Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 33

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 33

"One who knows others is clever, but one who knows himself is enlightened. 
One who conquers others is powerful, but one who conquers himself is mighty. 
One who knows contentment is rich and one who pushes with vigor has will. 
One who loses not his place endures. 
One who may die but will not perish, has life everlasting."
-  Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 33 

"It is wisdom to know others;
It is enlightenment to know one's self.
The conqueror of men is powerful;
The master of himself is strong.
It is wealth to be content;
It is willful to force one's way on others.
Endurance is to keep one's place;
Long life it is to die and not perish."
-  Translated by R. B. Blakney, 1955, Chapter 33   

"Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of willpower.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present."
-  Translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 33  

"He who knows other men is discerning; he who knows himself is intelligent.
He who overcomes others is strong; he who overcomes himself is mighty.
He who is satisfied with his lot is rich; he who goes on acting with energy has a firm will.
He who does not fail in the requirements of his position, continues long.
He who dies and yet does not perish, has longevity."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 33  

"He who knows others is intelligent;
he who understands himself is enlightened;
he who is able to conquer others has force,
but he who is able to control himself is mighty.
He who appreciates contentment is wealthy.
He who dares to act has nerve;
if he can maintain his position he will endure,
but he, who dying does not perish, is immortal."
-   Translated by Dwight Goddard, 1919, Chapter 33 

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: Introduction, Bibliography, Commentary, Chapter Index  

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Privacy of Winter

“There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you …..
In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each
other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet
stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”
- Ruth Stout

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 will be in full bloom in February. 

The prune plum orchards have yet to flower.

"Timeless thoughts of a winter’s stare;
eyes gazing over a landscape bare.
Memories drift on a blustery breeze;
dying light ushers in the freeze.
Reaching out for a grasp on the present;
stillness sets in, alone, and desolate.
Future unknown, outcome uncertain;
brilliance shadowed by a drawn curtain.
Path now set, laid before me known;
closing light now emanating from home.
Enter my homestead, heart filled with glee;
two eyes of the future peering upward at me.
Trusting in him to forge forward until fulfilled;
Basis of strength, values I have instilled.
A wary mind at last permitted to rest;
reflecting on the realization of how I am blessed.
-  Michael A. Barron, Winter's Epiphany    

"Winter is the time for comfort - it is the time for home."
-  Edith Sitwell

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Path of Iron

"The easiest way to preserve health and with greater profit than all other measures put together is to exercise well."
-  Cristobal Mendez, Exercise Book, 1553

63 Rules to Grow By - The Ultimate Bodybuilding Guide

Strength Training for Persons Over 55

The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle  By Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove.  New York, Avery Penguin Group, 2006.  Index, 301 pages.  ISBN: 978158333389.  VSCL.  

"It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor."
-  Cicero

"We derive our vitality from our store of madness."
-  Emile M. Cioran

"True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are united."
-  Alexander von Humboldt

Monday, January 28, 2013

Walking with a Cane

The only martial arts weapon that I practice with is a cane.  I practice all the Taijiquan sword and broadsword forms that I know with a cane. 

Every time I take a walk I carry my cane with me.  Using various cane strikes and stretches while walking is an excellent way to exercise the upper torso.

I use an Instructor's Walking Cane, 40" (103 cm) long and 1" (2.54 cm) in diameter, from Cane Masters.  This cane weights 1lb, 2 oz (510 gm).  This beautiful martial arts combat cane is made of pure hickory heartwood, has multiple notches at three key gripping points, has a rounded hooked horn, and has a rubber covered tip.  I also own the same Instructor's Walking Cane made of oak - a gift from my children.   
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, gun, zhang, 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.
"The correct use of the bo (sai, tonfa, kama, naginata, sword) can produce a stimulating and practical means of "extension" training. It offers a means of martial arts training and discipline. Weapons training teaches the meaning of control, timing, distance, and flexibility as one unit. The practitioner is required to possess speed, coordination, strength, and endurance in utilizing the respective weapons."
History of the Bo Staff


