Why not now? (June 18th circle)

Dear Qigong Goddesses,

As happens each week, the circle sharing creates an opening for our energy to move towards.  The more we allow this guidance the more divine it becomes.

Today's thread was an invitation to find silence amongst the noise and to choose "now" as a good time to be open. The sharing of the Two Birds reading and the subsequent insights from all of you reminded me of a passage from Michael Brown's book "The Presence Process":

"Present moment awareness isn’t a concept - it’s an experience. The fact that more and more of are entering it now is a consequence of our accelerating evolution. For anyone willing to receive its blessings, its invitation is here, now, in this moment, this set of circumstances. It calls us in a silent voice that says” “STOP. THERE’S NOWHERE TO GO AND NOTHING TO DO. THERE’ SIMPLY EVERYTHING TO BE."

After class and throughout the course of the day today I became very aware of my tendency to look at my phone numerous times in an hour.  I'm always more aware of this habit on days when I am teaching because for two plus hours at a time my phone is turned onto DO NOT DISTURB. And guess what? In over two years not one  earth shattering thing has ever happened that needed my attention during this phone-free time.

This got me thinking...how many times do we let our phones take us away from the present moment? AND, how often are we enabling our loved ones to fall out of their present moments simply by our constant availability to them?  

Some serious food for thought my friends.

I wonder what the second bird would say??


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THE TWO BIRDS
BY MOOJI

Some time ago, I saw a picture depicting a parable from the Bhagavad Gita. It showed two birds in a tree, and one of them was building a nest. This one is flying off collecting things, arranging the twigs—it’s active, doing many things. 

Above this bird, on another branch, is a second bird. It looks identical to the first bird, but it’s not building anything. It is just observing. It’s not building a self-image out of its perceiving, and it’s not deeply interested in any aspect of what it sees. Its perceiving is happening quite spontaneously without effort or judgment. There’s a silence there, that feeling of Being without thought. Just looking. 

This is a beautiful portrait of who we are. 

These two birds are connected. The first bird represents our dynamic being, the self that is engaged in the world, in future and past, in growing. It is the aspect that is living life with the sense of my familymy children, my work, and so on. The second bird represents that conscious witnessing within us. It is the ability to observe life taking place and activities unfolding, but it is not actually doing anything. It is still within the same body, but it is not manipulating. It is not saying, “I hope this, and I fear that.” No, it is very still. It is simply there, and its seeing is panoramic. It sees not only the first bird, but also the wind in the trees, the sky—everything is observed with a kind of neutrality. 

Initially the first bird is very identified with building the nest. It may not even be aware of the second bird. But as soon as it is able to be quiet, it becomes aware of the second bird, which is actually itself at a deeper inner level. When the first bird’s mind is synchronized with the second bird, the activities become much more gracious. There is a sense of a unity, a oneness. In that harmony, the work may still happen but without obsession, without fear, without the sense of needing to control things. It is simply happening because life compels this activity to happen. It is as though another power is helping the actions to take place. 

The second bird represents the change of perspective from the mode of the person to the state of presence. When we are involved in the activities of life so deeply that it seems that the daily routine is all there is, then we are like this first bird, the nest builder, oblivious to our second bird position. 

Come to the second bird position, to the one who is observing, and you will discover that the one who is busy building a life will slowly become more transparent, leaving only the functioning itself. The activities are happening anyway, beautifully, but the sense of doer-ship—which is the ego sense—will fade away. Activities are just happening; our self-image as a person is just happening, but our true Self is not a happening. In fact, the true Self is a third position, which is not a bird, but the space within which both birds are arising and seen. 


I wish each of you the most glorious summer and I sincerely hope you can join me in my new digs at St. Stephen's Anglican Church beginning on September 10th.

xo
Patti 

 St. Stephen's Anglican Church, 1121 - 14 Ave SW

St. Stephen's Anglican Church, 1121 - 14 Ave SW

Like a peacock, your beauty is multiplied when you spread your wings (June 11 circle)

Today was a small gathering, we missed you Melissa, Melanie and Carla!

