Friday, May 31, 2013

Months and Seasons

Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
Winter Spring Summer Fall
January April July October
February May August November
March June September December 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Spirit of Green

'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, were 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-time celebrations 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 stillness of the deep forest or dances in the sun-fllled 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


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tiger Frolics Qigong Exercise 1

Tiger Frolics Mind-Body Fitness Practices
Chinese Health and Fitness Exercises (Chi Kung, Qigong, Dao Yin)
Webpages by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Tiger Frolic Chi Kung (Energy Work, Qigong) Exercise Routines

1.  The Tiger Lunges and Attacks

Feet together.  Stand up straight.  Arms at sides.
Bring hands to waist level with tiger claw hands (fingers open and curled).
Step out to left side at a 45 degree angle with the left leg.  Step into a high lunge posture. 
As the left foot lifts and steps to the side, draw both hands up the body to above the head, lift the head, circling both arms up and down.
As the left foot comes to the floor, both hands, separated by a foot or so, claw downward to about waist level. 
Draw the arms back to the waist (as if pulling the captured prey close to your Tiger body) and the left foot is drawn back to beside the right foot. 

Do the same movement to the right side. 
Step out to right side at a 45 degree angle with the right leg.  Step into a high lunge posture. 
As the right foot lifts and steps to the side, draw both hands up the body to above the head, lift the head, circling both arms up and down.
As the right foot comes to the floor, both hands, separated by a foot or so, claw downward to about waist level. 
Draw the arms back to the waist (as if pulling the captured prey close to your Tiger body) and the right foot is drawn back to beside the left foot. 

Movement source citation:  Tiger Frolic #3, Big Lunge.  UTube Video, 1:34 minutes.  Performed by Anson Rathbone, 2007.  As taught by Deguang at NESA's Medical Qigong Class. 

Tiger Frolic Qigong Exercise Set

Eight Animals Frolics Mind/Body Fitness Practices (Chi Kung) by Mike Garofalo

Each Wednesday and Saturday morning for the next eight months I will be posting short descriptions of exercises from the Eight Animal Frolics Chi Kung Practices.  By the end of the project, you will get 64 exercises: Eight Animals with Eight Exercises for each Animal.  The webpage for the specific animal will also have photographs of me doing these exercises.   

Chinese exercises to improve fitness, maintain good health, increase energy, and improve the chances for longevity have a very long documented history in China.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Something Marvelous This Way Comes

"Even before I could speak, I remember crawling through blueberry patches in the wild meadows on our hillsides.  I quickly discovered Nature was filled with Spirit; I never saw any separation between Spirit and Nature.  Much later I discovered our culture taught there was supposed to be some kind of separation - that God, Spirit and Nature were supposed to be divided and different.  However, at my early age it seemed absolutely obvious that the church of the Earth was the greatest church of all; that the temple of the forest was the supreme temple.  When I went to the sanctuary of the mountain, I found Earth's natural altar - Great Spirit's real shrine.  Years later I discovered that this path of going into Nature, bonding deeply with it, and seeing Spirit within Nature - God, Goddess, and Great Spirit - was humanity's most ancient, most primordial path of spiritual cultivation and realization."
-  John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below

"In all things of nature there is something marvelous."  
-  Aristotle  

"The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience."
-  Henryk Skolimowski  

Spirituality and Nature

Monday, May 27, 2013

Eight Animals Frolic Chi Kung Exercises

Eight Animals' Frolics Chi Kung Exercises
A webpage by Michael P. Garofalo

Five Animal Frolics Qigong (Wu Qin Xi)

Valley Spirit Qigong in Red Bluff, California

""Breathing in and out in various manners, spitting out the old and taking in the new, walking like a bear and stretching their neck like a bird to achieve longevity - this is what such practitioners of Daoyin, cultivators of the body and all those searching for long life like Ancestor Peng, enjoy."
-   Chuang-tzu, circa 300 BCE. (1)

