Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Bigu or not Bigu!"

    When I was a young person, ahhhhh I almost drowned at least twice in our local lake.  This lake was frequented by many teenagers and of course I wanted to "roll with the big guys".  As a result of that afflicted thinking I ended up on the bottom of the lake and then a lifeguard earned his pay dragging me in.  Man them guys are not gentle.  It is my belief that those events set a fear of water in motion in my subconscious.  That fear directed some of my effort for over 6 decades, until recently.

Although I was able to do such wondrous things as; show up at all swimming events and participate to the fullest.  Garner a 26 year career in the U.S. Navy.  Probably not transferred fear to children.  Apparently a relatively normal person.

The glitch:
I never and I mean never drank water.  I would skip a drink with meals if it was water.  I can see now that physically I was not being good to my body nor me.  I didn't care, I did not like water.

The awakening:
After meeting and spending time with Dr. Kevin Chen of the University of Maryland Integrative Medicine School I became ready to just allow myself the luxury of becoming whole.  Even after repeated efforts for 42 years in a recovery program I felt that I still was not whole not right.  Dr. Chen and his programs changed all that.

In addition to everything else, I have been in the process of trying to bring the Chinese qigong system "Guo Lin Qigong" to my area.  This qigong targets cancer and debilitating illness.  I had spent a week in 2015 with Dr. Chen at a Guo Lin cancer patient retreat.  This water fast process fit right in the path of cancer recovery.

The event:
So recently Dr. Chen offered his fall "Bigu Taoist 3 day water fast" and I thought it was a great and sound idea.  What the heck, the Taoist been doing this for a couple of thousand years and seem to be ok.  Completely and without compunction I said; "YES".  This fast was to be held in Columbia, Maryland at a local medical (acupuncture facility).  There was to be approximately 25 persons in the fast.  Soooooo, lets see, need a place to stay for 5 night, plane tickets, rental car and some warm clothes.  It had turn an average of 45 degrees at night.  I live in Florida.  Yuppp, about a thousand dollars to possibly change my life about water.  Oh yeah.

The Process:
The fast is only water.  I need to emphasize here that this Bigu Fast  is NOT any form of STARVATION process.  We only focused on self energy and energy provided by the Universe.  If you had a life threatening illness Dr. Chen encouraged taking the medicine otherwise the recommendation was to become as normal and clean as possible. No supplements, no food.  We were depending on our body/mind/spirit to take care of all our needs.  We were encourage to drink a minimum of 1 bottle (12 oz) every 2 hours we were awake.  Spring water ONLY.  I personally had no meds, no supplements.

So, all the time other than the 2 hour gatherings was our time.  Some worked, some retired, some just doing what ever they wanted like me.  Part of the fast I knew was diversion.  Rather than think/obsess on food or food process, think of other things.  Lots of meditation, although that was my forte.  Long walks in local parks and Howard County, Maryland has very neat parks.  Movies, great movie times. Anything to keep my mind not going to food.

The End:
Well almost. I will 'splain that later.  On Sunday Dr. Chen fixed us a soup of Napa and a pinch of salt.  This soup does not trigger the stomach and does not make the system work. It just passes through.
During the fast we could take certain very specific things that did not trigger the system at all.  Such as; red Chinese dates, redskin peanuts, almonds. fresh fruit in very very small pieces, one at a time.  Some in the group emotionally had problems and ate maybe a whole apple.  That does nothing but postpone the fast.  One apple extends the fast out 5 hours.  So many chose to break their fast at 3 days on Sunday and others chose to try to finish at 7 days.  What is the difference?

The Difference:
As I understand it, a 3 day Bigu fast will in fact allow my body to "reset" cellurlally.  After that during the fast the cells begin to realign and reform in the correct manner, not afflicted such as in diabetes.  At 7 days all sorts of things occur. This is the fast most diagnosed cancer patients will opt to go farther.  They wait 120 days and do a 21 day fast.

