Monday, January 23, 2017

A Trip to the Coast to Celebrate

Karen and I are leaving for a trip to Bandon, Oregon.  We will camp in a yurt at Bullard's Beach State Park.  Lots of beach, estuary, and tide pool exploring by foot.  The weather is expected to be clear and cool this week, and Interstate 5 should be passable without tire chains.  Bandon is about 35 miles south of Coos Bay, Oregon, and this small town is set alongside the Coquille River.  

This week we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and my 71 birthday. Lots of good memories and good accomplishments for both of us and our families.  

We are both now fully retired - Karen in June of 2014 and I in June of 2016. Both of us are in fairly good health and in cheery moods.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Walking on this Beautiful Planet

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

Walking Meditation:  Quotes, Bibliography, Links, Information, Methods 
Compiled by Mike Garofalo.

"Walking meditation is walking in full awareness of breath, body and everything the senses present.  It is not an aerobic exercise - though it would be a fine lead-in to aerobic walking.  Rather, walking meditation is done slowly and consciously, with each step fully feeling the earth.  During this precious time, body and mind come together, joined in the present moment.  Although the benefits of walking meditation will deepen over time, even from the start, you can experience some measure of the relaxation, balance and quiet energy that builds through this practice."
-  Ginny Whitelaw, Body Learning, p. 55.   

"Research conducted at Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Medical Institute has found that focused walking meditations are highly effective for reducing anxiety and producing  what’s called the “relaxation response.”
-  Borgess Health   

The Ways of Walking  Compiled by Mike Garofalo.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stand on One Leg

"The Taichi Classics say that the proper root is in the foot.  A beginner can develop root by simply spending three to five minutes, morning and night, standing fully on a single leg.  Alternate legs and gradually increase the time as you sink lower.  This 'bitter work' not only develops a root, it stimulates the cardiovascular system, with benefits the brain.  It is essential that your ch'i sinks to the tan-t'ien, both feet adhere to the floor, and you exert absolutely no force.  When practicing this Standing Posture, you may assist your balance by lightly touching a chair or table with the middle and index fingers.  After a while us only the middle finger.  When you can stand unassisted, you my choose either the Lift Hands Posture or Playing the Guitar Posture to continue your practice.  Do not fear bitter work.  If you do you will never progress."

-  Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing, New Method of Taichi Ch'uan Self-Cultivation, 1965, 1999, p. 11  

Practitioners might also do the Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg Posture or the White Stork Spreads Its Wings Posture.

Standing on one leg, holding static poses, is also a common practice in Hatha Yoga, e.g., Tree Pose, Vriksasana. 

Standing Meditation

You stand on one leg.  You can hold the arms in a variety of positions.  I suppose you could even hold weights in the hands.  You can hold the lifted leg in a variety of positions.  There are many possibilities for different static postures. You could use a cane or staff to help with balance.  You "can develop root by simply spending three to five minutes, morning and night, standing fully on a single leg."  

Effectively Using Rooting, Sinking, Centered, and Vertical Forces in Taijiquan

Effectively Using Rotating, Spiraling, Spinning, and Circular Forces in Taijiquan

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dao De Jing, Chapter 14

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 14

"What you don't see when you look
is called the unobtrusive.
What you don hear when you listen
is called the rarefied.
What you don't get when you grasp
is called the subtle.
These three cannot be completely fathomed,
so they merge into one:
above is not bright, below is not dark.
Continuous, unnameable, it returns again to
This is called the stateless state,
the image of no thing;
this is called mental abstraction.
When you face it you do not see its head,
when you follow it you do not see its back.
Hold the ancient Way
so as to direct present existence:
only when you can know the ancient
can this be called the basic cycle of the Way."
-  Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 14

"Looked at, but cannot be seen -
That is called the Invisible (yi).
Listened to, but cannot be heard -
That is called the Inaudible (hsi).
Grasped at, but cannot be touched -
That is called the Intangible (wei).
These three elude our inquiries
And hence blend and become One.

Not by its rising, is there light,
Nor by its sinking, is there darkness.
Unceasing, continuous,
It cannot be defined,
And reverts again to the realm of nothingness.

