A word about holiday candy, mothers all over the country spend hours creating concoctions of sticky goodness to share, with the intention of spreading it around and infecting the rest of the family with a sugar high. Some of these family members may suffer from diabetic problems and as such cannot or are not supposed to participate in wonder filled delights. Those poor diabetic souls that choose to jump headlong into the sweet delights of the season are playing Russian Roulette with their health. Those of us that have fairly normal sugar levels and are capable of metabolizing the goodness will enjoy the yumminess of the season the others will suffer.
At the end of the holiday season are the hangovers caused by an over abundance of cookies and candy. As they say, “To much of a good thing..” makes you puke. The traditional hangover from ingesting to much alcohol has it’s symptoms, but the hangover created from to much candy has a feeling all of it’s own. The headache that is involved will pound until all of the wonderful stuff has left your system and has either been peed away or flushed down the toilet in another manner. Yet, after we go back and try again to poison ourselves with much goodliness, yuck.
My advice to all, moderation, moderation is the key. Keep your ingestion down to manageable levels and you won’t wake the next morning wondering why an elephant is crawling around in your head, and your joints are filled with lead. Moderation in all things is the key, moderation will give you long life and much happiness. If by chance your not supposed to eat such yummy delights due to health issues, don’t.
In with the new, out with the old, breath in, breath out, and time travels on. Once a season we look skyward for inspiration. In hopes that the sky actually knows what we’re asking for we then uncork several bottles of bubbled drink and watch a lighted ball fall from high places in New York City.
Each new year that comes brings us closer to the future years to come and the only thing that I notice about the comings and goings are these lines on my face and the change in hair color I seem to be experiencing. Time marches on regardless, we must deal with it or not.
In just a few short days it will be the year 2010. That’s ten years after Arthur C. Clarke predicted a giant obelisk on the face of the moon, and this is the year that he also predicted that due to that obelisk Jupiter would explode into many worlds filled with life for man to re-populate. Each a Space Odyssey in it’s own right, but I digress.
2010, that’s an awfully big number, yet it truly doesn’t reflect the age of our time on this planet. It was changed back when, and after, the barefooted kid from Galilee walked in the desert.
Man has a predilection for trying to control things outside of his jurisdiction. An example of this is our attempt and putting a label on time. We label time with numbers and letters, in segments and digits, through the rising and falling of the sun, and the waning of the moon. We in our infinite wisdom have tried to take control over the realm where all things change, the fifth dimension, time.
But, time laughs at us. It judges not our futile attempts at labeling and controlling it. It only looks on and forward in every direction, back and front, laughing at our ignorance. We know nothing in the face of time. Yet we still try.
It’s almost a new year, 2010 and we will let go of 2009. Let us hope that we treat the new better than the old.
Every year, about this time, there is a precession of dancing ice. It falls from the sky and lands on the things that catches falling things. Each of these frozen objects is a gift from the heavens to those below. Children cherish them and make songs up about the travels of cold flakes. The ceremonies vary, there is the rolling and pounding, there is the sledding and the throwing, and there are the occasionally swirlys given to smaller children by their larger siblings.
The season of the frozen flake lasts about three to five months here in the North Country. It is the place that has made the man in red famous and infamous. He travels in the clouds and fog of these falling crystals so mortal man will not spy him as he wanders from house to house, from chimney to chimney, bringing things to the children that have created the ceremonies to the dancing ice, they call him Clause the Great Kringle.
At the end of each season there is a menace lurking in the air. Foreign warmth that brings the possibility of destruction and death to the crystal of ice is hiding near and there is a tension that cannot quite be seen, but is felt very clearly. High in the sky one can see the coming of the southern beings of the sun, spring. This is clearly the demise of the frozen thing.
As dainty as she is, as small and fragile, the flake cries silently and begins to die. There are no songs sung, no dances made, and no ceremonies from the dieing crystals. She just slowly goes, her daintiness drips away and leaves but a puddle of her former self.
This is the Death of a Snowflake, who comes in with joy for all waiting children, but leaves quietly with dignity and forgotten times.
