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

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


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


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


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.