Friday, January 31, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 76

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 76

"Alive, a man is supple, soft;
In death, unbending, rigorous.
All creatures, grass and trees, alive
Are plastic but are pliant too,
And dead, are friable and dry.
Unbending rigor is the mate of death,
And wielding softness, company of life:
Unbending soldiers get no victories;
The stiffest tree is readiest for the axe.
The strong and mighty topple from their place;
The soft and yielding rise above them all."
-  Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 76  

"When people are born they are supple, and when they die they are stiff..
When trees are born they are tender, and when they die they are brittle.
Stiffness is thus a companion of death, flexibility a companion of life.
So when an army is strong it doe not prevail. When a tree is strong, it is cut for use.
So the stiff and strong are below, the supple and yielding on top."
-  Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 76 

"A man living is yielding and receptive.
Dying, he is rigid and inflexible.
All Things, the grass and trees:
Living, they are yielding and fragile;
Dying, they are dry and withered.
Thus those who are firm and inflexible
Are in harmony with dying.
Those who are yielding and receptive
Are in harmony with living.
Therefore an inflexible strategy will not triumph;
An inflexible tree will be attacked.
The position of the highly inflexible will descend;
The position of the yielding and receptive will ascend."
-  Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 76 

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76

ren zhi sheng ye rou ruo. 
qi si ye jian qiang. 
cao mu zhi sheng ye rou cui. 
qi si ye ku gao. 
gu jian qiang zhe si zhi tu.   
rou ruo zhe shang zhi tu. 
shi yi bing qiang ze mie. 
mu qiang ze zhe. 
jian qiang chu xia. 
rou ruo chu shang.
-  Pinyin transliteration, Daodejing, Chapter 76

"Man, born tender and yielding,
Stiffens and hardens in death.
All living growth is pliant,
Until death transfixes it.
Thus men who have hardened are 'kin of death'
And men who stay gentle are 'kin of life.'
Thus a hard-hearted army is doomed to lose.
A tree hard-fleshed is cut down:
Down goes the tough and big,
Up comes the tender sprig."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 76  

"In life, man is soft and tender,
In death, he is rigid and hard.
In life, plants and trees are soft and pliant,
In death, they are withered and tough.
Thus rigidity and hardness are companions of death.
Softness and tenderness are companions of life.
That is why the soldier who trusts only in strength does not conquer,
The tree that relies on its strength invites the axe.
Great strength dwells below,
Softness and tenderness dwell above."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 76

"Cuando una persona está viva, es blanda y flexible.
Cuando está muerta, se vuelve dura y rígida.
Cuando una planta está viva, es blanda y tierna. 
Cuando está muerta, se vuelve marchita y seca. 
Por ello, lo duro y lo rígido son compañeros de lo muerto:
     lo bando y lo fexible son compañeros de lo vivo. 
Así pues, un ejército ponderoso tiende a caer por su propio peso,
     al igual que la madera seca está lista para el hacha.
Lo grande y poderoso será colocado abajo; lo humilide y débil será honrado."
-  Translated into English by John C. H. Wu, Spanish version by Alfonso Colodrón, 2007, Capitulo 76  

"The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.
Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciple of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.
The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 76   


Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Backyard Orchard

The California Backyard Orchard - The University of California at Davis

Home Orchard Society

A List of the Trees in our South Backyard Orchard

The Spirit of Gardening

Gardening in the Month of January

Gardening in the Month of February

"He knows no winter, he who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when he is free from toil,
He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds
From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs.
When looking out upon frost-silvered fields,
He visualizes autumn's golden yields;
He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
Precious moisture for his early grain;
He hears spring-heralds in the storm's ' turmoil­
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil."
-  Sudie Stuart Hager, He Knows No Winter   

February Garden Activities and Chores in Red Bluff, California
USDA Zone 9
Browsing and ordering from seed and garden catalogs.
Pruning leafless trees and shrubs.
Weeding and tending the winter vegetable garden.
Relax and read books from the library.
The soil is usually too wet and cold for much digging.
Keeping cold sensitive potted plants in protected areas or indoors.
Make sure that the cuttings in protected areas do not dry out.
Repair fences.
Put straw mulch over fertilized vegetable garden areas not planted. 
Distribute fertilizer and minerals. 
Prune and mulch dormant perennials.
Remove dead trees, shrubs, branches, and twigs.
Enjoy the bulbs and rosemary in bloom.
Repair and sharpen tools.
Construct gardening boxes and flats.
Keep hardwood cuttings moist.
Write a poem.   Keep a gardening journal.
Fertilize with 20-9-9 or 15-15-15. 
Trees without leaves need little or no watering.
Take a walk in your garden.
Sit and observe.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Frolic Like a Deer