There was a feudal lord, the Marquis of Dai (King Ma), who lived around 160 BCE during the Western Han Dynasty.  When the Marquis of Dai, his wife, and his son died, there were many objects placed in their family tomb as part of funeral rites and customs.  In 1973, archeologists in China excavated the family tomb of the Dai family on the outskirts of the city of Changsha in Hunan Province.  In the son's tomb they discovered a lacquered box containing medical manuals, documents, and a silk scroll on which were drawn 44 humans in various poses or postures.  Under each pose was a caption with the name of an animal or the name of a disease that the posture might help prevent or cure.  The chart or diagram (Tu) on this scroll shows Daoyin (Guiding/Leading Energy and Stretching/Pulling Out) exercises or poses.  A number of the postures shown on this Daoyin Tu closely resemble some in the Eight Section Brocade and in the Five Animal Frolics (i.e., the bear, monkey, and bird).  (2)

Improved artistic rendition of the Daoyin Tu, circa 160 BCE.

Another medical manuscript with Daoyin methods, the Yinshu (Stretch Book), dated at 186 BCE, related to the Daoyin Tu, describes 100 exercises, and gives advice on seasonal health regimens, hygiene, diet, disease prevention, sleep, and sexual behavior. (2)   We have ample evidence that Chinese physicians, and the aristocratic and wealthy classes of ancient Chinese society, had access to therapeutic and holistic exercise and massage methods (Daoyin) well before the advent of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE)."

Eight Animals' Frolics Chi Kung Exercises
Introduction to Animal Frolics by Michael P. Garofalo

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 21

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 21

"Vast virtue's form
Follows Reason's norm.
And Reason's nature
Is vague and eluding.
How eluding and vague
All types including!
How vague and eluding,
All beings including!
How deep and how obscure.
It harbors the spirit pure,
Whose truth is ever sure,
Whose faith abides for aye
From of yore until to-day.
Its name is never vanishing,
It heeds the good of everything.
Through what do I know that "it heeds the good of everything"?
In this way, verily: Through it."
-  Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 21   

"The appearance of Virtue in its fullest exuberance is no more than the result of compliance with the Tao. 
Tao, considered as an entity, is obscure and vague.
Vague and obscure!
Yet within it there is Form.
Obscure and vague!
Yet within it there is Substance.
Vacuous and unfathomable!
Yet within it there is Quintessential Energy—and this is supremely real.
Within it, too, there is Trustworthiness.
From from ancient down to modern times its name has never been lost
By it I can include in the range of my observation the whole of animate nature.
How am I cognizant of the acquiescence of animate nature in the Tao?
By the Tao itself." 
-  Translated by Frederic H. Balfour, 1884, Chapter 21  

"The features (yung) of the vast (k'ung) Te,
Follows entirely (wei) from Tao.
Tao as a thing,
Is entirely illusive (huang) and evasive (hu).
Evasive and illusive,
In it there is image (hsiang).
Illusive and evasive,
In it there is thinghood (wu).
Dark and dim,
In it there is life seed (ching).
Its life seed being very genuine (chen),
In it there is growth power (hsin).
As it is today, so it was in the days of old (ku),
Its name goes not away (ch'ü),
So that we may survey (yüeh) the origins of the many (chung fu).
How do I know that the origins of the many are such?
Because of this."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 21 

"The appearance of grand integrity is that it follows the Way alone.
The Way objectified is blurred and nebulous.
How nebulous and blurred!
Yet within it there are images.
How blurred and nebulous!
Yet within it there are objects.
How cavernous and dark!
Yet within it there is an essence.
Its essence is quite real;
Within it there are tokens.
From the present back to the past,
Its name has been imperishable.
Through it we conform to the father of the masses.
How do I know what the father of the masses is like?
Through this."
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 21  

"The complete manifestation of things visible proceeds only from Life.
In its nature Life is always coming into activity, yet in itself it eludes our sight and tough.
Eluding sight! eluding touch!
Within it are hid the plane of created things.
Eluding touch! eluding sight!
Within it are hid all created beings.
It is profound! It is obscure!
Within it is hid pure Spirit.
It is pure Spirit, enfolding Truth!
Within it is hid an infallible witness.
Free of Old until Now
Its Name remains unchanged.
Through its Doorway comes the Universe into existence.
How do I know that the Universe is coming to full perfection through Life?
The witness is in Life itself."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 21 

