yielding.
Since the large state wishes to take in more people,
And the small state wishes to serve the people,
Both have their wishes met.
It is right for a large state to yield."
-   Translated by Keith H. Seddon, Chapter 61    

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tai Chi Broadsword (Saber, Dan Dao)


The Complete Taiji Dao. The Art of the Chinese Saber. By Zhang, Yun.  Blue Snake Books, 2009.  464 pages.  ISBN:1583942270.  

"This is a very complete book about the Chinese saber, or Dao. It presents the history, mechanics, skills and philosophy of Taiji Dao. There is a detailed description of the traditional Taiji Dao form, including applications for combat with many photos. There are descriptions and photos of two-handed Dao skills and fighting skills training. There are over 1,000 photos. Paperback. 427 pp. 8 X 10."  

"The Complete Taiji Dao
introduces the principles and practice of Taiji Dao and provides illustrated discussions of the history of Chinese swords. The book covers the history and features of the dao; the Taiji principles from which Taiji Dao practice derives; the basic skills and techniques of the art; detailed descriptions and photographs of the traditional Taiji Dao form; and Taiji Dao fighting principles and training methods. Broad in scope and detailed in its presentation of the principles and practice of Taiji Dao, The Complete Taiji Dao represents a significant contribution to the field of traditional Chinese weapons practice."  VSCL.

Tai Chi Chuan Broadsword, Saber, Dan Dao

Chen Taijiquan Broadsword: Bibliography, Links, Resources, List of Movements

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Earth as a Holy Place

'There is no state or condition more holy than the Earth.'
      - R. J. Stewart, Power Within the Land
    "The British write R. J. Stewart makes this firm and startling claim to counter the ways in which the physical world has been disregarded and disrespected for so many centuries.  He does not state that there is nothing but the earth, only that we should regard it as equally holy with every other realm.
    This is quite a difficult thing for may people to do, especially those raised in the belief that the earth and all its works are somehow spoiled from the outset and that the only holy condition is the heavenly one.  This concept and others like it have soured our relationship with the earth, causing us to abuse it as a commodity, a provider of resources, and a place to live our mundane lives as we wish.
    What is holiness, and how can the earth e said to be holy?  Holiness is nothing less that a condition of wholeness, completing, and attunement.  The earth is holy in that it is the womb of manifest life, the partner in holiness with the otherworld, which is the originative fructifier of life.  Both sides of this alchemical partnership are equally important, we cannot leave one of them out of the equation. 
    Awareness of the earth holiness and partnership with the otherworld is still possible, especially when we stand at a place on the earth where the veil between the worlds is thinner.  In such a place we can still intuit earthly holiness.  Even though the earth's survace has been abused, it is nonetheless a living womb of holy life, and we are its children.
    Meditate upon the earth as a holy place, and your own human state as a holy condition."
-  Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year, 1999, p. 217

Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year, Harper One, 1999
Walkers Between the Worlds:  The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus.  By Caitlin and John Matthews.  Rochester, Vermont, Inner Traditions, 1985, 2003.  Bibliography, index, 441 pages.  ISBN: 0892810912.  

     It seems to me that R. J. Steward is saying that the our experience of the 'Holiness' of the Earth is primary, fundamental, and superior to other experiences of 'Holiness'.  And, further, that there is "no condition or state that is more holy than the Earth."  

     Quibbling about the prose of such an inspirational writer as Caitlin Matthews seems rather petty.  However, for those whom the 'supernatural' seems a rather imaginary realm described by a fanciful collection of anthropomorphic stories, these otherworld realms and their inhabitants inspire less that the miracle of a plot of fava bean leaves glistening with dew at dawn.    

"This morning outside I stood
I saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then

Everything is Holy Now 
It used to be a world half there
Heaven's second rate hand me down
But I walk it with a reverent air
'Cause everything is Holy Now"

-  Peter Mayer, Holy Now

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Swinging Arms Exercise

Swinging both arms forwards and backwards, or from side to side, is a very popular martial arts warm up exercise, qigong exercise, and Taiji warmup exercise.  There are numerous versions of this warm up exercise. Swinging Arms (Bai Bi) forward and back, or Swinging Hands (Swai Shou) from side to side are the most popular versions of this exercise. 

Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body: Chi Gung for Lifelong Health (Tao of Energy Enhancement).  By Bruce Kumar Frantzis.  Illustrated by Husky Grafx.  North Atlantic Books, 1993.  Second Edition.  174 pages.  ISBN: 1556431643.  VSCL.  Master Frantzis teaches three swinging hands (Swai Shou) movements.  The First Swing is precisely explained and illustrated on pages 181-187.  The Second Swing is explained on pages 188-199.  The Third Swing is explained on pages 200-213. 

Jacob Newell, Old Oak Taiji School, Sonoma County, California, provided us with a demonstration of Swinging Arms on UTube.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Solar Eclipse

Last evening, around 6:30 pm, there was a solar eclipse.  There were many eerie optical phenomenon at the ground level in our garden as a result of the eclipse.  In the following photograph, look between the well pump house and the north facing shaded side of the garage.  What do you see?

"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually.  For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value."
-  Claude Monet

"Zeus, the father of the Olympic Gods, turned mid-day into night, hiding the light of the dazzling Sun; and sore fear came upon men."
-   Archilochus (c680-c640 BC), Greek poet

Seeing: Quotations, Sayings, Poems, Quips


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend Chores

Karen and I replaced the pump in our field well today.  We had tried to fix the old pump setup twice before in the last three months but were unsuccessful. 
The pump is a SHURflo, 9300 series, $700.  The pump runs off 24 volt direct current, 120 watts, 4.0 maximum amps.  It will pump water up from a depth of 250 feet at full power.  We use a solar panel to provide the electricity for this pump.  
Our well is 126 feet deep.  The water level in the well is at 46 feet.  I keep the pump at about 90 feet.  
This pump, running on solar power, will deliver 1.4285 gallons per minute outflow.  This steady flow of water will add about 1,027 gallons of water each 12 sunny hour day into our small ponds. 
The water we pump up is used to fill our two ponds and for drip irrigation on trees and shrubs all around our property.  

Check out some of my previous blog posts for some information about the history of this well.  

We also worked on our front yard.  Mowing the lawn.  Pruning and weeding.  Improving the rock borders.  Setting some pavers in place.  Setting in some new drip irrigation lines.  The small yard looks very nice now.  

Yesterday, I attend a workshop in Sacramento from 9-6 pm.  It was the Group Exercise Instructor Certification course from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.  The instructor, Jessica De'Haven, provided a very engaging and highly informative workshop, and was an impressive athlete.  I got lots of exercise and I am a little tired and a bit sore today.  The typical attendees at these workshops are nearly all young, slender and fit women.  I'm a rarity at these events: 66 years old, a man, and a very BIG man.  It was an enjoyable experience!  Fitness instructors, like myself, have to keep various certifications current to stay employed in this industry.  Hopefully, I passed the battery of written and practical tests at this workshop.  

Karen works 30 hours a week as an instructional aide in an special education classroom run by the Tehama County Department of Education.  I work 24 hours a week as a technology and media services supervisor and grants coordinator for the Corning Union Elementary School District.  We have both worked at these jobs for the last 13 years.  Consequently, like most folks, weekends keep us quite busy with chores. 

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
-  Thomas A. Edison

"Man was not made to rust out in idleness.  A degree of exercise is as necessary for the preservation of health, both of body and mind, as his daily food.  And what exercise is more fitting, or more appropriate of one who is in the decline of life, than that of superintending a well-ordered garden?   What more enlivens the sinking mind?   What is more conducive to a long life?"
-  Joseph Breck

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
-  Thomas Jefferson 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Much Unseen is Also Here

"Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune— I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road. 

The earth—that is sufficient; 
I do not want the constellations any nearer;
I know they are very well where they are; 
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.  

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens; 
I carry them, men and women—I carry them with me wherever I go; 
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them; 
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.) 

You road I enter upon and look around!
I believe you are not all that is here; 
I believe that much unseen is also here."
-   Walt Whitman, "Song of the Open Road," Leaves of Grass, 1890.  