"The Deer Play is to imitate the shape and movement of a deer hoping to attain long life and pure soul like a deer. The features of a deer are its gentle disposition, swift movement, love to push with horns, and good at running. When it stands it likes to stretch its neck to glance at things afar. The deer also likes looking at left and right and its rear foot. It is also good at moving its tail bones (sacrum). The tail bone is the place where the Jen and Du meridians meet. Thus, during practice, the practitioner not only needs to imitate the attitude of a deer with swift movement and calm spirit, but also need to focus attention on the tail bone. This will guide Qi to the whole body, open meridians, circulate blood, relax tendons and bones, and benefit kidney and strengthen waist. It can also enhance blood circulation in the abdomen. This play is suitable for curing dysfunctional nerves in the internal organs, chronicle infections of the internal organs in the abdomen, fatigue in the waist muscles, nerve pain in the pelvis, deteriorated thigh bones, and the lack of sex drives."
-   Five Animal Frolics  

"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. 

"Firstly, we analyze its function in the aspect of psychological regulation as it is required that the practitioner should do it before and during each routines in the exercise of the Health Qigong Wu Qin Xi. The practitioner should mind on the Dantian and rid of the distracted thoughts with quiet mind and spirit before the exercise, get into the imitation of its physical activities of each animal in the exercise. When practicing the tiger exercise, try to imagine yourself as a fierce tiger in the mountains who is looking down upon other beasts and stretching its own pawns and about to pounce on its prey; in the deer exercise, imagine that you are prudent and mild, jogging on a green field; in the exercise of the bear, you are a clumsy bear, composed and steady, freely roaming the forests; in the monkey exercise, you become a happy and agile monkey; in the bird exercise, you are a free bird with quiet mind and flying in the sky. Therefore you can continuously regulate the mind state in the exercise and it is helpful to the relaxation of the mind. The regular exercise of this skill can transform and regulate the mind of the practitioner to relieve the spiritual nervousness, improve the emotional stability, reduce the mental stress and keep the healthy mind."
-   The Effect of Precaution against Sub-health of the Health Qigong Wu Qin Xi.  Chinese Health Qigong Association.  2008.   

Deer Frolic  (Someday I might finish this webpage.  Oh well!  No hurry!) 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Ten Thousand Things in Mind

"A monk asked Zen master Yunju Daoying, "What is the one Dharma?"
Yunju said, "What are the ten thousand Dharmas?"
The monk said, "I don't understand how to comprehend this."
Yunju said, "The one Dharma is your own mind.  The ten thousand dharmas are your fundamental nature.  Are they one thing or two?"
The monk bowed.
Yunju showed the monk a poem that said:

The single Dharma is the essence of all dharmas,
The myriad dharmas penetrate the one Dharma.
"Mind-only: and "nature-only,"
Don't say they're different or the same."

"Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings" by Andy Ferguson, Wisdom Publications, 2000, p. 212.

I've read that an adult human being has around 60 trillion cells in their body and that there are 60 trillion atoms in each cell.  Some astronomers estimate that there are 300 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and that there are 150 billion galaxies in the Universe.  The human body is extremely complex, and the Cosmos is extremely complex.  The Chinese used the expression "the ten thousand things" to refer to this fact of emerging unity in the Present Time (Now) as the interpenetrating and interconnecting (a Cosmic Ecology) of the myriad and complex objects/things/events.  

Ten Thousand Things or Myriad Beings or Many Things (wan wu


Zen Poetry

My home 'altar' reminds me to keep in mind the many Elements of Nature that enable me to explore the complex realms of Mind/Spirit.  I light a candle and a stick of incense, and then reflect on the symbolism of the Four Elements (i.e., Ten Thousand Things) and Mind.  Different or the Same?  Yes and No, No and Yes - Zhuangzi laughs about how we use words.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

A White Goose Wheeling

Wild Goose Qigong Exercises
Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, List of Movements
Research by Mike Garofalo
This Qigong form is one long continuous sequence of movements, much like a Taiji form.  There are many aspects of the Wild Goose Qigong system as presented by Dr. Bingkun Hu of San Francisco.  

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

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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

Wedding Anniversary

Karen and I are celebrating our 47th wedding anniversary this month.  We were married in 1967.  A good and productive friendship.  We raised two children.  We share positive feelings, loyalty, and love.  We support and help each other.  