That is why it is called the Form of the Formless,
The Image of Nothingness.
That is why it is called the Elusive:
Meet it and you do not see its face;
Follow it and you do not see its back."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 14  

"Look for it, you won't see It;
It is called 'fleeting.'
Listen for It, you won't hear It;
It is called 'thin.' 
Grasp at It, You can't get It;
It is called 'subtle.'
These three lines
Are about something that evades scrutiny.
Yes, in it everything blends and becomes one.
Its top is not bring
Its underside is not dim.
Always unnamable,
It runs back to nothingness. 
This is the shape of something shapeless
The form of a nothing
This is elusive and evasive. 
Encountering it, you won't see the front
Following it, you won't see its back.
Keep to the Tao of the ancients
And so manage things happening today.
The ability to know the ancient sources
This is the main thread of Tao."
-  Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 14 

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14

shih chih pu chien ming yüeh yi. 
t'ing chih pu wên ming yüeh hsi.
po chih pu tê ming yüeh wei.
tz'u san chê pu k'o chih chieh.
ku hun erh wei yi.
ch'i shang pu chiao ch'i hsia pu mei.
shêng shêng pu k'o ming.
fu kuei yü wu wu.
shih wei wu chuang chih chuang.
wu wu chih hsiang.
shih wei hu huang.
ying chih pu chien ch'i shou.
sui chih pu chien ch'i hou.
chih ku chih tao. 
yi yü chin chih yu. 
nêng chih ku shih.
shih wei tao chi. 
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14

"We look for it but do not see it:
    we name it "subtle."
We listen for it but do not hear it;
    we name it "rare."
We grope for it but do not grasp it;
    we name it "serene." 
These three cannot be fully fathomed,
They are bound together to make unity.
Of unity,
its top is not distant,
its bottom is not blurred.
Infinitely extended
and unnameable,
It returns to non-entity.
This is called
"the form of the formless,"
"the image of nonentity."
This is called "the amorphous."
Following behind it,
    you cannot see its back;
Approaching it from the front,
    you cannot see its head.
Hold to the Way of today
    to manage the actualities of today
    thereby understanding the primeval beginning.
This is called "the thread of the Way.""
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 14 

"When you look, it isn't there
 Listen and you cannot hear it
 It seems to be beyond your reach
 Because you are so near it
 This single source of everything
 Appears to be an empty image
 Though it cannot be understood
 You can see its naked visage
 Follow it to nothingness
 Approach it where you have no face
 From nowhere to infinity
 This vacant image leaves no trace
 From never to eternity
 This naked face is what you are
 An empty, vacant, open door
 Forevermore ajar"
 -  Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 14   

"Se le llama invisible porque mirándole no se le ve.
Se le llama inaudible porque escuchándole no se le oye.
Se le llama impalpable porque tocándole no se le siente.
Estos tres estados son inescrutables y se confunden en uno solo.
En lo alto no es luminoso, en lo bajo no es oscuro.
Es eterno y no puede ser nombrado, retorna al no-ser de las cosas.
Es la forma sin forma y la imagen sin imagen.
Es lo confuso e inasible.
De frente no ves su rostro, por detrás no ves su espalda.
Quien es fiel al Tao antiguo domina la existencia actual.
Quien conoce el primitivo origen posee la esencia del Tao."   

-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 14

"Look at it: nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.
Triply undifferentiated,
it merges into oneness,
not bright above,
not dark below.
Never, oh! never
can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
to unbeing.
Call it the form of the unformed,
the image of no image.
Call it the unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.
Hold fast to the old Way,
we can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
we hold the thread of the Tao."
-  Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1997, Chapter 14 

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

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

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spring of Life in Old Age

"The enduring legacy of Taijiquan is that qi grows by the practice methodology, as a plant by tending and watering.  Along the way, the qi nutured in daily practice alleviates stress related illnesses.  In the longer term, the qi buildup invigorates and strengthens the body's constitution, and serves as a natural preventive medicine that shields against chronic ailments.  The alluring promise is that the store of qi preserves the "spring of life" in old age, as espoused in the verse of the Song of Thirteen Postues.

Yi shou yan nian bu alo chun
One gains longevity and prolongs the spring of life in old age."

