Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve Ruminations

Around here in Red Bluff: high winds, not much rain, wet grounds, below freezing in the morning.  We are wearing layers of clothing for warmth.   

Cleaning up garage and sheds.  Taking down Christmas decorations and storing boxes.

Installing some new software on our computers.  Set up WiFi printer hub. 

Doing some research on the Yang style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan (85 and 24). Two books have caught me eye:

Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan.  Bu Fu Zongwen (1903-1994).  Translated by Louis Swaim.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1999.  Glossary, bibliography, 226 pages.  Translations of many Tai Chi classics are included.  A list of the 85 movement long form and detailed notes and descriptions of each movement are provided.  251 movement analysis illustrations.  Over 76 of the illustrations are traced and drawn from photographs of Yang Cheng-Fu.  Detailed descriptions of the long form, pp. 26-162.  Push hands information.  Yang Tai Chi essentials.  ISBN: 1556433182.  I have found this to be an excellent book!  This book was first published in 1963 in China as "Yang Shi Taijiquan".  An informative introduction and good translation by Louis Swaim.  VSCL.    
Taijiquan.  By Li Deyin.  London, Singing Dragon, 2004, 2008.  In English.  402 pages.  ISBN: 9781848190047, 1848190042.  Includes a complimentary DVD.  Includes descriptions, with photographs, of the 81 Yang Taijiquan form, Simplified 24 Taijiquan, Competition 42 Taijiquan, Competition 42 Taiji Sword, and the 32 Taiji Sword.  The Yang long form (81 Steps) includes photographs of Li Yulin performing the Yang long form in 1931.  Li Yulin and Li Jinglin, under the supervision of Yang Chengfu, were preparing a book on the subject later published under the title "Textbook of Taijiquan."  The 81 form is described in detail in this new book by Li Deyin.  

Also, practicing forms with my cane, short staff, dragon stick. 
Follow up on Hakuin's comments about the carp charging up the river torrents to leap through the Gates of Yu and transform themselves into a River Dragon.  

Yang Style Taijiquan 85 Movements Long Form

Yang Style Taijiquan 24 Movements Short Form

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dont' Stop Thinking About Tommorrow

"If you wake up and don't want to smile
If it takes just a little while
Open your eyes and look at the day
You'll see things in a different way

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

Why not think about times to come?
And not about the things that you've done
If your life was bad to you
Just think what tomorrow will do

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

All I want is to see you smile
If it takes just a little while
I know you don't believe that it's true
I never meant any harm to you

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

Don't you look back
Don't you look back
Don't you look back
Don't you look back"
-  Fleetwood Mac, "Don't Stop," Rumors Album, 1977


Monday, December 29, 2014

Travels to Oregon

We stayed with our son and his wife for four nights.  They live in Portland, Oregon.

We stayed with our daughter, her husband, and their two young daughters for four nights.  They live in Portland, Oregon.  We were there for Christmas activities. 

We stayed one night with our T'ai Chi friends at their home about 31 miles from Conyonville, Oregon.  Their large home was up the hill on the north side of the South Umpgua River. The river was swollen and moving fast. This was our first drive east along the the lovely Tiller Highway. 

Our travels started on December 19th.  We returned home to Red Bluff on Sunday, December 28, 2014.

We enjoyed visiting with everyone. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Muscle and Tendon Transforming Qigong Exercises

Yi Jin Jing

The Yi Jin Jing Qigong is a popular qigong exercise set from China. "Yi Jin Jing Qigong" means "Muscle and Tendon Transforming Exercises."

In most cases, this qigong regimen consists of 12 movement sequences. There are some versions of the Yi Jin Jing with many more movements (22, 49, 108, 216). Some of the longer versions of the Yi Jin Jing include movements from the Eight Section Brocade Routine, the Animal Frolics Routines, the Louhan Routine, or the Bone Marrow and Brain Washing Routine.

Most people practice a 12 movement version of the Yi Jin Jing that was described in a book published by Pan Weiru in 1858 called "Essential Techniques for Guarding Life." Also, Wang Zuyuan published a book in the 1880's titled "Illustrated Exposition of Internal Techniques" that described the same qigong routine as did Pan Weiru. 