Orchard Work:

We have been busy taking care of our south field orchard.  We pruned all the trees in the south orchard, sprayed the trees with oil, painted all the tree trunks white, fertilized all the trees, installed or repaired all the drip irrigation lines, and thoroughly watered all the trees.  We now have 65 trees in the south orchard on our property.  There are apple, apricot, cherry, fig, peach, persimmon, plum, and walnut trees in our south orchard.  We share fresh fruit with friends and co-workers in season; and we dry and can fruit.  In the north orchard on our our five acre parcel, there are apples, cherries, figs, grapes, lemons, oranges, pecans, persimmons, and plums. 

Like everyone in California, we are worried about the effects of the severe drought.  We have two wells on our property, each 125 feet deep.  In normal rainfall years our water table is at 50 feet.  One well feeds our home, and that well pump runs on 220 volts.  The second well is used for watering and for keeping two small ponds topped, and the second well pump runs off of solar panels.  

Current Reading: 

Botany for Gardeners  By Brian Capon.  Portland, Oregon, Timber Press, 1990.  Glossary, Bibliography, Index, 220 pages.  ISBN: 0881922587.  VSCL.  

Complexity: A Guided Tour. By Melanie Mitchell.  New York, Oxford University Press, 2009.  Index, bibliography, notes, 349 pages.  ISBN:  9780199798100.  VSCL.  

The Ethics of Creativity: Beauty, Morality, and Nature in a Processive Cosmos  By Brian G. Henning.  Pennsylvania, Pittsburg University Press, 2005.  Index, bibliography, notes, 250 pages.  ISBN: 0822942713.  VSCL. 

Calculator Fun:

I am learning to use my new Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus programmable calculator.  A good calculator is an indispensable instrument for anyone studying mathematics and science.  I used a Hewlett Packard programmable calculator when I was a library administrator for the County of Los Angeles. 

Lately, I have been studying statistics and botany. I have always enjoyed being a amateur naturalist and a science enthusiast. 

The calculator was a recent birthday present from Karen.  I turned 68 years of age this month.  

Blue Room Setup

I have been setting up one room in our home for more active usage.  It has been kind of a storage room the past year.  I moved in the rooms items and instruments needed for natural history studies and specimen storage.  I improved the lighting and put a table in the room.  I rearranged the book shelving in this room. 

My Personal Fitness and Exercise Program

Rodger Andresen and I have been training partners.  We lift weights 5 days each week.  He can pump some heavy iron.  Roger and Jennifer also attend my yoga classes in the evening.  Here is my weight training and exercise program for 2014.   

Fractal Art

Check out some of the free or shareware Fractal Art programs.  I like the Chaos Fractals program.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Walking Tips from Fellrnr

There is an excellent website by Jonathan Savage (Fellrnr) called "Running Tips for Everyone from Beginners to Racing Marathons and Ultramarathons."  

Although the primary emphasis is upon running, the website has very valuable information for walkers, especially long distance walkers and hikers.  The emphasis on a scientific approach to running or walking is very beneficial. 

Be sure to check out the webpage on "Calories Burned Running and Walking." 
You can input your actual or desired bodyweight and get detailed information on caloric expenditures for various speeds and distances walked or run.

His comments on breathing are valuable. 

His suggestions for Walking Breaks for runners in a race are insightful. 

"Walking in a race has a lot of advantages
  • Running burns more calories per mile than walking, so walking is more efficient. (Generally, for paces up to around 14 min/mile, walking is more efficient. For paces faster than 12 min/mile, running is more efficient. Paces between 14 and 12 min/mile are not so clear cut.)
  • Walking has a lower Heart Rate, which allows the body to burn more fat than carbohydrate. (You have a lot of fat, but carbohydrates are a limited resource)
  • The lower Heart Rate of walking also makes digestion easier. The digestive system needs blood and oxygen; if it is all being used by the muscles, you will have a problem.
  • It is much easier to take off or add clothes when walking, or adjust other bits of equipment.
  • The lower intensity of walking gives a more relaxed Breathing pattern, making it easier to eat and drink.
  • Walking gives the muscles a chance to recover from running.
  • Because walking uses less energy, it can help if overheating is a problem."
This website "Running Tips" is powered by MediaWiki.  I've been looking at using Wiki

Ways of Walking:  Quotes, Sayings, Information, Facts, Lore
Compiled by Mike Garofalo

I've been thinking about adding some jogging/running to my morning walks to improve my aerobic conditioning.  I believe that if I approach this intelligently and gradually, even at the age of 68, I can enjoy myself and avoid injury.  Suggestions?

