“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Friday, December 6, 2013

pop psych and investedness

We have all heard that you get what you pay for - it's one of those cultural telling points in our western capitalist society. A topic we are also mostly familiar with is whether and what to charge for or pay for. In the last 20 years it has become commonly accepted (to the point that a lecturer at ECTOM declared in tutorial)
that patients who do not pay top price, for instance if they go to the school clinic for care, are not invested in achieving wellness. That stung because I go to the clinic for care, and I have provided care in the past for people who did not pay me. I believe that:

 in fact the lecturer was saying that practitioners must receive payment sufficient to make them invested in order to provide adequate or better care,

or was justifying his high prices to himself. Whatever, it is interesting that later that same day the supervisor at the clinic did not come in to see me but left the treatment up to the intern. I believe also that:

Patients are always invested in achieving wellness, they are paying with their time, effort and trust, not just money. They are throwing the dice every time they consult a healthcare provider. Some develop a level of cynicism about the care they receive. Those who persist are commonly labeled professional patients. This has become a bad habit of professionals in all traditions, callousness saves energy even as it wastes it. Employing callousness prevents vulnerability and immediate pain but in the long run prevents renewing and refreshing Qi via that same vulnerability which can reward with enthusiasm and authentic interaction. It demonstrates a lack of healthy Qi, a developing burnout, sometimes difficult for the busy professional to see in themselves.

Payment can be many things, for some it's only about money. Others are rewarded by success, reputation, respect. Some keep score, like mental hash marks on the nose of the fighter plane in a game. Good physicians of all traditions know this and use it to keep themselves motivated and fresh.

Pop psychology is not necessarily justified just like wikipedia is not always right, both can be useful but should not be elevated to the status of concrete evidence. Virtually everyone becomes attached to the benefits of whatever problems they are having - that is what attachment is all about, there is some benefit to our challenges, our problems - that's why we say challenge is a learning opportunity, illness is a learning opportunity. No one likes to admit there is some value to them in their problem whatever it might be. This reminds me of the allegory "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." We cannot say those who go to clinic are not invested in achieving wellness any more than we can say the poor deserve to be poor, and the rich must be wonderful people. Sheesh, we all know this but out it comes whenever the person talking is tired, careless, or just running their mouth. Some really get invested in their opinion though, Who? Who is invested in their opinion? (grim smile) This brings me to what I wrote in the middle of the night last night, here it is - a gift for us to talk about when we get together again:

"Discernment doesn't even begin until turned on itself."


Dhamma is priceless and is supposed to be freely given but we know it is often an issue for monastics - where and how to get support, is it much different from physicians? We have heard that if "it" is not paid for the consumer doesn't care as much about it, we have experienced the returns from giving freely - always what is most needed even if we didn't know that was what we needed. This is anticlimactic at this point and a dead horse as well except in contrast to medical care, more food for thought...
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Funny

Found this online the author said it was originally in Finnish and it goes like this in English:

"I'm innocent. Most probably. Besides it was an accident"

Oh I love it, makes mirth bubble like a spring...  this is the image that goes with it:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

the church of Dog


Lessons from dogs – a variation, (woohoo some sort of deja vu here)

  1. Trust can be earned
  2. Dependence is a mutual thing
  3. run to greet the person you love
  4. stop and smell the roses
  5. have a passion (s)
  6. persist
  7. let go
  8. be curious
  9. pay attention and inquire
  10. follow your nose
  11. pick up after others
  12. forgive
  13. ask forgiveness and accept it too
  14. don’t be afraid to try
  15. take care of your responsibilities
  16. take a regular nap
  17. try hard
  18. play hard
  19. be willing to be seen as foolish
  20. let people laugh at you to laugh with you
  21. don’t pull
  22. be flexible
  23. go the extra mile
  24. learn the way home
  25. ask for what you need
  26. stay simple, stay humble
  27. enjoy simple pleasures
  28. don’t be snappish
  29. be kind
  30. share your food, and water and blanket and toys
  31. explore
  32. encourage others to play
  33. roll on the ground or floor and then shake all over
  34. smile
  35. sing to the moon, splash in water

not something I would normally...

watch or consider watching but in that spirit here is a link that is uplifting - remembering grandma doesn't make mistakes, just opportunities. Rion Paige - born this way




Saturday, November 2, 2013

new painting in progress


coming in stages, it is fun, KC says it looks like she has a goiter, (where did she even learn that word?) ah well, people have funny reactions to works in progress, why do we so often not realize that most of what or whom we meet is a work in progress? I'd like to keep that in mind...

Friday, November 1, 2013

why ordain, why make this lifestyle choice?

an asian professor who I saw in clinic asked "why you do that, why be monk?" of course I gave some smartass reply like "just crazy." but tonight woken by the helicopter and sirens I thought: "Because one can stay in bed, or one can throw off the covers and take the trail to the lake barefoot in the moonlight."

I think Kim's suggestion for a class title for sensei's meditation group has been percolating for me. She suggested An Examined Life as in 'the unexamined life is not worth living' a quote ascribed to Socrates and used by many since.






Tuesday, October 29, 2013

epiphanies

according to western science epiphanies (cause/correlate) with humongous releases of Dopamine the happy neurotransmitter in the nucleus accumbens, a lovely place in the brain.

For us dhamma trailers epiphanies are the vista points along the path, good spots for picnics or a rest along the way. Even little ones are appreciated and while there we pick up any garbage left behind by others, fluff up the grass if it has been crushed by heavy feet, we polish the dazzle of the space, speak gently to the devas gathered there and give thanks, generally adding to the sense of well being, knowing we will move along shortly, walking comfortably in the Tao.

I had a simple but healing epiphany the other day. A noble friend said she was not sure why people tattooed and pierced and otherwise modified their bodies, she finds it a little scary, a little off-putting. I woke in the night thinking it was not so different from having to wear this getup - bland plain asian shirt and bald head but that if this was a book cover it would be plain, unobtrusive, not draw attention - the opposite of stand out - so it says "don't look at me, look with me." And for the first time since ordaining I felt good about the outfit. Have been milking that epiphany ever since. Peace and joy to you today, may you know the sweetness and health of life, and may the sun warm your bones just right.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

what now?

