Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Divine gets it right

   This weekend I was privileged to participate in the Florida Senior Games that featured taichi for the very first time.

    A good number of participants showed up and the games were termed a success.  Throughout the morning various taichi forms were demonstrated.  Some very familiar and some I had never seen. 
     Classifications were for beginners (novice), intermediate and advanced participants.  I was listed in the advanced class.  After all I have been teaching taiji/qi gong for 10 years, I guess they got it right.

     A change in classification of classes had been decided upon by the games admin persons, and I was allowed to sign up for an advanced Beijing 24 (Yang 24) form.  This is the national form of taichi for China.  It is also the most practiced taichi form in the world.  I enjoy this form and am relatively accomplished at it.

     At the end of my first demonstration I felt terribly good for in my mind I have done the form flawlessly.  No mistakes, in the prescribed amount of time, great energy, very upbeat.  After the other contestants performed it was my thought that two of them were very good and most probably outperformed me.  The third man was a very senior person, more senior than I.  Being as fair as I could be I definitely felt I had outperformed this gentleman.  So a quaint and quick medal ceremony with pictures, etc.  ensued and I was handed my yellow ribbon.  Wait!  There were 3 medals, nice shiny medals ahead of my fourth (4th) place ribbon.  Oh no.  I had in fact been scored last of 4.  

     Of course I know that it is not the prize that counts it is the process or journey that is important.  Yet, hmmmm.  Last?  Really? So starts the self aggrandizement.  I was better than he!  He was slow, blah blah blah.  Self justification, blah blah blah.  Oh lord I was in a self mess.  A bit of meditation and self examination led me to hug the beautiful elderly guy who had outs scored me and tell him I thought he was great, and he was.

    Well that was done, now to wait for the last form contest which is the Beijing 24.  We broke for lunch at that moment and one hour later were back in the gym ready to go.  Oh oh, wait a minute.  They stated they were done with taichi and were moving along to the next forms which were "push hands".  Not my cup o tea and I would be leaving as soon as I was finished with my next form.

     Here is where I get emotionally crazy.  Still harboring a little ill feeling about my 4th place ribbon, I was not being told they were going to skip the Beijing 24 form for I was the only man to sign up for it.  Huh.  That would mean I would have been the only participant and an automatic "Gold Medal"!!!  Yes, thank you God. 

     Then the thought that I would be given a medal simply because I was the only one in the category.  I did not even get to perform the form.  "Just give him a gold medal and let's move on" I heard.  Sigh, by now pride had me in its grips of torment.  A medal charity case is what I am now huh?  Never mind.  It is fine, I don't need a medal.

     The personnel putting on the games were so sincerely apologetic about their mistake and were so adamant about correcting their mistake I did participate in a quick and personal medal ceremony and had pictures taken.  Every one seemed so happy and yet I was feeling just a bit childish and embarrassed.

     It finally dawned on me that the Divine takes care of all.  I got what I deserved in my first form participation, I also by rule got what I deserved for my second form which I never even performed.  The Divine was balancing the scales.  What was my problem?  None.  None at all.  I will cherish and display both prizes equally.  I love them both.  Why, wouldn't I?  They are a gift from my creator. 

     I will forever and always remember this day.  Even when my head goes negative and self engaged, the Divine is always there to bail me out.  God is Good, always, all ways.

Love and light


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