"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   

"I can only meditate when I am walking.  When I stop, I cease to think; my mind works only with my legs." 
-  Jean Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

"We are here on the planet only once, and might as well get a feel for the place."
-  Annie Dillard  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dao De Jing by Laozi, Chapter 77

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 77

"Bend the bow and embrace the tiger
to emulate the way of heave

drawn with resoluteness
the bow changes length and width
turning in on itself

released with resoluteness
the bow projects its arrow fixedly to a target
by equalizing itself

the bow can shoot up or down as needed
always seeking to balance out
flexibility and cohesion
always seeking to resolve
excesses of energy and deficiencies of energy

equalizing and balancing out and resolving
are the ways of heaven

but the ways of man
make things unequal
imbalanced and unresolved
cutting man off from heaven and earth

only a sage wise man humbly cultivating the tao
     way of life
can entreat heaven on man's behalf
asking heaven
to reestablish the natural order
by not asking heaven

when he is successful
he does not dwell on it
displaying his skill at emulating the way of heaven

he simply smiles
and moves on to the next task."
-  Translated by John Bright-Fey, Chapter 77

"The Way of Heaven is like the drawing of a bow.
What is high is brought lower, and what is low is brought higher.
What is too long is shortened;
What is too short is lengthened.

The Way of Heaven is to take away from what is excessive
And to replenish what is deficient.
But the Way of Man is different:
It takes away from those who have little,
And gives to those who already have plenty.
Who is able to offer the world whatever he has in excess?
Only the man of Tao.

Therefore the Sage works without claiming reward,
Accomplishes without taking credit.
He has no desire to display his excellence."
-  Translated by Keith H. Seddon, Chapter 77  

"Is not the Tao of heaven like the drawing of a bow?
It brings down the part which is high; it raises the part which is low; it lessens the part which is redundant (convex); it fills up the part which is insufficient (concave).
The Tao of heaven is to lessen the redundant and fill up the insufficient.
The Tao of man, on the contrary, is to take from the insufficient and give to the redundant.
Who can take from the redundant and give to the insufficient?
Only he who has Tao can.
Therefore the Sage does not horde.
The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself.
The Tao of heaven does one good but never does one harm; the Tao of the Sage acts but never contends."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 77  

"El Tao del cielo
semeja al que tensa el arco.
Hace rebajar lo alto y hace levantar lo bajo.
Si la cuerda es demasiado larga se la acorta.
Si no hay suficiente cuerda, se la alarga.
El Tao del cielo
es quitar al que le sobra
y dar al que le falta.
La ley del hombre,
sin embargo, es muy distinta:
quita al que le falta
y añade al que le sobra.
¿Qué hombre que tiene de sobra
le daría sus riquezas al mundo?
Sólo el hombre que posee al Tao.
Por eso, el sabio
hace su trabajo sin acumular nada por él,
realiza su obra sin apropiarse de ella,
y no se vanagloria de su sabiduría."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 77

"Heavenly Tao is like the bending of a bow.
That which is high is bent downwards,
That which is low is raised up,
That which is too much is lessened,
That which is not enough is increased.
Heavenly Tao takes from those who have too much,
And gives to those who have not enough.
The way of man is not thus,
He takes from those who have not enough,
And gives to those who already have too much.
Who is able to hold his wealth in order to give it to men?
Only he who has the Tao.
That is why the self-controlled man acts without looking for reward,
he brings to perfectness without claiming credit, he desires not to let his wisdom appear."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 77

天之道, 其猶張弓與.
-  Chinese characters, Chapter 77, Tao Te Ching

tian zhi dao, qi you zhang gong yu.
gao zhe yi zhi.
xia zhe ju zhi.
you yu zhe sun zhi.
bu zu zhe bu zhi.
tian zhi dao sun you yu er bu bu zu.
ren zhi dao ze bu ran.
sun bu zu yi feng you yu.
shu neng you yu yi feng tian xia.
wei you dao zhe.
shi yi sheng ren wei er bu shi.
gong cheng er bu chu.
qi bu yu xian xian.
-  Pinyin transliteration, Chapter 77, Daodejing 
"The Way of Heaven is like the bending of a bow.
The upper is lowered, while the lower is raised.
The too long is shortened, while the too short is lengthened.
The Way of Heaven is the way of balance:
Take from that which has more
and give to that which has less.
The way of man is different:
Take from those who have less
and give to those who have more.
Who is so abundant that he can continue to give to the world?
Only the man who embodies the Tao and is thus inexhaustible.
Therefore, the sage, being the fulcrum of the world,
Benefits his people without proclaiming it,
Accomplishes his task without dwelling on it,
Enlightens his world without flaunting his wisdom."
-  Translated by Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, Chapter 77 

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hsing I Chuan Training Levels

"If you practice Xing Yi (Shape-Intent Fist), here are some tips for training. For simplicity, let's classify training into 3 levels:

At the first level, you train Ming Jin - your Obvious Power, your Physical Power. Basic 5-Element drills repeated correctly again and again and again, help you to achieve this. Xing Yi should look/be clean, crisp, neat, precise, exact - as Sifu says: "Exactly like Xing Yi". Body movement initiates from the dantien, hands & feet arrive simultaneously. Your whole body works as one concentrated unit. Qi/Mind/Intent continues, project your energy on through - project far.

