Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Seasonal Qigong

"In Spring, breathe xu for clear eyes and so wood can aid you liver.
In summer, reach for he, so that heart and fire can be at peace.
In fall, breathe si to stabilize and gather metal, keeping the lungs moist.
For the kidneys, next, breathe chui and see you inner water calm.
the Triple Heater needs your xi to expel all heat and troubles.
In all four seasons take long breaths, so spleen can process food.
And, of course, avoid exhaling noisily, not letting even your ears hear it.
The practice is most excellent and will help preserve your divine elixir."

- Master Sun Simiao (581-682 CE)
From Xiuzhen shishu (Ten Books on Cultivating Perfection), Song Dynasty
Translated by Livia Kohn, Chinese Healing Exercises, p. 135

Six Taoist Healing Sounds

Bear Frolic Exercises

Seasons and Months

Qigong, Daoyin, Nei Gong, Yangshengong, Chinese Yoga, Chi Kung

Monday, January 29, 2018

Memories of the Tea House

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.  Just west of our fenceline is a low area were winter rain collects, then open grazing fields used by horses or cattle.  About .3 miles west from our fence is a large almond orchard. Snow on the far western Yolly Bolly mountain range was down to about 2,000 feet on this day in January - a rare event.  

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Honesty: The Secret to Transformation

"In my life, the world has constantly changed around me, whether I liked it or not. Carpets were pulled out from under me and sometimes, blankets wrapped around my shoulders. Change in the world is inevitable, but there is no power in experiencing it. Flowing with change is simply enjoying what comes our way or weathering a storm. It’s about being an observer and reacting (or not reacting) to the unrelenting ebbs and flows of life.

There is a difference between change and transformation. Transformation is where the power is. I have transformed many things in my life as well, and any time I want it to last, there is always one key ingredient- honesty

Transformation can begin only with brutal honesty. We have to be unafraid to get raw, get dirty and get real. We have to close the gap between who we want to be and who we really are in order to evolve.

What happens when we try to transform without being honest about where and who we are in life? Well, it falls flat, it fades away and we are back to the same lies we were telling ourselves before to get through the day. When we start facing the truth, then and only then, can we begin to create the life for ourselves that we imagine possible.

Transformation isn’t easy, but I can promise you, it’s possible. You can be the person you always wanted to be. You can have the relationship you have always wanted. You can be healthy, fit and happy. You can transform your life into the one in your dreams. First, you just have to be honest. When you can do that, no one will or could stand in your way, not even you."
- Angie Cherry, Yoga Teacher, Vancouver, Washington

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Corning Union Elementary School District Employment

I was employed part-time for the Corning Union Elementary School District from 1999 until July of 2016; 17 years.  

I worked during the academic school year (August to June) for 119 days each year; normally, 3 days for 8 hours per day each week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).  My schedule was flexible, and I earned overtime on many occasions.  I had unpaid vacation for a week around Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas, one week in February, one week at Easter, and most of the summer from June 2 to August 15.  

From 1999-2005, I was employed in a certificated position as the District Librarian.  I managed five elementary school libraries, textbooks, and computer labs.   I took two elementary education credential classes per semester at California State University at Chico during this period, so as to keep the certificated position. 

From 2006-1916, I was employed in a classified management position as the Technology and Media Services Supervisor.  I managed five school libraries, computer labs, and textbooks and consumables for 2,300 students in grades K-8.  I also wrote many grants, and did the budget management for grants totaling $4.2 million to this district.  I was also a certified substitute teacher during this period.  We opened four new libraries in this district during my tenure there.  My office was at the Maywood Middle School Library.  

Technology, Media, and Libraries Services Group
Donna, Maria, Christina, Jeanie, Jackie, and Mike in 2014

Many classes visited our five school libraries each week

Karen and a Special Education Class of students

Children Everywhere All the Time

We managed over a dozen computer labs in five schools

Our service group had many behind the scenes storage areas

Working on textbooks for 2,300 students

Student Library Volunteers

Talking with and Helping Students

Working on the East Lab Grant with Mr. Dillon

Working with great teachers like Marna Whitley

Friday, January 26, 2018

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 13

Dao De Jing, Laozi 

Chapter 13

"Let favor and disgrace be warnings
let honor and disaster be your body
and why should favor and disgrace be warnings
favor means descending
to gain it should be a warning
to lose it should be a warning
thus should favor and disgrace be warnings
and why should honor and disaster be in your body
the reason we have disaster
is because we have a body
if we didn't have a body
we wouldn't have disaster
thus who honors their body as the world
can be entrusted with the world
can be encharged with the world."
-  Translated by Red Pine, 1996, Chapter 13, Taoteching

Ho-Shang Kung says, "Those who gain favor or honor should worry about being too high, as if they were at the edge of a precipice.  They should not flaunt their status or wealth.  And those who lose favor and live in disgrace should worry about another disaster."