"A Quintessential Energy, supremely real.
The Life Seed, growing, genuine, overflowing.
Yet Within the Within, a spacious void,
Dark and Obscure, vague and unfathomable.
As Sure as Something, as nebulous as nothing.
As Clear as Light, as profound as darkness.
Grasped and Touched, released and beyond reach.
Fragrant as springtime orange blossoms, scentless as the winter fig.
The Essentials and the Unknown, the One and the ten thousand things.
Coming into Being, returning to infinite emptiness. 
The Names are Spoken, the unnamed is silent.
Profound Doorways Open to the Way, old men reflect on the journey."
-  Interpolation by Michael P. Garofalo, 2013, Chapter 21    

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pulling Onions Again

"Keep moving― just like a cyclist that must keep pedaling and moving to avoid falling down. 
The act, the deed, the doing is the primary consideration. 
Ordinary reality is good enough for most sensible people; a "higher" calling is answered by few. 
Don't be misled by "higher" and "lower"; higher is not better than lower. 
Willpower stands at the edge of three states: compulsions, habits, and novel adaptations. 
I believe in "God"; I just spell it "Fiction."   
Mother Earth favors cyclic times, Father Time favors linear time. 
Poetic imagination turns light into Divine Light.  
Create your own garden, the god's certainly won't.   
No garden lasts for long - neither will you. 
Gardening forces you to slow down and savor contemplation.
Gardening tempts you to look, again and again, until the novel is seen.
Failing to plan is often a surefire plan for failure.  
Failure is part of the cost of experimental gardening.  
Good fences make good gardens. 
Gardening leads us to embody our minds.   
From strong desires great values are born. 
Shoveling dirt, the ecstasy sweated away.

Our presence defines our niche.  
Shade, in the summer, is as precious as a glass of water. 
A gardener is no farmer, he is much too impractical. 
We get things done when there is little time left. 
Time creeps, walks, runs, and flies – it is all about moving things. 
What I make of the garden depends on how close I stand to it. 
Chaos breaks its own rules to allow Order to play.
Take life with a grain of salt, and a icy margarita.  
Some flourish when crowded together, others don't."
-  Mike Garofalo 

Pulling Onions: 771 Quips and Sayings by Mike Garofalo

Months and Seasons: Quotes, Poetry, Sayings

One Old Druids Final Journey

Friday, May 24, 2013

High in the Hawthorn Tree

Today, I stay at home all day.  My Friday work projects include: improving the sunny garden, mowing and weeding in the front lawn, and watering.  I also plan to walk 4 miles and practice Tai Chi Chuan, cane, and the Five Animal Frolics Qigong.  Mostly reading Eastern philosophy and mind/body arts books.  Listening to lots of Ben Leinbach and Jai Uttal.  

I plan to move a hawthorn tree given to me by Cathy Goodin from a large pot to a permanent location in the garden.  The small tree was kind of ragged when we first got the plant, but pruning and good watering have now resulted a nice specimen. 

"Oh! come to see me, when the soft warm May
Bids all my boughs their gay embroidery wear,
In my bright season's transitory day,
While my young perfume loads the enamoured air.
Oh, come to see me, when the sky is blue,
And backs my spangles with an azure ground.
While the thick ivy bosses clustering through,
See their dark tufts with silvery circlets crowned.
Then be the Spring in all its pomp arrayed,
the lilac's blossom, the laburnum's blaze,
Nature hath reared beyond this Hawthorn glade
No fairer alter to her Maker's praise."

-  George W.F. Howard, On a Hawthorn Tree, 1864

"Across the shimmering meadows--
Ah, when he came to me!
In the spring-time,
In the night-time,
In the starlight,
Beneath the hawthorn tree.
Up from the misty marsh-land--
Ah, when he climbed to me!
To my white bower,
To my sweet rest,
To my warm breast,
Beneath the hawthorn tree.
Ask of me what the birds sang,
High in the hawthorn tree;
What the breeze tells,
What the rose smells,
What the stars shine--
Not what he said to me!"
-  Willa Cather, The Hawthorn Tree, 1947 
May: Quotes, Poetry, Lore

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Five Elements Chi Kung

I've been studying a number of books and Internet resources about the subject of the Chinese Five Elements Theory.  The Five Elements are more often referred to as the Five: Movers, Energies, Transformations, Phases, Powers and Forces. The Five Energies are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. 