 I am becoming friends with a great heart I met recently - here is a quote from her:

" Anyway, one lady I will always remember had Alzheimers and she made it a point to say something nice to everyone. She would say, "I know I'm getting forgetful and I never want to forget to thank everyone for all they have done for me. Have I thanked you today? Have I told you how pretty your smile is today? If I forget you remind me." That's how I hope to be. I hope my last words are kind."

and she turned me on to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderata

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"

 Thank you latefall.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blake and Oliver

Mary Oliver says in her poem The Swan :

"Said Mrs Blake of the poet: I miss my husbands' company, he is so often in paradise... the path to heaven is in the imagination with which you perceive this world and the gestures with which you honor it"

yesterday I enjoyed break after the exam by looking at the sun thru the palm fronds brilliant sparkling golds and there is a place on the pavement where a potted plant stood. It is etched and stained to marvelous patterns and colors, today I will take its photo.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

balance

wow, I just spent the most worthwhile hour and a half listening to a collection of "This I believe" essays read by their authors, gathered and published? by Dan Gediman from Public Radio - Funny thing, studying - it works better if balanced by some sort of relaxation that is uplifting and opening - this collection was a nonfiction book in Ohio's digital library, I hope you can find it, or perhaps on NPR it is available in the archives

Monday, October 7, 2013

boddhisattva - for the GD sangha

 So the universe walked into the classroom yesterday and via the day's assigned translation reminded me it is very important that someone step up and be an ordained buddhist, that the universe is listening, does see things on all our levels and is responsive, often has a sense of humor too, and wishes I would continue to be an ordained buddhist for many reasons.

Do you believe that? or is it easier and more likely that I am delusional?

I mean literally, I was giving serious thought (again) to dropping this nonsense, to giving up this forced intention, to finding refuge somewhere that feels better, when suddenly and unexpectedly the page before me and the professor before the class says be a boddhisattva, you can do it and it is needed.

And then I was asked to tell the class what a bodhisattva is.While I was marveling that the universe would speak clearly and directly into the mike, I had to answer this question without dillydallying. I later forgave myself for the puny answer I squeaked out and accepted the truth that this culture wants simple sentences, "a straight answer" to complex questions. I am not going to tell you what I said, that would be anticlimactic, but what would you say? and then again does it matter? I think if one can conceive of a fullness of the concept of Boddhisattva then one steps into it. I think this is the nature of 'empowerments' of crossing any threshold in daily life, of the nature of human life. When we grasp the tail of the dragon we are lifted and pulled and carried away.

And then how does one find support for a determined existence when it is not nourishing? just ask. The nature of the universe of reality is responsive and alive. She is conscious and active and just waiting to be asked. I asked and wham! there was the reply like the handwriting of a ghost. Very funny, Buddha, very funny grandmother...it's like the old tv show of the dead sea captain and the lighthouse keeper, no one could see him but her. Some people would lock a person up for talking like that, but others could see more deeply and realize it takes poetry and humor and creativity to talk about the experiences that don't fit the daily grind.

hugh prather

am enjoying a reflective book by this fellow shared with me by Kathy with whom we built this little house in 2011
I especially like this passage:

"what would I discover about the cottonwoods if when I walked to the mailbox I listened to them instead of looked at them? what would I find out about the rain if I didn't run inside? and is it possible that a sunrise would refresh me more than sleep?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

brilliant advice found online

Don't LOOK at anything in a physics lab.
Don't TASTE anything in a chemistry lab.
Don't SMELL anything in a biology lab.
Don't TOUCH anything in a medical lab.

and, most importantly,

Don't LISTEN to anything in a philosophy department.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

keep the faith

MEAR ONE

check out this link to Mear One's pages. Have hope and use imagination to imagine another energetic world and push that thought every day everywhere you go.

this fellow being, of like heart, paints - check out the facebook page description of a dream from Sept 13. 

 time does not exist but wears us down anyway - we are the sangha of great determination, and persistence is our nature and our responsibility. What thoughts awake you in the night? I woke thinking these are the pivotal points to stand on:  Everything is Temporary....Knowledge and Perception do not describe reality....Happiness is not derived from fulfillment of desire...
Hang in there y'all. Life is but a dream.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

just a quote that caught my eye

when you do something noble and beautiful and no one notices don't be sad - for the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The legend of the Straw Millionaire




A Japanese Buddhist folk tale about a poor man who becomes wealthy through a series of successive trades, starting with a single piece of straw. The story was likely written during the Heian period and the legend has become a common anecdote in Japanese popular culture.

A hard-working but unlucky peasant named Daietsu-no-suke prays to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, to help him escape poverty. Kannon tells him to take the first thing he touches on the ground with him and travel west. He stumbles on his way out of the temple and grabs a piece of straw. While traveling, he catches a horsefly that was bothering him and ties it to the straw. In the next town, the buzzing horsefly calms a crying baby and the thankful mother exchanges it for three oranges. Taking the oranges, he continues on his journey and encounters a dehydrated woman. He gives her the oranges and she thanks him by giving him a rich silk cloth. The peasant meets a samurai with a weak horse. The samurai demands the silk cloth in exchange for his horse. The peasant nurses the horse back to health and continues west. A millionaire is impressed by his horse and invites him to his home. The millionaire's daughter turns out to be the same woman he saved with his oranges. Seeing this as a sign, the millionaire insists that the peasant marry his daughter, making him a millionaire.
 
As part of oral tradition, the details of the story have changed over time and there are several competing accounts of the tale. Some versions portray the peasant as a soldier who trades the horse for rice fields and becomes a successful farmer, omitting the arranged marriage.

Put your horseflies to work! and never be afraid to start small...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

wow, this is my roots

came across a documentary "Brother's Keeper" 2002 on Huluplus which Kim is sharing with us - the Derby/Emery world, great movie. Can see almost see how the cops might have seen the brothers, and how the brothers would see the events...completely different worlds.

The cops must have thought the farmers were throwbacks, pitiful monsters - the brothers offered the respect and trust the law deserves which is that culture's view point.

I had a similar moment at the clinic yesterday - woman came into the room like a big truck and challenged me about my living situation - did I live in a monastery? No, then I must be a lay nun, some other blahblah. I told her the living situation was less important than the intention and that I preferred to talk about the Dhamma or Buddhism when both parties are calm and quiet, perhaps over tea. She slowed down and tilted her head, then said "good answer." Apparently she is the judge of the world, well I am glad I was acquitted.
She declined meeting over tea.