Names of the Yi Jin Jing Qigong Movements
Opening Form
1. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 1
2. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 2
3. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 3
4. Plucking Stars on Each Side
5. Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails
6. Showing Talons and Spreading Wings
7. Nine Ghosts Drawing Sabers
8. Sinking the Three Bodily Zones
Three Plates Falling on the Floor

9. Black Dragon Displaying Its Claws
10. Tiger Springing On Its Prey
11. Bowing Down in Salutation
12. Swinging the Tail
Closing Form

Some claim that the Yi Jin Jing was created by the famous Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma (Da Mo) around 520 CE, and refined over centuries by Shaolin monks, while others argue for an even more ancient Daoist lineage.

There are numerous instructional DVDs available now for the 12 movement verion of the Yi Jin Jing. I like the instructional book and DVD by the Chinese Health Qigong Association:

Yi Jin Jing: Chinese Health Qigong. Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association. Beijing, China, Foreign Languages Press, 2007. 95 pages, charts, includes an instructional DVD. ISBN: 9787119047782. VSCL. "Qigong is an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine that involves coordinating breathing patterns with physical postures to maintain health and well-being. Yi Jin Jing/ Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Exercises is an accessible, fully-illustrated guide to a particular qigong exercise that focuses on turning and flexing the spine. Based on the twelve traditional routines of Yi Jin Jing, the exercises covered in the book feature soft, extended, even movements that invigorate the limbs and internal organs. In particular, practice of the Yi Jin Jing exercises improves flexibility, balance and muscular strength, and has a beneficial effect on the respiratory system. Each routine is described step-by-step and is illustrated with photographs and key points. The authors also point out common mistakes and offer advice on how to correct these. Complemented by an appendix of acupuncture points and accompanied by a DVD, this book will be of interest to Qigong and Tai Chi practitioners at all levels, students of martial arts and anyone interested in Chinese culture." - Singing Dragon.

For a good book on the theory of the Yi Jin Jing, read Qigong: The Secret of Youth: Da Mo's Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow Brain Washing Classics. By Yang, Jwing-Ming, Ph.D., 1946-. An Advanced Qigong Regimen for the Serious Practitioner. Boston, Massachusetts, YMAA Publication Center, 2000. Second Edition 2000, First Edition 1989. Index, appendices, charts, 312 pages. ISBN: 1886969841. VSCL.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tai Chi Ruler

The Tai Chi Ruler is a wooden stick about 12 inches long used in Qigong exercises. There is some theory involved which is related to Hand Reflexology and hand acupressure and massage.  The Taiji Ruler exercises also involve gentle movements, stretching, and breathing coordination. 

You can check my research on the subject of the Tai Chi Ruler.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 32

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 32

"The Tao, considered as unchanging, has no name. 
Though in its primordial simplicity it may be small, the whole world dares not deal with one embodying it as a minister.
If a feudal prince or the king could guard and hold it, all would spontaneously submit themselves to him. 
Heaven and Earth under its guidance unite together and send down the sweet dew, which, without the directions of men, reaches equally everywhere as of its own accord. 
As soon as it proceeds to action, it has a name.
When it once has that name, men can know to rest in it.
When they know to rest in it, they can be free from all risk of failure and error. 
The relation of the Tao to all the world is like that of the great rivers and seas to the streams from the valleys."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 32    

"Tao is absolute and has no name.
Though the uncarved wood is small,
It cannot be employed (used as vessel) by anyone.
If kings and barons can keep (this unspoiled nature),
The whole world shall yield them lordship of their own accord.
The Heaven and Earth join,
And the sweet rain falls,
Beyond the command of men,
Yet evenly upon all.
Then human civilization arose and there were names.
Since there were names,
It were well one knew where to stop.
He who knows where to stop
May be exempt from danger.
Tao in the world
May be compared to rivers that run into the sea."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1948, Chapter 32   

"Tao the absolute has no name.
But although insignificant in its original simplicity, the world does not presume to demean it.
If a king could lay hold on it, the world would of itself submit to him.
Heaven and Earth would conspire to nourish him.
The people without pressure would peacefully fall into their own places.
If he should dispose them by titles and names, he would be making a name for himself.
Yet he would wisely stop short of the name, and thus avoid the evil of distinctions.
Tao is to the world what the streams and valleys are to the great rivers and seas."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 32 

