Thursday, July 27, 2017

Family Reunion

We returned yesterday afternoon from six days in Southern California.  We stayed at my brother Paul and Janet's home in Lake Arrowhead, at my brother Phil and Margaret's home in Carlsbad, and in Ontario.  We flew on Southwest Airlines from Portland to Ontario, and back from Ontario to Sacramento to Portland.

We visited with my mother's family (Blaize/Ast) side.  About 35 people of all ages met up at Lake Arrowhead for the reunion.

My brother Phil, still recovering from brain tumor surgery, was feeling a little better, could move about with a walker, eat, chat, and rest.  He had went through 10 weeks of severe illness.

Back now in Vancouver.  Our task is to continue to move into our new home and property.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stoic Spiritual Exercises

"  "Spiritual exercises."  The expression is a bit disconcerting for the contemporary reader.  In the first place, it is no longer quite fashionable these days to use the word "spiritual."  It is nevertheless necessary to use this term, I believe, because none of the other adjectives we could use — "psychic," "moral," "ethical," "intellectual," "of thought," "of the soul" — covers all the aspects of the reality we want to describe.  Since, in these exercises, it is though which, as it were, takes itself as its own subject-matter, and seeks to modify itself, it would be possible for us to speak in terms of "thought exercises."  Yet the word "thought" does not indicate clearly enough that imagination and sensibility play a very important role in these exercises.  For the same reason, we cannot be satisfied with "intellectual exercises," although such intellectual factors as definition, division, ratiocination, reading, investigation, and rhetorical amplification play a large role in them.  "Ethical exercises" is a rather a tempting expression, since, as we shall see, the exercises in question contribute in a powerful way to the therapeutics of the passions, and have to do with the conduct of life.  Yet, here again, this would be too limited a view of things.  As we can glimpse through Friedmann's text, these  exercises in fact correspond to a transformation of our vision of the world, and to a metamorphosis of our personality.  The word "spiritual" is quite apt to make us understand that these exercises are the result, not merely of thought, but of the individuals entire psychism.  Above all, the word "spiritual" reveals the true dimensions of these exercises.  By means of them, the individual raises himself up to the life of the objective Spirit; that is to say, he re-places himself within the perspective of the Whole ("Become eternal by transcending yourself.")"
-  Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, 1995, p. 81; Spiritual Exercises, pp. 81-125. 

Stoicism  A hypertext notebook by Michael P. Garofalo.  

Virtues and the Good Life

Stoic Philosophers and Spiritual Exercises

Pierre Hadot (1922 - 1910) 

"These exercises, involving not just the intellect or reason, but all a human being's faculties, including emotion and imagination, had the same goal as all ancient philosophy: reducing human suffering and increasing happiness, by teaching people to detach themselves from their particular, egocentric, individualistic viewpoint and become aware of their belonging, as integral component parts, to the Whole constituted by the entire cosmos. In its fully developed form, exemplified in such late Stoics as Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, this change from our particularistic perspective to the universal perspective of reason had three main aspects. First, by means of the discipline of thought, we are to strive for objectivity; since, as the Stoics believe, what causes human suffering is not so much things in the world, but our beliefs about those things, we are to try to perceive the world as it is in itself, without the subjective coloring we automatically tend to ascribe to everything we experience ("That's lovely," "that's horrible," "that's ugly," "that's terrifying," etc., etc.). Second, in the discipline of desire, we are to attune our individual desires with the way the universe works, not merely accepting that things happen as they do, but actively willing for things to happen precisely the way they do happen. This attitude is, of course, the ancestor of Nietzsche’s “Yes” granted to the cosmos, a “yes” which immediately justifies the world's existence.  Finally, in the discipline of action, we are to try to ensure that all our actions are directed not just to our own immediate, short-term advantage, but to the interests of the human community as a whole.  Hadot finally came to believe that these spiritual attitudes—“spiritual” precisely because they are not merely intellectual, but involve the entire human organism, but one might with equal justification call them “existential” attitudes—and the practices or exercises that nourished, fortified and developed them, were the key to understanding all of ancient philosophy. In a sense, the grandiose physical, metaphysical, and epistemological structures that separated the major philosophical schools of Antiquity—Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Epicureanism—were mere superstructures, intended to justify the basic philosophical attitude. Hadot deduced this, among other considerations, from the fact that many of the spiritual exercises of the various schools were highly similar, despite all their ideological differences: thus, both Stoics and Epicureans recommended the exercise of living in the present."
-  Michael Chase, Remembering Pierre Hadot

Stoic Spiritual Exercises.  By Elen Buzaré.  2010.  32 pages.  PDF File.