At the second level, you train An Jin - your Hidden Power, your Secret Power, your Inner Power. Standing meditation, sensitivity drills, energy projection and proper postural alignment with body awareness to "feel" your energy running when repeating the basic 5-Element drills help you to achieve this.

At the third level, you train Hua Jin - Spontaneous Power, Neutralizing Power, Mysterious Power, Very Freedom Power - a whatever is required type of energy. More practice, more time, more experience help accumulate this power. Meditation is key in this stage. The heart/mind/shape become unified - alignment of body, mind and spirit. Understanding nature. Understanding the essence.

The ongoing training process is one of refining your power and energy feel, fine-tuning so to speak. Proper guidance and complete instruction from a qualified master is best."
Tony Bujas

Hsing I Chuan (Xing Yi Quan): Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes, Notes
By Mike Garofalo

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Enjoy Life, Move More Often, and Live Longer

"While it’s nearly impossible to avoid the inevitable loss of physical function that accompanies aging, a study out of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London suggests that seniors who enjoy life enjoy improved mobility and live longer than their more sour peers.  While happiness itself does not enhance or preserve one’s physical capabilities, happier people do tend to be healthier and more active, which in turn is linked to increased mobility, even in old age. Though the reverse is also true (healthier people also tend to be happier), scientists say that’s not the explanation. The happiness factor is important, regardless of health.  “We have previously shown that positive well-being and enjoyment of life are predictors of longer life,” said study author Andrew Steptoe. “Older people who report greater enjoyment are less likely to die over the next five to eight years than those with lower enjoyment of life.”"
National Monitor, 21 January 2014

I took a long walk on this driftwood strewn beach near Olympic National Park in Washington.  Marvelous!  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ships Bearing Their Dreams Sail Out of Sight

"I'm going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
Gonna pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I'll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I'll get up and do it again
Say it again

I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening?
I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye
When the morning light comes streaming in
You'll get up and do it again

Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender.
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the Pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there

Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight

I'm gonna find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we'll fill in the missing colors
In each other's paint-by-number dreams
And then we'll put our dark glasses on
And we'll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We'll get up and do it again
Get it up again

I'm gonna be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Thought true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender.
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender.

Say a prayer for the pretender
Are you there for the pretender?
Say a prayer for the pretender
Are you there for the pretender?
Are you prepared for the pretender?"
-  Lyrics by Jackson Browne, 1976

Monday, January 20, 2014

We Also Still Share Your Dream, Dr. King

When I think back on the 1950's and 1960's, I remember the instutionalized and governmentally supported racial discrimination that prevailed in many parts of America.  It took the many efforts of hundreds of thousands people who did not agree with these discriminatory policies to bring changes in our society.  The leadership provided by the many brave, progressive, and outspoken advocates for freedom for majorities (women) and ethicnic minorities (African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, etc.) and other social and religious miniorities have resulted in substantive improvements in this aspect of our complex multi-cultural society.  Much work still remains to change attitudes.   

Today, we stop to think of our progress and our failures in this area.  We remember our friends and leaders who have passed on who shared and worked for making our dreams a reality.  We honor the memory of leaders, like Dr. Martin Luther King, who led non-violent social/political movements to bring needed changes. 

In 1963, George Wallace stood on the steps of the University of Alabama to deny entrance to black students. Governor Wallace said, "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."  The tyrannical Federal government ruled that public school segregation was unconstitutional and intervened, supporting the first black students to attend the University of Alabama.  In 1964, the Civil Rights Acts was passed.  Some of the key leaders for social change were assassinated by 1968: President Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and civil rights leader Martin L. King.  Those were angry and violent days.  