In our pre-class casual chit-chat (about very real life stuff) a theme emerged about trusting our selves, which was a natural lead in to the reading I had chosen for our group today...

LOVING KINDNESS AND MEDITIATION:

When we start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, we often think that somehow we’re going to improve, which is a subtle aggression against who we really are. It’s a bit like saying, “If i jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I had a nicer house, I’d be a much better person. “ Or the scenario may be that we find fault with others. We might say, “If it weren’t for my husband, I’d have a perfect marriage.” “If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get on, my job would be just great.” And, “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.”

But loving kindness - maitri - towards ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

Curiosity involves being gentle, precise and open - actually being able to let go and open. Gentleness is a sense of good heartedness toward ourselves. Precision is being able to see clearly, not being afraid to see what’s really there. Openness is being able to let go and to open. When you come to have this kind of honesty, gentleness, and good-heartedness, combined with clarity about yourself, there’s no obstacle to feeling loving-kindness for others as well.
— Pema Chodron, "Uncomfortable With Uncertainty, 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion"

During our meditation I invited everyone to join in on the following healing invocation, as inspired by Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy: 

A HEALING TO REVEAL THE PEACOCK BEAUTY:
Sit quietly and breathe in and out, closing your eyes and focusing your awareness on your sacral chakra, which is below the navel, located at your pelvis. Imagine that there is a warm glow of inner light there, radiating golden and bright. Slowly as you are aware of that warm light and the breath, it begins to rise up to the throat chakra, the energy centre situated at the centre of your throat. Just intend that this happen gently and naturally as you are aware of the warmth in your lower belly. Once you feel some warmth in your body, gathering at your throat charka, or simply when you feel ready, say clearly, "I now ask for divine blessing that my higher creativity be activated - may my plans, projects and words be sublime, full of healing and unique beauty. May my creative flow be blessed with divine love, through the grace of Kuan Yin and my own free will, I allow my inner beauty to be revealed now. So be it!"
Imagine that the energy and light between your navel and throat begin to join in the centre of your body where they start to fan out, like two peacock tails in full open display, forming a stunning circular fan of magnificent golden, iridescent blue, green and purple plumes. Imagine this fan spinning in the centre of your body until it becomes a blur of gorgeous light shining out in all directions. 
Say, "I choose to reveal the peacock beuaty, the gloriousness of my own higher creativity in its full splendour - so be it!"
- Kuan Yin Oracles by Alana Fairchild

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Afterwards during our circle of presence I invited everyone to express something they love about themselves or find beautiful about themselves. This proved to be a difficult yet incredibly powerful exercise! We all noticed that it is much easier to say what we love and admire about others than what we love and admire about ourselves. I loved how we all held loving kindness and presence with one another while each of us courageously shared our beauty with one another! I sincerely hope that you took away a renewed sense of loving kindness towards your self and that it grows throughout your day, week and life! 


PRAYER TO THE PEACOCK BEAUTY:
Beloved Kuan Yin, bless me with the grace to surrender into the beauty of my own Soul, to recognize my higher creativity in flow now, to make the creations of my Soul my highest priority, that I may life with abundance, peace and happiness. Help me beloved beauty to recognize my own beauty, as magnificent and colourful as the stunning peacock. May my creations be as lovely. Om Mani Padme Hum.
- Kuan Yin Oracle Cards by Alana Fairchild. #24 Reveal The Peacock Beauty

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We followed with beautiful practice of Shibashi Qigong and closed with three chants of Om.

Next week is our last class in this session. What an amazing journey we have had together! I sincerely hope to see many of you this fall.

xo
Patti

Tapping into the power of ancient wisdom (June 4th Circle)

Lovely ladies,

Thank-you, once again, for bringing your whole self to class today. The focus, pure intention and presence that each of you contributed was palpable. It is truly an honour to facilitate such  a gathering. 