Folks need to be given time and honored for who they are. Trouble is so few have time anymore. When we take the time, even just enough to take a breath, what a difference it makes.



Friday, August 23, 2013

mid autumn moon

Did you notice how intense the full moon was this last week? According to one of the Chinese professors this moon is the ghost moon, when chinese set out meals for the "good brothers" (honored dead) seeking their benevolence and we are at that time open to more than usual in the world hence the mild disorientation, klutziness, riskiness of physical pursuits and this morning I noticed I suddenly felt much better now that moon is on the wane. Probably there are other reasons as well. Whatever the reasons may all beings share this well-being imagined this fine morning.

The approach of Fall is always invigorating. Lets dance, do some free form Qigong on this remarkable morning and greet change with intention.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

grandmother is always there

and always knows what to do to help. Today after meditation in the park with Camille a fellow came up to us and greeted her. Turns out he is a graduate of Emperor's just back from 9 months in Nepal where he worked as a doctor treating mostly knee pain and post stroke syndromes and other things rural farmers experience via the organization Mindful Medicine. Founder Grainne McKeown is interviewed on NPR in the link below:

http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-07/global-activism-organization-provides-integrative-healthcare-patients-ne

I really needed to hear and be reminded of this now so it was grandmother's timing, zing! right to the mark.

Sad and twisted that we cannot volunteer service here in the states, always the chief consideration is "do you have insurance?" or, "we don't have insurance so you can't offer that here." And it is not the patient being asked for insurance but the practitioner. Even to teach Qigong, venerable has been asked to show proof of insurance...So much for the first world. Therefore we go to the "developing world."


Sunday, August 4, 2013

landscape

Actually still messing with it a little bit but it has been fun...it is about 2 x 4 feet, was a painting left in an alley found when out walking the dog, only some blue in the right upper corner remains of the other painting, funny how much fun this was, when added the little green house on the point had such a pleasure, like reading a book. Thought about how hard I have worked to keep painting a pleasure, actually to make painting the pleasure it should be.

Friday, July 26, 2013

hookworm benefits

http://www.channel4embarrassingillnesses.com/video/in-detail/dr-james-logan-s-hookworm-experiment/


check this out! this is the deliberate use of hookworms for experimental purposes to verify their beneficial effect - maybe deworming is why Hirosan has some sort of allergy itch.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

amazing life

This is a video about a crow raising a kitten - I will never underestimate a crow again.

http://youtu.be/1JiJzqXxgxo

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monarch Butterflies

It’s been a dismal year for the Monarchs. Milkweed - their favorite, is disappearing due to intensive farming and Monsanto.


We can help! Plant Milkweed everywhere there is a square inch of free land. In addition to milkweed, says Taylor, monarchs and other butterflies depend on nectar plants to fatten up. Zinnias, cosmos, Joe Pye weed, boneset, and verbena are all good choices. So is butterfly bush, he says, but because it can become invasive, use only sterile male plants.

Go to Monarch Watch to buy milkweed plugs which will start producing sooner than seed.                                                    
A larger challenge for anyone who loves the monarch butterfly migration is to lobby states and the Federal Highway Administration to plant its vast acreage of roadside land with milkweed and other flowering plants instead of grass

Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590


Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, and West Virginia States have all named the monarch their state butterfly and could logically lead a national campaign. But every state in the monarch’s migratory range has a highway department, and studies have demonstrated that roadsides can make ideal butterfly habitat. In England in the 1990s, for instance, 25 butterfly species quickly moved in after the government designed a section of the M40 highway near Oxford as a butterfly travel corridor between protected woodlands.

This is serious, and we can really make a difference, please help.

Monday, July 8, 2013

interested in a cure for cancer? check this out

   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBUGVkmmwbk&feature=share&list=PL53D6BDBCA2B07367

this documentary begins the testimony and ovation of Dr Stanislaw Burzynski- a western bioscience physician who is taking peptides from the urine of healthy individuals and placing them in people with cancer who do not have these peptides and eliminating their tumors. This is not available outside of the area in Texas where he practices because of the business of cancer. According to some of the professors here this is not BS. We got a way to fix it. wow. check it out.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

scholarship essay

just notified that the essay posted below won the Founder's Scholarship! course that just reduces the amount of financial aid to be received but still...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Meet the Medicinal Herbs at the Learning Garden


below is an article I submitted to the school's blog to promote the Learning Garden:

College, work, home…life runs at a furious pace and traveling from one location to the other is filled with thinking, studying, planning.  For every class or project “there’s an app for that,” and for every relationship there is a role. Where does a person replenish the Qi drained away by all this busyness?

We learn that postnatal Qi comes from food/drink and from air and think about our diets and the quality of the air we breathe, hmmm… for most of us that is not so encouraging. But I am here to remind us all that those are not the only sources of postnatal Qi available to us. Our clinic director Robert Newman alludes to this when he is quoted: “If you spend enough time with a plant, and it is your desire and your intention to learn from the plant, it will teach you.” It is not just knowledge that a plant will impart it is the gift of refreshment, and not just in the form of calories or nutrition, not just in the form of medicinal qualities, but plain and simple Qi.

It often seems that wise and gifted teachers direct us to go outdoors to a place of nature so that our knots and tensions can unwind and our Qi flow more smoothly.  It is overlooked that there is also Qi to be gained from nature. The planet, the plants, the animals, insects and birds all share an energy field that we often in daily human life ignore but can access when it is needed. Just listen and you can find it. Robert says: if you spend enough time with a plant…and that is the key – we all have such a shortage of time, but if all your time is spent running the treadmill of accumulation what will you wind up with? Things you can’t take with you when the game is over. 

 Time spent gathering Qi from proximity to plants that are part of our healing traditions replenishes something essential. I invite you to come to the Learning Garden, just to be. Take time to make the acquaintance of the plants that will be the herbs you prescribe and use yourself. It is remarkable what they can do. When it is suggested that you take a moment to breathe, remember that breath can also mean Qi. Take a moment to gather in Qi, to get acquainted with the reservoirs of refreshing Qi in the garden. There is astonishing nuance in the different plants. They are eager to meet us. I love being alive in the company of such beings. Come to the garden and refresh your Qi.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Respect for four and two leggeds


I am offering/sending Fa Qi to a dear one's daughter in a coma, thing is, some challenges take us in directions that do not restore the common plight, often they are to connect us to the submerged understanding that our ideas of reality are not as it really is. And that is really the greater gift.