I used to tell my students that the most important part of their kick was the Crane. That is I was telling them to keep their knees up as high as they could. I would tell stories about the proverbial bad guy stuffing their feeble attempt at landing a good kick and stomping them into the dirt. These stories grew with time and eventually became mythological. The bad guys became evil hoodlums or rouge Samurai bent on the destruction of all good things. The younger students enjoyed the stories and got into the play pretending to defeat the evildoers. The older students would just look at me as they usually did, like Sifu had gone off the bend. I do believe they enjoyed the entertainment non-the less; after all it was put up with stories or get a boot to the head. I enjoyed that part.
Picking the knee up during the execution of a good kick emulates the great bird, the Crane. The Crane, in Shaolin teachings represents the aspects of grace and balance. A well-balanced kick is both very powerful and graceful to look at. Picking the knee up properly gets your leg into a good striking as well as defending posture and is much quicker than being sloppy. The Crane is also the best parts of us that stand on our feet with emotional balance and the grace to approach any situation with dignity and reserve, grace, and balance.
I remember my father who would preach to me about picking up my feet when I walked and lift my knees when I moved. He would spend hours explaining to me that if I learned the proper dynamics of the knee and learned how to use the joint properly I would be able to keep my knees and legs in shape for a lifetime. My dad taught me how to kick by teaching me how to walk correctly. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall and could kick my 6-foot frame in the head. He walked perfectly.
I have since had several knee surgeries and the lessons my dad taught me helped me regain my legs, my kicks, and my walk. He was the grandmasters master, he was my Dad. He was a Crane who walked with the dignity of a warrior and spoke with the fluidity of the masters teacher.
The Crane stands for Grace and Balance. The techniques has circular defense and straight line attacks. It is a fluid creature yet strong and resiliant. Today the Crane, tomorrow the man.
The universe is made up of opposing elements. We can call these elements Yin and Yang, Feminine and Masculine, Dark and Light, Good and Bad, Hot and Cold, or any combination of two opposing forces in nature. This opposition creates a constant movement between the two elements. Nothing stands still in nature, there is always change. If there were no change in nature reality as we perceive it would stop. There would be nothing to experience, nothing to see, nothing. This is called Chaos, when there is a sudden stop of molecular movement the result is the cease of the flow of energy, (Chi), and nothing exists.
Commonly it is thought that Order is calmness and Chaos is agitation. The opposite is true. There is order when opposing forces move in harmony and that movement is a constant. When one of the forces overwhelms the other then that movement will eventually stop causing Chaos, or an imbalance in natural forces. The nature of the object falls apart and it ceases to exist. From the Chaotic Wu Chi is created Tai Chi, which is from nothing and all things are formed. Wu is the master of creation, the energies of Chaos that form and bind the energies of Order, Yin and Yang.
When we practice Tai Chi Chuan, we are embracing the universal movement of all things around us and we are expressing that movement through our bodies and our breath. We have the inherited ability to feel the energies that flow around us from our universes. We have the ability to interact with those energies. We can use them to heal others and ourselves and we can use them to destroy others and ourselves, the choices are ours to make. We also have the inherited ability to create the universe around us to fit our needs and wants. This is also part of Tai Chi Chuan.
Self-defense is at the core of Tai Chi Chuan, The Grand Ultimate Fist, and practiced as a way to make one healthy it can become a formidable tool to any warrior. A true Warrior would heal the violence from the world. Starting by healing the violence from himself. This is Tai Chi Chuan.
I’m sitting in my armchair in the corner of my living room writing this blog. Across from me is a blanket that drapes an old wooden rocking chair that Romona inherited from an aunt many years ago. The blanket has writing on it that can lead one to think many things. If I read it one direction it says, “Ho Ho Ho”. Draped upside down as it is now it reads, “Oh Oh Oh”.
The room is dimly lit. My mind ponders the writing and I glance around the room some more. In a corner opposite me is our Christmas tree, from which the light in the room is emanating. Next to the tree is our love seat, comfortable for the two of us, or a fit for one of my large friends.
Romona and I are sitting in our personal space, a corner of the room set up with two armchairs and a coffee table that fits our stuff. This space exudes comfort. It is a place we sit face to face and have philosophical conversations about the creation of the universe and the mind of God. She is my muse and I write. The room is Dimly Lit.