Walking: Quotations, Sayings, Poems, Lore

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 62

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 62

"Tao is the enigma of all creation.
It is a treasure for the good man, a shelter for the bad.
Words of worth can create a city;
Noble deeds can elevate a man.
Even though a man is not good, how can he be abandoned?
A jade disc and a coach and four are presented to the emperor at his enthronement ceremony and to the Three Ministers at their installation, but this cannot compare with riding toward the Tao.
Those ancients who prized Tao would instead have said, "Seek and you will find, thus you will be free from guilt."
Hence Tao is valued by the world."
-   Translated by Tam Gibbs, 1981, Chapter 62  

"The Tao (the Laws of the Universe)
is the hidden Source
of all things.
A treasure
to the honest,
it is a protection
to the confused.
A good word
will find its own location.
A good deed
may be used as a gift to another.
A person
missing the right path
Is no reason
they should be thrown away.
At the official times of empowerment,
Let others offer their discs of jade, following it up with cars and boats;
It is better for you to offer
the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe )
without moving your feet!
Why did the people of the past prize
the Tao ( the Laws of the Universe )?
It is because
by the virtue (the power) of it,
he who looks finds,
And the guilty are forgiven.
That is why
it is such a treasure
to the world."
-   Translated by John Louis Trottier, 1994, Chapter 62 

"The Way is the myriad creatures’ refuge.
It is that which the good extend,
And that which defends the bad.
Eloquent words can win promotion.
Eloquent actions can elevate.
Even if a person is bad, should one reject them?
When the ruler is installed
And the three great ministers appointed,
Though jade disks
And four-horse teams are offered,
It’s better to grant the gift of the Way
Without stirring from one’s place.
Why was the Way valued of old?
Was it not said it brought achievement,
And mitigated the punishment of the guilty.
So it was prized by the realm."
-  Translated by A.S. Kline, 2003, Chapter 62 

"Tao is at the source of everything: treasure for the good; refuge for the bad.
Fine words can be sold; fine deeds can be but a show.
Why, then, refuge the bad?
Therefore, at the crowning of the emperor or at the appointment of the three ministers, rather than present gifts of jade and horses, present the gift of Tao.
Why did the ancients value Tao so?
Did they not say the seeker shall find it; the sinner shall find it and be forgiven?
So is it the treasure of the world."
-   Translated by Frank K. MacHovec, 1962, Chapter 62   

"The Ten Thousand Things have their source in the Tao.
It is the treasure of the good man, and the refuge of the bad.
Fine words can purchase honor.
Good deeds can earn respect.
Even if a man is bad, that is no reason to abandon him.
Therefore when the Son of Heaven is crowned and the three ministers installed,

Rather than offering gifts of jade discs and a team of four horses,
It is better to remain seated and offer the Tao.
Why did the ancients value the Tao so highly?

Did they not say, ‘By means of the Tao,
Those who seek it shall find it, and the guilty shall be forgiven’?
This is why it is so valued by the world."
-   Translated by Keith H. Seddon, Chapter 62

"The Tao is the source of all things,
the good man's treasure, the bad man's refuge.
You can buy beautiful words.
You can build your reputation with good deeds.
But even bad people can use beautiful words and perform good deeds.
So when the new emperor is crowned
(and the three ministers of state are installed),
do not send gifts of jade and four–horse chariots.
Instead, be still, and offer the Tao.
The ancients treasured the Tao because, when you seek it, you find it;
through the Tao, even sinners receive forgiveness.
That is why everybody loves the Tao."
-   Translated by George Cronk, 1999, Chapter 62 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wild Goose (Dayan) Qigong

Dayan (Wild Goose) Qigong Exercises

Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, List of Movements
Research by Mike Garofalo

This Qigong form is one long continuous sequence of movements, much like a Taiji form.  There are many aspects of the Wild Goose Qigong system as presented by Dr. Bingkun Hu of San Francisco.  