Kenna, it felt like you have been with us from the start...welcome my friend!

I wish you all a week of unconditional love. I hope you try my suggestion of Embracing Yin and Yang first thing in the morning (inhale, extend arms all the way up; exhale, cross arms and fold inward)...while doing this, set an intention to be very present today. :)

xoxo
Patti


HEALING PRAYER (shared at the end of our seated meditation):
"I call upon the presence of unconditional love. Be here now, without restraint. Fill me and fill this space. Touch all beings with your grace. I feel the presence of unconditional love within me. I acknowledge the presence of unconditional love all around me. I am the presence of unconditional love and in this love, no fear can remain. May unconditional love guide any fear back to the light of love, or back into the earth, as serves the greatest good My body, mind, heart and soul are now completely bathed in and protected by unconditional love. Through my own free will, this is so."

- Alana Fairchild, Sacrel Rebels Oracle Cards # 11 Diving For Light


Today there was an extra focus on the honouring of ancient teachings, beginning with a brief exploration into the Toltec tradition and followed by a practice of the Eight Silk Brocades, one of the oldest and most widely practiced forms of Qigong.

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THE TOLTEC:
Thousands of years ago,  the Toltec were known throughout southern Mexico as "women and men of knowledge". Anthropologists have spoken of the Toltec as a nation or a race, but, in fact, the Toltec were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. They came together as masters (naguals) and students at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside Mexico City known as the place where "Man Becomes God."

Over the millennia, the naguals were forced to conceal the ancestral wisdom and maintain its existence in obscurity. European conquest, coupled with rampant misuse of personal power by a few of the apprentices, made it necessary to shield the knowledge from those who were not prepared to use it wisely or who might intentionally misuse it for personal gain. 

Fortunately, the esoteric Toltec knowledges was embodied and passed on through generations by different lineages of naguals. Though it remained veiled in secrecy for hundreds of years, ancient prophecies foretold the coming of an age when it would be necessary to return the wisdom to the people. Now, Don Migual Ruiz, a naguals from the Eagle Knight lineage, has been guided to share with us the powerful teachings of the Toltec.

Toltec knowledge arises from the same essential unity of truth as all the sacred esoteric traditions found around the world. Though it is not a religion, it honours all the spiritual masters who have taught on the earth. While it does embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love.

A Toltec is an artist of Love, 
an artist of the Spirit, 
someone who is creating every moment, 
every second, the most beautiful art - 
the Art of Dreaming.

Life is nothing but a dream,
and if we are artists, 
then we create our life with Love, 
and our dream becomes
a masterpiece of art.

GOD WITHIN YOU:
There is an old story from India about the God, Brahma, who was all alone. Nothing existed but Brahma, and he was completely bored. Brahma decided to play a game, but there was no one to play the game with. So he created a beautiful goddess, Maya, just for the purpose of having fun. Once May existed and Brahma told her the purpose of her existence, she said, "Okay, let's play the most wonderful game, but you have to do what I tell you to do." Brahma agreed, and following Maya's instructions, he created the whole universe. Brahma created the sun and the stars, the moon and the planets. Then he created life on earth: the animals, the oceans, the atmosphere, everything.

Maya said, "How beautiful is this world of illusion you created. Now I want you to create a kind of animal that is so intelligent and aware that it can appreciate your creation." Finally Brahma created humans, and after he finished the creation, he asked May when the game was going to start. 

"We will start right now," she said. She took Brahma and cut him into thousands of teeny, tiny pieces. She put a piece inside every human and said, "Now the game begins! I am going to make you forget what you are, and you are going to try to find yourself!" Maya created the Dream, and still, even today, Brahma is trying to remember who he is. Brahma is there inside you, and Maya is stopping you from remembering what you are. 