In 1970, Karen and I, and our friends from Alabama, all attended an important college football game in Birmingham, Alabama.  Most of us were serving in the United States Air Force and stationed then at the Biloxi Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  The University of Southern California (my alma mater) was playing the University of Alabama.  Both teams were nationally ranked in 1970.  USC soundly defeated Alabama, 42-21.  The USC team was integrated, whereas the Alabama team had only white players.  USC won the national football championship in 1972.  In 2012 and 2013, the University of Alabama fielded an integrated football team and won the national championship; and, the University has been, of course, integrated for decades. I guess homo ludens trumps homo racist in the long run. 

I hear many folks in my Red Bluff, California, rural area whining about the loss of States' rights due to the intrusion and domination and tyrrany of the vile, corrupt, and liberal Federal government.  These Redoubters and Tea Party and ex-Wallace populist supporters want to create a new State, the State of Jefferson in Northern California, to uphold their own "rural" values.  They are typically "white" folks, many are seniors, many are gun fetishists, they rant negatively about immigrants, they are often male-chauvinists, and many proudly boast of their "Conservative Fundamentalist Christian" allegiance.  Somehow, they remind me of that pompous, defiant, racist, and mean spirited sourpuss, George Wallace.  

Relaxing near the Teahouse

Teahouse by the Pond, Red Bluff, California

Our "tea house," at our home in Red Bluff, California, is hidden by weeping willows, eucalyptus and other trees and shrubs. The tea house is next to a small pond and gives a clear view to the west across the North Sacramento Valley to the Yolly Bolly Mountain range.  These photos are from a Spring month. 

I in the cooler months I drink more coffee than tea, and in the warmer months more cold water and iced tea.  

Teahouse by the Pond, Red Bluff, California

"The first bowl sleekly moistened throat and lips,
The second banished all my loneliness
The third expelled the dullness from my mind,
Sharpening inspiration gained
from all the books I've read.
The fourth brought forth light perspiration,
Dispersing a lifetime's troubles through my pores."
- Lu Tung, Chinese Poet, On Drinking Tea

It is a nice quiet area to read, listen to music, write, and practice taijiquan.  The shade is invaluable in the warm months.  

Here is what the view to the west looks like in the winter.  About .3 miles from our fence is a large almond orchard. Snow on the Yolly Bolly range was down to about 2,500 feet on this day in January. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Alone You Must Drink Life's Gall

"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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stand and Journey to Ecstasy

Here is a description of the beginning of the Opening Posture of Taijiquan from the book Traditional Chen Style Taijiquan by Fan Chun-Lei and A. Frank Shiery, p.37:

"1. Preliminary Stance: Stand naturally upright with the feet placed shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly inward, and arms hanging naturally at the side. The body should be kept upright with the shoulders relaxed, eyes slightly closed and breathing naturally. The body should face north. The mind should remain empty, calm and clear. This is the state of WuJi, (Negative Terminus in Taoist Teaching).

2. Commencing Form: The body should exhibit being relaxed externally while solid within. The head is held naturally erect as if pulled upward by an invisible string. Close the lips slightly with the tongue touching the upper palate. The toes firmly grasp the ground with Yongquan point pulled upward. The eyes are looking straight ahead with the chin drawn slightly inward. The hip is turned up and the coccyx turned back and upward with the waist directed downwards. The whole body should remain relaxed. A mind state of intent is maintained while the vital energy flows upward from the Dantian to the Baihui point, while the turbid energy flows downward from the Dantian to the Yongquan point. During this time, the body exhibits no external movement. Yin/Yang, for example, closing/opening, supple-firm and fast-slow are manifested internally, portraying the image of the Taiji, (Grand Terminus).

Key Points to Remember: For the beginner, the primary concern should be to cleanse the mind and spirit of tension and anxiety, removing all negative thoughts. This develops even-temperedness and an alert mind for quick movement and response. Once this technique has been mastered, the practitioner can begin to understand and practice Taijiquan more effectively."
- Fan Chun-Lei and A. Frank Shiery

Simplified Standard 24 Form Taijiquan

Chen Taijiquan

Standing Meditation

Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook.  By Belinda Gore.  1995.

The Ecstatic Experience: Healing Postures for Spirit Journeys.  By Blinda Gore. 2009.  Blinda Gore's work is related to her teacher, Dr. Felicitas D. Goodman.  