For the past two or three days we have been decorating and fixing the house in hopes that we entice the festive fellow dressed in red to visit. Which leads me back to the old wooden rocker with the worded blanket draped over it. Ho Ho Ho, Oh Oh Oh, are still staring back at me. It occurs to me that one would lead to the other and I understand why Santa is so happy and Mrs. Claus is always singing.
Many children have the Claus’ a whole world full in fact that they visit each one once per year to bring gifts of joy. So to the blanket upon the chair and my wife Romona, who is my Dear, I say, “Ho Ho Ho” and leave the rest up to her.
To master an art one has to practice non-stop for years and years.Pretty soon the practicer gets better at the practice, and has achieved a certain level of acceptance within the community he/she practices with.The individual then decides to teach or not, passing on the secrets of the trade, or not, to the masses, or not.This is called Mastery.
After a period of time a master of an art forgets that he/she has achieved a certain level of awareness in that art and looks upon novices of the art with disdain and a certain loss of patience.Only a few masters of an art gain the patience that it takes to teach other folks the art and eventually find themselves in charge of other masters of said art.After many years and more than a few white hairs the grandparental look appears upon the face of the master’s master and he/she is considered a grandmaster.They have become so endowed because of their personal fortitude and learned presence.A grandmaster of an art can use that art to mesmerize the masses into the many fazes of “Ohh and Ahh.”When the grandmaster has achieved the Ohh and Ahh magic then he/she has advanced into the outer realm of the art they teach and practice, the metaphysics of the art, everything that is and is not the art, but still maintains it’s artly qualities.
I have practiced my art for more than forty years.I have had students achieve a certain level of self-awareness and pass on their presence to many students.I’m not sure if I’ve achieved any level of anything, however when I look in the mirror I see my grandfather’s face staring back at me.Hmmmm, Ohh and Ahh.Just maybe I’ve got something there.
There are many types of deaths.Depending on your culture and your beliefs, death can be regarded as a release to a greater glory, or a dive into oblivion.Many cultures don’t believe in “Death” as the end to all things, but rather a time when the human host sheds it’s mortal shell beginning a new life in a new place.Some of these cultures believe that the person is reborn into a new body and begins the process of being human all over again.Buddhist monks would tell you that we are shedding the old and regaining the new to reincarnate and learn or re-learn lessons that we haven’t yet learnt.The Hindu would tell you that you are traveling from one life to the next learning the lessons presented to you on your travels to becoming a god or goddess.
About two thousand years ago a cat was born that changed the rules about death and dying. While he was growing into adulthood he traveled and learned lessons from many cultures and many beliefs.He traveled east and learned from the Buddhist monks, he learned from Hindu masters, and he learned from the Ascetics in between.The Gnostics gave the young man an appreciation for the earth and her energies and an understanding of angles and his place amongst them.This young fellow began teaching the people that where teaching him, and as he grew older the many cultures where growing disillusioned with him wanting to dispatch him to his higher glory.He was teaching them a new understanding of death and how to understand dying.He was showing them the power that is held within us all, to go beyond the end to the beginning and be truly immortal.
This young man had an uncle named Joseph.His uncle Joe managed to save his neck on many occasions and kept traveling from one location to another in his business as a merchant and trader.They may have even traveled to England, where it is said that Joseph traded with an old wizened one there named Merlin, giving him an old Saracen sword that belonged to David.It’s name was Excalibur.
When the young man, no longer so young, finely made it back home, he was not recognized by the many.His mother knew him and celebrated his return.His father, another Joseph and a carpenter by trade, welcomed the return of the young Rabbi.Then the young man began to teach his lessons to the people of the desert.He taught them the differences between dying and death.He taught them how take control of their lives, how to see the truth through the illusion.He taught them how to be happy.
A fellow named Harod was spooked at the voice speaking from the desert and alerted the local constabulary who in turn alerted the jurisdictional presence.The Roman official again stepped it up the line of authority and after awhile it ended up in the office of a Pilot.He decided that the young man’s own people should determine if his words where heresy or truth.They decided to send the young Rabbi to his just rewards and the rest has become history.The messages sent to the people by the young man to us on how to live, die, and be reborn into immortality are still ringing in the years, and we celebrate the life and death of the individual and our selves.We celebrate the seasons of his birth and death for our lives.His name was Jesus.