Dismantling the Self: Deleuze, Stoicism and Spiritual Exercises.  By Luke Skrebowski, 2005, 18 pages, PDF File.

Philosophical Therapeutics: Pierre Hadot and Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life.  By Christopher Vitale, Networkologies, 2012.  

Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault  By Pierre Hadot.  Edited with an introduction by Arnold Davidson.  Translated by Michael Chase.  Malden, Massachusetts, Wiley-Blackwell, 1995.  Index, extensive bibliography, 320 pages.  ISBN: 978-0631180333.  VSCL.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Gardening in Different Places

Since we now live in the Columbia River Valley in Clark County, Vancouver, Washington, North West USA ... our gardening and yard chores will be different.

I believe that our USDA zone in Vancouver is Hardiness Zone 8a (10F-15F)

Our chore list will change significantly in the coming months.  We now live on a parcel that is .3 acres in the unincorporated area of Vancouver, Washington, while, before we lived for 17 years on a five acre parcel of land in Red Bluff, California.  We lived before in a rural area; now we live in a suburban neighborhood, part of the Portland, Oregon, Metropolitan area.  

One constant is the daily watering of potted plants of summer annuals, and some potted perennials and shrubs.  

July - Quotes, Poems, Sayings for Gardners

Months - Quotes

High Summer Feast Day, August 1st

July Gardening Chores
For Red Bluff, California, USDA Zone 9

Water plants: take advantage of cool morning hours, use daytime shade.
Water plants deeply and less frequently.
Water potted plants carefully on very hot days.
Mow lawns, but don't mow low.
Mulch and compost: straw, cuttings, leaves, twigs, chips, shredded paper, garbage.
Water compost pile areas.
Manage cutworms and other garden pests.
Weed around vegetables and shrubs.
Plant for autumn vegetable crops.
Use straw mulch to help control weeds and cool soil.
Maintenance on lawn mowing equipment.
Pick and save or eat fresh vegetables and fruits.
Dry fruit in sun.
Water plants.  Use irrigation ditch water efficiently and effectively.
Get up early to work in the cool morning hours.
Thin out excess fruit on trees.
Mulch with straw, chips, compost.
Train vines on support structures.
Read, listen to music, relax and sleep in the shade.
Tend to and enjoy annuals in bloom. 


Tao Te Ching, Chapter 6

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 6

"The manifestations of Infinity never cease manifesting.
Infinity is the primal creator, the oneness of male and female.
Infinity is the gate though which heaven and earth manifested.
It is invisible to the senses, yet totally permeates all things.
It is inexhaustible and eternally available for any purpose."
-  Translated by John Worldpeace, Chapter 6

"The Tao is called the Great Mother:
empty yet never-ending,
it gives birth to unlimited worlds.
It is always at hand within you.
Use it gently, and without force."
-   Translated by Rivenrock, Chapter 6 

"The spiritual valley can never be extinguished.
It is correctly referred to as the mysteries of the receptive.
The entrance to mysterious receptivity is correctly referred to as
the origin of the whole universe.  
It is continuous and unbroken!
Its usefulness seems to persevere without effort."
-  Translated by Nina Correa, 2005, Chapter 6

"The valley spirit not expires,
Mysterious woman ’tis called by the sires.
The mysterious woman’s door, to boot,
Is called of heaven and earth the root.
Forever and aye it seems to endure
And its use is without effort sure.”
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 6 