When you awake from the Dream, you become Brahma again, and reclaim your divinity. Then if Brahma inside you says, "Okay, I am awake; what about the rest of me?" you know the trick of Maya, and you can share the truth with others who are going to wake up too. Two people who are sober in the party can have more fun. Three people who are sober is even better. Begin with you. Then others will start to change, until the whole dream, the whole party is sober.

- Don Miguel Ruiz, "The Mastery of Love"


Eight Silk Brocades (Ba Duan Jin)
The history of the Eight Silk Brocades series of qigong exercises can be traced back to over 800 years ago. The legendary founder was the famous general in the Southern Sung Dynasty, Yue Fei, who used the exercises to train his army. His army was never defeated and its success was traced back to these exercises. The Eight Silk Brocades is recognized by the Chinese Health Qigong Association as one of four official Qigong exercises, and is practiced around the world.

 "Drawing the Bow", the Second Piece of Silk

"Drawing the Bow", the Second Piece of Silk


OM:

The first syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged "awe." The sound starts at the back of your throat and you stretch it out. You will start feeling your solar plexus and chest vibrating. The second syllable is U, pronounced as a prolonged “oo,” with the sound gradually rolling forward along your upper palate. You'll feel your throat vibrate. The third syllable is M, pronounced as a prolonged “mmmm” with your front teeth gently touching. You will now start to feel the top of your vibrate. The last syllable is the deep silence of the Infinite. As intelligence rises from the deep silence, you have to merge your chant from the ‘M’ to the deep silence. Symbolically the three letters embody the divine energy (Shakti) and it’s 3 main characteristics: (1) creation, (2) preservation and (3) liberation.

Why do we chant it?

Everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating – nothing is really standing still! The sound Om, when chanted, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature. As such AUM is the basic sound of the universe; so by chanting it we are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound and acknowledging our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe. In addition the vibrations and rhythmic pronunciation also have a physical affect on the body by slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind similar to meditation. When the mind is relaxed, your blood pressure decreases and ultimately the health of your heart improves.

- Sam Saunders, www.mindbodygreen.com


The Simple Power of Presence (May 28th Circle)

Lovely ladies,

The presence held by our circle yesterday was precious! I continue to be in awe of the gifts that show up when we collectively tune into the energetic field, and especially when we begin to move together!

I enjoyed sharing my experience and insights from attending Eckhart Tolle's talk in Calgary. One of the most significant insights I gained was the awareness that "striving" to be present actually (and ironically) has been serving to distract me from the present moment.

Thank-you for also sharing your insights and experiences regarding present moment awareness. There is always so much to learn from each other! I think we were all inspired by the story of Hanna, Melanie's 12 year old daughter, who "shook off" a poor music recital and bravely performed it again! Wow, talk about about being present!


"Your relationship with the present moment IS your purpose. It is all that matters."

- Eckhart Tolle, Calgary May 15, 2018


The evening with Eckhart called me to pull out one of my favourite books, "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown. Like Eckhart, Michael teaches that presence is the portal to spiritual awakening. 

Here is the excerpt I shared in class...

Present moment awareness is a state of being as opposed to something we do. The simplest definition of present moment awareness is to be fully aware of the moment we are in - or, to be present in the moment.

The emphasis isn’t on the moment, but on the beingness we bring to bear on our life experience when we pay full attention to the moment.

A reliable indicator we have entered present moment awareness is if our experience, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable it may feel at any given moment, is infused with gratefulness.

When I speak of gratefulness, I’m not referring to the kind of gratitude that’s been founded on comparison, such as feeling grateful we are in better health or have more wealth than someone else. Neither is it the sort of gratitude that arises because life is unfolding how we want it to and everything is easy. Rather it’s gratitude that requires no reason - gratitude for the invitation, journey and gift of life itself.