Ssu-Ma Kuang says, "Normally a body means disaster.  But if we honor and cherish it and follow the natural order in our dealing with others and don't indulge our desires, we can avoid disaster." 

Huang Yuan-Chi says, "We all possess something good and noble that we don't have to seek outside ourselves, something that the glory of power or position cannot compare with.  People need only to start with this and cultivate without letting up.  The ancients said, 'Two or three years of hardship, ten thousand years of bliss.' "

Lao-tzu's Taoteching  Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Provides a solid verbatim translation and shows the text in Chinese characters.  Includes around 10 brief selected commentaries for each Chapter of the Taoteching, drawn from commentaries in the past 2,000 years.  San Francisco, Mercury House, 1996, Second Edition, 184 pages.  An invaluable resource for brief commentaries.  Chapter 13, pp. 26-27. 

"Favor and disgrace would seem equally to be feared;
Honor and great calamity, to be regarded as personal conditions of the same kind.

What is meant by speaking thus of favor and disgrace?

Disgrace is being in a low position after the enjoyment of favor.
The getting that favor leads to the apprehension of losing it, and the losing it leads to the fear of still greater calamity.
This is what is meant by saying that favor and disgrace would seem equally to be feared.
And what is meant by saying that honor and great calamity are to be similarly regarded as personal conditions?
What makes me liable to great calamity is my having the body which I call myself;
If I had not the body, what great calamity could come to me?
Therefore he who would administer the kingdom, honoring it as he honors his own person, may be employed to govern it,
And he who would administer it with the love which he bears to his own person may be entrusted with it."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 13 

"Favor bodes disgrace; it is like trembling.
Rank bodes great heartache.

It is like the body.

What does 'Favor bodes disgrace; it is like trembling' mean?
Favor humiliates.
Its acquisition causes trembling, its loss causes trembling.
This is what is meant by 'Favor bodes disgrace; it is like trembling.'
What does 'Rank bodes great heartache, it is like the body' mean?
I suffer great heartache because I have a body.
When I have no body, what heartache remains?
Therefore who administers the empire as he takes care of his body can be entrusted with the empire."
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 13 

"Dread glory as you dread shame.
Prize great calamity as you prize your body.

What does this mean:

"Dread glory as you dread shame"?
Glory comes from below.
Obtain it, you are afraid of shame;
Lose it, you are still afraid of shame.
That is why it is said;
"Dread glory as you dread shame."
What does this mean:
"Prize great calamity as you prize your own body"?
We who meet with great calamities, meet them because we have a body.
If we had not a body what calamity could reach us?
Therefore he who honours the kingdom as his body can govern the kingdom.
He who loves the kingdom as his own body can be trusted with the kingdom."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 13  

"Favor and disgrace are things that startle;
High rank is, like one's body, a source of great trouble.
What is meant by saying favor and disgrace are things that startle?
Favor when it is bestowed on a subject serves to startle as much as when it is withdrawn.
This is what is meant by saying that favor and disgrace are things that startle.
What is meant by saying that high rank is, like one's body, a source of great trouble?
The reason I have great trouble is that I have a body.
When I no longer have a body, what trouble have I?
Hence he who values his body more than dominion over the empire can be entrusted with the empire.
He who loves his body more than dominion over the empire can be given the custody of the empire."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 13   

愛以身為天下, 若可託天下.

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 13

ch'ung ju jo ching.
kuei ta huan jo shên.
ho wei ch'ung ju jo ching.
ch'ung wei hsia.
tê chih jo ching.
shih chih jo ching shih wei ch'ung ju jo ching.
ho wei kuei ta huan jo.
shên wu so yi yu ta huan chê wei wu yu shên.
chi wu wu shên.
wu yu ho huan.
ku kuei yi shên wei t'ien hsia chê k'o chi t'ien hsia.
ai yi shên wei t'ien hsia, chê k'o t'o t'ien hsia.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 13

"Los santos decían: "Alabanzas y culpas causan ansiedad;
El objeto de la esperanza y el miedo está en tu interior".
"Alabanzas y culpas causan ansiedad"
Puesto que esperas o temes recibirlas o perderlas.
"El objeto de la esperanza y el miedo está en tu interior"
Pues, sin un Ego, no pueden afectarte la fortuna o el desastre.
Por tanto:
El que observa al Mundo como se observa a sí mismo es capaz de controlar el Mundo;
Pero el que ama al Mundo como se ama a sí mismo es capaz de dirigir el Mundo."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas Gonzálvez, 1998, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 13

"Accept honors and disgraces as surprises,
Treasure great misfortunes as the body.