"Tao is eternal, but has no fame (name);
The Uncarved Block, though seemingly of small account,
Is greater than anything that is under heaven.
If kings and barons would but possess themselves of it,
The ten thousand creatures would flock to do them homage;
Heaven-and-earth would conspire
To send Sweet Dew,
Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony.
Once the block is carved, there will be names,
And so soon as there are names,
Know that it is time to stop.
Only by knowing when it is time to stop can danger be avoided.
To Tao all under heaven will come
As streams and torrents flow into a great river or sea."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 32 

樸雖小, 天下莫能臣也. 
侯王若能守之, 萬物將自賓. 
天地相合, 以降甘露, 民莫之令而自均. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 32

tao ch'ang wu ming.
p'u sui hsiao, t'ien hsia mo nêng ch'ên yeh.
hou wang jo nêng shou chih, wan wu chiang tzu pin.
t'ien ti hsiang ho, yi chiang kan lu, min mo chih ling erh tzu chün.
shih chih yu ming.
ming yi chi yu.
fu yi chiang chih chih.
chih chih so k'o pu tai.
p'i tao chih tsai t'ien hsia.
yu ch'uan ku chih yü chiang hai.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 32  

"Tao remains ever nameless.
However insignificant may be the simplicity of those who cultivate it
The Empire does not presume to claim their services as Ministers. 
If Princes and Monarchs could but preserve this simplicity,
Every creature in the world would submit itself to them;
Heaven and Earth would be in mutual accord,
And shower down sweet dew;
The people would need no laws, but live in harmony of themselves. 
It was in the beginning that a name was fabricated for the Tao. 
This name once existing, Heaven, also, may be known;
And such knowledge ensures the indestructibility of the doctrine. 
The presence of Tao in the world may be compared to streams which ever flow,
And mountain-gorges which are indestructible,
In their union with rivers and seas which are unfathomable."
-   Translated by Frederic H. Balfour, 1884, Chapter 32   

"El Tao, en su eternidad, carece de nombre.
Aunque mínimo en su unidad,
nada en el mundo puede subyugarle.
Si los príncipes y los reyes
se tornaran al Tao
los diez mil seres serían agasajados
como huéspedes de honor.
El cielo y la tierra
se unirían para llover dulce rocío.
El pueblo, sin gobierno
por sí mismo se ordenaría con equidad.
Cuando en el principio se dividió, dió formas a las diez mil cosas,
y a estas cosas se les dió nombres.
Demasiados nombres ahora hay, llegando así la hora de detenerse
para resguardarse del peligro.
El Tao en el universo
es comparable
al torrente de un valle que fluye
hacia el rio y el mar."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 32

"The Way eternal has no name.
A block of wood untooled, though small,
May still excel in the world.
And if the king and nobles could
Retain its potency for good,
Then everything would freely give
Allegiance to their rule.
The earth and sky would then conspire
To bring the sweet dew down;
And evenly it would be given
To folk without constraining power. 
Creatures came to be with order's birth,
And once they had appeared,
Came also knowledge of repose,
And with that was security. 
In this world,
Compare those of the Way
To torrents that flow
Into river and sea."
-   Translated by Raymond B. Blakney, 1955, Chapter 32   

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

 A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo on a Chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes at least 16 different translations or interpolations of the Chapter in English, two Spanish translations, the Chinese characters for the Chapter, a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for the Chapter, recommended reading lists, a detailed bibliography; indexing by key words and terms for the Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; some commentary, and other resources for the Chapter. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

May you and your family enjoy Christmas Day. 

Peace on earth and good will towards all persons.

Happy Holidays. 

Best wishes for a peaceful, productive, and happy New Year. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Embrace the All-Inclusive Universe

"This is the realm of true reality where you forget what is on your mind and stop looking.  In a wild field, not choosing, picking up whatever comes to hand, the obvious meaning of Zen is clear in the hundred grasses.  Indeed, the green bamboo, the clusters of yellow flowers, fences, walls, tiles, and pebble us the teaching of the inanimate; rivers, birds, trees, and groves expound suffering, emptiness, and selflessness.  This is based on the one true reality, producing unconditional compassion, manifesting uncontrived, supremely wondrous power in the great jewel light of nirvana.