-  C.P. Ong, Taijiquan: Cultivating Inner Strength, p. 156

Taijiquan: Cultivating Inner Strength  By C. P. Ong.  Bagua Press, 2013.  366 pages.  ISBN: 978-0615874074.  VSCL.  "This book diverges from traditional exposition on Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) as it engages rather than shuns the role of muscles in elucidating the cryptic practice dictum of “using yi (mind) and not li (muscle force).” It centers on the core principle of Taiji balance—the balance of yin and yang, but presents the metaphysics of balance the way the body comprehends it, developmentally, through practice in the musculo-skeletal framework. In the process, the fog of mystique lifts, and the many abstruse concepts of Taijiquan become clear. Taijiquan training is physical at the initial phase, but the slow-motion exercise nurtures a meditative discipline of the mind. As it progresses, the soft methodology grows into one of building qi-energy, and then the practice becomes more internalized. The process fortifies the body with qi and cultivates a holistic balance of the organ systems. The book explains how the training methodology, in pursuing Taiji balance, leads to the development of a highly refined strength called neijin (inner strength). By incorporating the training of “silk-reeling energy” in Taiji balance, the practitioner develops the coiling power (chanrao jin) that underlies the magic of Taijiquan kungfu."  Dr. Ong has a Ph.D. in mathematics from U.C. Berkeley.  C.P. Ong is a 20th generation Chen Family Taijiquan disciple of both Chen Xiaowang and Chen Zhenglei. He has traveled with them, as well as with Zhu Tiancai, for a few years in their U.S. workshop tours.

"Think over carefully what the final purpose is: to lengthen life and maintain youth."
-  Song of 13 Postures, translated by Benjamin Lo

Thirteen Postures of Taijiquan

Cloud Hands Taijiquan

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind.  By Peter M. Wayne, Ph.D., and Mark L. Fuerst.  Shambhala Press, 2013.  240 pages.  A Harvard Health Publication. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pulling Onions

Stupidity and shallowness are increasingly popular.

When Death grins at you, grin back; when death beckons you, run away.

Thankfully, we can imagine nearly everything─ which helps prevent boredom.

A garden is a Romantic's parádeisos.

It's over when it ends.

Act on your knowledge first, your common sense second, and your best guess third.
Wear a variety of masks; acting is essential to coping.

A garden is a feeling.

Acknowledging that you might die today has stopped few from trying to stay alive to 80.

Dreams are our imagination at play while we sleep.

You can train yourself to eliminate bad habits and useless thoughts; for example, stop attending any more church services starting today.
Seventy percent of "good luck" is following reasonable plans and working diligently; the rest is often beneficial circumstances outside of your control.No garden lasts for long - neither will you.
 Shade, in the summer, is as precious as a glass of water. Fear may keep some stupid people in line, but virtue for virtue's sake attracts the allegiance and support of most intelligent people.

The most important Master to seek and follow is Self-Mastery.

There is no 'i' in "team," but there is an 'm' in me, my, and mine.
 Sometimes it is best to walk away and never walk back.
 Exercise is a way of making the unconscious body very conscious.
 A wise gardener knows when to stop.
 Gardens are demanding pets.
 Unclench your fist to give a hand.
 The little choices day after day are the biggest issue.
 Gardening is but one battle against Chaos.
 When life gives you onions, you ain't making lemonade.
 Many friendships are sustained by a mutual hatred of another person or group.
What you see depends on when you look.
 Beauty is the Mistress, the gardener her slave.
 One's "true self" is changing and elusive.
 A little of this and a little of that, and some exceptions - these are the facts.
 Does a plum tree with no fruit have Buddha Nature? Whack!
 - Mike Garofalo

Pulling Onions by Mike Garofalo
Over 866 random quips, one-liners, sayings, and "insights" from an old gardener.

"An Onion Garden,"  a concrete poem by Mike Garofalo

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January Gardening Chores

January Gardening Chores
Red Bluff, North Sacramento Valley, California, USA
USDA Zone 9 

Typical (Average/Normal) Seasonal Weather for Our Area Normally, in January, we have high daytime temperatures of 54ºF, low nighttime temperatures of 37ºF, and get 4.2 inches of rain.

Red Bluff Gardening Notebooks of Karen and Mike Garofalo

January - Quotations, Poems, Lore   Compiled by Mike Garofalo.  