As I left Columbia I made the decision to go on to 7 days and see "what up"?  Well, good choice.  Monday morning I ate my 1/4 slice of pear.  Yummm.  Still on water of course.  The next 2 days were great.  Tuesday eve and Wednesday morning and at lunch time I had 1/3 banana.  I knew that I could break the fast at 8PM.  I would prepare a soup designed to facilitate the end.  This soup is a "5 rice soup" and all I was allowed one cup of broth (no rice) every 2 hours.  On the way to regular food.  As recommended I had scheduled a "colonic" for noon Thursday.  Now was the best time to totally cleanse my system.  (It did).  Thursday I began eating a wonderful pot of vegetable soup I had cooked nearly 2 weeks ago.  Oh yeah, reallllllllly tasted swell.  That soup will also be the basis of 2 meals on Friday.  All along I have snacks of small pieces of fresh fruit.  Done.

At day 3 a lady in our group announced that her 60 year old psoriasis had disappeared.  On day 4 I announced my "stage IV arthritis in both my hands had disappeared.  It was then I noticed my sinus problem, last 10 years, was now abating.  I think that is what prompted my to go to 7 days.  Average weight loss on the 3rd day for the ladies was 12 lbs.  Although I was doing this for information only, I lost 11 lbs.  There may be more dramatic or not so dramatic results.  More will be revealed.

This was a life changing event for me.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  Would I recommend this to family, friends, and students, of course.
I am just this moment thinking I have began to like, appreciate and want to drink water.  An unexpected result was that I was encouraged to slow down eating.  Be mindful and enjoy my food and life.  I do.

Love and light,

Monday, October 10, 2016

Nehemiah had the right idea

   My last blog entry was about trying to understand Nehemiah in the bible and what the "Nehemiah Retreat" at Unity Village in Lee's Summit, Mo. would mean to me.
   Well.  Nehemiah was able to accomplish all of his desired work on the walls and gates of Jerusalem in 52 days.  I am certain he had more than 27 workers as we did which allowed him to accomplish his monumental task

   Our 27 workers gathered from far and wide in the U.S. were up to the tasks that had been laid out by the facilities department of Unity Village.  That department which worked right beside all of us, had prepared a vigorous set of tasks, tasks that they themselves did not have the man power nor time to complete.

   Our workers did an enormous amount of work in 4.5 days and were able at the same time to consume as much food as the Village Inn could whip up.  Known specifically for their healthy menu and 5 star deserts, the Nehemiah crew did themselves proud finishing just about every form of processed sugar possible.  Good for short burst of temporary energy, not so good for long term health.

   Tasks consisted of but were not limited to; emptying a complete wing of a building and deep cleaning all those facilities, deep cleaning of several past student residences, aiding installation of a irrigation system on the golf course, moving a complete archived collection and any other task that popped up in the first 4 days.

   Unity Village is a unique facility which was created and built in the early 1900's.  Many far thinking practises were utilized; such as the first pre fabrication of walls.  Lowell Filmore one of the main architects of the Village was a student of European architecture and brought the very best of those skills to the Village during design and construction.

   The camaraderie and friendships that were forged in a short time were amazing.  Young or old, all seemed to want to build relationships and did.  The organization known to us all as "The Light that Shines for You" or Silent Unity was a tremendous part of this process.

   Silent Unity is a real time, FREE, 24/7, live, human facilitated prayer ministry.  This prayer ministry has been in prayer non-stop since 1893.  Through 2 world wars, the Korean Conflict, and numerous catastrophic events in the world which includes "911" they have manned; pencil/paper, teletype, telephone, facsimile, and even the Internet.  In addition to the main Silent Unity room in Unity Village there are 13 additional rooms around the world to support other languages, people and nations.

    For me, the director of Silent Unity Joy Cherry and Unity Minister Michael Perrie set this retreat apart from other Nehemiah Retreats I have attended.  Their daily and impromptu meetings of prayer or meditation during the week were much appreciated and enjoyed.  The tour of the Silent Unity training facility and explanation of "how it works" was an eye opener for most attending.  Nehemiah members were also encouraged and allowed to visit in 1/2 hour intervals in the Silent Unity Prayer Vigil room nearly any time they wished or signed up for.  These times in the Prayer Vigil room a place many think of as "special and holy ground" led many to come to conclusions or decisions they had been wrestling with.  Special times.

