World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2012

Robins bounce along the grass.  Ravens call in the chi.  Sun shines, though heavy clouds lurk over Mt. Stewart. Ducks jabber amid the reeds along the lake.

This is the fourth year that Sudden Valley Tai Chi will participate in the worldwide event.  John usually brings the big gong to start but he is worldwide now.  I bring my new black Rin Gong Bowl.  Everyone gathered takes a turn feeling the energy of sound.

Pam begins with Eight Pieces of Brocade.  I lead us in Tai Chi 24.  Yoko joins me to lead Tai Chi 37 and 108.  We end with the Qigong Standing Like A Tree and then the Qigong closing.   And the sun still shines.  For the last three years on this day, we have practiced in the rain.

Potluck with this group is a feast as usual. 

One breath flowing worldwide, one ancient art form serving humanity to bring harmony and inner peace.  May it be so.

What’s it all about…?

If you check Fondis a map, you might find Fondis, Colorado, but you still won’t find the town that is the setting for “Catching My Breath.”

Three authors write about three women, each struck with tragedy, and each finding a solution to rise above the victim role and find her place in the world.

In “Transformations” author Joanne McLain tells Gwyneth’s story, a woman who’s husband and child are killed and how she survives the bottomless pit of despair. Her helpers seem magical. The language is lyrical.

C.J. Prince, author of “Canvas Angels”,  introduces Dannah Davidson, a struggling artist raped by her ex husband. Dannah dreams of angels and paints them but she doesn’t believe in them or the tarot cards her friends read when trying to help her. However, it is with the help of her friends who guide her that Dannah learns to stand on her own two feet, making wise decisions and finding her way out of the abyss of nightmares.
In “My Brother’s Keeper”, William Thomas tells the story of teenage Lisa who lurks in the shadow of her football star older brother in the high plains town of Fondis, Colorado. If she reveals the damning secret that binds them together, will anyone believe her? Lisa does find her way despite the pain of her situation.

 All three stories are woven together by location and can be found at under the title “Catching My Breath.”


The illusion of speed and synchronicity and overlap with no time to breathe.  The computer knows best.  How often do you say that?  Never?  Umm hmmm.

But it is the computer now that stills me even as the sweet G# tone of the Japanese Rin Gong Bowl drifts past my ears.  The vibration of speed makes it impossible to meditate.  Life itself is the meditation.  Remembering to breathe into it, flow, embrace, observe, accept.  The tone continues reminding me not to be riled.

I’m reading the poetry of Emily Dickinson and “Jane Eyre” in my spare moments, writing mostly promo for the publication of “Catching My Breath”, the novel finally published and the blink of my eye when it went from Albatross to Hummingbird.  Time warp.  The business cards with the cover art arrive days before expected.  Amazon lists the book a week prior to that anticipated. 

I’m not even excited; just baby-stepping along in the rain and doing what comes next because it flies in my face.  Oh, yes, notice that.  Oh, yes, a press release is a good idea.  Oh, and sign up to read at Village Books and send out emails and …..

And the cat continues to disassemble the house and sleeps on the computer and purrs his magic into my belly so I know the promise of contentment.  Yes to this day as the laundry rumbles in the dryer and hyacinth fall down, rain drenched.  The organic produce driver stops to take a photo of my flower garden and it is barely abundant.  Maybe he takes a photo of the NO COAL protest sign…or the Kwan Yin.  The flowers continue to droop and do not resent the statues collecting moss.

This day be well and joyful…just for this moment.

Blessings brighter than the sun, sweeter than the moon, embracing as the call of owl at midnight.



Let’s see, what’s direct and what’s retrograde and when did it all speed up?  Monday…or last Tuesday…or…if there is no time, then I am making it all up, this sense of speed, of inhaling and so much happening before the exhale.   First to acknowledge the wonderful women who came to Tai Chi on Tuesday and the amazing chi-ness of moving together in harmony.  Thank you.

Sudden Valley Tai Chi


She rubs the icon of memory…

“Today’s icons are cliches on stilts,” she said.  Tumble down stilts, fall into the sand of ancient icons crumbling.   Icons where Hercules meets Bob Dylan and nobody notices Justin Beiber’s stilts headed out to sea.  We change what we worship.  The young rebel worship–oh, here’s James Dean, another forgotten icon–and we do not notice icons of elders.

She stared beyond the range of fireflies, peering into the distance.  There was not an icon in sight.  Just down the beach, she sights a logo on a butt, sewn in, not a tattoo, and she thinks to avoid icons in the future.  Iconic to think of the icon as a pigeon hole to contemplate the meaning of life.  Instead, dash out the back door, run down an alley of discarded logos, jump on a bus of bannered icons, in search of herself, of her latest passion.

To be beyond icons makes her a rebel, turning away from Lady Gaga as Michael Jackson’s train whistles off into eternity.  Rebel against the current status quo, iconography is only blissful to the creator, the maker, the artist within.  She sighs.  Let her not make icons for all the while she thinks she is an original.  Even Edison wasn’t the only one making the same discoveries.  He just got all the press.

Lean into originality, create beyond borders, find something, anything new, that which is not pre-packaged and shrink wrapped, nor embedded with rat repelling chemicals.  Find it, she thinks as she lets her eyes rummage the bins at Goodwill for a well worn dress.  What she wears is her daily chance to dress up or dress down, to express herself.

Bound in flesh, heart beating to a new rhythm of celebration, she smiles to the sunset.  Walk on stilts.



You forget how to dance

You do Tai Chi.  It is good.  You connect to Heaven & Earth.  Your legs are strong, your breath is even.  But you know you need more.  The body knows.  There are glitches, muscle spasms, limps, gimps and annoyances.

The cautionary mind says, take it easy, get some rest.

Your alive, don’t forget you were once 16 and could do it all mind says, go for it.

You don’t know what it is.  It’s something just beyond that spinal glitch that freezes the body when you push open the sliding glass door. That little, necessary, every day action of leaning against the door to let the dogs out.  You wince.  Wait for it to pass.  And then you forget about it because you’re busy.

Finally you acknowledge the limitation, you go  to the doc who recommends pool therapy but you know more about your body than the PT.  You like the water but the routine never fits into your schedule.

Synchronicity happens.  You hear from a long time friend who is belly dancing in Oregon.  You hear from one of your first belly dancing teachers.  You order zils.  It will help your hands.  But you keep thinking about lateral movement and that door glitch.  You need more than finger symbols.  You do a search:  belly dance Bellingham.  You find Maggie Rose.  You sign up, fearful that your body will not be able to follow along or do the moves it found so easy 35 years ago.

You go.  Amidst a bevy of young women, you see all your flaws in the endless wall to wall mirror.  You dance because that’s where the muscles rejoice.  You dance because you love the music.  You dance because you can.

And later you soak in epsom salts and take a muscle relaxer because you really have over extended yourself in joy. You manage to avoid a charley horse or two by slathering on Traumeel before you climb into bed for a good night’s sleep despite the full moon.  And you wake up without pain.

You are healing.  You are playing.  It is good.