I prepared a brief 2 page document about a gentle five movement Qigong set based on the Five Elements.  The document is titled:  The Five Elements Qigong and Internal Training Methods.  It will be used by our Valley Spirit Qigong Study Group in Red Bluff, California.  It is a read only PDF document.  The "Internal Training Methods" refer to visualizations, meditations, Taoist readings, mystical practices, and feng shui that will be discussed in our Study Group; and which are only hinted at in the brief list of correspondences under each of the Five Elements. 

I highly recommend the new book by Dr. Steven Liu and Jonathan Blank called "Secrets of the Dragon Gate: Taoist Practices for Health, Wealth, and the Art of Sexual Yoga."  The variety of creative practices and methods for health and well being are very useful and explained clearly. 

Five Elements Qigong: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Quotations

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Walking I Am Unbound

"I was the world in which I walked."
-   Wallace Stevens, Tea at the Palaz of Hoon

"Allow walking to occupy a place of stature equal with all the other important activities in your life. As difficult as that might seem, here's how to do it. Make it a practice. That's right. Turn your walking into a vehicle for personal growth as well as for fitness. This will add a higher level of integrity and intention to your approach because you will find that it is a way to deepen and upgrade your relationship to your body. Instead of merely giving your legs a good workout, you'll be practicing to relax more, to breathe better, to expand your vision, to open up your range of motion, to increase your energy, to feel and sense your body. The list is exciting - and endless. With all of this to look forward to, your walking program will take its place alongside everything in your life you value most, and you'll be amazed at how easy it is to schedule time for something you really love to do."
- Katherine Dreyer, Chi Walking, p. 56
Chi Walking: The Find Mindful Steps for Lifelong Health and Energy. By Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer. New York, Simon and Shuster, Fireside Books, 2006. Index, 258 pages. ISBN: 0743267206.

"Walking I am unbound, and find that precious unity of life and imagination, that silent outgoing self, which is so easy to loose, but which a high moments seems to start up again from the deepest rhythms of my own body. How often have I had this longing for an infinite walk - of going unimpeded, until the movement of my body as I walk fell into the flight of streets under my feet - until I in my body and the world in its skin of earth were blended into a single act of knowing."
- Alfred Kazin, The Open Street

"If you look for the truth outside yourself,
It gets farther and farther away.
Today walking alone, I meet it everywhere I step.
It is the same as me, yet I am not it.
Only if you understand it in this way
Will you merge with the way things are."
- Tung-Shan

     "Walking meditation means to enjoy walking without any intention to arrive. We don't need to arrive anywhere. We just walk. We enjoy walking. That means walking is already stopping, and that needs some training. Usually in our daily life we walk because we want to go somewhere. Walking is only a means to an end, and that is why we do not enjoy every step we take. Walking meditation is different. Walking is only for walking. You enjoy every step you take. So this is a kind of revolution in walking. You allow yourself to enjoy every step you take.
     The Zen master Ling Chi said that "the miracle is not to walk on burning charcoal or in the thin air or on the water; the miracle is just to walk on earth." You breathe in. You become aware of the fact that you are alive. You are still alive and you are walking on this beautiful planet. That is already performing a miracle. The greatest of all miracles is to be alive. We have to awaken ourselves to the truth that we are here, alive. We are here making steps on this beautiful planet. This is already performing a miracle. But we have to be here in order for the miracle to be possible. We have to bring ourselves back to the here and the now."
- Thich Nhat Hanh, Resting in the River


