Mindful Qigong Plus, Uncategorized

The Six Key Principles of Mindful Qigong 

After many years of practicing Qigong and meditation, the two gradually melded into one practice for me. As I thought about how to remember and teach others the key principles that bring optimum results, an acronym finally emerged: BIPAVE. The six letters also hold some meaning in the sense that the practice “paves” the way for energy to flow as on a “byway”, upwards and downwards in it’s many pathways through and around the body. I’ve summarized the principles below for easy reference:

Breath – Be conscious of your breath throughout the class. Notice its qualities: how fast or slow, shallow or deep, regular or uneven. Expand your breathing, gradually increasing depth and evenness, exhaling fully each time. Continually bring attention back to breath and let the qigong movements follow its rhythm.

Intention – Take a moment to become aware of where you most want comfort or healing today, be it physical, emotional, mental or social/spiritual. Be specific with your statement of intent; for example, “pain gone from …”, “forgiveness from …”, “no more fear of …”, release anger about …”. The effect of intention is strong.

Posture – Bring your body into its best posture to enhance the flow of qi/energy.  Ground your feet on the floor, your bum on the chair, and reach your head to heaven. Imagine a silver cord drawing your body up into alignment.  You will look and feel better as all your organs have more space and you come into balance.

Awareness/Mindfulness – This is about paying attention and noticing what’s going on with your whole self. Being mindful of your breath, body, feelings and thoughts and accepting it all without judgement. Whenever your thoughts stray, gently bring your focus back to your self in this present moment. Awareness is empowering!

Visualization – Allow your imagination free reign for each of the movements. Be an archer aiming and successfully hitting the target; create a beautiful sky above you for the heavenly stretch; imagine your lungs expanding as precious vessels with every inhalation! For guided meditations open all your senses to the experience.

Enjoyment – What does joy feel like for you – in your body, mind and soul? Bring the memory of that into your Mindful Qigong practice. Celebrate the movement of your body, delight in the scope of your imaginings, bask in your calm mind and uplifted spirit. Enjoy your renewed and balanced ENERGY.

I would also like to mention that as a practice group grows larger, the sense of the energy grows stronger. Just as I offer this gift to you, your presence is a gift to me and others as we practice together in a group. Welcome to my classes. They are currently held in St Vincent Park, Barrie, Wednesday mornings at 9.00 and 10.00. There is no fee, you may just pass-it-on as you can.

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St Vincent Park Wednesday Mornings

Join us for a FREE and EASY exercise/meditation class in one of Barrie’s most beautiful parks with shade trees and water views — and nice new washrooms. St Vincent Park is between Kempenfelt Drive and Blake Street at the south end of St Vincent Street.

We gather at the south end at 10.00 a.m. every Wednesday morning, weather permitting.  Open to one and all, with the only requirement being respect for maintaining social-distance from anyone not in your immediate household or bubble.  We call the practice Mindful Qigong which brings together the easy movements of healing Qigong with the principles of Mindfulness Meditation. See you there!

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SOS? Affordable Virtual Therapy

Now more than ever it is important to know that support is available. Please feel free to contact me to schedule a free introductory consultation.  My fees until further notice have been reduced to $75 per virtual session (from $125). And for Essential Services workers 2 sessions for price of 1 (2 for $75). Often one session is sufficient to get the help and take-away tools you need to overcome anxiety, for example.

 

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Mom’s Day and Pan 2020: It’s Okay to Cry

Sometimes when I allow the suffering around me to fully enter my awareness, I just want to cry, and I’ve finally learned to say “that’s okay”. More people are homeless and hungry, children are cooped up, mothers and fathers are faced with parenting challenges they never dreamed of, those in abusive environments lack protection, so many people old and young are dying unnaturally and unexpectedly and without the comfort of family and friends. If you are human at all and you open your heart, how can you not feel the need to mourn for yourself and others. Continue reading “Mom’s Day and Pan 2020: It’s Okay to Cry”

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Mothers’ Day: Just Another Hallmark Event?

Make a Real Connection!

So many special days on the calendar! So many great cards to choose from! You can go online when time is short or browse the shelves of a local store to find the perfect image and words that echo just what you want to say (or that leave out what you can’t honestly say?). That’s okay and mom will appreciate your effort: a lovely card goes a long way to lift the spirits and brighten the day. OR you can extend ourselves a little for a chance at something more meaningful, a real connection!

How often do you go one step further and write a sentence or two that is personal and special, a few words to show that she is really on your mind and heart. Even better, take say 20 minutes and share some memories of times you enjoyed together. Not a listing of how great a mom she is or how much you appreciate all she’s done for you, although nothing wrong with some of that. I’m talking about reminiscing about a great experience you had together – it might be getting through a hard time, special laughs on a holiday or adventure, or a family event that you planned together.