Why say: "Accept honors and disgraces as surprises"?

Honors elevate (shang),
Disgraces depress (hsia).
One receives them surprised,
Loses them surprised.
Thus: "Accept honors and disgraces as surprises."
Why say: "Treasure great misfortunes as the body"?
I have great misfortunes,
Because I have a body.
If I don't have a body,
What misfortunes do I have?
Therefore treasure the body as the world,
As if the body can be entrusted to the world.
Love the body as the world,
As if the body can be entrusted to the world."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 13

"You are in everything. 

 Everything is in you. 
 Create hope and fear and you throw away the Dao. 
 Create happiness and sorrow and you will collapse. 
 Keep your feet on the ground. 
 Love everything as you love yourself. 
 Then everything is within your reach."
 -  Translated by Ray Larose, 2000, Chapter 13

"Honor and dishonor both move us
Because we are troubled by having a self.
Why do we say that honor and dishonor move us?
Because honor lifts us upward
And dishonor lowers us downward,
Thus, when we are honored we are moved.
When we are dishonored we are also moved.
That is why honor and dishonor are both said to move us.
Why do we say that the great trouble is having a self?
Because we have great trouble simply because we have a self.
If we are selfless, then where is the trouble?
If we identify our self with the world,
Then within our self there is the world.
If we love the world as we love our self,
Then within our self there is only the world."
-  Translated by Chang Chung-Yuan, Chapter 13


"The honor and the disgrace are like emotional impacts.
The disaster is regarded as the threat to life.
What does it mean by "The honor and the disgrace are like emotional impacts?"
The honor is awarded to subordinates.
When the honor is obtained, people are thrilled;
when the honor is lost, people are depressed.
So they are emotionally impacted.
What does it mean by "The disaster is regarded as the threat to life?"
The reason we feel threatened because we care too much about ourselves.
If we are selfless, who can threaten us?
To those who can sacrifice themselves for the world, we can trust them with the world.
To those who love the people more than themselves, we can handle the ruling power."
-  Translated by Thomas Zhang, Chapter 13    

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 13, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.  Complied by Mike Garofalo.  

Thursday, January 25, 2018

There's so much to be done

To experience the Five Animal Frolics we need to keep in mind the "Frolics" aspect of this movement art: being playful and exuberant, freeing up our time for fun, delighting in bodily movements, enjoying games of imitation, taking pleasure in the moment, and delighting in the exercise of fantasy and imagination.  We should be smiling as we enjoy our playful frolics.  We should strive to return to our youth, and rekindle those memories of our joyful childhood games, innocence, freedom of fancies, and silliness.  We are never too old to embrace that precious child within each of us.  

Bear Frolics: Lessons, Bibliography, Notes

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh.  By A. A. Milne.  With decorations by Ernest H. Shepard.  New York, Dutton's Children's Books, 1994.  344 pages.  Color illustrations, hardbound.  ISBN: 9780525457237.  Originally published in 1926, 1954.  This book includes: Winnie-the-Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner, VSCL.  
The Te of Piglet.  By Benjamin Hoff.  New York, Penguin Books, 1992.  257 pages.  ISBN: 0140230165.  VSCL.  

The Tao of Pooh.  By Benjamin Hoff.  New York, Penguin Books.  VSCL 

The most famous literary Bear is Winnie the Pooh.  Over 26 million English language books by A. A. Milne about the Pooh Bear and his friends have been sold since 1926, the books have been translated into scores of languages, and Disney Films has made him even more famous and a lucrative commodity line.  Benjamin Hoff has explored how Pooh Bear is a quintessential "Taoist Bear."   

So ... it is just fine for you to Dance like a Bear.
Become a Silly Bear for a awhile.
Enjoy the real honey of just being right were you are,
   here and now, content,
   Pooh, it is quite easy.


"Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon
But I've wandered much further today than I should
And I can't seem to find my way back to the Wood

So help me if you can
I've got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You'd be surprised
There's so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh."
- Return to Pooh Corner Words and lyrics by Kenny Loggins, 1969, MCA Musi

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Giving Away My Prayers

I very rarely have prayed since I was 15 years old.  I figure that I should not bother the Gods or Goddesses with my concerns, and leave more access time for people with really urgent desires to pray or for people in dire circumstances. I do try to be generous in some way to others.  

One Greek philosopher, Epicurus, argued that the Gods and Goddesses seemed seldom interested in human problems (if at all), lived at another level of existence, consider us irrelevant or we are out of their sphere of knowledge, and they lived in a remote and blissful state.  Humans had to figure out how to solve their own problems. Praying was ineffectual.  

Why would Gods and Goddesses be concerned or know about humans?  How do supernatural beings get information about our petty lives.  How do supernatural beings create change in the natural world?  Many say, for the Goddess Guan Yin or Tara or Our Lady of Guadalupe or Lakshmi or Athena, that all will Listen to us, have compassion, and might be able to help us when we are in need.  The Divine Mother: The Essential God Duty.  

It would have been a little too bold in ancient Greece for Epicurus to call the gods or goddesses imaginary, archetypes, an opiate of the masses, or (like Nietzsche) "dead."  However, even many religious believers at times shrug their shoulders in disappointment when everyone's prayers are not answered.  We can't deny the facts of our senses, so maybe our beliefs are less accurate about the results of prayer.    

I am reminded of a story about a farmer and a preacher:

"A farmer purchased an old, run-down, abandoned farm with plans to turn it into a thriving enterprise. The fields were grown over with weeds, the farmhouse was falling apart, and the fences were broken down. During his first day of work, the town preacher stops by to bless the man's work, saying, "May you and God work together to make this the farm of your dreams!" A few months later, the preacher stops by again to call on the farmer. Lo and behold, it's a completely different place. The farm house is completely rebuilt and in excellent condition, there is plenty of cattle and other livestock happily munching on feed in well-fenced pens, and the fields are filled with crops planted in neat rows. "Amazing!" the preacher says. "Look what God and you have accomplished together!" "Yes, reverend," says the farmer, "but remember what the farm was like when God was working it alone!" "

Over the years, other people have invited me to pray in small or large groups.  One yoga teacher, had us chant and recite Hindu prayers.  An abbreviated rosary was said or gospel songs were sung at funerals.  I have occasionally listened to Christian or Hindu or Taoist or Tibetan Buddhist music.  People would recite the Lord's Prayer at sad gatherings.  Likewise, I join in, as is the custom, at ceremonial religious or political gatherings.  It is easy for me to, in appropriate circumstances, to respectfully recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or stand respectfully and sing while our National Anthem is played.  Courtesy and conformity and respect with others are useful at times, when we know their limits.    

So, for five decades, normally, I have not attended any church services or prayed.  

The options of Bhakti Yoga just do not suit my personal tastes, desires, outlook, or needs.  

Since my teenage years, my spiritual focus has been more on Virtue Ethics, Pragmatic Living, and Getting the Job Done Right for me and others, all as a kind of Karma Yoga.  

In addition, for five decades, my spiritual focus has been more on Philosophy, Wisdom, Understanding, Science, Self-Realization, the Big Hinges, all as a kind of Jhana Yoga

Gardening, Walking, Sex, Travel, Teaching, Yoga, and Science have all led to mystical experiences for me.  

I taught Hatha Yoga for 16 years in Red Bluff, California.  I taught 3 or 4 yoga classes each week, and two Taijiquan/Qigong classes per week.  I loved sharing these body-mind-spirit practices with persons in these hundreds of classes.  

In different ways, we all can do some kind of good in our lives.  Others will occasionally tip their hats to us.  

And, all the Gods and Goddess would indeed be complimentary of all of our good deeds if they knew about or cared about 7 billion humans and trillions and Mega-trillions of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, insects, bacteria, plants, life.

I think that there is even too much for Gods and Goddesses to care about.  And, their being so busy with billions of incoming prayers, they just can't get around to everyone.  

So it goes: roll with the flow.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

My Birthday

Today is my 72 birthday.  

My parents were Bertha June (1921-1994) and Michael James Garofalo (1916-1997).  My two brothers were Paul and Phillip.  

My parents and I in 1946

I grew up in East Los Angeles and attended St. Alphonsus Catholic Grammar School, Cantwell Catholic High School (Honors Diploma), California State University at Los Angeles (B.A. Philosophy), and the University of Southern California (M.S. Library Science).  

I worked for the City of Commerce Public Library System from 1963-1969.  