"The jo can be used to strike like a sword, sweep like a naginata, thrust like a spear (yari). Its two ends can be used, unlike the single point of a sword, and its ma-ai (fighting distance) can be varied according to the hand grip you take. Because of its speed and changeable ma-ai, it is a formidable weapon."
Muso Shindo-Ryu Jodo   

"In Chinese shamanism, a staff represents the power of the universe. With a staff, a shaman had the power to pass on the universal knowledge to others. Later, when teachers took over part of the shaman's job, they always taught with a small staff in their hands like a shaman."
- Master Zhongxian Wu, Vital Breath of the Dao, p. 106

Hakuin's Dragon Staff Inka Scroll

Zen Master Hakuin (1686-1768) painted a Dragon Staff with a horsehair whisk attached.  He gave the above painting to a lay student who passed the Zen koan, "What is the sound of one hand clapping."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Obligation to Pursue Excellence

"Folklorist Garrison Keillor's description of Lake Wobegon invariably got a laugh.  "It's a place," he said, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
The last statement is the key to the laughter.  The audience knew then than Lake Wobegon did not exist, because our common sense tells us there is no place on earth where all the children are above average.
Humor, however, always has two faces.  It tells us truth that is not logical, truth that comes from deeper sources than the evidence of our five senses.  Life is not a matter of statistics: Our final report card will not give us our class ranking.  The fact of the matter, the hidden truth, is that everyone can be above average. 
Becoming above average is not all that difficult.  To put it bluntly, the average person has settled for less, has accepted mediocrity- and has the status to prove it. 
The real goal in life?  To be above average- to be normal, which really means being the best you can be.  Being average is living in the past; being normal is striving in the present. 
Normalcy has little to do with being witty and wealthy and good-looking.  Those are qualities dictated by chance and circumstance.  Being normal is chiefly a matter of making the most out of what you were born with, and it follows from acknowledging an obligation to pursue excellence.  But it's important to note that the pursuit alone counts just as much as the achievement- and possibly more."
-  George Sheehan, M.S., Personal Best, 1989, p. 29

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Correspondence Examples

I get many emails each week from people reading my webpages or blog.  I enjoy the correspondence and hope my responses are useful.  I could easily fill my blog with correspondence alone.  Here are two from today:


"I e-mailed you once before with some questions and you responded promptly.  You were very helpful. 
It seems you have some health issues.  Diabetes?  
Are you interested in nutrition?
There is a book I'm currently reading that is very interesting.  "The Perfect Health Diet" by Paul and Shou-Ching Shih Jaminet.  Check it out.  

"Tom, I am 67 years old, so some health problems are highly probable.
Yes, I do have diabetes:
I generally follow Mark Hyman's, M.D., "Blood Sugar Solution."   

Thanks for your book suggestion from the Jaminets


"Hi Mike, I'm from Argentina, taichi beginer, always looking for info and answers... I recently found your website, looking for Chen Short 18 Form info, great work!! Thanks for that...

I have a couple of questions that I always have for experienced teachers:

What do you think about the eternal discusion between Chen vs Yang?  It's Chen style taijiquan or it's Pao Chui mixed with some other things?  Is Yang the original taichichuan?  Not an easy question.

And last question, do you think it's the same (health and gong fu related) to do 1 long form (i.e. lao jia) rather than doing the 18 form for 5 times?  Can someone get gong fu by practicing only a short form several times?

Thank you very much, 



1.  Learn both the Yang 24 and the Chen 18.  Both have advantages and benefits.  If you prefer one over the other, then learn the traditional long form of the one you prefer.  Historical discussions and debates can be quite irrelevant to your physique, lifestyle, preferences, and current opportunities.  