If perchance none of this is comfortable due to issues of estrangement, then this is a good time to open yourself to the possibility of reconciliation. In spite of any anger and pain you may have, to simply make the intention of wanting a healthier relationship will bring about a shift in the right direction. The subtle energies carried by your thoughts have power and influence, so when you choose the higher road of understanding and compassion (for yourself as well a your mom), you open the channels for genuine connection – a gift beyond price.

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Spring Cleaning: Thank Goodness for the Pros!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many aspects of spring cleaning – the clearing away of every kind of debris that clutters up our lives and drains our energy. The first day of spring brings up images of yellow forsythia in bloom, the fresh sound of rivulets and streams, and the hope of fresh starts. It can also bring up discouragement if you are feeling overwhelmed by the daily household chores that sometimes pile up to an alarming degree. It’s okay to hire help! I have been there myself and am so grateful for the day we decided to engage a cleaning person twice a month. If you too have had the gift of an angel helper in your home, you can share the gratitude and help me acknowledge the value of this under-estimated group of professionals. When we moved to our new city, we had to find a new cleaning service and with the usual synchronicity (miracle) Lindsay appeared. Besides the regular biweekly tidy and clean, she has helped us learn about our neighbourhood, checks the house when we are away, and has been indispensable for all kinds of situations with mail, keys, or guests arriving early. Texting is our ongoing line of communication for professional and personal talks. We trust her completely, and enjoy her company when we are home when she comes. The question of cost is no small matter for some, but if you don’t already know the benefits, you might like to give it a go. I for one would give up lots of things before I’d let our cleaning angel go. Besides the sheer pleasure of a cleaner house, in a time when many of us barely know our neighbours and with family members often far away, a relationship like this can bring a lot of harmony and freedom to overloaded lives. Thank you to all the cleaning professionals out there!

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Love Letter

 

After so many years together, my partner and I are reaching a level of understanding and intimacy that I never dreamed possible. When people learn how long we’ve been together, they want to know “What’s your secret?” That’s a topic for a long story we would have to write together, but today I’d like to share a few thoughts.

Like any long-term relationship, we’ve “had our share of ups and downs”. Wonderful romantic moments, travels, joyous and rewarding times with our daughters, personal successes to celebrate together; and on the other side, times when we came very close to breaking up. Our bank of good feelings would become depleted with the stresses and strains of child-rearing, work, and our individual demons. At such times, relationships can easily become the scapegoat: “this marriage isn’t good for me”, or “if only he would change, he’s never going to change”.  But somehow, with some luck, some wisdom, some blessings from above, we have managed to keep going forward together. We’ve had some amazing help. Once in a while (on average about once a decade) we sought help in the form of counselors, books, workshops, or just taking time out together. This allowed us get back on track and continue our journey, usually at a higher level of understanding and intimacy. Whenever conflict arises, (and hooray for that: if there’s no conflict how much intellectual stimulation, fun and passion is left anyway?), at least one of us manages to take the high road. Here’s three tips I’d like to share about how that works for us.

  1. ACCEPT: Remember that you don’t always have to understand what’s gong on with him or her. They have their own sacred landscape, parts you have not yet been privileged to see. Your job is to accept and stay the course. As long as you feel safe and you have openings for communication, you can stay committed to the journey of living and growing together “till death doth you part”.
  2. WALK AWAY: When you are ready to react badly, saying or doing things you will regret, just walk away, but not too far away or for too long. Just take your leave, with a few words about your intention and find a place to yell, ruminate, call a friend, get a meal, pray, whatever you need to do to weather this particular storm. With luck and a few tools, it should pass within hours.
  3. COME BACK: Someone has to break the deadlock. It might as well be you. You can be the hero. You don’t know how it will go, so you want to have all that anger, frustration and self-righteousness drained away before approaching. Perhaps you need to make amends? Once you have found some humility a genuine desire to understand and be kind, remembering the goodness, the good times and the future you want together, then you are ready to approach. The reunion is a tender time to walk gently, reach out and listen.

My partner and I are so different we will likely always have occasional conflicts. I accept them as a gift, much preferred to denial and disconnection. This spring, we are attending a marriage retreat down in Washington that my guy has taken the lead on. I can’t help but fall in love with him over and over again.

We have learned that our differences are a strength in the partnership, that we don’t always have to agree or understand the other’s way of thinking or of doing something. That we can each go our own way for a while, take a breather from the closeness and then come back ready to go further, deeper, richer. To stay the course takes effort, and it’s been worth it! Oh, we were married in 1966.