"Like the sheltered, fertile valley,
the meditative mind is still,
yet retains its energy.
Since both energy and stillness,
of themselves, do not have form,
it is not through the senses
that they may be found,
nor understood by intellect alone,
although, in nature, both abound.
In the meditative state,
the mind ceases to differentiate
between existences,
and that which may or may not be.
It leaves them well alone,
for they exist,
not differentiated, but as one,
within the meditative mind."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, Chapter 6   

"The concept of Yin is ever present.
It is the Mystic Female from whom
the heavens and the earth originate.
Constantly, continuously, enduring always.
Use her!"
-  Translated by C. Ganson, Chapter 6    

"The valley spirit dies not, aye the same;
The female mystery thus do we name.
Its gate, from which at first they issued forth,
Is called the root from which grew heaven and earth.
Long and unbroken does its power remain,
Used gently, and without the touch of pain."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 6    
"The valley spirit dies not, aye the same;
The female mystery thus do we name.
Its gate, from which at first they issued forth,
Is called the root from which grew heaven and earth.
Long and unbroken does its power remain,
Used gently, and without the touch of pain."
-  Translated by Stephen McIntyre, 2009, Chapter 6 
谷神不死, 是謂玄牝.
-  Chinese characters, Chapter 6, Tao Te Ching

ku shên pu ssu, shih wei hsüan p'in.
hsüan p'in chih mên.
shih wei t'ien ti kên.
mien mien jo ts'un.
yung chih pu ch'in.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Chapter 6, Tao Te Ching  

"The valley spirit that doesn't die we call the dark womb
as real as gossamer silk and yet we can't exhaust it.
The valley spirit that doesn't die we call the dark womb the dark womb's mouth
we call the source of creation as real as gossamer silk and yet we can't exhaust it."
-  Translated by Red Pine, Chapter 6

"The spirit of the valley does not die
It may be known as the mysterious feminine
The gateway of the mysterious feminine
May be known as the source of heaven and earth
Endless, continuous, seeming to exist
To practice this is not effort."
-  Translated by Bradford Hatcher, 2005, Chapter 6  

"The unlimited capacity of valleys;
the unbelievable power of Spirits;
and the unending life of immortality are called the Profound Origin Mother.
The beginning of the Profound Origin Mother is the root of Heaven and Earth.
Endlessly, endlessly!
It is existing.
Yet its usefulness is invisible."
-  Translated by Tang Zi-Chang, Chapter 6

"The Tao never dies;
It is a deep womb.
And the opening of the womb
Is called the root of heaven and earth.
It exists for ever,
And its use can never be exhausted."
-  Translated by Gu Zengkun, Chapter 6

"The mystery of the valley is immortal;
It is known as the Subtle Female.
The gateway of the Subtle Female
Is the source of Heaven and Earth.
Everlasting, endless, it appears to exist.
Its usefulness comes with no effort."
-  Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 6

"La Esencia del Todo no muere.
Es la Mujer Misteriosa, Madre del Universo.
El camino de la Mujer Misteriosa
es la raíz del Cielo y de la Tierra.
Su duración es perenne, su eficiencia infatigable."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, 
Capítulo 6  

Valley Spirit, Gu Shen, Concept, Chapter 6 

"Der Geist des Tals stirbt nicht,
das heißt das dunkle Weib.
Das Tor des dunklen Weibs,
das heißt die Wurzel von Himmel und Erde.
Ununterbrochen wie beharrend
wirkt es ohne Mühe."
-  Translated by Richard Wilhelm, 1911, Chapter 6

"The spirit of the valley never dies. 
It is called the subtle and profound female. 
The gate of the subtle and profound female 
Is the root of Heaven and Earth. 
It is continuous, and seems to be always existing. 
Use it and you will never wear it out."
-  Translated by Chan Wing-Tsit, 1963, Chapter 6   

"The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, Chapter 6 

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.  These are hypertext documents, and available online under Creative Commons 4.


Chapter 6, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.  Complied by Mike Garofalo.  

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

One Broken Finger at a Time

Yesterday, unfortunately, I broke my right ring finger and bruised the end of that finger.   

We taped it to my right middle finger.  We have been applying ice to the finger.  

I will go to a local Urgent Care clinic today for an examination, X-rays as needed, and a recommendation.  