2.  I think Chen style Taijiquan offers more to those interested in vigorous physical conditioning routines, i.e., both Lao Jia Yi Lu and Lao Jian Er Lu (Cannon Fist) and weapons.  Few Yang Taijiquan stylists do fast or vigorous forms.  For complete physical conditioning you will need to supplement Taijiquan with strength training, aerobic conditioning, and yoga.  

3.  Based upon my research, Chen Taijiquan was created around 1650 CE and Yang Taijiquan around 1850 CE.  Martial arts training, or course, goes back thousands of years before 1650 CE, and was radically redefined after the introduction of firearms in the 1850's.  Longer forms give you more martial arts techniques.  

4.  The amount of time you train hard is the key factor in getting stronger, more skilled, and in better overall condition.  As for overall longevity and good health, it is about 55% lifestyle, 5% medicine, and the rest is genetics and good luck. 

Best Wishes,


Friday, January 25, 2013

Something For Nothing

"One cannot wonder at this constantly recurring phrase "getting something for nothing," as if it were the peculiar and perverse ambition of disturbers of society.  Except for our animal outfit, practically all we have is handed to us gratis.  Can the most complacent reactionary flatter himself that he invented the art of writing, or the printing press, or discovered his religious, economic and moral convictions, or any of the devices which supply him with meat and raiment or any of the sources of pleasure as he may derive from literature or the fine arts?  In short, civilization is little else than getting something for nothing."
-  James Harvey Robinson

"Language is the indispensable mechanism of human life― of life such as ours that is molded, guided, enriched, and made possible by the accumulation of the past experience of members of our species.  Dogs, cats, or chimpanzees do not, so far as we can tell, increase their wisdom, their information, their control over their environment from one generation to the next.  Human beings do.  The cultural accomplishments of the ages, the invention of cooking, of weapons, of writing, of printing, of methods of building, of games and amusements, of means of transportation, and the discoveries of all the arts and sciences come to us as free gifts from the dead.  These gifts, which none of us has done anything to earn, offer us not only the opportunity for a richer life than any of our forebears enjoyed but also the opportunity to add to the sum total of human achievement by our own contributions, however small."
-  S. I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action, 1990 (1939), p. 8

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 34

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 34

"How great the Way, like a flooding river flowing left and right!
Holding nothing back, it gives to all in need and makes no claim upon them.
All creatures return to it, yet it rules none: how small it seems.
It rules none, yet all creatures return to it: how great it seems. 
By never seeking greatness, greatness comes."
-   Translated by Douglas Allchin, 2002, Chapter 34

"All-pervading is the Great Tao!
It may be found on the left hand and on the right.
All things depend on it for their production, which it gives to them, not one refusing obedience to it.
When its work is accomplished, it does not claim the name of having done it. 
It clothes all things as with a garment, and makes no assumption of being their lord.  
It may be named in the smallest things.
All things return to their root and disappear, and do not know that it is it which presides over their doing so.
It may be named in the greatest things.
Hence the sage is able to accomplish his great achievements.
It is through his not making himself great that he can accomplish them."
-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 34   

"How all-pervading is the great Reason!
It can be on the left and it can be on the right. 
The ten thousand things depend upon it for their life, and it refuses them not.
When its merit is accomplished it assumes not the name.
Lovingly it nourishes the ten thousand things and plays not the lord.
Ever desireless it can be classed with the small.   
The ten thousand things return home to it.
It plays not the lord.
It can be classed with the great.  
The holy man unto death does not make himself great and can thus accomplish his greatness."
-   Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 34 

"The Great Tao is all-pervasive; it may be seen on the right and on the left.
All things depend upon it, and are produced; it denies itself to none. 
It achieves its works of merit, but has no name or reputation among men.
With tenderness it nourishes all things, yet claims no lordship over them. 
It is ever passionless, and may be named among the smallest things.
All things submit to it, yet it claims no lordship over them; it may be called great. 
Thus the Sage to the end of his life never exalts himself; and thus he is able to achieve great things."
-   Translated by Henry H. Balfour, Chapter 34