   So, would I do Nehemiah again? Oh yeah.  Would I recommend this retreat to my friends and other congregants at my Unity Church?  Oh yeah.  Would I recommend this retreat to anyone even though they may not attend Unity?  Oh yeah.  Stay tuned for the announcements in spring and fall of 2017 for sign up of a Nehemiah Retreat at Unity Village.

Love and light.

Friday, September 30, 2016

"Nehemiah, the epitome of service"...ahhh who ???

   Several years ago I heard the name "Nehemiah" and obviously knew it was the name of a man from the bible. I just did not know who he was or what his claim to fame was.  As it turns out he was kinda the example of what we people who like to provide service to others should look at.
   Nehemiah asked to go rebuild walls that had fallen and didn't really ask for any pay or remuneration for his efforts, he just wanted to fix what was broke.

   Wait!  No pay?  No payback?  Doesn't sound like the American way to me.  So I signed up for the Nehemiah Retreat held twice a year at Unity School of Christianity (Unity Village) at Lees Summit, Mo. just outside of Kansas City, Mo.  This is also the home of  "Daily Word" and "The Light that shines for you" (Silent Unity).  The retreat provides room and board in exchange for 8 hours of effort (work), and ahhhh, yeah, no pay.

   Went there, did it, loved it and recommend it.  As a matter of fact, this is the eve of us leaving for the fall Nehemiah Retreat.  Gonna live out a legacy of my life which is "service" to others.

Love and light




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

"Ahhh, Why? Cause I Can"

   So, long time no busy living life or trying to keep up with all that The Spirit of Life is doing for me.
    I am writing this article in the hopes I can figure out why I would decide to go on a "Water Fast".  Realize that for the past 70 years it has been my mission in life to eat, as much, as fast, as I can...all the time.  In early years I was blessed with a very fast metabolism...burn them calories as fast as I could put them in my body.
    Of course the years of obsessive, excessive, abhorrent use of alcohol pretty took care of any desire at all to regulate my eating habits.  Then the years of recovery and not drinking I was just moving along in life without my regard for any discipline of eating.
    Come to now and well I am wrestling with 6 pounds daily.  Up 4 down 5, up 5 down 3, etc.  This process has brought me to the conclusion, finally, my eating habits control my weight and appearance.  Really?  Ya Think?
    So color me from Missouri.  Show me how and why.  Give me true examples, convince me.  Well now, as I weaned myself slowly off of dairy products, while scoffing inside, I found a true change in me.  I have had a horrible problem with an over-active mucus generating system.  I would wake at night choking badly with mucus.  I actually needed to have a sputum cup beside my bed, and in some times in bed, to be able to spit out the mucus before I choked.  As I have been dairy free for a few months I have minimal if any on most days mucus in my system.  Hmmm.  Must be something to this diet or selective eating.
     As I moved through these mind altering mood changing eating habits, I was asked by one of my Chinese Medicine Teachers, Dr. Kevin Chen to attend his 3 day "Water Fasting" program.  I mean, what the heck, he had just did a 3 WEEK water fast.  3 days? While it sounds relatively crazy to me, how hard could it be?  Here is a link to the article which describes this water fast.
    So you can just imagine the real, unreal, expressed, un-expressed conscious and unconscious fears I have been living through.  Make a decision I kept telling myself.  I tried to put all of this in the context of how would it help me personally and how would it help me in my efforts to bring Chinese Medicines "Guolin Qigong" to this area.  This is the qigong system much of the world is having great success in treating cancer holistically.  some do not use invasive chemicals or substances.  They deal with their malady naturally.  Fasting is just another tool to be used to try and bring our bodies into a healthy situation.
   OK.  Book the airline, room, car and pray.  And pray, and pray.  I must admit, the uncertain fears come and go.  Then the assurance of years of Spiritual training kick in and I am OK.  Kinda like; "Mr. Toads wild ride".  Who knows, this water fast may end the eternal battle of the 6 pounds.  Won't know until 23 October when I am able to say; "I was able with the help of a Power Greater than myself to accomplish this life changing practice called; "Water Fasting".  I feel certain that; "more will be revealed in my life".