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A Simple Resolution That Works

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Today when I turned the page of my well-used, hand-me-down desk calendar, the message hit home in the best way. I have more or less given up on that old tradition of making a list of New Years resolutions. It’s usually unrealistic and then when you don’t meet those expectations it’s too easy to “should” on ourselves and get discouraged. Too much criticism and not enough celebration!  Nevertheless I did have best intentions for a bracing walk around the bay — that’s before I saw the outdoor temperature of 22 degrees below zero! So that doesn’t mean I can’t get some exercise, right? “[just] move my body in some way or in some form… for 20 to 30 minutes…” I can do that. Thank you Dr. Northrup, your wise advise is never out-of-date.  So keep it simple sweetheart. Get moving and celebrate!

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Less Criticism More Celebration!

The following article,  written by my teacher and mentor Janet Amare for her December Inspirational Newsletter, truly spoke to me this holiday season. So with her permission it’s posted here for your inspiration.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CELEBRATING
I’ve been coaching, counselling, and helping people to heal for 35 years.  If there were any message I would want to share with all of the people I have ever helped is, “reduce the criticism and ramp up the celebration”.
Many people have been raised by parents and teachers who have focused on what is wrong with them.  And they have also learned to look for what is wrong.  Constant attention on what is wrong, or what needs to be done, or fixed, or improved can lead to a psyche and a nervous system that has no wiring for noticing what is great, and good, and complete.  It’s good to end each day, each week, each month and each year with a healthy assessment of the things you have accomplished, the projects you have completed, the moments you have loved, and the gifts you have to celebrate.
Because your nervous system has been wired to focus on what’s wrong you may need some help to balance yourself to be able to look for improvement in your life while still noticing and acknowledging everyday success, love, grace, and miracles.  Part of the key to being able to wholeheartedly celebrate is to develop your capacity to receive love and spot a miracle.
Here’s some tips:
1.  Take a moment each day and speak to yourself as if you are your own, precious child.  Tell yourself something that you like about yourself.  Be kind.
2. When you find yourself harping on about something that you haven’t done yet, or never get to, LET GO.  Just get quiet inside and ask yourself why you are neglecting your own desires in order to feed responsibility.  Are you really being responsible if you are not responding to your own heart?
3. Pick a time each day to celebrate the good stuff.  It can be a different time each day – It really doesn’t matter when.  What matters is that you remember to celebrate even if the “To Do List” is not all done.
4.  When you celebrate be patient, kind, loving, and passionate!  Say to yourself,”I ate a lunch today”, “I got out of bed, got dressed, and faced the day”, “I said Hello to the nice barista”, “I paid my hydro bill on time”.  Celebrate even the small stuff.  Just celebrate.
5. Notice the sky.  We have sunsets, even in cities, that are astounding.  Celebrate the beauty in Nature.
6. Think about all of the people around you each day that have contributed to everything you have and do.  Say, “Wow.  I got to work safely because there are people out there who run the hydro system, who keep the traffic lights going, who bring gas to the pumps, who maintain my vehicle, who own parking lots, who pave roads…”
7. Celebrate that you chose to have this life on Earth at a time when humanity is awakening, becoming more conscious, and opening to spiritual connection.  Even with all of the challenges we are facing there is hope that we can evolve.
By Janet Amare, Spiritual Maverick <janet@janetamare.com>
Thank You, Janet!
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“No More Presents!”

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Last Christmas, after the grandchildren had already opened a heap of gifts, the littlest one said “no more presents!” We all laughed of course and the kids went off to play before returning to open more things later.

It made me think about how the giving and receiving of Christmas presents has become a bit more challenging over the years. It’s become harder and harder to find the perfect gift for friends and family who are often able to buy anything they want for themselves. And if you ask what they would like and are given detailed specs for an item, you don’t have to put any personal thought into it and there is no surprise for the recipient. You may resort to Gift certificates or a cheque, but that can feel impersonal and monetary – not very satisfying or heart-warming. Sure it might have been easier back in the day with PJs and toboggans, homemade scarves and cookies, but I’m not going to do the “good ol’ days” song. Things are different, the world is a better place in so many ways and that’s what matters!  We can  keep up by being innovative and re-thinking what constitutes a gift. Some possibilities to consider:

  1. A coupon to go out together to a favourite restaurant, possibly combined with a gallery visit or window shopping.
  2. An invitation to go to a special event together – like a play or concert or sports event. For example, taking a granddaughter to a special musical show for her birthday has become a special tradition.
  3. An offer to provide a service that you are good at – like preparing their favourite meal and serving it up to a group of their friends, or making home repairs or doing alterations on clothes, or taking the children so their parents get a weekend to themselves.

What’s important is making time for one another. Take it from the children, who are so happy whenever we give them our undivided attention. For Christmas, birthdays or whatever the occasion, a gift of ourselves may be the best gift of all!