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sol Invictus

"The sun is always a powerful, invincible image, whether it is the weak illumination of the pre winter solstice, or the savage primal energy of midsummer. Long before humanity developed written language humans must have gazed in terrific awe at the reborn sun each morning, how it over came the dangerous dragon of darkness that it sank into each evening, the provider of light, warmth, sustainer of growing vegetation -life itself--this enormous solar edifice quite clearly was one of the earliest forms of worship as man began to fashion a supernatural interpretation of natural phenomenon from the daily spectacle of the dying and reborn sun. Albert Pike makes the following concise statement in his Morals and Dogma: 'To them [aboriginal peoples] he [the sun] was the innate fire of bodies, the fire of Nature. Author of Life, heat, and ignition, he was to them the efficient cause of all generation, for without him there was no movement, no existence, no form. He was to them immense, indivisible, imperishable, and everywhere present. It was their need of light, and of his creative energy, that was felt by all men; and nothing was more fearful to them than his absence. His beneficent influences caused his identification with the Principle of Good; and the Brama of the Hindus, and Mithras of the Persians, and Athom, Amum, Phtha, and Osiris, of the Egyptians, the Bel of the Chaldeans, the Asonai of the Phœnicians, the Adonis and Apollo of the Greeks, became but personifications of the Sun, the regenerating Principle, image of that fecundity which perpetuates and rejuvenates the world's existence.'"
-   Christ, Constantine, Sol Invictus: The Unconquerable Sun   By Ralph Monday 

June: Quotes, Poems, Sayings

Summer Solstice Celebration

Monday, May 20, 2013

Enjoy a Cup of Wine

"O day after day we can't help growing older.
Year after year spring can't help seeming younger.
Come let's enjoy our wine cup today,
Nor pity the flowers fallen."
-  Wang Wei, On Parting with Spring  

"What is so sweet and dear
As a prosperous morn in May,
The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?"
-  William Watson, Ode in May, 1880

The Spirit of Gardening

May: Quotes, Poems, Sayings

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chaper 22

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 22

"Yield, and become whole,
Bend, and become straight.
Hollow out, and become filled.
Exhaust, and become renewed
Small amounts become obtainable,
Large amounts become confusing.
Therefore the Sage embraces the One, and so is a shepherd fro the whole world.
He does not focus on himself and so is brilliant.
He does not seek self-justification and so becomes his own evidence.
He does not make claims and hence is given the credit.
He does not compete with anyone and hence, no-one in the world can compete with him.
How can that which the ancients expressed as "yield, and become whole" be meaningless?
If wholly sincere, you will return to them."
-  Translated by Tam C Gibbs, 1981, Chapter 22

"Bent, thus (tse) preserved whole,
Unjustly accused, thus exonerated (chih),
Hollow, thus filled (ying),
Battered (pi), thus renewed,
Scanty, thus receiving (te),
Much, thus perplexed.
Therefore the sage embraces the One (pao i).
He becomes the model (shih) of the world.
Not self-seeing, hence he is enlightened (ming).
Not self-justifying, hence he is outstanding.
Not showing off (fa) his deeds, hence he is meritorious.
Not boasting (ching) of himself, hence he leads (chang).
Because he is not contentious (pu cheng),
Hence no one under heaven can contend with him.
What the ancients say: "Bent, thus preserved whole,"
Are these empty words?
Be preserved whole and return (kuei)."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 22

"'Yield and you need not break:
Bent you can straighten,
Emptied you can hold,
Torn you can mend;
And as want can reward you
So wealth can bewilder.
Aware of this, a wise man has the simple return
Which other men seek:
Without inflaming himself
He is kindled,
Without explaining himself
Is explained,
Without taking credit
Is accredited,
Laying no claim
Is acclaimed
And, because he does not compete,
Finds peaceful competence.
How true is the old saying,
'Yield and you need not break'!
How completely it comes home!"
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 22

"Submit to Nature if you would reach your goal.
For, whoever deviates from Nature's way, nature forces back again.
Whoever gives up his desire to improve upon Nature will find Nature satisfying all his needs.
Whoever finds his desires extinguished will find more desires arising of their own accord.
Whoever desires little is easily satisfied. Whoever desires much suffers frustration.
Therefore, the intelligent person is at one with Nature, and so serves as a model for others.
By not showing off, he is exemplary.
By not asserting that he is right, he does the right thing.
By not boasting of what he will do, he succeeds in doing more than he promises.
By not gloating over his successes, his achievements are acclaimed by others.
By not competing with others, he achieves without opposition.
Therefore the old saying is not idle talk: "Submit to Nature if you would reach your goal."
For that is the only genuine way."
-  Translated by Archie J. Bahm, 1958, Chapter 22

"The crooked shall be straight,
Crushed ones recuperate,
The empty find their fill.
The worn with strength shall thrill;
Who little have receive,
And who have much will grieve.  
The holy man embraces unity and becomes for all the world a model. 
Not self-displaying he is enlightened; 
Not self -approving he is distinguished; 
Not self-asserting he acquires merit; 
Not self-seeking he gaineth life. 
Since he does not quarrel, therefore no one in the world can quarrel with him. 
The saying of the ancients: "The crooked shall be straight," is it in any way vainly spoken?
Verily, they will be straightened and return home."
-   Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 22  

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gardening Till We Dropped

We walked in the morning and then gardened all day. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Daily Activities

Busy today with work projects, gardening and Karen's heart tests in Redding. 