Love and light,

MaryCel, Dr. Chen, and I

Monday, January 25, 2016

"How time flies..."

   I can't imagine where the time went.  Next thing I knew I was divorced, divorced, married and living happily ever after.  Still am.

   Somewhere in the middle, life slipped in a 6 week belated honeymoon in Italy and aboard the MSC Divina Italian cruise ship which concluded with an 18 day trip from Genoa, Italy to Miami via the US Virgin Islands.  Not bad for an aging man trying to keep up with life.  Wait, eons ago I  made a decision that life was capitalized and was synonymous with God.  Life, with a capital L, right here in my home city. (hear Robert Preston in the Music Man)

   For nearly 42 years in more manners than I care to admit to, I have been learning, demonstrating and celebrating Life.  Freedom of life with Life began 8 February 1974.  All before that was pretty much a fog.  That long ago day allowed the vail to be lifted from my eyes and heart.

   In this moment as I sit here and write I am provided with the serenity and recall to feel just amazed.  I am amazed at how much "good" is flooding my Mind and heart.  Actually just a swell feeling.  I am aware that there are also numerous memories that are not so "good".   It is my personal choice to remember the "good".  Those other memories are distant and I think that is exactly where they are going to stay.

   I am able to recall my dear dear early friends of recall.  I also still can see all those all along the way that were there for me, in some manner or other.  One of them is 94 and still walking on a treadmill.  Another is slim trim and a videographer and writer.  One is a minister and mother. Another is dead.  And of course is a saintly man living a quiet life.  Wonderful memories.  All those are brought to mind along with recent memories with a new wife/friend/student/mother/taiji student-teacher.

   I guess what I am trying to say here is that I am truly blessed with the miracle of Love in my life and I know it.  I want to revel in it, live in it, embrace it and in turn, be it.

I Am,
Love and light,
"Santa Maria"

The Sweetest of All

Friday, May 8, 2015

There is always more...

     To answer the question posed by the name of this blog series, the answer is a "resounding yes".

     I understand that today I am the product of many years experience in so many ways.  This means that my thought processes are the result of many years of thinking and doing.  These processes have been dynamic all my life with the exception of many days, weeks, months, and years of addiction.

     In the Present Moment I operate under the idea that once again or at least most of the time I am once again a dynamic entity.  It is here that I have recently witnessed what I hope is a dynamic process that I will emulate in my life should it be necessary.  That process is one of grief, sorrow possible depression based on a loss in my life and then the resurrection of mind and life.

    I have been so privileged to be exposed to so many wonderful people both in and out of the rooms of recovery.  I have recently been witness and a part of a beautiful pair of souls that have  suffered a tragic and unexpected loss in their family.  They are not young people and not "recovery" people.  Yet they are both considered by the community as very powerful, centered, aware and mindful persons.  It has been with amazement and wonder that I have witnessed the above process of "being knocked down" in life and then rising up to even greater heights.  These two souls as far as I am concerned are the examples that I seek always of how to live life in a congruent manner.  They are the living proof to me that is; "always more down deep within us we can call upon".

     While it is was evident and apparent at the time of calamity that both of these individuals have suffered a deep and horrible loss of life close to them, it was just as apparent that they would call upon the reserve if Spirit and loving energy they have been cultivating all their adult lives.  I was astounded at how quickly these two souls turned their thoughts and actions towards helping others that had also suffered the loss.  Their focus immediately turned to "helping others" via the Spirit of their lives.  This is a process that I all to often forget not having very many calamities going on in my life lately.  