Blanche Karen Eubanks and I were married in 1967.  We celebrated our 51 wedding anniversary this week in 2018.  

Karen and I in 1970
Biloxi, Mississippi

Served in the United States Air Force, Air Training Command, from 1969-1973.  Honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant.  

I worked for the County of Los Angeles Public Library System from 1974 to 1998.  I retired as a Library Administrator, and Regional Administrator for the East Region in the San Gabriel Valley.  I worked at offices in the Compton library, Bell Gardens library, East Los Angeles library, Norwalk library, Huntington Park library, and West Covina library.  

We lived in Bell Gardens and Hacienda Heights - both in the East Los Angeles  metropolitan area.  

Karen and I, and our families and community, raised two children, Alicia June and Michael Delmer.  We now have two grandchildren, Katelyn and Makenna. 

My daughter and I in 1977

Our family around 1990

I started creating websites in 1995, and a blog in 2005.       

Karen and I lived in Red Bluff, North Sacramento Valley, California, from 1998-2017, in a rural area on a five acre parcel.  We both worked part-time for school districts.  I was the Technology and Media Service Supervisor and District Librarian for the Corning Union Elementary School District; and Karen was a Special Education Instructional Aide.  

Yosemite, North Dome, 2005

Family, 2007

Karen, Home in Red Bluff, 2015

Karen retired on June 14, 2014, after working part-time since 1998 as a Special Education Instructional Assistant for the Tehama County Department of Education in Red Bluff, California.  

Mike retired on July 1, 2016, after working part-time since 1998 as the Technology and Media Services Supervisor for the Corning Union Elementary School District in Corning, California.  

I taught yoga, taijiquan, qigong, pilates, and other fitness classes at the Tehama Family Fitness Center in Red Bluff from 2002-2016.

In 2017, we moved to Vancouver, Washington.  Karen We are now both retired.  

Family in Oregon in 2013

Vancouver, Washington, 2017

I am very fortunate in having fairly good health, a positive attitude, and stamina for work and play for all of my long life.  I was fortunate in being able to be productively employed for 54 years, and earning good medical insurance for Karen and I.  

I am a philosopher by inclination and practice.  

I have been active with various sports, physical conditioning programs, walking, fitness, Taijiquan, Yoga, hiking, etc., during my entire healthy long life.  

My personal goals for 2018 are to:  1. Develop and maintain a dietary habit that reduces my blood sugar.  2. Reduce my body weight to 225 pounds.  3. Exercise every day.  4.  Read and write.  5.  Help and take care of my wife, family and friends.  6.  Make new friends in Vancouver.  7.  Support humanistic and environmental causes.  8. Enjoy old age.  

That about sums it up!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sensing Ourselves

“Proprioception is, literally, how we “sense ourselves.” There are three main sources of input into our proprioceptive system. One of them, kinesthesia, is the feeling of movement derived from all skeletal and muscular structures. Kinesthesia also includes the feeling of pain, our orientations in space, the passage of time, and rhythm. A second source, visceral feedback, consists of the miscellaneous impressions from our internal organ. Labyrinthine or vestibular feedback? The feeling of balance as related to our position in space is provided by the chochlea, and organ of the inner ear. The physiological term “proprioception” refers to the ability to evaluate, and respond to stimuli sensed by the proprioceptives, actual nerves imbedded in our tissues (muscles, joints and tendons). These cells constantly communicate with the brain, orienting the body to its movement, position, and tone. It is our sixth sense. The other five senses provide information about the outer world. Proprioception provides information about the inner world, which we alone inhabit. Physicist David Bohm used the term “proprioceptive intelligence” to describe an optimal state of self-sensing, self-correcting, and self-organizing awareness? allowing for coherent participation in life through the integral functioning of all modes of intelligence.”
- Risa Kaparo, Awakening Somatic Intelligence, 2012, p.25

"Awareness is the function of isolating "new" sensory-motor phenomena in order to learn to recognize and control them. It is only through the exclusionary function of awareness that the involuntary is made voluntary, the unknown made known, and the never-done the doable. Awareness serves as a probe, recruiting new material for the repertoire of voluntary consciousness. The upshot of this is somatic learning begins by focusing awareness of the unknown. This active functioning identifies traits of the unknown that can be associated with traits already known in one's conscious repertoire. Through the process the unknown becomes known by the voluntary consciousness. In a word, the unlearned becomes learned."
- Thomas Hanna

Body-Mind, Somaesthetics, Somatics: Quotations, Bibliography, Resources