Most of my reading, research and writing has been in three areas:

1.  Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Taoism, and mysticism. 

2.  The Five Senses with a special emphasis upon touch and smell. 

3.  Druidry and NeoPaganism

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chi Kung (Qigong) Classes in Red Bluff, California

Chi Kung (Qigong, Yoga) Classes at the Valley Spirit Center
Outdoors in the Cooler Morning Hours

Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Location: 23005 Kilkenny Lane, Red Bluff, California
Phone:  530-200-3546

Monday    6:00 am - 7:30 am
Tuesday   6:00 am - 7:30 am
Friday      6:00 am - 7:30 am
Saturday  6:00 am - 7:30 am
Sunday    6:00 am - 7:30 am

Qigong (Chi Kung, Dao Yin, Yangshengong): Eight Section Brocade, Temple, Dragon, Animal Frolics, Five Elements

Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan): Yang, Chen, and Sun Styles

Cane (Staff)


Qigong Class Webpage

Nearby communities:  Red Bluff, Anderson, Cottonwood, Corning, Los Molinos,
Gerber, Tehama, Richfield, Rancho Tehama, Chico, Redding. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gardening Fun in the Springtime

Karen and I work outdoors in our gardens almost daily during this time of year.  There is daylight from 5:30 am until around 8 pm.  Since I am employed only two days each week, I have five days for activities at our home and gardens. 
I've been trenching for a new pipeline, cutting down dead or overhanging tree limbs, cleaning up areas around our two ponds, and weeding and mulching all our vegetable gardens.  
We started cleaning up our Sacred Circle garden this week.    
Daytime temperatures are climbing up to 90F, and nighttime temperatures fall to around 60F.  We must water some every day when temperatures climb above 90F and it is windy. 

"All good work is done the way ants do things: Little by little."
-  Lafcadio Hearn

"This is the real secret of life - to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.  And instead of calling it work, realize it is play."
-   Alan Watts, Work as Play  

"Every kind of work can be a pleasure. Even simple household tasks can be an opportunity to exercise and expand our caring, our effectiveness, our responsiveness. As we respond with caring and vision to all work, we develop our capacity to respond fully to all of life. Every action generates positive energy which can be shared with others. These qualities of caring and responsiveness are the greatest gift we can offer."
-  Tarthang Tulku

Our Iris garden is in grand form during the month of March and April of each year. By the middle of May, all the blossoms are gone. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Walk and Be Happy

"The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. "The best of all ways to lengthen our days" is not, as Mr. Thomas Moore has it, "to steal a few hours from night, my love;" but, with leave be it spoken, to walk steadily and with a purpose. The wandering man knows of certain ancients, far gone in years, who have staved off infirmities and dissolution by earnest walking,--hale fellows close upon eighty and ninety, but brisk as boys."
-  Charles Dickens  

The Ways of Walking

"It’s all still there in heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure–they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days and years to come." 
-   Edward Abbey  

When I am not scheduled to work at my part-time job for the elementary school district, I get outdoors and start walking at 6 am.  In between each lap of my walking track (.6 miles round trip [pictured below]) I practice Taijiquan forms [e.g., Sun Style Single Whip Left pictured below].  