 But I understand the need and respect the desire to help and to love... such challenges as illness and death exist to provoke a renewal of this understanding, perhaps we can help others to understand this as well.

I guess I am saying sometimes the best way to help someone so ill is to detach a bit and allow them permission to do whatever they need to do. There is a fine line between encouragement that liberates and desire that holds sometimes.

When an animal is ill I have no problem interfering with that illness or seeking to prevent death, why is that? I think they have such a deep understanding that we can not interfere with their plans or lessons by trying to get them to stay and be well and help us. Whereas some people come into life to offer lessons to others and then go, or to learn lessons and then go, and should not be interfered with. Also - animals make it clear what they need and want, if I listen and can discern.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

vocation / vacation

"A 105 year-old Cistercian nun who lives in a convent in central Spain said that after 86 years of being cloistered, she is happy and has never been bored.
“Even if I had married a prince, I would not be happier than I am now,” said Sister Teresita.
In an interview with the Spanish daily newspaper “Correo,” she explained that a vocation “is something huge” and requires perseverance, but brings great joy."


Some of you probably understand this, some of my classmates may, some of the people at the senior center may, but most people don't. I had a clue and was not afraid to try it out after trying out the other kind of lifestyle most indulge in today. The excitement and enthusiasm of the vocational life is massive, infinite and enormous, once that great adventure is begun why would anyone choose the other? even before reading this, this morning I thought of the slogan "Diverge from the Herd" because that is what we have done. Like the cow that jumped the slaughterhouse wall and found safety in a sanctuary, we have found sanctuary in a different mindset that embraces teaching and healing.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Haiku

Study burns up Spleen
mind in a daze
the dog sleeps

Check out these quotes from the venerable:

www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/9074.Thich_Nhat_Hanh/

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Good Morning!

this you tube video improves the vision by warming the heart:     http://youtu.be/oQgmSNs695k


I am looking up Dr William Bates - the Bates Method- of improving eyesight with simple exercises that really work... and it's very holistic, advanced physics but grounded in ancient theory and practice - we see what we want to see, what we agree to see, what we allow to be seen, I am going to try these for myself:

http://www.ehow.com/way_5305850_bates-method-eye-exercises.html

and I really like this website that covers the history and more: http://www.visionsofjoy.org/SeeBetter.htm

Happy Seeing!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

end of life

I just watched another TED talk, this is a shortie, but with my experience as a nurse and my ambition to help others not just live well but die well too I would share this with you all so you can share it with those who might need it. Here's the TED talk:
http://www.ted.com/talks/judy_macdonald_johnston_prepare_for_a_good_end_of_life.html

and here is Judy's website with the printable guides, very simple, very clear, very helpful:
 http://www.goodendoflife.com/worksheets/index.htm

keep it beautiful

Monday, May 13, 2013

more about facts

if youtube is accessible and you have time this first episode in a human behavioral biology class has some interesting points

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NNnIGh9g6fA

Saturday, May 11, 2013

facts

ah Jim, I channeled you today but it didn't stop me from opening my mouth when I wish it had. Someone uttered a string of nonsense from a podium and I just had to open my mouth to correct the facts, since those are sacred things which must be clarified. After all if those were treated with such disdain then what next?

Afterward I was able to relax and chuckle a bit, instead of having a stroke or heart attack, because I never had appreciated how important a fact can be. The fact was important because I had just been drilled in it in three different classes, it wouldn't matter in the scenario being discussed but a fact is a fact.

Friday, May 10, 2013

another TED recommendation

http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life.html
This is a really neat presentation

Thursday, May 9, 2013

scholarship essay

I wrote this and when finished checked the word count, I was 36 words off, (too many) but then checked the number of words that are the application instructions - 36! so right on the dot. For your reading pleasure, I hope!
In 2013, Emperor’s College celebrates 30 years of
 “inspiring the future of medicine”.
What developments in integrative medicine do you hope to see in the next 30 years and how will you help to implement them?


What a time to ask this question…the world is on the threshold of change like very few times in history or myth. Human cognition of existence is catching fire, when I was a kid the song lyric “Run for your life the earth’s on fire” was for a moment the sound of one hand clapping. A koan that stopped the heart caught the attention and altered the trajectory of a few minds. It begged the question “what are we doing?” and since that time the discoveries in biology, physics and medicine have leap frogged over each other to reach this threshold. What we do know is that we don’t know…much, and that is our greatest achievement. What we don’t know is the magic that is life. That dark space is where healing happens.

It brings me satisfaction to see that the discoveries of recent years confirm the wisdom of the ancients, that we have come in a spiral to a point that carries connection to the Tao, the Dreamtime and the Dhamma, yet is a new expression of them all. Most important I believe, is the spreading acknowledgment that nothing is as it appears, all things are interconnected and we are not the limited, culture bound, physical body-minds we thought we were.

For medicine this means the patient, client, seeker, is the guide; and illness, trauma, disharmony is the teacher. Healers are facilitators in this relationship, this task, this challenge. Healers are also the witnesses, observers and students. Healers devote time and attention to accumulating massive amounts of information, developing discernment and insight but are not the organism in question and must join in partnership with the seeking individual rather than controlling or disquieting that person. The most important thing we can learn is that we do not know what we think we know and even that is subject to change.

People have access to information like never before. Patients are not just putty in the hands of medical practitioners any more. Consumers are driving the machine and it is beginning to turn, slowly as a giant ship in the water. It is turning to follow the teaching of Traditional Oriental Medicine and the desires of the consumers in putting prevention first, and supporting what is well on principle. What does that take? Environmental restoration and protection, nutritious food, clean water, sanitation, happiness are the factors required for good health. In the immediate moment Happiness is the most important factor. In sickness or in health, happiness is the most important factor.

For my own selfish delight I commit to being happy, to feeling that happiness with life each day and to encourage that in others. Cannot help anyone else without that. When happy we allow the cells of the body to function without interference and they have what it takes to form tissues who have what it takes to form organelles who have what it takes to form organs who have what it takes to form the organism that may be us. And we have what it takes to form communities that thrive.