Every culture at one point or another in their histories has had a game or ritual that has expressed it’s warlike prowess.The Inca had a sacred ball game that included a team made up of members of the opposing army that had been captured during battle.If the opposition survived the game then they were set free to war again.In this game the sacred ball was bound in a leather bag and the opposing teams would try to get the ball in a hoped goal.Sounds familiar doesn’t it.The sacred ball was of course the severed head of one of the fallen foe.Ah, things have changed since the good ole days.
Other sacred games were present at that time, the Lakotas had a game played on a mile long field spotted with prickly pear cactus that was played in the bear feet.The idea was to get a leather bound ball across the oppositions goal line using a special webbed war club.The mountain man Yellowstone Kelly was made to play this game when he was captured by the Blackfoot after traveling in the wrong neck of the woods.Kelly was a decent runner and got away to live another day.Oh yea, if you got caught during the play of this game you were dispatched to the happy hunting grounds.
I myself played a sacred game in my youth.It was played on a field 300 feet long and 150 feet wide.This game was complete with medieval armor and had it’s secret symbols to pass from one player to the next that supposedly they would only know.The game uses a ball that is odd shaped and throws real well.The object was that one of the armies of players get the ball across a goal line the most times out of a group of periods of time.The game played mostly with the hands, head, and shoulders strangely enough is called football.How odd is that?
My little brother played another form of a sacred game called football actually played with the feet, here in the western world it’s called soccer.Not that you get to actually get to soc the ball, your not supposed to touch it with your hands, odd.
Abner Doubleday invented a game that became the American past time, a game played with a small bound ball and a big stick.The players throw the ball really hard at each other while one of them holds the stick like an avenging Samurai trying to cut the ball in two.They run real fast around an odd shaped square trying to get back home while the opposing team tries putting them out, cold.This is called Baseball and is our favorite pass time, unless you’re an avid footballer.
Sacred games have been played all over the globe at different times in history.Each has it’s meaning and reason, each it’s process.When a team wins the game traditionally there is a celebration.This is the sacredness of the game; it promotes communion, brother/sisterhood, and fair play.I wonder what Superman would play.
Reality is a strange thing.We think therefore we are, we see therefore it is, and we feel a thing and know it’s there.Our perceptions of the world around us form the reality that we experience from moment to moment.Reality is a formation of our receptive world.
Our universe is formulated upon our experiences and perceptions of those experiences.We have a group of experiences that create memories that in turn create the world around us.This is our personal reality, the way we individually experience our universe.I know reading this looks like allot of talk around.The stuff of politicians, but that’s the way reality works.We talk around it and through it swaying the questions that come to our minds about reality. Just like an experienced politician deflecting questions from reports, and just like that deflection we end up with no answers at all.Such is the nature our search.We never really know the answers to our questions.We just end up with more questions.
Reality is what you perceive, look and see, do and learn, and change your reality.Enjoy what you’ve created.Be the god of your universe.Use sunscreen and floss.
2012 a year that is to live in infamy. Supposedly In December of that year according to the Mayan and Aztec calendars, the world will stop turning and or cease to exist. There maybe a cataclysmic explosion that will evaporate our very existence, or a burp that will only annoy us. The many doomsayers that have been prophesying the doom and gloom throughout the eons have been blind to their own fortunes. I think of another group of doomers and gloomers that ponder that evil day, Friday the 13th. It comes once or twice every three months or so and many wait in anticipation while quaking in their proverbial boots. Will this foot wear remain on the feet, or will it be scared off of said feet? Then, as sick as I am think to myself, "What happens if that day in December of the year 2012 lands on a Friday the 13th"? My lord the universe could cease to exist. About a thousand years or so ago there was an event that was equally anticipated. Many folks waited outside the Pope's window in the courtyard of the Vatican city and listened to him speak. I don't remember which pontiff it was, but Alexander pops into my head. Then on the appointed time when the doomsayers said it would happen, many folks just dropped dead from freight, and many others may have started smelling real bad. Others may be frightened out of their proverbial boots. So, on that day in December I may go out and purchase a pair of brand new Keds just to test the scared out of theory and when we're all standing again looking around going, "That was it"? I will go home and smile to myself looking to the sky and say, "Great Grandfather, show me the way." So all the doom and gloomers out there, the doomsayers, and boot wearers I say, "Have some chocolate and a smile!"