An ancient master said, "Meeting a companion on the Way, spending a life together, the whole task of study is done."  Another master said, "If I pick up a single leaf and go into the city, I move the whole of the mountain."  That is why one ancient adept was enlightened on hearing the sound of pebbles striking bamboo, while another was awakened on seeing peach trees in bloom.  An ancient worthy, working in the fields in his youth , was breaking up clumps of earth when he saw a big clod, which he playfully smashed with a fierce blow; as it shattered, he was suddenly greatly enlightened.  One Zen master attained enlightenment on seeing the flagpole of a teaching center from the other side of a river.  Another spoke of the staff of the spirit.  One adept illustrated Zen realization by planting a hoe in the ground; another master spoke of Zen in term of sowing the fields.  All of these instances were bringing out this indestructible true being, allowing people to visit a greatly liberated true teacher without moving a step.

Carrying out the unspoken teaching, attaining unhindered eloquence, thus they forever studied all over from all things, embracing the all-inclusive universe, detaching from both abstract and concrete definitions of buddhahood, and transcendentally realizing universal, all pervasive Zen in the midst of all activities.  Why necessarily consider holy places, teachers' abodes, or religious organizations and forms prerequisite to personal familiarity and attainment of realization?"

-  Yuan-Wu, The House of Lin-Chi, "The Five Houses of Zen," translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Press, 1997, p. 58.  

"I did however used to think, you know, in the woods walking, and as a kid playing the the woods, that there was a kind of immanence there - that woods, a places of that order, had a sense, a kind of presence, that you could feel; that there was something peculiarly, physically present, a feeling of place almost conscious ... like God.  It evoked that."
-  Robert Creely, Robert Creely and the Genius of the American Common Place, p. 40   

"The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars."
-  Chief Dan George  

Zen Poetry


Haiku Poetry

Gardening and Spirituality

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Gentle Taoist Path

"1.  Mellowness of mind
2.  A healthy, balanced life
3.  An unobstructed, undefeated spirit
4.  Loving people and rendering service
5.  Unifying the body and mind
6.  The rich emotion of enjoying simple relationships and things
7.  Frequent self-examination of one's personal and public life
8.  Avoidance of obsession or extravagance
9.  Humility
10.  Constantly collecting the floating emotions that take you out of your center"

-  Hua-Ching Ni, The Gentle Path of Spiritual Progress, 1990, p. 108 

I use two books by the noted Taoist Master Hua-Ching Ni with translations and commentary about the Tao Te Ching, and find them very useful.  

My Tao Te Ching Concordance has been useful to many people. 

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons

The Good Life 

Chapter Index to the Tao Te Ching

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mental Health and Recovery Resources for Seniors

Hello Mike,

You may already know that 7% of people (that's over 20 million in the US and 500 million globally) have a major depressive disorder that profoundly impacts their lives - and less than half of them get the help they need.

With alarming statistics like the one above and with the holidays fast approaching, we at ElderImpact ( hope to reach affected seniors and their caretakers during a time that can be particularly difficult for those suffering from depression.

Below, I've listed several of the helpful and educational resources we found. Once you’ve had a chance to review the collection, I invite you to share it with others as you see fit. Facebook, Twitter and your site (
yoga/yoga.htm) would all make for great sharing options if you’re open to it:

10 Mental Health and Recovery Resources for Our Seniors

7% of people (that's over 20 million in the US) have a major depressive disorder (1). More than HALF of these people do not get the treatment they need (2). We hope the following resources can guide you and your loved ones to get the necessary help and support:

Elderly Depression and Care for the Elderly

The Guide to Overcoming Holiday Depression for the Elderly and their Caretakers

Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older | CDC.GOV

Substance Abuse and Misuse Among Older Adults

Addiction Prevention Guide for Seniors

Depression Treatment: Therapy, Medication and Lifestyle Changes

Brain Health

Early Warning Signs of Dementia & Alzheimer’s

Staying Healthy as a Senior

22 Senior Health Risk Calculators for Healthy Aging


I hope these resources are useful to you!

Marie Villeza 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Laugh, and the World Laughs with You

"Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain."

Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1850-1919

How to Live the Good Life

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Walking for Peace of Mind

A cornerstone of my weekly fitness practices is walking.  

Looking east on Kilkenny Lane near Red Bluff, California.  I walk 3.6 miles on this cul de sac lane, four days each week, in the morning.  I walk at daybreak on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning throughout the entire year.  