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Path Towards Spiritual Transformation

The Path Towards Spiritual Transformation
1.  We admit the fact that our ordinary human condition, based on the dualistic perception of life, is a stubborn habit that we normally conceal from ourselves through denial. 
2.  We begin to look and ask for guidance in our effort to cultivate a new outlook that embraces the spiritual vision of the interconnectedness of all existence.  The means of doing so are varied from supportive spiritual environments to uplifting books. 
3.  We initiate positive changes in our behavior, which affirm that new outlook.  It is not enough to read and talk about spiritual principles.  Spirituality is intrinsically a practical affair.
4.  We practice self-understanding: that is, we accept conscious responsibility for noticing our automatic programs and where the fall short of our new understanding of life.
5.  We make a commitment to undergoing the catharsis, or purification, necessary to change our old cognitive and emotional patterns and stabilize the new outlook and disposition, replacing the old egoic habit of splitting everything into irreconcilable opposites with and integrative attitude. 
6.  We learn to be flexible and open to life so that we can continue to learn and grow on the basis of our new outlook.
7.  We practice humility in the midst of our endeavors to mature spirituality.  In this way we avoid the danger of psychic inflation.
8.  We assume responsibility for what we have understood about life and the principles of spiritual recovery, applying our understanding to all our relationships so that we can be a benign influence in the world.
9.  Guided by our new outlook, we work on the integration of our multiply divided psyche.
10.  We cultivate real self-discipline in all matters, great and small. 
11.  We increasingly practice spiritual communion, which opens us to that dimension of existence where we are all connected.  Through such communion and through continued growth in self-understanding, we become transparent to ourselves.
12.  We open ourselves to the possibility of bliss, the breakthrough of the transcendental reality into our consciousness, whereby th ego principles is unhinged and we fully recover our spiritual identity.  Through this awakening the world becomes transparent to us and we are made whole.  

-  Georg Feuerstein
   The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga: Theory and Practice, 2003, p. 93

Lifestyle Advice From Wise Persons

The Good Life 

Georg Feuerstein (1947-2012)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hail to the Mothers

Happy Mother's Day to All the Mothers in the World
Past, Present, and Future

The following picture was taken in 1977.  From left to right:  Karen Eubanks Garofalo (my wife) , Alicia June Garofalo (my daughter) , and Bertha June Garofalo (my mother).  My mother was born in 1921 and died in 1994. 

The following photograph was taken in 2012.  From left to right:  Katelyn Alice Flinn (my grandaughter), Alicia June Garofalo Flinn, and Katelyn Alice Flinn (my granddaughter).  

The following photograph was taken in 1946.  From left to right: Michael James Garofalo (my father), Michael Peter Garofalo (me), and my mother, Bertha June Garofalo. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dragon Qigong

Dragon Chi Kung features exercises that involve twisting, turning, screwing, spiraling, curving, wiggling, undulating, spinning, sinking down and rising up, swimming, circling, swinging, or twining movements are often associated with snakes, serpents and dragons.  There are many Qigong sets and specific Qigong movements that have been called "Dragon" forms, sets, or exercises.  Baguazhang martial arts feature much twisting, turning and circling; and, also include many "Dragon" sets and movements. Silk Reeling exercises in Chen Style Taijiquan include twisting, twining, circling, and screwing kinds of movements. 

"This extraordinary gem is represented as a spherical object, or ‘ball,’ half as big, or quite as large, as the head of the dragon with which it is associated, for it is never depicted quite by itself. The gem is white or bluish with a reddish or golden halo, and usually has an antler-shaped 'flame' rising from its surface. Almost invariably there hangs downward from the centre of the sphere a dark-colored, comma-like appendage, frequently branched, wavering below the periphery. A biologist might easily at first glance conclude that the whole affair represented the entry of a spermatozoon into an ovum; and the Chinese commonly interpret the ball with its comma-mark as a symbol of yang and yin, male and female elements, combined in the earth--which seems pretty close to the biologist's view. Such is the Dragon-Pearl.  In purely decorative work, where the figure of a dragon is writhing in clouds or adapting its lithe body under an artist's hand to the shape or purpose of a piece of porcelain, a bronze article, or a silken garment, the pearl may be drawn close to the dragon, or wherever convenient. When, however, it is desirable to express the significance of this sacred adjunct of dragon-hood, it is treated with strict attention to reverence and tradition. Then are pictured celestial dragons ascending and descending through the upper air, tearing a path, perhaps, through swirling mists and shadows, "in pursuit of effulgent jewels or orbs that appear to be whirling in space, and that were supposed to be of magic efficiency, granting every wish." A passion for gems is a well-known characteristic of these beings."
-   Dragons and Dragons Lore, Ernest Ingersoll, 1928