 It is the responsibility of healers to encourage faith in the cells of the body, joy in life, happiness in the moment, not to instill fear and control.
We need to say “wake up, relax and live right now.”
This is a care not cure model. It is an honest and direct communication that fosters independence and strength and personal growth at all levels. It means accepting diversity and expression as non-threatening and stimulating. It means facing our fears, it means that courage is celebrated for what it is every moment of every day.

Schools, hospitals, and other monolithic edifices are going away. Where once we herded together unwillingly or ambivalently we are now able to focus on what brings each of us our bliss. This is happening for everyone. The apparent discrepancy between rich and poor, haves and have nots is an illusion. Happiness is not based in materialism. Well being does not depend on wealth.

Integrative Medicine is the crest of a wave that carries medicine, engineering, philosophy, art, writing, and adventure into the mixing pot. It takes all of us, it is a restructuring of society, not a piece of it, not a practice, not a guild. It’s about all of us. Tech is changing the face of the world but the biggest and most important change that is happening now is the paradigm shift to personal power founded in happiness. We are blooming.

 That is what the TCM perspective brings into the light today: we are all interconnected, we are not separate from each other and we are not what we seem. That is what quantum physics brings to light today:
we are all interconnected, we are not separate from each other and we are not what we seem. The meeting of these two tales is a fusion reaction. We are in for a lot of energy.

What am I doing to help implement these changes? I am as enthused with gratitude and excitement and awe as I – a powerfully sensational being – can be, and I am present for every moment. I watch for and let go of any aspect of anger, delusion or denial that comes by and proactively fill my time and mind with appreciation of the beauty around me.  I am amazed by what can be done with attention to the moment. I am amazed at the unfolding of discernment that is an apparently infinite process. I fully enjoy the experience of life and I know that is what we are all here for. So I share this when requested and observe it with heartfelt appreciation. That is what I am doing to implement these changes. When others recognize this in me, I see it in them as well and that connection is a spark that has a macrocosmic effect. This ripple is the sweetness we bring forth, that is what real health is, extending beyond time and beyond space.






Wednesday, May 8, 2013

religion, ordination and the meaning of it all...

hi y'all, I haven't been able to participate in the thursday ichat meetings lately but Ven. KC brings them up sometimes and has been saying what great discussions there have been.

I have finally let go of 99.999% of the hassle I felt being ordained but not in the club or clique. I like it out here actually. You know we like to look at the Dhamma from varying perspectives, like a peice of art or something you really really like, you move around it, get below, get above, try different sides. The view of Abraham Hicks is pretty revelatory. I really enjoy it. Staying in a place of pure joy and thankfulness is wonderful, health producing and downright fun. People smile like crazy when they see me, this one guy pointed at me and said "look how you be happy!" I am, and knowing we are the point persons in creating the reality we experience  - in Buddhism: which realm we inspire and inhabit, is so cool.

We don't have or need approval, just progress on the path. We are not doing what everyone else is doing, just what we are doing, each of us right now. Never be distracted by rules or customs or tradition or artificial flavoring, go direct to the Qi - it never lies, and yes you can find it, any time you center and quiet and relax and enjoy.

Our rewards for this life are not in recognition or money or fame or followers. We are the original "Jedi" and we are not alone, we have all those rewards but they are not what they seemed and we are not encumbered by them. Wake up and feel the force, the stream, the flow and lets make what we want by knowing it is already here..

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ven KC to visit Ohio

in June for a week, looks forward to offering a workshop while there if a venue presents, we have a trifold brochure available if any of you would locate a group that is interested, we need to fundraise!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The white queen to alice

 from: Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, in which the White Queen says to Alice: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards".
'The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam to-day.'
'It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected.
'No, it can't,' said the Queen. 'It's jam every OTHER day: to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know.'
'I don't understand you,' said Alice. 'It's dreadfully confusing!'
'That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly: 'it always makes one a little giddy at first--'
'Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. 'I never heard of such a thing!'
'--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways.'
'I'm sure MINE only works one way,' Alice remarked. 'I can't remember things before they happen.'
'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked.

This is really brilliant, because this is the way in which we use self hypnosis, expectation and rules (or facts) to create our world. We do in fact have memories of the future - that is what brings it, but we call them probable outcomes, expectations, we say: of course that is what will happen. But we don't need to, we can choose other scenarios. Because what is in the mind is what really is, and what's in the mind is up to us.
Oh No! that is a lot of responsibility? yes and no, there can be no blame, no criticism, no regret, those only deform and restrict creativity...it is a gradual path to a simpler being and greater capacity.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mr Rogers was a wise man

The words of Fred Rogers, the avuncular steward of neighborliness, have become a mantra of sorts echoing around the tragedy on Boylston Street:
 
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."
 
Abraham also reminds us that it is the contrast we seek between what we want and what we don't. There is value in tragedy, it brings out the best in us. So it simply is.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

TCM video for you all

great  BBC YouTube video on AcuPuncture! for your watching pleasure - and coming to a neighborhood near you some day soon : )

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ldqy77Wu7pc

I am learning so much, did you know that TCM must both identify the disease and the pattern the individual is experiencing in order to develop a treatment plan? That is why western medicine treats everyone with say, diabetes with the same treatment plan, pretty much but TCM will treat each individual differently.

Studies are expensive and budgets for them are vanishing, personally I am happy to have anecdotal evidence, ie: "grandma got out of her wheelchair for the first time in twenty years" etc. But pointing to statistics is fun if potentially misleading. Hope you like it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

worth the effort

this video presentation reminded me of church but in a short while I was so interested I got over the discomfort and just paid attention and enjoyed it. The title will speak to many: "How To Control The Matrix"
the presenter is again Gregg Braden. Check it out, take the time and jump on this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyCiL8ql7bs

Thursday, March 28, 2013

gregg braden - the power of visualization

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg4IY7XAdZU in another video this fellow explains how life is holographic and thus why:

your beliefs become your thoughts
your thoughts become your words
your words become your actions
your actions become your habits
your habits become your values
your values become your destiny
~Mahatma Gandhi

and how the Ripple Effect works

Sunday, March 24, 2013

back from the desert



views from the main drag thru the park. Was quite crowded actually, near spring break etc.

