Friday, 28 June 2013

                                                     by Montsegur
 My T'ai Chi friend Pat is back from holidays and sent me this nice photo.

I'm back in London for the final session of the four weekend course in consciousness that has been calling me here. I'm still absorbing and working on the concepts and will talk about the ideas and practises  as soon as I come to grips with the work.

The course is very interesting and challenging and in some strange sense familiar as if I am remembering long forgotten experiences and memories.

I have often felt that my family, close friends, and T'ai Chi companions , Reconnection clients,are old connections, that we have known each other before , in previous lifetimes . That we are working together again  learning lessons we need to learn .  Now finally I am meeting people who share and understand these sentiments.  So really looking forward to the insights this weekends work will bring.

Also looking forward to some more walks around London.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Still in Hampstead

I'm still remembering last Monday morning's walk in London.
I had decided to follow Kate Kellaway's  " Of Kites and Keats " walk in Time Out  london Walks partly because it started in Kentish Town, but also because it would take me to Hampstead and I'd never been there before.

                Past Bailey Mews

           An old narrow lane  ( College Lane  I think )

                   Past beautiful houses on Grove Terrace where
                    Kate Kellaway grew up.

                  Heading up Parliament Hill  I overhear a Mum answer a
                                       young school boy.

                "  No she  is not insane, she is practicing T'ai Chi ".

                      Amused I continue on up the hill.

                  Next I'm met with a film crew recording  .  .   .     .   .

               On through  more secluded paths

                Past the deserted mixed bathing pond


                   Along the verdant path


Past Keats Close in Hampstead 

To stop at Keats' House and read from Kate Kellaway

" It is wonderful to see the old propped mulberry tree and reflect that it was in this garden that Keats heard the nightingale that inspired his poem. It was here, too, that he wrote a less well known companion piece to  '  ' Ode to a Nightingale '  ; 
" Oh there is nothing like fine weather, and health , and books and a fine country, and a contented Mind,and Diligent habit of reading and thinking, and an amulet against ennui - and, please, heaven a little claret- wine cool out of a cellar a mile deep - with a few or a good many ratafia cakes - a rocky basin to bathe in, a strawberry bed to say your prayers to Flora......."

 Well content with my ramblings I return to Deb's and pack for Ireland.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A trip to Hampstead Heath

My friend Debbie whom I stayed with last weekend lives near Hampstead Heath . We went walking there
on Saturday evening.

Deb introduced me to the ' Ladies' Pond '  I was a bit shy to take photos there  . . . .

Apart from this family

 out for their evening stroll.

By coincidence, the next day on my way to my course I came across a book
 with this cover while lunching in Gail's Kitchen restaurant .

This  painting on the cover caught my eye and on opening the book I read that the tiger painting was set in Hampstead Heath  and inspired by Blake's Poem,  which according to the book was also set in Hampstead Heath.  

                                          TIGER, tiger, burning bright
                                          In the forests of the night,
                                          What immortal hand or eye
                                          Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

                                          In what distant deeps or skies
                                          Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
                                         On what wings dare he aspire?
                                         What the hand dare seize the fire?

                                         And what shoulder and what art
                                         Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
                                         And when thy heart began to beat,
                                         What dread hand and what dread feet?

                                         What the hammer? what the chain?
                                         In what furnace was thy brain?
                                         What the anvil? What dread grasp
                                         Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

                                         When the stars threw down their spears,
                                         And water'd heaven with their tears,
                                         Did He smile His work to see?
                                         Did He who made the lamb make thee?

                                         Tiger, tiger, burning bright
                                         In the forests of the night,
                                         What immortal hand or eye
                                         Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


                            Next morning, inspired by that book and Deb's Time Out  London Walks, I set off to Hampstead once more   .  .  .   . But it's late so more on Hampstead and London tomorrow.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

I'm in London again and hence not writing much. I'm having such a good time lots of interesting photos and experiences I will share once home and have my own laptop.
It is so invigorating to get out of one's regular ' life' explore new ideas, meet new people , and spend time with friends who lift one's spirits.
I just wish I could upload some of the photos as my mind is full of ideas and stories related to those pics.