Occasionally, a car might use this country lane, and I move to the side of the road.  It is a very safe, peaceful, and quiet place.  

Sometimes I listen to my MP3 player while I walk.  Sometimes I walk in silence.   

Sometimes I take my dog, Bruno, for a walk.  Most often, I walk alone.  

"Putting facts by the thousands,
into the world, the toes take off
with an appealing squeak which the thumping heel
follows confidentially, the way men greet men.
Sometimes walking is just such elated
-   Lyn Hejinian, Determination

"Every day, in the morning or evening, or both, take a walk in a safe and peaceful environment for less than an hour.  The can be a great fountain of youth.  Choose a place to walk that has no kind of disturbance.   Walking done in a work environment and when your mind is busy is different; it is not as nutritious as the walking you do for yourself in the morning or evening in a quiet, peaceful, and safe place."
-  Master Hua-Ching Ni, Entering the Tao, 1997, p. 135


Looking to the northeast on Kilkenny Lane.  Mt. Lassen (10,000 feet) in the distance is capped with a little snow.  These photos were taken in the Autumn.   

"Walking is the natural recreation for a man who desires not absolutely to suppress his intellect but to turn it out to play for a season." 
-  Leslie Stephen  


Looking west on Kilkenny Lane.  The red leafed autumn colors are from Raywood Ash trees. The Yolly Bolly mountain range (7,000 feet) is to the west of the North Sacramento Valley.  

"The interior solitude, along with the steady rhythm of walking mile after mile, served as a catalyst for deeper awareness.  The solitude I found and savored on the Camino had an amazing effect on me.  The busyness of my life slowly settled down as the miles went on.  For a good portion of my life I had longed for a fuller experience of contemplation, that peaceful prayer of the heart in which one is able to look intently and see each piece of life as sacred.  Ten days into the journey, totally unforeseen, the grace of seeing the world with startling lucidity came to me.  My eyes took in everything with wonder.  The experience was like looking through the lens of an inner camera – my heart was the photographer.  Colors and shapes took on nuances and depths never before noticed.  Each piece of beauty appeared to be framed: weeds along roadsides, hillsides of harvested fields with yellow and green stripes, layers of mountains with lines of thick mist stretching along their middle section, clumps of ripe grapes on healthy green vines, red berries on bushes, roses and vegetable gardens.  Everything revealed itself as something marvelous to behold.  Each was a work of art.  I noticed more and more details of light and shadow, lines and edges, shapes, softness, and texture.  I easily observed missed details on the path before me – skinny worms, worn pebbles, tiny flowers of various colors and shapes, black beetles, snails, and fat, grey slugs.  I became aware of the texture of everything under my feet – stones, slate, gravel, cement, dirt, sand, grass.  I responded with wonder and amazement.  Like the poet Tagore, I felt that everything “harsh and dissonant in my life” was melting into “one sweet harmony”."
-  Joyce Rupp  

Study Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung with Mike Garofalo

Friday, December 19, 2014

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   

"He who knows others is wise;
He who knows himself is enlightened.
He who conquers others is strong;
He who conquers himself is mighty.
He who knows contentment is rich.
He who keeps on his course with energy has will.
He who does not deviate from his proper place will long endure.
He who may die but not perish has longevity."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 33 

"Know others by knowing yourself.
Overcome others by overcoming yourself.
Understanding what is enough is enough.
Presence is perseverance.
Coming to stillness is forging ahead.
Find life by accepting death."
-  Translated by Starwell Crispin, Chapter 33 

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 33 

zhi ren zhe zhi.
zi zhi zhe ming.
sheng ren zhe you li.
zi sheng zhe qiang.
zhi zu zhe fu.
qiang xing zhe you zhi.
bu shi qi suo zhe jiu.
si er bu wang zhe shou.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, 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  

"Knowledge frequently results
from knowing others,
but the man who is awakened,
has seen the uncarved block.
Others might be mastered by force,
but to master one's self
requires the Tao.
He who has many material things,
may be described as rich,
but he who knows he has enough,
and is at one with the Tao,
might have enough of material things,
and have self-being as well.
Will-power may bring perseverance;
but to have tranquility is to endure,
being protected for all his days.
He whose ideas remain in the world,
is present for all time."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 33  