Gratefulness is the one single marker we can depend on as an indicator of how present we are in our experience. When we lack gratitude for simply being alive, it’s because we have strayed from the present into an illusory mental state called “time”. In the world of time, it’s challenging to be grateful because nothing appears to unfold the way we think it should. The past holds regrets and the future the promise of improvement, while the present requires constant adjustment. We therefore spend our waking moments reflecting on what didn’t work in the past and planning those adjustments we believe are necessary to attain the peace and fulfillment we week. Because those adjustments are oriented to a “better tomorrow”, we’ve forgotten how to have a meaningful today.

Present moment awareness isn’t a concept - it’s an experience. The fact that more and more of are entering it now is a consequence of our accelerating evolution. For anyone willing to receive its blessings, its invitation is here, now, in this moment, this set of circumstances. It calls us in a silent voice that says” “STOP. THERE’S NOWHERE TO GO AND NOTHING TO DO. THERE’ SIMPLY EVERYTHING TO BE.”
— - Michael Brown, "The Presence Process"

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I am open and willing to allow divine light to flow through me, to notice in every moment when my attachments and my stories disconnect me from this infinite flow. Each day and each moment, I aspire to do my best to cause no harm with my actions, words or thoughts; to do my best to keep my heart and mind open to nurture compassion to ease the suffering of the world; and to do the most difficult of all - to accept and embrace the world just as it is.

  - a prayer I wrote (contains the three vows of Buddhism)

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A huge shout to Gabriole for inviting me to attend a concert by Deva Premal & Miten with Manose! I had never heard them before and was simply blown away by the beauty, authenticity and energy of their performance. Here is a link to one of their songs, which we listened to and sang along to yesterday. If you would like to learn more about Deva and Miten, click here.

 

XO
Patti

In We Must Go...With A Fearless and Compassionate Bow (May 14th Circle)

Open-hearted ladies,

There was a quiet serenity in our circle this morning and the inward focus was palpable. Once again I marvel at the power of gathering in a group to share silence and healing intentions.

The energy of the new moon brings with it the potential for great change. As we all know, change can bring difficulties (several of us had headaches today, me included) as well as joyous inspiration (which was evident in many of you). No matter where you find yourself, may you find that you are able to simply BE with what IS. If the moment is joyous, BE with it without holding on or clinging to it. If it is difficult, BE with it without labelling, projecting or judging. This takes open-hearted courage, which I wish you an abundance of! 

Here are the passages that were shared today: 

  New Moon is Tuesday, May 15th at 5:47am Mountain Daylight Time

New Moon is Tuesday, May 15th at 5:47am Mountain Daylight Time

Focus on the New Moon energy on Monday night. This New Moon is very potent and powerful. It comes with a robustness similar to an eclipse and is a marker for great change, the preview of which could be manifested through some major earth event or events.

We have seen this beginning to happen with earthquakes and volcanic activity in various parts of the world, all related to the earth. Watch for your own internal earth event that may feel like an inner earthquake, shifting all of your priorities and values around. This new moon is both difficult and exalted with potential for great inspiration that comes with the freedom you may experience following challenging choices you have made or are in the process of making.

While stepping forward into new territory through your choices and realigning values, it is also important to bring in the quality of beauty and inspiration into the equation. Nurture yourselves in some way and have some fun despite the chaos that you may feel around you. It cannot be focused hard work all of the time. You will reap many more benefits if you take some time to smell the roses along the way and do something for yourself that represents self-care with a bit of luxury like going to a fine restaurant for a meal or treating yourself to a massage. And if you are in the process of purging the old, bring in something new that is an upgrade in the area of beauty and inspiration.
— Lena Stevens, The Power Path School of Shamanism
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One of the truisms of wholehearted living is you either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness.

Walking into a story about disappointment or failure can feel like being swallowed whole by emotion. Our brains are hardwired to protect and that often means wanting to run or fight. At work that can look like rationalizing, hiding out, and/or blaming others.

Even with small, everyday conflicts and disappointments, physical and emotional intolerance for discomfort is the primary reason we linger on the outskirts of our hard experiences, never truly owning the story. We disengage to self-­protect.