Friday, January 17, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 78

Daodejing by Laozi
Chapter 78

"Heaven below (the sacred body) is not as soft and yielding as water, yet can take on the rigid and violent.
Without its (the sacred body's) ability to overcome the rigid and the violent, it is nothing.
It replaces violence with gentleness.
It overcomes violence.
Tenderly it overcomes the unyielding.
Without knowing this, no one in Heaven below can progress.
The sages speak of guarding the community:
Dishonor comes from making sacrifices to the gods.
Preserve the community, not its omens.
It is correct to speak of Heaven below as what connects Heaven,
Humanity and Earth.
The words of the person who sacrifices backfire."
-  Translated by Barbara Tovey and Alan Sheets, 2002, Chapter 78 


"Nothing is softer, more flexible, or more giving than
nothing can resist it
nothing can take it away
nothing can endure it
there is no way to hurt it.
The flexible overcomes what resists it,
the giving overcomes what takes it,
the soft overcomes the hard,
but who uses this knowledge?
Only the person who knows the earth
as intimately as the trees and grasses
can rule the earth,
only the person who accepts
the guilt and evil of humanity
can rule the universe.
Straight tongues seem forked.
Straight talk seems crooked."
-  Translated by Tom Kunesh, Chapter 78 

"Nothing in the world is more supple than water,
Yet nothing is more powerful than water in attacking the hard and strong.
Because nothing can take its place.
Everyone in the world knows
That the weak is more powerful than the strong,
That the supple is more rigid than the hard,
Yet no one so far can put the knowledge into practice.
That is why the sage says,
Only he who can bear the humiliation on behalf of the state
Can be called the great priest of the state;
Only he who dare shoulder the responsibility for the calamity of the state
Can be called the king of the state.
Factual words seem ironical."
-  Translated by Gu Zhengkun, Chapter 78  

"There is nothing more yielding than water,
yet when acting on the solid and strong,
its gentleness and fluidity
have no equal in any thing.
The weak can overcome the strong,
and the supple overcome the hard.
Although this is known far and wide,
few put it into practice in their lives.
Although seemingly paradoxical,
the person who takes upon himself,
the people's humiliation,
is fit to rule;
and he is fit to lead,
who takes the country's disasters upon himself."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 78   

"Bajo el cielo no hay nada tan blando y maleable como el agua;
Pero no hay nada como el agua
para erosionar lo duro y rígido.
El agua no es sustituible.
Lo débil puede sobreponerse a lo fuerte;
lo blando puede sobreponerse a lo rígido;
Nadie desconoce esta verdad
pero nadie se atreve a ponerla en práctica.
Por eso el sabio dice:
Aquel que asume la responsabilidad
por todas las corrupciones de un reino,
merece ser su soberano.
Aquel que soporta todos los males de un reino,
puede ser soberano del imperio.
Las palabras de la Verdad parecen paradójicas."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 78

"There is nothing weaker than water,
Or easier to efface,
But for attacking the hard and the strong
Nothing can take its place.
That the tender conquers the rigid,
That the weak overcomes the strong,
The whole world knows, but in practice who
Can carry the work along?
Who bears the sins of his country,
We know from the sage's word,
Shall be called the master of sacrifice,
And hailed as its altar's lord.
Who carries his country's woes,
The curse of the land who bears,
Shall be called the king of the world; tis true,
Though a paradox it appears."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 78

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Medicine Ball Training

Martial Arts, physical culture, and Qigong enthusiasts can benefit from using a medicine ball when doing exercises.  There are many routines developed by Taijiquan and Qigong masters using a medicine ball.   Qigong Ball exercisers can get into a calm mode, mellow their mood, and go with the Flow. 

Medicine Ball Training and Exercises: Bibliography, Links, Resources
.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo.  A general introduction to the use of medicine balls in exercise programs. 

I developed my own medicine ball routine called:
Magic Pearl Qigong. 

Magic Pearl Qigong, Part I, Movements 1-8
.   Instructions, Bibliography, Links, Handouts, Resources, Mythological Associations, Lore.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo. 

The Magic Pearl Qigong can be a very vigorous physical culture routine if you increase the weight of the ball, lower the stances, and increase the number of repetitions of each movement.  Serious Qigong Ball enthusiasts use a very light wooden ball, move slowly, stay relaxed, sink, play.  

In addition, upper body strength and athletic fitness is also be improved by practicing longer Taijiquan Forms using weapons like the saber, sword, cane, and staff. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Focus on Change and You Will Get Results

"Any significant long-term change requires long-term practice, whether that change has to do with playing the violin or learning to be a more open, loving person. We all know people who say that they have been permanently changed by experiences of a moment or a day or a weekend. But when you check it out you'll generally discover that those who ended up permanently changed had spent considerable time preparing for their life-changing experience or had continued diligently practicing the new behavior afterward."
- Michael Murphy and George Leonard

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."
- Benjamin Franklin

"The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person."
- Norman Vincent Peale