Anyway that will have to wait , I'm staying in Kentish Town and spent Friday afternoon in ' The Owl Bookshop, I haven't given myself an afternoon of such blissful reading for a long time . I found fascinating books on neuroscience and magic and neuroscience and pleasure canters in the brain. So much of interest that I am longing to share  . . . But I'm being thrown out of the internet cafe it will have to wait.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Aesthetics of Emptiness

D. T Suzuki , when I was studying with him, said the ego has the capacity to cut itself off from experience - whether it comes through the senses or through dreams  - and it can also flow with the experience. It has that capacity.

In other words we can change our minds, so that rather than concentrating on ourselves in self- consciousness, we can become attentive to the environment - outside like today, or it can be, so to speak, zero in the contemplative setting.

I thought that instead of taking the conventional discipline of sitting cross-legged that I would take this other way. If I approach the world of relativity free of my likes and dislikes, so that when something happens that I don't like, instead of continuing to say I don't like it, ask myself why  don't I like it ? then here is a clear possibility of changing my mind.

I proceed from one composition to another in a similar way . And then you can take all kinds of things as guides. In other words, you can become an observer of your work and the effect of your work both on yourself and to a lesser extent on other people.

          - John Cage in Essential Zen

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

New Views of Love

It’s time to upgrade our view of love.
First and foremost, love is an emotion, a momentary state that arises to infuse your mind and body alike. Love, like all emotions, surfaces like a distinct and fast-moving weather pattern, a subtle and ever-shifting force. As for all positive emotions, the inner feeling love brings you is inherently and exquisitely pleasant -- it feels extraordinarily good, the way a long, cool drink of water feels when you’re parched on a hot day. Yet far beyond feeling good, a micro-moment of love, like other positive emotions, literally changes your mind. It expands your awareness of your surroundings, even your sense of self. The boundaries between you and not-you -- what lies beyond your skin -- relax and become more permeable. While infused with love you see fewer distinctions between you and others. Indeed, your ability to see others -- really see them, wholeheartedly -- springs open. Love can even give you a palpable sense of oneness and connection, a transcendence that makes you feel part of something far larger than yourself.

Love, like all emotions, surfaces like a distinct and fast-moving weather pattern, a subtle and ever-shifting force.  And the new take on love that I want to share with you is this: Love blossoms virtually any time two or more people -- even strangers -- connect over a shared positive emotion, be it mild or strong.

Love, as your body experiences it, is a micro-moment of connection shared with another.  And decades of research now shows that love, seen as these micro-moments of positive connection, fortifies the connection between your brain and your heart and makes you healthier.  [...]  It can seem surprising that an experience that lasts just a micro-moment can have any lasting effect on your health and longevity. Yet there’s an important feedback loop at work here, an upward spiral between your social and your physical well-being. That is, your micro-moments of love not only make you healthier, but being healthier also builds your capacity for love. Little by little, love begets love by improving your health. And health begets health by improving your capacity for love.

From  Love 2.0  by Barbara Frederickson,

To experience Love right now listen to this Loving Kindness Meditation  on youtube.
Namaste  Ann      Loving Kindness Meditation

Sunday, 16 June 2013

More about Learning

Study and learning ( in my opinion ) are some of the most enjoyable pursuits on the planet.
When I study a new subject ,  learn its vocabulary ,  read about it and read experiences of its students and teachers my world expands into realms previously unknown to me.
 Can you you imagine what life would be like if nobody had made maps , here I'm  referring to maps as any form of learning system ,  curriculum or book. Now we all know that the map is not the territory but how much longer would it take us to find our way without maps and directions left by people who have ventured forward ,explored new thoughts and ways of thinking and seeing.  Often these people have to even invent the vocabulary to express their experiences and their discoveries. To begin to understand and share in their worldview we have to study the subject and  learn the vocabulary.
  This takes time and effort,  I can  remember beginning my study of T'ai Chi with it's vocabulary of body movements that were completely new and strange to me at that time. It took a long time before they became familiar enough that I could begin to feel the more subtle aspects of energy work inherent in the practice.
 I can remember being baffled when my teachers spoke of the change in the ' energy ' during a session. In the beginning just coming to terms with the day's lesson was taking all my available consciousness. Feeling the  ' energy shifts happened as my skill in the form sand partner work improved so more of my mindspace was available to experience the subtle shifts in energy.
Reconnection had a whole new vocabulary of body movements , sensations  and experiences and in learning this new skill other aspects of this  reality became accessible to me. Aspects I couldn't have dreamt of without the reconnection experience , and the  study and reading  of the subject.

Here below is a letter from Einstein to his son  with advice on learning which resonates well with my experience and good for a ' Father's Day ' blog post .

Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.
I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . . .
Be with Tete kissed by your
Regards to Mama.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Study , Practice, Persist

Whenever I feel stuck in my practise I remind myself that the way out is straight through the stuckness.

Persist , read all available information, talk with people interested in the topic,  ' pray '.

 Keep up the practise , but also open up to new ways of seeing ,  feeling stuck is often a sign of growth, you have become too big for your current  world view or understanding ,  the stuck feeling is often a sort of growing pain , something wants to burst through to conscious awareness. It is there just under the surface making you very uncomfortable unable to settle,  this is good , this is life force that wants to be listened to and investigated.

This is the time to immerse in study and practise , a time to keep persisting and a shift will happen the doors of perception will open a little wider.

 Inspiration will come the prayers will be answered in the form of books , articles , conversations or just insights that arise in silent reflections. So persist and growth is guaranteed.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

We Move in Infinite Space ( from Nipun Mehta )

It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream.
And we don't know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside.

The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it "happens" (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary - and toward this point our development will move, little by little - that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun's motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Letters to a Young Poet

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Letting go!

As you read this, take a deep breath and, as you exhale,

allow all the tension to leave your body.

Let your scalp and your forehead and your face relax.

Allow your tongue and your throat and your shoulders relax.

Let go in your fingers and hands and allow them to relax.

Now allow your back and your abdomen and your pelvis relax.

Let your breathing be peaceful as you allow your legs and feet to relax.

Can you feel a change in your body?

Notice how much you hold on.

If you are doing it with your body you are doing it with your mind.

In this relaxed position, say to yourself, " I am willing to let go.

I release. I let go. I release all tension. I release all fear.

I release all anger. I release all guilt. I release all sadness.

I let go and am at peace. I'm at peace with myself.

I am at peace with the process of life. I am safe."

Repeat this exercise a few times and feel the ease of letting go.

I notice how much smoother my day goes when I'm feeling

released and relaxed.

( This seems to be a really popular page from 2011 so I'm posting it again ).

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


                           Centre your body feeling your feet on the ground

                           and your spine becoming aligned upward.

                           Widen your vision so as to allow all the space

                           around to be present in your awareness.

                           Listen with  your ears  firstly to the sounds close by
                           then allow all sounds.

                           Now bring your attention to the crown of your head ,

                           Listen with the crown of your head .              
                           Feel yourself connect  upward to your source.

                           Relax into the feeling  of  connection , feel the

                           the nourishing energy flow in through the crown of

                          your head.

                          This energy is always there waiting for us to turn to it .

                           You will notice a calm and peace enter your body

                           and mind .

                           Now you are connected and you can connect each

                          time you need some inspiration or direction in your day.


Monday, 10 June 2013

Sunday Evening Walk

              So lovely to head to the wood on a warm June evening.

                    And wander  in among the trees.

                      Cool off in the stream.

        So much beauty to enjoy

                      Soft ferns

                 Lush growth

 Light dancing through the trees 

 On the grass in the meadow

And on the hill as we head home.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Open Focus Cross Energy Exercise practiced in a circle.

When we practice this exercise in a circle , we begin by organising the group so everyone knows who their 'partner' is  ( the person directly opposite them in the circle).  It must be an even number for this exercise.
Then we begin the exercise by connecting as a group , we work in peripheral vision  (open focus ) so we are all moving in sync. Then keeping this open focus we include a narrower focus on our own partner within the group. In the beginning this ' double' focus can take a little practice but it gets much easier after a few sessions.
 The exercise develops concentration,  energy awareness, group connection , a sense of achievement when we can maintain this 'double ' awareness for longer and longer periods.
 It is a really fun way to connect and exercise.
 We then move places so as to connect with a new partner , this is a good way to become conscious of individual energy or energy signature.
 It never ceases to amaze me how individual each person's energy is.

Here is the last of the cross energy exercises  that we practice in open focus .  For some strange reason it wouldn't upload yesterday.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

T'ai Chi Exercises in Open Focus to investigate expanding and contracting conscious awareness.

This series of exercises are all based on the  cross - energy T'ai Chi Warm up  exercise shown below.

We practice it in the group as a warm up exercise

In this next video the I have adapted the exercise  for partner work. Here through working and ' listening ' to one's partner , a sense of the between energy is awakened , especially when practised in an already heightened awareness having done some  warm up exercises.