Farmer's market was cool, literally, Susan and Deedee took care of everything, I helped set up and take down, Susan used her phone to sell one of the palm paintings to a friend of theirs in Hawaii so that is where the sea turtle is going, nice huh?

We enjoyed a visit to the Cactus Wren used book store, my favorite stacks where I found the Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison. OH My! reading fiction! never mind...interesting reading about Tibet since the Chinese invasion, who knows how accurate?nevertheless, a good read, and recommended by the Fundamentals of Oriental Medicine Prof.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

studio here

first quarter is over! I made tags for the palm paintings today and will have them at the Farmer's Market in Joshua Tree on Saturday. Now I have to take Patience here for a walk.

couple new paintings




Thursday, March 14, 2013

Escape Fire

I have not seen the video described below but it is regarded as highly important by Emperor's College admin for the future of healthcare in America. Check it out, don't get bummed out, it's ok, we are going to be ok. Look at TED for hope and happiness.
Escape Fire: Re-Broadcast this weekend on CNN:
The award-winning Sundance documentary ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, directed by Matthew Heineman and Oscar-Nominee Susan Froemke, tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: what can be done to save our broken medical system? ESCAPE FIRE will be broadcast on Saturday, March 16th at 8pm & 11pm ET on CNN.
ESCAPE FIRE features the problems of healthcare providers from all sectors, including primary care physicians such as Oregon's Dr. Erin Martin, who struggles with limited time for patients and too little reimbursement, as well as leaders in medicine and healthcare, such as Dr. Donald Berwick, former Administrator of Medicare/Medicaid.
Please visit 
the official film site to learn more about the film, the movement, and the broadcast. Remember, if you missed the broadcast but still would like to view the film and complete the assessment for CME credits, you can watch it on DVD or download the film from iTunesAmazon.com, or a number of other digital providers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reflection on Practice


It is often just a small twist of perspective that is needed to restore sweetness in life. That small twist is of course more effective if there is habitual practice to return to, and that's Dhamma.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wonder

”If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Ah what a beautiful quote. This is the idea behind moving Qi, and meditation and mindfulness and everything and anything.  We mustn't make ourselves do things, instead we must let them happen, we must take delight in the little things, the simple pleasures of life. Then we must appreciate the movement of Qi and the harmony of all the world. When we appreciate the harmony we are amplifiers and resonators and healing spreads and soothes and causes delight. Take hope with me, there is such wonder here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hope for the future on TED


Here is a scientist and an animal lover who caused the murder of thousands of elephants, as sentient as any similar group of human beings in my belief, Because of that (I can only imagine the horrendous shame and agony) he is motivated to devote his life to restoring the balance.

http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html

I have been wondering how to apply traditional chinese medicine to the earth's condition - and here it is. A deficiency of Yin, exhibited by loss of biomass and dryness, leading to a relative excess of Yang exhibited by heat in the most simple terms.We can do this, this is the outward manifestation of our inward change. Thinking about it, having conversations about it, using the grassroots media to talk about it will bring it into being. We move like the seas of grass that will again cover the prairies of the world.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chinese Medicine Blues

it's an uphill climb, but the air at the top is sublime
here is a link to a great video of bluegrass grassroots creative response to obstruction to care:
http://youtu.be/eDh6rTJnmvQ
check it out!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

the couple that saved the fawn in Indiana?

Does anyone else remember hearing about the cop and his wife that saved the fawn after its mother died?
They were possibly going to be fined $60K and even sentenced to prison?
I got this response from the gov of Indiana's office:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact the office of Governor Mike Pence.  He has shared your e-mail with me and asked that I respond on his behalf. I appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.
 
'While the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) appreciates the public sentiment surrounding this case, the Department has requested the charges be dismissed "given the time that has elapsed, the costs associated with the prosecution, and the apparent absence of any immediate harm from this single incident.'
 
For more information on what to do if you encounter an injured or orphaned wildlife, please visit the DNR website http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/5492.htm
 
Again, thank you for writing, and thank you for your active citizenship."

So hurraay! evil averted for the time being, it is a constant struggle, keep it up.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March

walking Hiro yesterday evening the hummingbird moths were attending the jasmine, so tiny and attentive, so alien and so native, what an amazing place this planet is...

hearing Bryan Stevenson and Amanda Palmer on TED talks reveals how varied is privilege and understanding...

                   and a quote for today: Are we using our imaginations to create problems or to solve them?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Learning Garden


Have been having a great time weeding and watering at the Learning Garden. The traditional chinese herbal section takes up about a quarter perhaps, lots and lots of herbs, there is a general garden master - Dave, and the herbal master Ingrid. What a great place.

Here is my current dream: to create TCM herb gardens around the country for learning and for use, in monasteries and community gardens and intentional communities, to travel around planting and harvesting, making tinctures and teaching and giving acu-moxa treatments in return for supportive welcome as part of the community. Hmm? sound like a relationship that a community you know of might consider?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Healing Intention

Jon wrote to say Puppy is feeling better.

I find it amazing that my own mind is slow to recognize the life I really lead. Ven. Madika is much better at seeing this. The issue lies in changing our world view to include or be aware of the mental or energetic work we do. Once this is fully acknowledged I will feel more complete, right now there is a disconnect and occasional disbelief that I am actively creating and participating in an amazingly adventurous life.

We have many examples: manifesting, intuition, healing and appreciation, perhaps the most important part is appreciation of the connection to Life that we are nurturing and cultivating. Meditation and Mindfulness and Noble Friends are the method, manifesting, intuition, healing and appreciation are the side effects or benefits.

It is hard sometimes to acknowledge the subtle, the authentic voice of Life, or God - whatever you want to call her. Its a wow, that's all, an exclamation point in awareness. Not something largely valued in this culture and time, but most valuable in this heart, in this reflection.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

the power of solitude

Great TED talk on introverts Taking back the natural way of me, I worked in the Learning Garden twice this week, weeding and watering. A sanctuary, a place of refuge. Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds, goldfish and flowers. The universe, (so conscious and so alive,) has been trying to get through to me lately, with increasing vehemence and repetition (as she does,) to reclaim the joy of solitude.