"The great Tao is everywhere, on all sides.
Everything derives from it;
nothing is rejected by it.
Through Tao everything exists
yet it does not take possession.
It provides for everything
yet it does not lay claim.
Without motive it seems small.
Being the source of everything it is great.
Because it never claims greatness,
its greatness shines brightly."
-   Translated by C. Ganson, Chapter 34 

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Getting Ripped

Strength Training for Persons Over 50 Years of Age


Bass, Clarence - Ripped  This is a good website with scores of excellent articles, products, reviews, information, success stories, and references.  Mr. Bass (1937-) is a retired lawyer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He was a columnist for Muscle and Fitness magazine for 16 years.  He is an excellent guide for persons over 50 for fitness, staying lean, exercise, and being vital. 
He is the author of many informative books.  He is an award winning older bodybuilder.  

  I recommend his two books: Lean for Life and Challenge Yourself.  

Bibliography: Ripped

Challenge Yourself - Leanness, Fitness & Health - At Any Age  By Clarence Bass.  Albuquerque, New Mexico, Clarence Bass' Ripped Enterprises, 1999.  224 pages.  ISBN: 9780960971473.  VSCL.   

Great Expectations: Health Fitness Leanness Without Suffering  By Clarence Bass.  Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2007.  163 pages.  ISBN: 9780974768243.  VSCL.  
Lean for Life: Stay Motivated and Lean Forever- The Lifestyle Approach to Leanness: Balanced Diet, Aerobic Exercise, Weight Training.  By Clarence Bass.  Albuquerque, New Mexico, Clarence Bass Ripped Enterprises, 1989, 2007.  247 pages.  ISBN: 0960971459.  VSCL.   

Ripped 3: The Recipes, The Routines and The Reasons.  By Clarence Bass.  Albuquerque, New Mexico, Clarence Bass Ripped Enterprises, 1986, 2003.  195 pages.  ISBN: 0960971432.  VSCL.  


Monday, January 21, 2013

Invigorating the Body/Mind

"It is exercise alone that supports the spirit, and keeps the mind in vigor."
-  Cicero, 65 BCE

"So many older people, they just sit around all day long and they don't get any exercise. Their muscles atrophy, and they lose their strength, their energy and vitality by inactivity."
-  Jack LaLanne

"Vigor (viriya) is the state of a hero (vira). Its characteristic is exertion. Its function is to support or consolidate related mental qualities. It is manifested as non-collapse. Because of the saying, "Stirred, one strives wisely," its proximate cause is what stirs the heart. When initiated properly, it should be seen as the root of all attainments."
Visuddhimagga XIV, 137, A Buddhist Scripture 

"The chief condition on which, life, health and vigor depend on, is action.  It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny."
-   Pierre Joseph Proudhon  


Strength Training for Persons Over 50 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Slow Down

"Slow:  Slow gets the brain's attention and gives it time to distinguish and perceive small changes and form new connections.  Fast, you can only do what you already know.  To be aware and to create new patterns, you need to feel, and that requires slowing down.  With slow, you will feel so much more, and with greater vibrancy and richness.  You will immediately notice differences and have the opportunity to create new ways of moving, listening, communicating, smelling and tasting, and making love.  In the words of Mae West, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing slowly."
-   Anat Baniel, Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality, p.18.

Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality
"1.  Moving with Attention, Wake Up to Life, Mindful Movements
2.  The Learning Switch, Bring in the New, Lifelong learning, Retraining
3.  Subtlety, Experience the Power of Gentleness
4.  Variation, Enjoy Abundant Possibilities
5.  Taking Your Time, Slowing Down, Not Rushing, Luxuriate in the Richness of Feeling 
6.  Enthusiasm, Turn the Small into the Great
7.  Flexible Goals, Make the Impossible Possible  
8.  Imagination and Dreams, Create Your Life
9.  Awareness, Cultivating Mindfulness, Thrive with True Knowledge"

-   Anat Baniel, Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality

Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality  By Anat Baniel.  New York, Harmony Books, 2009.  Index, bibliography, 306 pages.  ISBN: 9780307395290.  VSCL.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eight Treasures Chi Kung

I frequently teach the Chinese Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung exercise and fitness routine in my Taijiquan class and my Yoga class.  Naturally, I include many comments about Shaolin and Daoist fitness and healthy living concepts. 