I was practicing this Dayan form one winter morning in my Sacred Circle Garden when a flock of Canadian Geese flew overhead.  The North Sacramento Valley is the winter home of birds from Canada.  Behold ... 'everything is holy now':

"A second Grandfather, he of the North, spoke again: 
"Take courage, younger brother," he said, "on earth a nation you shall make live, for yours shall be the power of the white giant's wing, the cleansing wing." 
Then he got up very tall and started running toward the north; and when he turned toward me, it was a white goose wheeling. I looked about me now, and the horses in the west were thunders and the horses of the north where geese. 
And the second Grandfather sang two songs that were like this:
"They are appearing, may you behold!
They are appearing , may you behold!
The thunder nation is appearing, behold!
They are appearing, may you behold!
They are appearing, may you behold!
The white geese nation is appearing, behold!"
- Black Elk Speaks, 1932, p. 22, as told to John G. Neihardt.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Short Staff and Cane Practices

Way of the Short Staff.  By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.  A comprehensive guide to the practice of the short staff, cane, jo, walking stick, gunzhang, whip staff, 13 Hands Staff, and related wood short staff weapons.  A detailed and annotated guide, bibliographies, lists of links, resources, instructional media, online videos, and lessons.   Includes use of the short staff and cane in martial arts, self-defense, walking and hiking.  Separate sections on Aikido Jo, Cane, Taijiquan cane and staff, Jodo, exercises with a short staff, selected quotations, techniques, selecting and purchasing a short staff, tips and suggestions, and a long section on the lore, legends, and magick of the short staff.  Includes "Shifu Miao Zhang Points the Way."  Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California.  Updated on a regular basis since October, 2008.  Filesize: 265Kb.  Related to Mike's popular webpage on the Staff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life Arts Media

You might enjoy visiting the following website:  Life Arts Media: Consciousness, Community, and Sustainability.

I watched the videos:  
Opening Dao: A Documentary Film about Daoism and the Martial Arts.  A film by Gennaro Ambrosino.  23.50 minutes.  
Dan Millman: The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.  An interview with Dan Millman.  12:46 minutes.  
Barefoot Doctor (Stephen Russell): Taoism and Self-Development.  

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices  
One Old Druid's Final Journey

Monday, May 14, 2012

Awakening the Dragon

    "Love is the power to feel through the feet in Earth and through the spine into heaven to mingle into motion the inner wheels, to awaken the sleeping Serpent. 
- Dei Hughes, "Sacred Loyalties"
"As the glory of May-time unfurls in every leaf and flower, we begin to feel a new well-being in our bodies, a sense of vigor and energy that we have lacked over the cold months of winter.  In terms of Celtic understanding, we are experiencing the nwyfre (NWIVE'ry) of the earth in our own bodies.  Nwyfre is a Welsh word that means the subtle energy field of the earth; it is often used poetically for the sky or heavens.
    Every sentient being has its own energy field or nwyfre as well.  The symbolic representation of nwyfre is the dragon, which is a very important emblem in Britain (the red dragon being the guardian beast of Wales and appearing upon its flag).  The awakening of the dragons of the land traditionally happens about the time of Beltane.  The nwyfre of the land rise up at summer's approach, and the dormant dragons, emblems of the land's power, rise from their dark earth caverns upon powerful wings.
    To experience the awakening of the dragons of nwyfre in our bodies, we need to take ourselves out into the open air, to stand without concrete between our bare feet and earth, to experience the daily miracle of life within our bodies.  If we make this our practice, our nwyfre will not be lacking. 
    Stand on the green earth and close your eyes, soaking up the light of the sun and the warmth of the earth at the same time.  Be aware of the nwyfre of the earth.  Now become aware of your own.  As you breathe in, experience drawing up the subtle energy of the earth.  Give thanks for renewed energy and life."
-  Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year,  1999, p. 207


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Everything is Holy Now

Holy Now
Written by Peter Mayer 
From Million Year Mind, 1999

"When I was a boy each week
Sunday we would go to church
Pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is Holy Now
Everything, Everything, Everything is Holy Now

When I was in Sunday School
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
I remember feeling sad
That miracles don't happen still
But now I just can't keep track
'Cause everything's a miracle

Everything, Everything, Everything's a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn't one

Holy water was rare at best
Barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
'Cause I'm swimming in a sea of it

It used to be a world half there
Heaven's second rate hand me down
But now I'm walking with a reverent air
'Cause everything is Holy Now

Everything, Everything, Everything is Holy Now

Read a questioning child's face
Say it's not a testament
That'd be very hard to say
See, see another new morning come
And say it's not a sacrament
I tell you that it can't be done