A unhandy setback that will slow me down.    

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sun Style Taijiquan 73 Competition Form

Recently, a couple of people have written to me regarding the Sun Style of Tai Chi Chuan.  In particular, they wanted information to help them in their regular practice of the Sun Style 73 Taijiquan Competition Form.  

All I could do to help them was to refer them to my incomplete webpage on the subject, which I first published in 2003.  That webpage provides information on the many books, and instructional DVD and VHS resources about this Sun Tai Chi form.  

One person, David Dight, expressed interest in finishing this former Sun 73 webpage project of mine.  Fine.  Onward.  Best wishes, David.  

As for me, I have not practiced the Sun 73 form since 2013, and I only learned to do a good solo performance up to Movement 40.  I enjoyed playing those 40 movements at home alone for a decade.  

This led me to reflect on the many Tai Chi and Qigong forms I have learned, practiced, and played since 1985.  I have learned many and have forgotten many.  Typical for a dilettante, some would say; and, rightly so.  Nevertheless, I dabble and enjoy. Better half of a new good boysenberry pie than just eating peach cobbler.    

I taught the first 40 movements of the Sun 73 Competition Form to my Tai Chi students at the Tehama Family Fitness Center in Red Bluff, CA, from 2006-2013; and Yang style from 2002-2016.  I prefer variety: Yang 24, Chen 18, Sun 40, Yang 104, weapons forms, qigong forms, yoga vinyasa forms, etc. 

Many people do not have ready geographical access to or the financial resources for paying for studying person-to-person with a current master of the Sun Style of Tai Chi Chuan, yet they are eager to learn and practice the Sun Taijiquan Competition 73 form.  Using books and instructional media, you too can learn from the Masters.  
"With the development of information technology, the learners should further enhance their knowledge and perfect their skills through reading books and using the multimedia resources, such as video tapes and VCDs.  Sometimes, to some extent, you can master the competition routines even without a coach in person.  Quite a number of people are known to have learned and practice Tai Ji Quan by using the multimedia teaching materials and some even won places in competitions besides keeping fit.  But of course, if given a chance, it is always more beneficial to learn personally from masters."
The Competition Routine of Sun Style Tai Ji Quan, Edited by Zhong Shan, p. 138. 

Only YOU can actually make the effort, learn, practice, do the work, do the lessons, memorize the movements, imitate, persist, exercise, play, practice, embody the skills, practice ... Gongfu (Kung Fu) "Mastery due to hard work!"

The following text was written by Mike Garofalo in 2006:

"Lately, I have been studying and practicing the Sun Style Tai Chi Chuan 73 Competition Form. I have been using instructional videotapes by Paul Lam, Liang Shou-Yu, Jesse Tsao, Men Hui-Feng, Li Cheng-Xiang, and Jiang Jian-Ye to learn the form.

Sun Style Taijiquan is done at a "lively step" pace. The average time for the performance of the form is around 6 minutes for 73 movements.

Complete Performance of Sun Taijiquan International Competition 73 Form

Time Performer Source

5:31 Liang, Shou-Yu Sun Style Taijiquan with Applications, VHS, 1996
5:17 Tsao, Jesse Tai Chi Sun Style Competition Form 73, VHS, 2002
9:22 Jiang, Jian-Ye Sun Sytle Tai Chi Competition Form 73, VHS, 1997
7:30 Lam, Paul Sun Style Tai Chi - 73 Forms, The Competition Form, VHS, 2000
5:42 Men, Hui-Feng Sun Style Tai Chi - 73 Forms, The Competition Form, VHS, 2000
3:52 Li, Cheng-Xiang Sun Style Long Competition Form 73, VCD

My favorite instructional videotape is Sun Style Tai Chi - 73 Forms. The Competition Forms. An instructional videotape by Dr. Paul Lam. Narwee, Australia, East Action Video, 2000. A competition form created by Professor Men Hui Feng of Beijing University based on the Sun style. "This detailed instructional video includes a demonstration of the set by its creator, Professor Men Hui-Feng. Sun style is characterised by its powerful qigong elements, agile steps and flowing movements." VHS, 103 minutes. Contents: Introduction to Tai Chi and the Sun style. Comprehensive instructions. Demonstrations of the complete set by Dr. Paul Lam from front and back views. A demonstration by the creator of the set, Professor Men Hu-Feng. ASIN: B000066G1T."