In this version of the same exercise we work in threes.

It is really nice to practise it in a circle unfortunately my vimeo video allowance for this week is full so I will have to wait until tomorrow when I can upload the circle  version.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Centereing Exercise as on the Open Focus Webinar

Here is the centering exercise I did on the Open Focus Webinar .
 I have some T'ai Chi warm up exercises that I have adapted to incorporate Open Focus training. I will post them tomorrow as today is super busy with Reconnection and T'si Chi.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Lessons for Blackrock Class

I must apologise some of the titles are mixed up ( don't know what came over me).
Probably a bit preoccupied  in preparation for the webinar.
 I will have the exercise we did on the Webinar ready to post later today or tomorrow morning.

                   This is the stepping exercise for repulse the monkey.

                             Brush left knee and push.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Today's Webinar

                                                Susan Shor Fehmi and Dr Fehmi

 In this month's Ask Fr Fehmi  Webinar Susan Shor Fehmi will have a chat with me about the use and benefit of Open Focus attention in the practice of T'ai Chi and all other aspects of my life and work.

 I will share an exercise which I use at the beginning ( and during )  my classes which is very effective in centering our awareness in the moment. A way to bring us physically and mentally into our practice and fully into our lives.

there will be an opportunity to experience Open Focus with Dr Fehmi  when he leads us in one of his exercises.

Following that exercise there will be time to ask questions,  and also to answer the questions that we have already received.

There is still time to register for today's seminar which begins at 6pm  (our time in Ireland )  1 pm in Princeton.
Here is the link to register or to find out more about the Webinar   Dissolving Pain

Tuesday, 4 June 2013



                         Now is the healing, quiet hour that fills
                        This gay, green world with peace and grateful rest.

                        Where lately over opalescent hills

                        The blood of slain Day reddened all the west,

                        Now comes at Night's behest,

                        A glow that over all the forest spills,

                       As with the gold of promised daffodils.

                       Of all hours this is best.
                                                          by C J Dennis

Monday, 3 June 2013


                              I bring to this wood  sorrow

                                  I bring bliss

                             Come with a mind that's  tangled


                      Watch as it opens up

                  And feel it being washed clean

                 The wood asks for nothing as it shares it's healing balm


To become a healing presence and spread that balm

Sunday, 2 June 2013

T'ai Chi Figure 8's in the park

What a lovely way to spend this morning figure8ing in the park.

Saturday, 1 June 2013



                                      Rollback press and push

I'm still reflecting on the wonder of teaching and teachers. Imagine what your life would be like if there were no teachers to share their knowledge.  My mind boggles at the thought.
Being from the first  world I'm taking literacy and numeracy ,  a good second  and third  level education all as natural (and am eternally grateful to all those teachers ).

 Here though I'm reflecting on teachers who awakened me to other levels of consciousness.

There are so many  'states ' of consciousness that would have remained subsconscious in me without these teachers.  I believe we all know these states on a subconscious level but have ' forgotten' how to access them in our current life.

Some part of us knows that there is more to this life than the obvious day to day activity and this part begins to ask questions and search.  This was my experience anyway,  and from talking with fellow 'searchers' and reading about other peoples journeys this seems to be a pretty common story.

Before I began to train in T'ai Chi I had tried to teach myself Yoga and Meditation and had gone to a few Yoga classes and one or two Meditation classes , these didn't resonate with me and I kept searching.
As soon as I saw a photograph of people standing in Rollback posture something deep inside knew,  there was a recognition,  I had to find a teacher. Some 24 years later I'm so glad that I saw that photograph and followed the call.

My body would still be holding a way more tension without those teachers like Jutta who showed me how to firstly recognise that I was holding it , to show me just how uptight I was.  Without that awareness I would be still holding on and never have moved beyond the tension into other levels of relaxation, where one can experience deeper states of consciousness.

 Looking back I can see a path full of teachers , who one after the other awakened new deeper states of awareness.

I know  I would never  have ever recognised more subtle energy levels without my work with Steven.  It was the work we did together that had me searching for a  method to employ that energy  in healing. Intuitively  I felt the energy could be used for healing, or at least I felt I should be using it in that way.

  Reconnective healing jumped out at me from the internet just as Rollback had done so many years earlier.
Once again I knew this was right for me. Again I felt that sense of recognition as I have done with all my teachers. A subtle feeling of deja -vu. A feeling that they are reminding me of something I knew but had forgotten.