   This example of how to become congruent not only with the principles of the 12 step programs but also those life practices that have been around of eons and ingrained many individuals all their lives has been just what I need and needed.  I am so grateful to these two wonderful people that they allow me to dart in their lives and witness that magnificent transformation from sorrow to acceptance and on to joy and celebration of life, moment by moment.  This situation serves the purpose of demonstrating to me and those surrounding these two precious souls what I like to think is the adage; "...practice these principles in all your affairs" even when and especially when it hurts so bad.

For my two blessed friends I offer the only solace and comfort that I know in the form of scripture; 

"so do not fear, for I Am with you; do not be dismayed, for I Am you God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you..." Isaiah 41:10

Love and light, richard




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Great thoughts and ideas, to bad they are not mine !

   One of my most favorite people in AA, Bill M.  hails from Canada, eh!  He sent me the following writing and I think it deserves a wider audience.  With his permission I am posting this on my blog series to get that audience.  This posting is verbatim and not change in any manner.  If you have comments or ideas feel free to post them on this blog.  I will ensure that he gets them.

Love and light

Who is in your WE group today?

I have never blogged (if that is what this is) but this morning I just felt like writing some thoughts down inspired from my morning meditation. After I wrote this I kind of felt like I wrote it to someone so I am sending it to a short list of folks who I consider to be on my we team today.
For many years in AA I never heard the expression that the first word in the steps is WE and how this concept of we is so important in AA.
I now hear this phrase regularly at meetings about how it is a WE program.
But what does it mean?
Today in my meditation the title question came to me which is “who is in my we group today”?  who is in your We group today?
Ego wants it to be just ME
Ego wants to desperately survive and be all important and to not share Me with anyone or at least only if “They” are subjects and admirers.
Or perhaps Ego doesn't trust and so feels it can only survive if it stays isolated as an “I am alone” and on my own thought and feeling! This is not only untrue but it is one of the key elements of stinking thinking and character and life wasting Rot.
God gave each of us an allowance much like my parents used to give me an allowance for doing certain chores.  How am I spending my allowance is always an important question for me.  Who is or is not on my We team is an important contributor to how I am spending my allowance from God. Everyone's allowance is finite and once it is spent it is spent.
The idea of oneness suggests everyone is in my we group.  I am a human within the human population of the world and thus WE share the world and are all part of it at this moment in forever.   If we were to go back say 2500 years ago or for that matter a week ago the we of the human race was quite different. Humans have been added and subtracted moment to moment so the we is in constant change within the  motion Lau Tzu describes as “Returning and Yielding”.
At another level of we it is who I am sharing a particular space and time and relationship with. If I am in a car with 4 other people we are a we at that moment and if the car runs out of gas WE have a problem together and a shared we experience. As soon as we get gas and reach our destination the we may now be just a shared memory of the past .
We;  family for instance. There may be some in your family you don’t feel very close to and the we only means some kind of shared blood relationship . On the other hand there is often a close bond and comradely with some members of our family. Outsiders can not really become a part of this we in the sense of blood relationship but perhaps they can become part of our family with other shared bonds. Humans have a we bond with their parents and siblings (alive of dead) as there has been much shared experience and feelings one way and another.
Our human nature longs for a loving we experience with our blood family and in particular with our parents. Ego wants to be admired and loved and supported and if it doesn't get that it rebels and feels abandoned and rejected and alone; or we try and latch into another  co-dependent relationship to replace our lost family. 
Ego sometimes says fine! Screw you >>>. Its me against the world! When we take that attitude into our day (or our life)  the world spits back and the isolation and aloneness becomes a self created reality. Alcoholism is often called the loneliest disease as it creates this aloneness and isolation to sponsor the relief that alcohol gives to the tortured lonely mind.
Assholism is a disease on its own and it is just alcoholism without the alcohol. So many so called non alcoholics can suffer from Assholism. We all can break out into the symptoms of Assholism in our mind or actions from time to time.  The problem often is that we don’t know what we don’t know.  We may be sending out an aura of defensiveness and resistance and not know it. We think we are nice guys who others just don’t understand or that we are just unlucky in life and life relationships.