This Eight Treasures exercise and fitness routine has a varied and long history with ancient roots back to the Animal Frolics Dao-yin exercises of 300 CE.  Some of Eight Treasures involve toughening, courage, and fighting and were used in military exercise and conditioning drills. 

Back in 2002, I created the webpage titled:  The Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung or the "Ba Duan Jin Qigong."

The Ba Duan Jin Qigong form includes eight basic exercises to help you keep limber, become stronger, improve your balance, and increase your stamina.  There are opportunities for squatting movements and postures to strengthen the legs.

The entire Eight Beautiful Tapestries Chi Kung form is done while standing. 

There are numerous versions of this popular Chi Kung form.  There are many good books, instructional DVDs, and UTube videos to choose from on this topic.  My webpage includes a long bibliography on the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung with citations for resources, links, videos, books, DVDs on the subject.  

I make a number of comments about the movement variations, physical training targets, muscles worked, attitude, benefits, options, comparisons with yoga asanas, and breathing patterns.  

I offer my own version with fairly detailed comments on each of the eight movements.  Here is my one page class handout for the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung class. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tai Chi Standard 24 Form in the Yang Style

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 past.  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. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dao De Jing by Laozi, Chapter 35

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 35

"To him who holds in his hands the Great Image of the invisible Tao, the whole world repairs.
Men resort to him, and receive no hurt, but find rest, peace, and the feeling of ease. 
Music and dainties will make the passing guest stop for a time.
But though the Tao as it comes from the mouth, seems insipid and has no flavour;
Though it seems not worth being looked at or listened to, the use of it is inexhaustible."  
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 35 


"She who follows the way of the Tao
will draw the world to her steps.
She can go without fear of being injured,
because she has found peace and tranquility in her heart.
Where there is music and good food,
people will stop to enjoy it.
But words spoken of the Tao
seem to them boring and stale.
When looked at, there is nothing for them to see.
When listened for, there is nothing for them to hear.
Yet if they put it to use, it would never be exhausted."
-   Translated by J. H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 35


"Holding on to the great Symbol,
The whole world carries on.
On and on without doing harm.
Being happy at peace,
Enjoying greatly the music and food
Travelers stop by.
When the Dao is spoken forth plainly
It has no flavor at all.
Look, but that is not sufficient for seeing.
Listen, but that is not sufficient for hearing. 
Use it, but it is not exhausted."
-   Translated by Edward Brennan and Tao Huang, 2002, Chapter 35  

If the Great Simulacrum be obtained, the Empire will be for ever free from harm.
There will be tranquility, peace, and universal joy, the attraction of which, acting as a bait, will detain the passing traveler.
The utterance of Tao is insipid; it has no flavor.
If looked at, it appears not worth seeing; if listened to, it appears not worth hearing;
but if used, it is found inexhaustible in resources."
-   Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 35


"The wise man acts at one with the Tao, 
for he knows it is here that peace is found. 
It is for this reason that he is sought. 
Whilst guests enjoy good music and food,
as these are supplied by a benevolent host, 
a description of Tao seems without form, 
for it cannot be heard and cannot be seen. 
But when the music and food are all ended,
the taste of the Tao still remains."
-   Translated by Stanley Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 35  


Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


"Variation: A life filled with possibility must include the miraculous.  By trying out different ways of moving, thinking, felling, and acting, you will become more resilient and healthy.  By introducing variation into the way you move, you can end back pain.  By introducing it into the way you think, you will discover new ideas and solutions that wouldn't otherwise have been possible.  By introducing it into the way you feel, you awaken your senses and open doors to new worlds of sensuality and playfulness."
-   Anat Baniel, Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality, p.18.

Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality
"1.  Moving with Attention, Wake Up to Life, Mindful Movements
2.  The Learning Switch, Bring in the New, Lifelong learning, Retraining
3.  Subtlety, Experience the Power of Gentleness
4.  Variation, Enjoy Abundant Possibilities
5.  Taking Your Time, Slowing Down, Not Rushing, Luxuriate in the Richness of Feeling 
6.  Enthusiasm, Turn the Small into the Great
7.  Flexible Goals, Make the Impossible Possible  
8.  Imagination and Dreams, Create Your Life
9.  Awareness, Cultivating Mindfulness, Thrive with True Knowledge"

-   Anat Baniel, Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality

Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality  By Anat Baniel.  New York, Harmony Books, 2009.  Index, bibliography, 306 pages.  ISBN: 9780307395290.  VSCL.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Open a New Door

“The name, given to the month of ‘January’, is derived from the ancient Roman name ‘Janus’ who presided over the gate to the new year. He was revered as the ‘God of Gateways’, ‘of Doorways’ and ‘of the Journey.’ Janus protected the ‘Gate of Heaven’, known as the ‘Lord of Beginnings’, is associated with the ‘Goddess Juno-Janus’, and often symbolized by an image of a face that looks forwards and backwards at the same time. This symbolism can easily be associated with the month known by many as the start of a new year which brings new opportunities. We cast out the old and welcome in the new. It is the time when many reflect on events of the previous year and often resolve to redress or improve some aspect of daily life or personal philosophy.”
- Mysitcal World Wide Web

"New Year ceremonies are designed to get rid of the past and to welcome the future. January is named after the Etruscan word janua which means door."
- New Year's Customs

"The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months!"
- Edward Payson Powell

January: Quotes, Poems, Lore, Sayings, Garden Chores

Monday, January 14, 2013

Coincidence of Opposites

"The mind of the great sage of India
    was intimately conveyed from west to east.
Though people may be sharp-witted or dull,
    there's no north and south in the Way.
The deep spring sparkles in the pure light
    its branches streaming through the darkness.
Grasping at phenomena is the source of delusion;
    uniting with the absolute falls short of awakening.
All of the senses, all the things sensed―
    they interact without interaction.
Interacting, they permeate one another,
yet each remains in its own place.
By nature, forms differ in shape and appearance.
    By nature, sounds bring pleasure or pain.
In the darkness, the fine and mediocre accord;
    brightness makes clear and murky distinct.
Each element comes back to its own nature
    just as a child finds its own mother.
Fire is hot, the wind blows,
    water is wet and earth solid,
Eyes see forms, ears hear sounds,
    noses smell, tongues tell salty from sour―
so it is with everything everywhere.
    The root puts forth each separate shoot.
Both root and shoot go back to the fundamental fact.
    Exalted and lowly is just a matter of words.
In the very midst of light, there's darkness;
    don't meet another in the darkness.
In the very midst of darkness, there's light;
    don't observe another in the light. 
Light and darkness complement each other,
    like stepping forward and stepping back.
Each of the myriad things has its particular virtue
    inevitably expressed in its use and station.
Phenomena accord with the fundamental as a lid fits its box;
    the fundamental meets phenomenon like arrows in mid air.
Hearing these words, understand the fundamental;
    don't cook up principles from your own ideas.
If you overlook the Way right before your eyes,
    how will you know the path beneath your feet?
Advancing has nothing to do with near and far
    yet delusion creates obstacles high and wide.
Students of the mystery, I humbly urge you,
    don't waste a moment, night or day."