Friday, February 22, 2013

Han Shan



Body clad in a cloth of cloud robe,
feet clad in turtle's fur boots,
I seize my bow of rabbit horn
and prepare to shoot the devil Ignorance.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

rumination

Yi is thought, taken too far, indulged in too much, becoming pensive or worrying can be hard on the Chinese Spleen and Stomach. (the western pancreas is involved) In Essential Theravada Buddhism we become sensitive to the middle way, where to draw the line, when to stop one tack and turn to another. But obviously a lot of rumination goes on subconsciously, especially if one walks a spiritual path. How do you take note of that? Observe the body language, posture, freedom of movement, huddling, laughter or sighing etc. We sometimes need a mirror for ourselves when we are blinded by immersion in a story or layer after layer of stories...

We can be proactive and choose to make a difference for ourselves and those around us by adopting habits, intentional practices that restore equilibrium. Such as the two minute alpha pose or Wonder Woman stance, (actually standing in this posture, feet wide, hands on hips, chest out, head high for two minutes) or practicing Awakening Stillness Qigong, alters the hormonal and neurotransmitter communications within the body. This affects the rumination, restoring it to a balanced position, promoting a confident and positive outlook.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

its that time

when the Seed Catalogs start arriving in the mail! whoopee! I have a wonderful time ahead at The Learning Garden http://www.thelearninggarden.org/blog/lagardenblog/ which Emperor's College takes part in. Our big challenge today as gardeners is facing down GMOs, or seeds from El Diablo (Monsanto.) Unfortunately that lobby overwhelmed the public interest and labeling remains not required for these grossly destructive toxins.
Burpee is a familiar catalog of seeds to avoid from now on since they market GMOs. When in doubt, look for the Safe Seed Pledge in the front of the catalog.

Today on our walk, Hiro and I found three more large plastic "terracotta look" planters, it's time to get some seeds!

Friday, February 15, 2013

flavors

I never understood how a flavor could affect the body, now I am beginning to. Pungent or acrid flavors move the Qi, open the pores and release the exterior.  Sour flavors astringe, constrict, congeal (pucker.) Sweet nourishes and sedates. Bitter drains damp and heat. Salty softens and tenderizes. Bland gently leaches damp. If you pay attention this is noticeable - how attentive the ancient discoverers of the art must have been and how sensitive to develop herbal formulas. We naturally balance flavors (Rhubarb pie) but over the long run habitual use of various flavors can turn the ship (our body.)

After all, this is a fundamental way we interact with the world and plants were here soooo long before we were and they are the master chemists of the world, why wouldn't plants want to use flavor to communicate with us or to change our behavior.

Sensitivity is developed by simplifying the lifestyle one leads, being attentive, mindful. Not accepting the sales pitch of advertisers and manufacturers and accepting that your body is unique (only you can really know how something affects you but being singular is written into a herd animal's constitution as a threat.) Raising and expanding Kindness allows us to accept and respond appropriately to our unique constitution. This is one way we can manage our Qi, by learning to feed the energy body instead of the physical or emotional body or by paying attention to how the flavors you use affect how you think. Every flavor is associated with a spiritual and emotional and many physical aspects of You.

Do you habitually use a certain flavor or combination?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

our companions

animals...oh how much less would life be if we had no such companions in it. Any love will always be lost, but isn't that inextricable from the very preciousness of it. So we know the value of life, and letting go. So we value the present moment when we might otherwise be careless...and still we get careless, but turn again and again to realization. Only the presence of death gives us this vital energy to be present now, awake. So I will go lay down with this dog, and in my meditation I will be with Puppy at the vets and send the Qi running up and down his small body to bring him comfort and well being, whatever that well being may be for him.

when Cupcake came home after her leg was crushed and amputated, I lay beside her and sent the love for her that was in my heart out through my hands into her body, like Reiki same thing, but before knowing what that was, we can all do it, we are all interconnected, we have this effect on one another all the time without awareness, so be aware and do this for Puppy, and for anyone you love or don't love, why else do you have a life? Avoid wasting time with greed and hatred, that really is just a waste of time, but experiment with generosity and compassion, that is not a waste of time, it will grow and grow and bring greater and greater benefits.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

sialoptysis

spitting - should say more about that on reflection, so much we know but don't know we know, unless it is written and accepted by others - so often all but the most courageous and wise among us remain in denial, I am thinking of the understanding of space time location, but spitting too. Grandma didn't approve of spitting - but why? Phlegm is a potentially deadly result of excessive consumption, indulgence and exposure, grandma put that together. Hence spitting was the action of a morally inferior class of person, behavior which she would not accept in her presence. I don't remember ever spitting in front of her but perhaps it got buried under geraniums and bird feeding and delicious black tea.

I am not saying it is our fault if phlegm invades but it can be the result of poor choices. In relation to the chinese propensity for spitting there has been toxic air quality in various areas of China for centuries, and no environmental oversight or preventative health care to prevent it. We have no choice over exposure to some phlegm causing agents, but we can choose whether we take in others.

In TCM phlegm or mucus or "Gob" is both physical and invisible/insubstantial, it affects the lungs, heart, stomach and "channels and collaterals, " gumming them up, and of course there is both Heat Phlegm and Cold Phlegm. Each organ has a multitude of associations including spirit and emotion, abilities and capacities far beyond what we would ever make in western culture. It is truly a part of our Practice.

Everything in moderation, even moderation. The path we walk is a fun and joyful one and varied, and pleasing. Not too passionate, not too devout, we are unintentional heroes like Hobbits, enjoying simple pleasures, this is the middle way. The great reliever of Gob? Kindness, free and equally given, to ourselves and to all other beings.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

it is a Moving day

Hiro just had breakfast so we are restraining our desire to walk some more for now. I realized on our walk before breakfast that "I can do this, I am going to be a doctor" and not a chip in the pharmaceutical conglomerate's Ipod, but an integrated part of the earth's return to oneness and wellness; with humanity in the ecosystem not against it. 

Hey, the exams have been pretty easy but it still feels good to get 100%.

Venerable continues to polish her Practice, and it is interesting that I am learning how TCM can assist or improve even that. There is no separation except semantically in our need to label and communicate of the aspects of our bodies and the world, so Balance is comprehensive and someday I will be able to guide and coax organisms to wellness. Enlightenment needs integrity, and integration is wellness and I see that an accomplished TCM Practitioner can help an accomplished Practitioner of the Buddha Dhamma to move toward that.