"Quien conoce a los demás es inteligente.
Quien se conoce a sí mismo tiene visión interna.
Quien conquista a los demás tiene fuerza; quien se conquista a sí mismo es realmente poderoso.
Quien sabe cuándo ha obtenido bastante es rico, y quien sigue asiduamente
     el sendero del Tao es alguien de propósito constante.
Quien permanece en el lugar en el que ha encontrado su verdadera casa vive mucho tiempo,
     y quien muere, pero no perece, goza de la auténtica longevidad."
-  Translation from Chinese to English by John C. H. Wu, translated into Spanish by Alfonso Colodrón, Capitulo 33 

"Knowing others makes you smart, but knowing yourself makes you wise.
To rule others, you must be powerful, but to rule yourself, you must be strong.
If you have only what you need, you have true wealth.
If you never give up, you will find a way.
If you stay true to yourself, you will never be lost.
If you live your entire life, you’ve really lived."
-  Translated by Ron Hogan, 1995, Chapter 33

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

 A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo on a Chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes at least 16 different translations or interpolations of the Chapter in English, two Spanish translations, the Chinese characters for the Chapter, a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for the Chapter, recommended reading lists, a detailed bibliography; indexing by key words and terms for the Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; some commentary, and other resources for the Chapter. 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan Short Form

I practice this Taijiquan form twice every day.  It takes from 5 to 7 minutes to perform. 
You can do this indoors by adjusting to the space available, or outdoors.  When done slowly and gently you don't need to do any warmup exercises unless your knees are problematic.  A lovely Taijiquan form!  Good for persons of all ages.  This form is a cornerstone of my personal T'ai Chi Ch'uan practices. 

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. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hands: The Lightning Rod to the Soul

"The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
-  Jacob Bronowski

"The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it."
-  Colin Wilson 
"By rubbing up against the world, I define myself to myself."
-  Deane Juhan

"The upper limb is the lightning rod to the soul."
-  Robert Markison

"A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb."
-  Mike Garofalo

“We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch.”
Lewis Thomas 

Hands On 
Fingers, Hands, Touching, Feeling, Somatics
Quotations, Bibliography, Links, Reflections


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Find Your Center

"Finding your central equilibrium (zhongding) is as subtle as it is vital to your gongfu.  I consider it the foundation of any higher level martial art and the source of the ‘effortless power’ that is the hallmark of the internal styles.  It plugs us into the ‘Big Qi’– the universal energy source of earth and sky that makes it all go. So, beyond its value to martial artists, it also is a tremendous asset to energy healers and to any human being who wants to feel more vitality and ease of movement. 
    Yet it is very elusive. Hidden in plain sight. It is veiled by our own sense of personal safety. Most of us learn to stand upright and walk around when we are a year or so old. Our sense of balance is established when our primary concern is to not fall over and hurt ourselves. This was a valid concern then and it is now. But the body of a one or two year old is undeveloped and the way we supported ourselves then is not the best way to do it now. 
    There is a ‘sweet spot’ you find when you allow your body to center over the balls of your feet. But most of us feel like we’re ‘off-balance’ when at true center because it’s so unfamiliar. We are so used to leaning backward that any adjustment forward seems threatening. That old program kicks in and say’s “Whoa!  What’re you crazy? You’re gonna fall on your face!” But to an observer you would look straight and tall. 
    When I want to build a wall or hang a door I need to establish plumb and square. I use a plumb bob to determine the line that is vertical to earth. It doesn’t matter if the floor is tilted. I want my vertical line to be as plumb as possible. Once I have my absolute reference line, I can use a square to establish lines perpendicular to it. This way my door can swing freely and my walls don’t require a lot of additional bracing to keep from falling over."
-  Rick Barrett, Tai Chi Alchemy, Zhongding - Finding Your Central Equilibrium

Rooting and Centering in Taijiquan

"When you train, free yourself from distracting thoughts:
Keep your hear buoyant, your body buoyant, too.
Do not forget the principle of "return to the center":
Strive and strive, with single-minded devotion.
This is the true path of softness.
This is the true path of softness."
-   Kyuzo Mifune (1883-1965), Judo Master, The Song of Judo
Budo Secrets: Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters, p. 30