My webpage on the subject of Sun Style Tai Chi Chuan provides a list of the movements in the Sun Style 73 competition form.

Sun Lu Tang's original Taijiquan form was longer, 98 movements.  The 73 version includes a few new kick moves, but is otherwise 80% the same as the original.  Both of these two forms, and other shorter Sun Tai Chi versions (e.g., Dr. Paul Lam's 'Tai Chi for Arthritis' forms), are all the same style ... lively steps, feet close together, erect posture, turning-spins, and the "open and close" qigong move." 

Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang says, 

"There is great emphasis on the method of cultivating the body. All people - men, women, the old, the young - may practice in order to replace temerity with bravery, and stiffness with pliability. Those who are extremely weak, who suffer from fatigue and injury or illness, or who have weakened your qi from the practice of other martial arts to the point that you no longer have the strength to train, all of you may practice Tai Ji Quan. With practice, the qi will quickly come to a balanced state and will become strong, while the spirit naturally returns to a state of wholeness. Disease will be eliminated, and the length of life increased."
-  Grand Master Sun Lu Tang, A Study of Taijiquan, 1921, p. 60. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Even the Ring Finger Remembers

“The body uses its skin and deeper fascia and flesh to record all that goes on around it.  Like the Rosetta stone, for those who know how to read it, the body is a living record of life given, life taken, life hoped for, life healed.  It is valued for its articulate ability to register immediate reaction, to feel profoundly, to sense ahead.
     The body is a multilingual being.  It speaks through its color and its temperature, the flush of recognition, the glow of love, the ash of pain, the heart of arousal, the coldness of non-conviction.  It speaks through its constant tiny dance, sometimes swaying, sometimes a-jitter, sometimes trembling.  It speaks through the leaping of the heart, the falling of the spirit, the pit at the center, and rising of hope.

     The body remembers, the bones remember, the joints remember, even the little finger remembers.  Memory is lodged in pictures and feelings in the cells themselves.  Like a sponge filled with water, anywhere the flesh is pressed, wrung, even touched slightly, a memory may flow out in a stream.

     To confine the beauty and the value of the body to anything less than this magnificence is to force the body to live without its rightful spirit, its rightful form, its right to exultation.  To be thought ugly or unacceptable because one’s beauty is outside the current fashion is deeply wounding to the natural joy that belongs to the wild nature.”
-      By Clarissa Pinkola Estés,  Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, 1996  

Body-Mind Practices, Somaesthetics

The Five Senses

Touch, Skin, Feeling, Hands, Tactile

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Why Walking Helps Us Think

"What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.

The way we move our bodies further changes the nature of our thoughts, and vice versa. Psychologists who specialize in exercise music have quantified what many of us already know: listening to songs with high tempos motivates us to run faster, and the swifter we move, the quicker we prefer our music. Likewise, when drivers hear loud, fast music, they unconsciously step a bit harder on the gas pedal. Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that we cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion. When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down."
-  Ferris Jabr, Why Walking Helps Us Think

Walking - Quotations, Sayings, Comments

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Work Completed: Phase One

We define "Phase One Completed" as when a room in our new home has no storage boxes in it, most of our current belongings fill the room in a relatively normal manner, the room is functionally useful, and we are both satisfied with the progress.

We have completed Phase One for the front entrance living room, the main large bedroom, and Karen's office in the first small bedroom, and the two bathrooms.

The golden retriever dog is my daughter's dog.  This is the front entrance living room.

Karen's office in the first small bedroom.  This is her main "communications" center.  A comfortable rocking chair behind her makes for a good place to stay in touch with others with the phone, texting, or social media; and, a nice place for reading books or her Kindle.  She is the family business manager.

We are now working on our large family room that we call the "Wood Room."  Not near Phase One Completed.