Conversely sometimes we can get a grandiose distortion of our reality and impact on others .  We collect “right points “ as we go through our day. Of course often our ego thinks that for me and it to be right it means we must prove you to be wrong.  Matching and bettering are two forms of our ego trying to collect some additional right points. If you tell me a story I have to tell you a better one from my story inventory.
The difference between an enlightened person and an ignorant person is that the enlightened person knows he Is ignorant.  Ignorance can be a blind spot and because we often only look through the window of self-centeredness we fail to see what others see about us.  Good and bad.  Our filters only see what our ego wants us to see or thinks it sees.
For me this is one of the great benefits of regular meditation, as insights and thoughts seem to come from NOWHERE >>>>>> i.e   “no-where” >>> to “now – here.”  Doing steps four and five six and seven every so often and step 11 every day, provides additional insights and clarity for what follows the words I am _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ??
We in AA  can mean the we that is at a particular meeting or a conference. At that moment in time there is a we in the space and anyone who is not there is not  part of the we of the experience. However there is a “We” associated with an AA group that extends beyond the physical proximity of the now. If you are a member and have signed the book you are in fact a part of the we and are eligible to say that word as a member of the group. We may say in our group or when Ego wants to feel important it might even say my group.
So then there is another level of We which is that circle of people we feel bonded with and whom we feel are “On my side” or I may also feel I am on their side. This ought to include a sponsor or a mentor, and a person who is on their side. I have had a sponsor and a spiritual mentor with whom I would have little or no contact with for lengthy periods. When I would think of them I would still know that if I called or we got together we would be WE instantly and even with physical separation we were still a we team of bonded brothers.   This we of personal compassion and bond is also one of constant change and motion. There may be a small group of individuals I feel particularly bonded with today and of course this group can become larger and smaller at any point in time. When a newcomer comes to a meeting and shares they are in trouble and need’s help I can almost observe the compassion and I most certainly feel a bond of we with that person in my instinct to help, out of the human bonds of love and oneness.
On the other hand whenever I feel thoughts of judgment, resentment, competition or criticism either against me, or me against others,  the we diminishes and separation is created.
I hear people say and sometimes I catch myself feeling like just being isolated or alone. This is the ego trying to protect itself out of fear .
Ego likes to put a large number of other people in the ”they” category. If I have an attitude that you are either on my team or you are automatically on the other team then you are part of my They.  I am sure that doesn't worry you but it sure as hell ought to worry me.
I have had the great experience a few times in life of feeling a deep team “we” feeling; A couple of times in sports when younger ; a few times in work situations where there was a true team with a common goal and deep respect and team bonds who won or lost as a group.  I have had this great we team experience in my aa life. I have felt it with sponsors, sponsies, and aa groups I belonged to. From the very start I have felt it with AA as a whole. I felt this wonderful we bonded feeing of having bonds to millions of people most of whom I have not met. I have travelled and found almost instant we support and mutual love with other members all over North America and at world conferences.
One of the most important and fulfilling we feelings is to feel one with this mystical force of creation in the universe. I feel this we and in synchronization with this force each time I witness an unexplainable God-Incident and realize that this was not just chance or a random set of conditions coinciding but a part of a Devine creation of space and time coming together.  I have often thought this when attending an AA meeting. That group of humans in that configuration will never come together in the same place at the same time and the exact experience will never happen again >.. ever!. no human power could create or recreate the exact configuration and the exact outcomes and meaning that occurs in that hour. You have to be there and conscious to be part of that co-incident creation. If there are 20 people there and we could track their lives from birth to that meeting the number of incident events and experiences that brought them there to that coincident event is mind boggling. We can either believe those trillions of experiences and thoughts and actions had been totally random chance or we can believe they are just a part of a more grand and Devine order that has coincided to create yet more and shared now's  and healing amongst those present.
So I leave you and this blog today with that question I started with.
Who is in your WE group today? I hope I am!  You are in mine.
such is the truth.
"that which we focus on EXPANDS Focus on the GOOD"