I remain "centered" when I am engaged in the activities that make my life meaningful to me and sometimes to others.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dragon Qigong Exercises

"It is easier to leave a circle than to enter it.
The emphasis is on the hip movement whether front or back.
The difficulty is to maintain the position without shifting the centre.
To analyze and understand the above situation is to do with movement and not with a stationary posture.
Advancing and retreating by turning sideways in line with the shoulders, one is capable of turning like a millstone, fast or slow, as if whirling like a dragon in the clouds or sensing the approach of a fierce tiger.
From this, one can learn the usage of the movement of the upper torso.
Through long practice, such movement will become natural."
- Yang Family Old Manual, The Coil Incense Kung

"The East Asian Dragons are often associated with water, rain, vapors, fog, springs, streams, waterfalls, rivers, swamps, lakes, and the ocean.  Water can take many shapes and states, and Dragons are shape shifters and linked with transformation, appearing and disappearing, changing into something new.  Water is found in three states, depending upon the surrounding temperature: a solid (ice, snow), a fluid (flowing liquid), and a gas (fog, vapor, steam).  Since rainfall is often accompanied by thunder and lightening (thunderstorms and typhoons), the Dragon is sometimes associated with fire; and, since hot water and steam are major sources of energy in human culture, this further links the Dragon with the essential energy of Fire.  The Dragon is thus linked with the chemical and alchemical transformative properties of two of the essential Elements, both Water and Fire.  Dragons are generally benign or helpful to humans in East Asia, but their powers can also be destructive (e.g., flooding, tsunami, typhoon, lightening, steam, drowning, etc.).  There are both male and female Dragons, kinds or species of Dragons, Dragons of different colors and sizes, and mostly good but some evil Dragons.  Some Dragons can fly, some cannot fly; most live in or near water, a few on land.  The body of a Dragon combines features from many animals, representing the many possibilities for existential presence.  The Dragon in the East has serpentine, snake, or eel like movement qualities: twisting, spiraling, sliding, circling, swimming, undulating, flowing freely like water."  [See: The Dragon in China and Japan by Marinus De Visser, 1913]

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. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Welcoming Santa

Last night, Karen and I listened to Christmas music on Sirius Radio, enjoyed a few cocktails with our delicious Mexican food dinner, and chatted about the good old times we had during many a winter holiday season.  Wonderful memories of fun times with family and friends!  

Winter Solstice and Yule Celebrations

One Old Druid's Final Journey

"Reclaim Santa Claus as a Pagan Godform. Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), and the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Decorate your home with Santa images that reflect His Pagan heritage.    Honor the Goddess as Great Mother. Place Pagan Mother Goddess images around your home. You may also want to include one with a Sun child, such as Isis with Horus. Pagan Goddess forms traditionally linked with this time of year include Tonantzin (Native Mexican corn mother), Holda (Teutonic earth goddess of good fortune), Bona Dea (Roman women's goddess of abundance and prophecy), Ops (Roman goddess of plenty), Au Set/Isis (Egyptian/multicultural All Goddess whose worship continued in Christian times under the name Mary), Lucina/St. Lucy (Roman/Swedish goddess/saint of light), and Befana (Italian Witch who gives gifts to children at this season)."
-   Selena Fox, Celebrating the Winter Solstice   


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mushrooms and Puffballs

In the past month, here in Red Bluff, California, we have had many days with rain.  These rainy days have caused the spores from many types of mushrooms and puffballs to appear in the ground around our home.  Karen has stalked these little fungi, and taken many pictures.

"A mushroom (or toadstool) is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap. These pores or gills produce microscopic spores that help the fungus spread across the ground or its occupant surface.
"Mushroom" describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.
Forms deviating from the standard morphology usually have more specific names, such as "puffball", "stinkhorn", and "morel", and gilled mushrooms themselves are often called "agarics" in reference to their similarity to Agaricus or their place Agaricales. By extension, the term "mushroom" can also designate the entire fungus when in culture; the thallus (called a mycelium) of species forming the fruiting bodies called mushrooms; or the species itself."
Mushroom - Wikipedia

