Friday, 29 January 2010

The sea is freezing in Denmark this winter,
Corinna tells me it's the coldest in 20 years .

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

"Don't ask me to let go of my tension, it's the only thing holding me together"
Woodie Allen
I laughed out loud on reading this many years ago and still chuckle on remembering it.
In a way it is true my tension does keep "me" together , that is the small me (ego) who is defensive and fearful. Recognising, accepting, even welcoming tensions as messengers who can reveal my deepest self can be a way to embrace and become the ME who is already whole, open, loving and doesn't need to cut off and hide.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Here is another of Dr. Charles Tart's mindfulness exercises that is proving to be really interesting and insightful.
"Next time you are waiting become aware of what the waiting feels like. How does it feel in your body and how does it feel in your mind ? Don't think about what you are waiting for but rather the feelings aroused in and because of the waiting."
Since reading and using this exercise waiting has a whole new ' life ' for me, I'm hoping the exercise will do the same for you.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Ground yourself, strip yourself down
To blind loving silence.
Stay there, until you see
You are gazing at the Light
With its own ageless eyes.

Friday, 22 January 2010

We all have within us the mystic ,the sage, the warrior, the playful child, artist dreamer, to mention just a few. However often these parts go unnoticed buried under the busy-ness of our lives. The regular practice of T'ai Chi can be (and has been for me ) a gateway to some of these aspects , parts of us that might never be met but for the deep quiet time spent in T'ai Chi practice.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Jacques Lusseyran became blind at eight, here he describes how he sensed a tabletop.

"To find out, my fingers had to bear down, and the amazing thing is that the pressure was answered by the table at once.
Being blind I thought I should have to go out to meet things, but I found that they came to me instead....I didn't know if I was touching the ( an apple ) or it was touching me. As I became part of the apple, the apple became part of me .... everything was an exchange of pressures.... I spent hours leaning against objects and letting them lean against me.

Reading this really warmed my heart, he explains the joy of T'ai Chi sticking ... so beautifully.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Inside this clay jug there aer canyons and pine mountains,
and the maker of canyons and pine mountains!
All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions
of stars.
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who judges
And the music from the strings no one touches,
and the source of all water.
If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.

Monday, 18 January 2010

" Practice switching roles with some of your loved ones. Imagine what it is like to be your partner or spouse, your parent, your child. Get inside your loved ones' shoes and imagine what it would be like to see the world through their eyes, with their hopes and fears and dreams. Think how you would respond. "
Dr Charles Tart.

I loved the sound of this exercise on reading it and am finding it fun, challenging, inspiring and a great source of work.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Standing Still

Sometimes ( just like yesterday )I find it very difficult to stand still at the end of the form. It is as if my whole body resists it and urges me to move on. These are the best times to sink even more.
When I do remain still and allow myself to feel whatever is going on, it is usually worth the effort. Often it is an anxiety, some sense of unease which my mind is trying to distract me from. Sometimes as I stand it becomes clear, my mind is saying you are not getting "it" right. Insecurities abound , if I allow all these feelings to arise and listen openly and feel them one by one they will often dissolve in the open space of awareness. Occasionly however, they will remain all day or even longer, then one needs patience to trust the allowing, knowing that some stuff is very old and needs lots of love before it is ready to leave.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

Walt Whitman

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Conscious Practice

When the "form" finishes I like to stand for a while paying special attention to any letting go that happens in my muscles. This is one way I "catch" the places where my body is resisting.

Then I repeat the form this time keeping this place soft and relaxed. For me doing this means that the form really slows down (otherwise I tense up again), also I become very aware of the lure of my mind drawing me into an old memory or some plan for the future.

At the end of this form I repeat the body scan. Then one more form, this time focusing on the yield and respond aspect of each posture or some other aspect which pulls my attention more outside thus balancing the practice lest I become too self engrossed.

Interestingly enough I find that during the final form, even when my conscious attention is mainly on the applications, part of me is checking that my old tension remains a thing of the past.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Let's not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.
--Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, 11 January 2010


Here is Doctor Fehmi with Ken Molloy, who is on the NS500 neurofeedback machine. The machine is designed to give feedback (a continuous bleep or hum) when one's brain is producing synchronous frequency at all 5 test locations on the brain.

“When someone learns to operate their central nerve system, the way it was designed to be operated and includes abundant, low frequency synchrony, (alpha brain waves) things run more smoothly and efficiently and don’t break down as often. We are equipped with a rapid and sensitive emergency response to assure survival. But we are also equipped with a process of restoration and recovery, a way to lay down our burden: by generating low frequency synchrony. After some time in alpha, curious and wonderful changes started to happen. My muscle tone softened and I moved with a new found effortlessness and fluidity: sometimes I felt like I was gliding when I walked. I felt extraordinarily present, centred, poised, open, lighter and freer and more calmly energetic and spontaneous."

Like Doctor Fehmi, I feel more light-hearted and relaxed after practicing at alpha. But being the scientist, I also acknowledge that this, no doubt, may be due to some of my other practices too. However, what has really become clear to me over the last while is the benefit of machine’s ‘feedback’ nature. When I am training and getting strong feedback , whether from practicing Open Focus or imagining that I am doing T’ai Chi forms (very effective for me in attaining high amplitude alpha), and the hum stops, I want to become conscious of what has interrupted the synchronous alpha.

Here are some of the thoughts which interrupt the flow for me:

1: Sometimes I notice I am in very strong alpha and start trying to figure out what my brain is doing to elicit it. The analysis really shuts it down.

2: I become distracted by a thought and start paying attention to some ‘story’ that develops.

3: I simply lose concentration.

What I love about the machine is that it lets me know, and then I can bring my attention back to my training and the machine hums once more.
This training seems to carry over into my T’ai Chi and now I become much more conscious of how I am attending to the practice and so can settle into it more consciously.

It is so amazing to have this much snow ! Suzie (my dog) and I just loved our walk down the lane.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Snowball Effect

The weirdest thing about the research on willpower is this phenomena that when we start consciously working on one thing that takes self-discipline, we also tend to start improving our lives in other areas as well. When researchers ask college students to attend to one area of their lives—trying to improve their posture throughout the day, for example, or to attend to their finances for a few weeks—they end up doing other things that might end up on a New Year’s Resolution list, too, like watching less TV, working out more, and improving their eating habits.

We can’t consciously pursue too many goals at once, or goals that are too ambitious at the outset, because our willpower muscle isn’t strong enough yet. But strengthening our willpower eventually works wonders on the things that we aren’t consciously focusing on, too.

One last thing: if you feel you and your kids have willpower fatigue—you’ve used up your stores for the day—find a way to laugh. Research shows that it improves your mood and in so doing restores your willpower reserves.

Christine Carter, Ph.D.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

T'ai Chi in Open Focus

T'ai Chi in Open Focus was a great success. I gather from the feedback that people enjoyed the workshop and found Open Focus really enhanced their T'ai Chi experience.
So I am planning to include some more formal open focus aspects to our training sessions for this term. It was great to see complete beginners effortlessly part taking in the "Form".