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Tai Chi Notes

The Mei Quan community site has some useful guidance on the 24 step short form:

step1

Step one is called Opening the Form. I find this easy to remember .. the rest not so much.

 

step2

Step 2 is called Part the Wild Horse’s Mane. It starts from left bow stance, moves to right bow stance and returns to left bow stance.

 

step3

Step 3, White Crane Spreads its wings involves much waving of hands and seems more complicated than it is. Most of this step in in left hanging stance.

 

step4

Step 4 is Brush Knee with Twist Step and I am finding this difficult.

 

step5

Step 5 is called Play the Guitar and is as far as I’ve gone with the form.

So far I’ve not really practiced much outside the class, which is why I feel I’ve retained so little.

Another possibly useful resource can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5hvODK2zW4 which seems to be the beginning of a video series on the short form. I haven’t look at it in all.

The Invitation

The Invitation by Oriah
 
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
 
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
 
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
 
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
 
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
 
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
 
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
 
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
 
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
 
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
 
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
 
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
 
By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

The Invitation by Oriah reminds me of Kipling’s ‘If’:

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
 
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Marketing Enlightenment

Maybe I signed up for a free product some time ago. I don’t remember I may not even have read it but one of the newsletters or ads that appears regularly in my email is something from Eric Robison of the Higher Balance Institute. Robison is the business partner of New Age guru Eric Pepin. Together they sell Pepin as an enlightened master with the answers to Life the Universe and Everything and psychic abilities too. The HBI website is a good example of the way spirituality is marketed. I looked up Robson/Pepin and found the following insightful observation from an anti-cult worker:

Steven Hassan, a former high-ranking member of the Moonies who now helps victims get out of cults, says there are literally thousands of self-styled gurus pushing their products online. Boosted by the power of the Internet, and by our own growing dissatisfaction and loneliness as individuals, people like Pepin have found a market niche that increasingly tunnels straight to the heart of mainstream America.

“People have lost faith in a lot of existing institutions, whether it’s the Catholic Church and their pedophilic priests, or the U.S. government, or their own economic security,” Hassan says. “People are extremely vulnerable to someone who comes along and who says in a very confident voice that they know what is going on in reality, and that they can give you the window into that knowledge.”

It’s worth reading the whole article by James Pitkin.

People have a sincere need for self transcendence and this is exploited by those who can bundle old knowledge, spice it up with fantastic promises and sell it as a shiny new product.

Barbados Day 5 Video

I had some trouble getting this online. Loaded it up to YouTube and tried to link to it from Facebook but that wasn’t working well so I’m taking a screenshot and posting that to FB with a link to this post.

Day 5 was Tuesday. We took a catamaran, ‘Cool Runnings III’ from Bridgetown. The boat made two snorkling stops; it was my first time snorkling as well as my first time on a catamaran. A lot of firsts for me really as this is my first time in Barbados. Perhaps the most memorable moment for me was watching the flying fish on the way back to port.