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 34

Daodejing, Laozi
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 

"Great Tao is like a boat that drifts;
 It can go this way; it can go that.
 The ten thousand creatures owe their existence to it and it does not disown them;
 Yet having produced them, it does not take possession of them.
 Makes no claim to be master over them,
 (And asks for nothing from them.)
 Therefore it may be called the Lowly.
 The ten thousand creatures obey it,
 Though they know not that they have a master;
 Therefore it is called the Great.
 So too the Sage just because he never at any time makes a show of greatness
 In fact achieves greatness."
 -  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 34 

"The Great Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is universal like a flood.
How can it be turned to the right or to the left?
All creatures depend on it, and it denies nothing to anyone.
It does its work,
But it makes no claims for itself.
It clothes and feeds all,
But it does not rule them
Thus, it may be called "the Little."
All things return to it as to their home,
But it does not rule them 
It may be called "the Great."
It is just because it does not wish to be great
That its greatness is fully realized.
The Complete Thinker would not control the world;
They are in harmony with the world."
-  Translated by John Louis Albert Trottier, 1994, Chapter 34  

 "The great Tao pervades everywhere, both on the left and on the right.
 By it all things came in to being, and it does not reject them.
 Merits accomplished, it does not possess them.
 It loves and nourishes all things but does not dominate over them.
 It is always non-existent; therefore it can be named as small.
 All things return home to it, and it does not claim mastery over them;
 therefore it can be named as great.
 Because it never assumes greatness, therefore it can accomplish greatness."
 -  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 34 

常無欲, 可名於小.  
萬物歸焉而不為主, 可名為大. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 34

ta tao fan hsi ch'i k'o tso yu.
wan wu shih chih erh shêng erh pu tz'u.
kung ch'êng pu ming yu.
yi yang wan wu erh pu wei chu.
ch'ang wu yü, k'o ming yü hsiao.
wan wu kuei yen erh pu wei chu, k'o ming wei ta.
yi ch'i chung pu tzu wei ta.
ku nêng ch'êng ch'i ta.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 34

"Great Tao flows everywhere,
It extends to the left and to the right.
All beings receive It in order to live and be free.
It works out perfectness in them although It possesses not a Name.
It protects them with love and sustains them, but does not claim to be Ruler of their actions.
Always seeking the innermost, you may say that Its Name is in the Small.
All beings return again into It, yet It does not claim to be Ruler of their actions.
You may say that Its Name is in the Great.
That is why, to the end of his life, the self-controlled man is not great in action,
Thus he is able to perfect his greatness."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 34 

"El Gran Tao es como un río que fluye en todas las direcciones.
Los diez mil seres y las diez mil cosas le deben la existencia
y él a ninguno se la niega.
El Tao cumple su propósito sin apropiarse de nada.
Cuida y alimenta a los diez mil seres
sin adueñarse de ellos.
Carece de ambiciones,
por eso puede ser llamado pequeño.
Los diez mil seres retornan a él sin que los reclame,
y por eso puede ser llamado grande.
De la misma forma, el sabio nunca se considera grande,
y así, perpetúa su grandeza."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 34

"The great Tao flows everywhere
It fills everything to the left and to the right
All things owe their existence to it and it cannot deny any one of them
Tao is eternal
It does not favour one over the other
It brings all things to completion without their even knowing it
Tao nourishes and protects all creatures yet does not claim lordship over them
So we class it with the most humble
Tao is the home to which all things return yet it wants nothing in return
So we call it he Greatest
The Sage is the same way ?
He does not claim greatness over anything
He not eve aware of his own greatness
Tell me, what could be greater than this?"
-  Translated by Jonathan Star, 2001, Chapter 34  

"Great Tao is all-pervading,
At once on left and right
It may be found, and all things wait
On it for life and light.
No one is refused the gift,
And when the work is done
It does not take the name of it,
Nor claim the merit won.
All things it loves and nurses,
But does not strive to own,
Has no desires, and can be named
With the tiniest ever known.
All things return home to it,
But it does not strive to own,
And can be named with the mightiest,
For it is the Tao alone.
And thus the sage is able
To accomplish his great deeds,
To the end he claims no greatness,
And his great work thus succeeds."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 34 

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

 A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo on a Chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes at least 16 different translations or interpolations of the Chapter in English, two Spanish translations, the Chinese characters for the Chapter, a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for the Chapter, recommended reading lists, a detailed bibliography; indexing by key words and terms for the Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; some commentary, and other resources for the Chapter.