January Gardening Activities and Chores in Red Bluff 
USDA Zone 9

Pruning leafless trees and shrubs.
Adding compost, ashes and fertilizer to the vegetable and flower gardens.
Taking cuttings from dormant figs, grapes, and other shrubs.
Spraying dormant fruit and other trees.
Weeding and mowing where needed.
Burning piles of gardening cuttings.
Planting bare root trees and shrubs.
Fixing wood and metal fences.
Placing cold sensitive potted plants in protected areas outdoors or indoors.
Sharpening and oiling garden tools.
Protect tender plants from frosts.
Checking for and repairing any leaks in sheds.
The soil is usually too wet and cold for much garden digging.
Indoor activities: sorting seeds, planning, reading, writing, etc.
Caring for indoor plants.
Weeding the winter garden.
Watering potted plants as needed.
Adding Ironite and other soil supplements.
Fertilizing under trees and shrubs.
Keeping tools and equipment out of the rain and moisture.
Browsing seed and garden catalogs.
Reading gardening, botany, and agricultural books.
Planning garden improvements for the new year.
Fixing any leaking roofs or rain gutters.
Keep a journal.  Write a poem.
Take a slow walk in the garden.  

January Gardening Chores and Tips for Other U.S.A. Zones

Oak Hill January Tips - Georgia

Monday, January 09, 2017

Yang Style of Taijiquan

Yang Family Style Tai Chi Chuan Traditional Long Form
By Michael P. Garofalo.
This webpage provides a list and brief descriptions of the 108 movements of the Yang Style Taijiquan Long Form divided into five sections for teaching (.html and .pdf versions available). The webpage includes an extensive bibliography on the subject, scores of Internet links, historical notes, and quotations. 

The Yang Long Form discussed on this webpage conforms to the form developed by Yang Cheng-Fu (1883-1936) and documented in books by Bu Fu Zongwen (1903-1994) and Yang Zhenduo. The numbering of the movements varies from author to author, but the essential sequence and moves remains the same.

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.    

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Off and Running

I finally got my new computer loaded with all the software I use.  Some old software would not reload in Windows 10 - what a hassle and disappointment.  

I am using the Atlantis Word Processor ($45) and the Google documents spreadsheet.  I use Microsoft Front Page 2003 for my simple website publishing. Google Chrome is my browser.  

Mostly reading biological science books:

Hölldobler, Bert and Edward O. Wilson.  The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies.  W. W. Norton & Co., 2008.  544 pages.  ISBN: 9780393067040.  VSCL. 

Wilson, Edward O. (1929-)  The Diversity of Life.  New York, W.W. Norton and Co., 1962.  Index, glossary, notes, 424 pages.  ISBN: 0393310477.  VSCL.    

Darwin, Charles (1809-1882).  The Annotated Origin: A Facsimile of the First Edition of On the Origin of the Species.  By Charles Darwin.  Annotated by James  T. Costa. Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 2009.  Indices, references, biographies, appendices, 537 pages.  ISBN: 9780674032811.  VSCL.  Read in 1/2017 and in college in 1965.  

I am walking for 90 minutes everyday and lifting weights at the local gym five days each week.  I do the Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan 24 Form, 108 Form, and one cane form.  

So, in short, I am "Off and Running" into the 2017 New Year.  

However, we do have visitors coming to our home and staying overnight from January 5th until January 14th.  We won't have much time for personal interests and hobbies until a week later.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Projects for the New Year

My home office computer became non-functional in December.  I had backed everything up in November, so I did not loose many documents.  

I purchased a new Lenovo desktop computer, and am now loading software and setting up various online accounts.  Tedious work!  Some of my old software favorites will not load into Windows 10.  

This blog now has over 906,000 page views.  Heading towards the one million mark.  

We enjoyed a Amtrak train trip from Chico, CA, to Vancouver, WA.  Better to take this trip in the summer when you have more daylight hours.  

We celebrated the holidays with our children and their families in Vancouver. Delightful.  

We enjoyed a live performance by the Portland Ballet Theater of the Nutcracker

Busy with home repair and improvement projects in preparation for the sale of our home and property.  

One Christmas present for me was two boxed sets of many CDs of performances by the outstanding pianist Martha Argerich.  What a delight!  My granddaugher, Makenna, impressed me with her piano playing.  I need to take pleasure in playing my electric piano every day.  

Fixing up my 2003 Ford Explorer for a camping trip to Oregon coast.  This is the "big storm surf" time of the year.  I'm putting a rack on the top of the Explorer.

I am mostly reading books about the biological sciences.  "The Origin of the Species" by Charles Darwin, "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins, "The Diversity of Life" by Edwin O. Wilson, and various used Botany textbooks. 

Another Christmas present for me was a AmScope binocular stereo microscope (10X - 60X). Excellent fun and knowledge gained from using this instrument. 

Tomorrow ... back to the gym for weightlifting workouts.  I'm walking every day for 1 to 1.5 hours.  

Happy New Year to Everyone!!