When I teach Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong the first thing I do is get my students to breath deeply. In the nose and out the mouth are words that will be spoken over and over again through out their studies for all the time they decide to dedicate to practice. Chi is a Chinese word for Breath which over the millennium has been translate to "Life force." Of course if you look at the word directly you realize that without breath there is no life, so Life Force it is. I've been pushing energy around all my life. Breathing it in and breathing it out sharing with the many folks that have come into my space. I teach people to breath. In the practice of Reiki, which I also teach, the breath is the "secret" that delivers the Chi. Wu Chi becomes Yin and Yang, chaos becomes order as we breath in the divine. Chi Kung, Reiki, Feng Shui, Huna, Yoga, and the multitude of other practices all base their practices on the Breath, Prana, Chi, Qi, Orgon... Each a name for the same substance the "Life Force". Li + Qi = Jing, Technique + Speed = Power, Breath + Focus = Life. And we have the secrets to immortality.
I had the chance to talk to a retired police officer tonight. He was reminiscing about some past events and arrests remembered from his history. As he spoke I saw light return to his eyes, I saw youth in his face. He is an elderly man that has many health problems collected from before his retirement. This man has gained my respect. Sometimes we forget to listen to our elders, we forget the lessons of our ancestors and we are injured as a people because of our own short sightedness. For a short time I was transfixed and shared his memories, I was living with him his proud moments. These moments will live again through his voice to my ears. Remember, listen to your elders and learn the lessons of your ancestors, it will help you remember who you are.
It is said that the Claus travels throughout the world visiting children from every continent. Maitreya the future Buddha is known for his generosity and cloth bag that he brings the children gifts of enlightenment and health. Maitreya is going to bring with him the new age of enlightenment and teach dharma to the world. During this season the parallels with Kris Kringle and Maitreya are beautiful to ponder. The first a western idea and the later eastern, but they both carry bags of goodies for the kiddies. In the future of all men there will be a time to let down the veil of all religions. The Creators of the universe care not for our petty pretences and religions. The Tao requires us to love, enjoy, and learn from each other's Karma. Christ said that there are many doors to enter heaven. Moses had a set of laws to govern all men. Pte San Wi taught the people to be good to each other. In the end of all things we will find a great beginning and we will be made to look upon the book of our own Karma and read each word that we have written upon it's pages.
When we can read our pages clearly with pride we will have evolved. The message, "Awaken as I have Awakened and see all things," will be heard clearly spoken by all. So, during this time of year when the Claus travels with his bag of goodies; think of Maitreya who is said to be on his way with his many brothers of light.
There is a crisp wind blowing from the mountain tops of the north country. The chill in the air reminds us that we live north of the forty fifth and that snow threatens to fall. Occasionally on a winter evening you can look out and see twinkling stars clear off in the distance. It is said that a long time ago one of these shining objects called to a small group of traveling wise men. We're coming close to that time when the night out weighs the day, when the dark crosses fields of snow and shadows fool our perceptions. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago a small sleigh, according to legend, was lost in the snow surrounded by those shadows. The couple in that sleigh froze there in that night and were chosen for a task larger than themselves. He the deliverer and she his wife. Yin and Yang of the north, Santa and Mrs. Claus. The two icons of the season that herald in the song of joy for all of us kids. So it begins the celebration of the birth of Christ, not quite at the right time of the year, but a celebration of his birth non the less. Stolen from the Pagan holiday that celebrates this the longest night that brings in the light, Christs Mass sings on high. So, let's prepare to burn the yule and set ablaze the log. Light a tree in hopes they'll share some special time with you and me. Santa and Mrs. Claus have traveled far in our hearts. To my wife Romona who has brought me the hope of the season I say, I love you. And to all a good year.