"I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand."
- Confucius

"A will finds a way."
- Orison Swett Marden

"If you focus on results, you will never change.
If you focus on change, you will get results."
- Jack Dixon

"Gongfu is an ancient Chinese term describing work/devotion/effort that has been successfully applied over a substantial period of time, resulting in a degree of mastery in a specific field. Although the term is synonymous in the West with martial arts (though it is most over rendered Kung Fu), it is equally applicable to alligraphy, painting, music, or other areas of endeavor."
- Andy James

"An element of abstention, of restraint, must enter into all finer joys."
- Vida D. Scudder

Will Power: Quotes, Sayings, Aphorisms

"A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb.
Wishes are like seeds - few ever develop into something.
Willpower is the art of replacing one habit for another."
- Michael Garofalo, Pulling Onions

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Doctor, My Eyes Cannot See the Sky

"Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand

I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long

'Cause I have wandered through this world
And as each moment has unfurled
I've been waiting to awaken from these dreams
People go just where there will
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
That it's later than it seems

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see
I hear their cries
Just say if it's too late for me

Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the prize for having learned how not to cry"
Lyrics by Jackson Browne, 1972

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Playful Spirit

"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play."
-   Henri Matisse  


Play: Quotes, Sayings and Poetry


Play: It is an an activity which proceeds within certain limits of time and space, in a visible order, according to rules freely accepted, and outside the sphere of necessity or material utility.  The play-mood is one of rapture and enthusiasm, and is sacred or festive in accordance with the occasion.  A feeling of exaltation and tension accompanies the action."
-  Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens


"In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self, shed time's continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world's ordinary miracles. No mind or heart hobbles. No analyzing or explaining. No questing for logic. No promises. No goals. No relationships. No worry. One is completely open to whatever drama may unfold."
- Diane Ackerman in Deep Play

Deep Play  By Diane Ackerman.  New York, Random House, 1999.  Index, 235 pages.  ISBN: 0679448799.  


"We may play with and pass on a garden, possessing one is an illusion.
Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn.
Some gardeners don't grow old and stop playing; they stop playing and grow old.
Nature's playfulness is a gardener's delight.
A garden is a sporting field, an area for play."
-   Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions

"To play is to listen to the imperative inner force that wants to take form and be acted out without reason. It is the joyful, spontaneous expression of one's self. The inner force materializes the feeling and perception without planning or effort. That is what play is."
-  Michelle Cassou and Stewart Cubley in Life, Paint and Passion

"Play exists for its own sake.  Play is for the moment; it is not hurried, even when the pace is fast and timing seems important. When we play, we also celebrate holy uselessness.  Like the calf frolicking in the meadow, we need no pretense or excuses.  Work is productive; play, in its disinterestedness and self-forgetting, can be fruitful."
-  Margaret Guenther in Toward Holy Ground

Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture  By Johan Huizinga.  Beacon Press, 1971.  240 pages.  ISBN: 978-0807046814.  VSCL. 

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul  By Stuart Brown, M.D..  Avery Trade, 2010.  240 pages.  ISBN: 978-1583333785. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Green Way Research Websites and Blog Usage for 2013

My online publications are found under the publishing masthead of "Green Way Research."  Two websites offer the documents: and

In 2013, usage of these two websites sharply declined from previous years. The number of webpages served to people around the world declined by 40%.    627,000 webpages served in 2013       607,000 webpages served in 2013

Green Way Research       1,234,000 webpages total served in 2013

Cloud Hands Blog           400-500 people read my daily posts

These "results," nevertheless, are sufficient to motivate me to continue to donate funds and time in 2014 to maintain my online publishing efforts.  The topics I explore seem worthwhile to me: gardening, mind-body arts, philosophy, Eastern wisdom, art, Neopaganism, esoterica, poetry, mysticism, and psychology. 

On Friday, I renewed my websites hosting with Blue Host for another year.  The "professional" package costs $300 for one year for all my websites.  I pay about $300 a year for the Internet service component of web publishing in our rural area.  I pay $50 a year for three web domains.  My average income from my two Green Way Research websites averages around $900 a year.  Blogger is a free service from Google.  Therefore, I can easily cover the costs of web publishing, and for occasional hardware/software upgrades.  

Thanks to those, like Dr. Jerome Litt from Ohio, who have donated funds to support my web publishing efforts.     

Lately, I've been reading books and articles on Process Philosophy, Hua-Yen Buddhism, Strength Training, Tao Te Ching, Play, Mystical Poetry, and Western Esoterica.  

It is a pleasant semi-retirement time of life for my wife and I. 

To my readers everywhere I say "Thank You and Best Wishes."