Meanwhile pay attention and take care to move toward balance. We have purpose, each of us, you and I.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

two priceless gems

from Fundamentals of Oriental Medicine with Lorraine Wilcox:
I am not rolling on the floor laughing but the sensation of amusement is wrapped up with an "Oh no" feeling, becoming almost as entertaining as a See's soft center chocolate when this quote from ancient china gets placed alongside an image of my grandmother in my mind:

"Spitting far is inferior to spitting near; spitting near is inferior to not spitting at all"
 (better not spit at all if you want to live) but apparently people spit alot in china...

the other gem has a different shade and is a poem from the Tang Dynasty poet Lu Lun:

As the years go by, people's hair grows grey
Autumn comes and the leaves on the trees turn yellow
I scratch my head and face the yellow leaves,
"Are you, like me, damaged by sorrow?"

which reminds me of the artist who wrote centuries ago (paraphrase) "unless one's soul has utterly comprehended the realization of impermanence, nothing one does can be true"

We can cause ourselves damage with sorrow or any emotion if we indulge in it, if we wallow in it, if we become addicted to it. There is a way of being human which is to pursue a delusion to it's inevitable conclusion, but that is not truth or beauty. To walk in beauty we let go, let go, let go. There is no holding onto beauty, only opening and letting flow. Even sorrow has beauty, but let it go...

Monday, February 4, 2013

not much going on

have had three exams, all good so far, two to go. Having weekly acupuncture treatments, walking Hiro around town bouncing the ball, especially in the alleys. When we lose the ball on the sidewalk it goes into the road, she is becoming very good about not running after it then, in the alleys we are less likely to lose it and we can bounce it off the wall a lot, like doggy handball.

Venerable KC worked on the plumbing with the landlord's son and now the tub drains. Her class numbers were down today but she had new folks too.

Am starting a meditation group at school on Monday mornings, just sitting - no guided meditation, will be a resource but not instructor/facilitator per se. No painting lately since exams have hampered my style, will get back to it.

The Artist's Way appeared back in my life via the alley mall. There it was on the ground in a pile of other books, so another artist friend and I will meet and discuss the chapters every Thursday. I have been doing the morning pages as a practice for some time, finding so many values in it, clearing the cobwebs and making the effort.

Hang in there, and keep up the work y'all.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stand up

Emperor's college, which I attend, is one of the best schools of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the US, possibly the world. We are part of petitioning the gov't to cover acupuncture under medicare - it makes sense financially and effectively. If you are willing, please make the effort to follow this link to sign the petition and ask your friends and family to do the same. - thank you
 http://wh.gov/PeeO

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

acu PRESSURE for you

Winter cold and wind - dark, less sun, etc etc = big time immune system downer. What ya gonna do? Well, check out this article by Sarah Calabro about which points to massage, press, push on with your fingers, to activate and charge up with attention: click here and hopefully the link will work. This is a great site for information in an easy to understand and concise format. Mom! try it!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Updated GD Website

I never thought how the abbreviation for Great Determination could be so amusing when we named the place. Being lazy and practical I did not redo the monastic steward page or the application page, for now they are not needed. As long as Mike doesn't freeze solid this winter I think he will really enjoy spring. Sorry the chant recording doesn't work, you will have to wait to enjoy that virtuoso performance. Any feedback or suggestions will be carefully considered. Sensei is looking into getting a card for a paypal account. I have some exams next week so am studying, multitasking is not so bad.

BTW, remember the middle way, everything in moderation? Good idea, over consumption creates "Phlegm," a really horrible pathogen in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Really. So be good to yourself and remember Restraint is not a bad thing.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

NY times meditation

One of Sensei's new Qigong Students gave her an article from the NY times: "Replacing Om with Glam." How to dress for meditation, seems a lot of clothing designers are making lines of clothing for the truly cool and chic. How about $995 for the right sweatpants to meditate in? (Groan,) the Tong Ren someone introduced me to turns out to be similar, a line of "toys" and books of course all to teach and practice this "new" healing technique. People suggest these money making schemes to Sensei more and more: "you should develop some clothing, cushions or mats to sell for Awakening Stillness Qigong!" Right...
Sensei says: "I want students that want to learn, not accessorize."

That being said, we are not objecting to cottage industry, to crafts and marketing, just the common confusion of what is a practice and what is beneficial. The subject goes back to the origins of buddhism, to developing discernment, to identifying what is real, what is attachment, what is wholesome. Good heavens, just sit. Just be aware. Get out of your head. Loving kindness meditation works from the inside out, and its free, (damn revolutionaries, turning capitalism on its head.) I am proud of this Sangha for pursuing the open, the natural, the real roots of wisdom.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Great Determination Sangha

I had to laugh last night, a classmate who had wanted to be a monk before marrying his high school girlfriend 25 years ago asked how my practice was, did I still have time for it? I wonder what he thinks the practice is...I actually am more aware of mindfulness and meditation throughout the day now, it's a 24/7 activity with variations but no stopping. You all know that, the GD Sangha is as good or better at it than so many other communities because this is what we emphasize, taking it off the cushion, so yesterday I watched myself run around like a chicken with its head cut off, losing three different items as the day went by and I did compassion meditation for me. There it is - the practice goes on, never ending like a river, if it got dammed or even if it dried up, it would just be elsewhere. It would still continue.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

palm paintings


That's it, a portrait of Louie I have been struggling with and an abstract with glyph- moving right along, Hey here's a quote for today:
 "A mind too active is no mind at all." ~Theodore Roethke

Great Determination

This plant has grown inside a parking sign a couple blocks from where we live. You can see it through the holes all the way up the sign post to where it comes out and blooms at the top, about nine feet, now that is Great Determination. Sometimes we have to find such inspiring examples to motivate us to continue or persist even at the most basic of jobs, like living. 

My cousin is one inspirational soul. She persists in being kind, gentle and thoughtful despite health problems and a tremendous capacity for deep emotion. She is aging, uses a walker, etc etc and she was washed out of her home of many years by Hurricane Sandy. Her home and belongings were swamped under 3 feet of mud and flood water but she has turned that into a source of strength and confidence. She is still battling "bureaucratic disorganizations" - most of us know how taxing and difficult that can be, but she has done it and is winning. I find her amazing and a great inspiration, there are people like her all around us and we can be them too, sometimes the adversity we face is the best thing that ever happens to us.