This morning outside I stood
I saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then

Everything is Holy Now
It used to be a world half there
Heaven's second rate hand me down
But I walk it with a reverent air
'Cause everything is Holy Now

Everything, Everything, Everything is Holy Now"
-  Holy Now by Peter Mayer

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sex Education Story from Julie Sweeny

Time for a good laugh today.  Julia Sweeney tells us a humorous story about a conversation with her eight year old daughter about the "birds and the bees" and the frogs. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 63

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 63

"Do without "doing."
Get involved without manipulating.
Taste without tasting.
Make the great small,
The many, few. 
Respond to anger with virtue.
Deal with difficulties while they are still easy.
Hand the great while it is still small. 

The difficult problems in life
Always start off being simple.
Great affairs always start off being small.
Therefore the sage never deals with the great
And is able to actualize his greatness. 

Now light words generate little belief,
Much ease turns into much difficulty.
Therefore the sage treats things as though they were difficult,
And hence, never has difficulty."
-   Translated by Charles Mueller, 2004, Chapter 63 

"Practice no-action;
Attend to do-nothing;
Taste the flavorless,
Magnify the small,
Multiply the few,
Return love for hate. 
Deal with the difficult while it is yet easy;
Deal with the great while it is yet small. 
The difficult develops naturally from the easy,
And the great from the small;
So the sage, by dealing with the small,
Achieves the great."
-   Translation by Peter A. Merel, 1992, Chapter 63

"It is the way of the Tao to act without thinking of acting;
To conduct affairs without feeling the trouble of them;
To taste without discerning any flavor;
To consider what is small as great, and a few as many;
And to recompense injury with kindness.
The master of it anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy,
And does things that would become great while they are small.
All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy,
And all great things from one in which they were small.
Therefore the sage, while he never does what is great, is able on that account to accomplish the greatest things.
He who lightly promises is sure to keep but little faith;
He who is continually thinking things easy is sure to find them difficult.
Therefore the sage sees difficulty even in what seems easy, and so never has any difficulties."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 63

"Act without considering it to be acting.
Work without considering it to be working.
Taste without considering it to be tasting.
Big or small, many or few - respond to complaints with virtue.
Plan for difficult times when they're still easy to change.
What becomes enormous was once something minute.
All the difficulties in the world arise from what was originally easy to change.
Everything enormous in the world arises from what was originally minute.
It's natural for the wise person to end up not having to act on what's become enormous, and therefore has the ability to achieve what's great.
You see, lightly making promises must show a lack of sincerity.
If many things are taken lightly, then many things will cause difficulty.
It's natural for a wise person to keep in touch with what might become difficult.
Therefore, he ends up without difficulties."
-  Translation by Nina Correa, 2008, Chapter 63

"Accomplish do-nothing.
Attend to no-affairs.
Taste the flavorless.
Whether it is big or small, many or few,
Requite hatred with virtue.
Deal with the difficult while yet it is easy;
Deal wit the big while yet it is small.
The difficult (problems) of the world
Must be dealt with while they are yet easy;
The great (problems) of the world
Must be dealt with while they are yet small.
Therefore the Sage by never dealing with great (problems)
Accomplishes greatness.  
He who lightly makes a promise
Will find it often hard to keep his faith.
He who makes light of many things
Will encounter many difficulties.
Hence even the Sage regards things as difficult,
And for that reason never meets with difficulties."
-   Translated by Lin Yutang, 1948, Chapter 63  

 "Do that which consists in taking no action;
Pursue that which is not meddlesome;
Savor that which has no flavor.
Make the small big and the few many;
Do good to him who has done you an injury.
Lay plans for the accomplishment of the difficult before it becomes difficult;
Make something big by starting with it when small.
Difficult things in the world must needs have their beginnings in the easy;
Big things must needs have their beginnings in the small.
Therefore it is because the sage never attempts to be great that he succeeds in becoming great.
One who makes promises rashly rarely keeps good faith;
One who is in the habit of considering things easy meets with frequent difficulties.
Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult.
That is why in the end no difficulties can get the better of him."
-   Translated by D. C. Lau, Chapter 63