The Coincidence of Opposites, By Shih T'ou (700-790 CE)
From The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader, p. 42
Edited by Nelson Foster and Jack Shoemaker 

"I have learned that the place wherein Thou are found unveiled is girt round with a coincidence of contradictions ... 'tis beyond the coincidence of contradictories that Thou mayest be seen, and nowhere this side thereof."
-   Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), The Vision of God, Chapter 9

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chen Tai Chi Short Form

Chen Style Taijiquan Short Hand Form, 18 Movements
Created by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei

Bibliography, Resources, List of Movements, Resources, Links, Instructions, Comments
Webpage by Michael Garofalo
Chen Style Taijiquan
Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei's Short 18 Movements Tai Chi Hand Form
List of 18 Movements

3.     Lazily Tying One's Coat  
5.     Single Whip 
7.     Walk Diagonally  
8.     Brush Knee
11.   High Pat on the Horse  
14.   Cloud Hands  
18.   Closing Posture of Taiji    

Saturday, January 12, 2013

As We Think, So We Become

"The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And the habit into character.

So, watch the thought and its ways with care
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all Beings.
As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become."

Sayings of the Buddha
Collected around 100 CE


Friday, January 11, 2013

Becoming and Being

"Modern Western culture has absorbed the threefold Greco-Roman concept of time as "past" (that which has gone before), "present" (that which is), and "future" (that which will be).  It is easy to associate these concepts with the three Norns: Urdhr, Verdhandi, and Skuld.  It is also incorrect.  The Germanic time-sense is not threefold, but twofold: time is divided into "that-which-is," a concept encompassing everything that has ever happened - not as a linear progression, but as a unity of interwoven layers; and, "that-which-is-becoming," the active changing of the present as it grows from the patterns set in that-which-is.  That-which-is is the Germanic "world," a word literally cognate to the Norse ver-├Âld, "age of a man."  One will notice that even in modern English, there is no true future tense; the future can only be formed through the use of modal auxiliaries.  For the Teutonic mind, all that has been is still immediate and alive; the present only exists as it has been shaped by the great mass of what is, and the future only as the patterns of that which is becoming now should shape in turn."
-  By Kveldulf Gundarsson, Tuetonic Magic, p. 24.  

Time: Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Lore

One Old Druid's Final Journey: The Notebooks of the Librarian of Gushen Grove

"Time is something everyone runs short on and finally runs out of.
When gardening, half and hour is fifty minutes. 
Everywhere, what is, becoming past, present, and future. 
Time may wait for no man, but seems to muddle and poke along quite slowly for gardeners.    
Things always go downhill, fall apart, wear out  ... the arrow of Time pierces everything.     
Gardeners learn to live in worm time, bee time, and seed time. 
Gardeners turn into the soil their lifetime. 
Time will tell, but we often fail to listen.
The time you have wasted in your garden is what makes it priceless. 
All metaphors aside - only living beings rise up in the Springtime; dead beings stay quite lie down dead. 
Time prevents too much from happening at once. 
Gardening requires no commuting time. 
Each time we water can be like the first time if we are fully present in the moment.
One purpose of a garden is to stop time. 
Time will not pass you, but it will follow very close behind you. 
Time is rooted in Place. 
Annuals disappear, shrubs perish, trees die, and gardeners are buried; death is the flower of time.
Springtime for birth, Summertime for growth; and, all Seasons for dying. 
By the time you peel off five layers of reality, it's hard to recall the first. 
Winter does not turn into Summer; ash does not turn into firewood - on the chopping block of time.
The "eternal truths" are sometimes clearly false.
In the right place at the right time: tomato worms on tomato vines. 
Take the time to melt into the Details.  
In an instant there is nothing - Nature needs time.
Gardening teaches us to take our time, slow down, and wait in peace.
A garden flourishes in the mind's time of last season, next season, and now."
-   Mike Garofalo, Pulling Onions

      The Three Norns: Urdhr (Wyrd), Verhandi, and Skuld before the World Tree of Yggdrasil.