There’s a pivotal scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Yoda is training Luke to be a Jedi warrior, teaching him how to honorably use the Force and how the dark side of the Force—anger, fear, and aggression—can consume him if he doesn’t learn how to find calm and inner peace.

In this scene, Luke and Yoda are standing in the dark swamp where they’ve been training when a strange look comes over Luke. He points toward a dark cave at the base of a giant tree and, looking at Yoda, he says, “There’s something not right here. . . I feel cold. Death.”

Yoda explains to Luke that the cave is dangerous and strong with the dark side of the Force. Luke looks confused and afraid, but Yoda’s response is simply, “In you must go.”

When Luke asks what’s in the cave, Yoda explains, “Only what you take with you.”

As Luke straps on his weapons, Yoda hauntingly advises, “Your weapons, you will not need them.”

The cave is dark and thick with vines. Steam eerily rises off the ground while a large snake winds its way over a branch and a prehistoric-looking lizard perches on a limb.

As Luke slowly makes his way through the cave, he is confronted by his enemy, Darth Vader. They both draw their light sabers and Luke quickly cuts off Vader’s helmeted head. The head rolls to the ground and the face guard blows off the helmet, revealing Vader’s face. Only, it isn’t Darth Vader’s face; it’s Luke’s face.

Luke is staring at his own head on the ground.

Walking into our stories of failure and hurt is like walking into that cave in Yoda’s swamp. It can feel dangerous and foreboding, and what we must ultimately confront is our own fear.

The most difficult part of our stories is often what we bring to them—what we make up about who we are and how we are perceived by others. Yes, maybe we failed or screwed up a project, but what makes that story so painful is what we tell ourselves about our own self-worth and value.

Owning our stories means acknowledging our feelings and wrestling with the hard emotions—our fear, anger, aggression, shame, and blame. This isn’t easy, but the alternative—denying our stories and disengaging from emotion—means choosing to live our entire lives in the dark. It means no accountability, no learning, no growth.

To harness the Force, we must own our stories and live our truth. In we must go.

Happy Star Wars Day! #MaytheFourthBeWithYou
May 4, 2018 | 4 min read
By Brené Brown
—  In You Must Go: Harnessing the Force by Owning Our Stories - By Brene Brown Adapted from Rising Strong (2015) https://brenebrown.com/blog/2018/05/04/in-you-must-go-harnessing-the-force-by-owning-our-stories/
MOTHER OF MERCY
Just like a Sun that sines brightly casting a strong shadow, your growing spiritual power needs to be expressed with the awareness that it will have an effect on others, even if you are not completely conscious of that effect. To create peace in the expression of your power, we call upon the Mother of Mercy. Mercy tempers great strength and power with kindness, gentleness, compassion and caring. The Divine Kuan Yin brings the quality of Mercy to you know as a divine gift, encouraging you to cultivate mercy in your dealings with others and to receive it for yourself now too.

PRAYER TO THE MOTHER OF MERCY:
Mother of Mercy so loves my Soul
The Nectar of Mercy brings peace and bliss untold.
I open my heart now to this endless love and peace, which the grace of Kuan Yin helps me reach.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
— "Mother Mercy", Kuan Yin Orace Cards by Alana Fairchild
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May you enjoy the sun soak up all the blossoming energy of spring! I will see you in two weeks!

Patti
xoxo

Wild Women, Shared Presence, and the Nuance of Passage ... (May 7th circle)

Amazing Women,

Thank-you for willingly participating in the sharing of your chosen cards in yesterday's class. I loved hearing the similar yet unique messages from Eckhart Tolle that each of you contributed. And the Wild Women cards, well...I just can't get enough of Elizabeth Macleod's fun, real and empowering messages!! 

Alanna, what a gift for you to bring your beautiful presence to our circle....it felt as if you had been with us from the start! Gabriole, we look forward to finally having you join us next week! 


It was nice to formally share with you my vision for Practicing Grace Qigong which I had intended to do on our first class, but was drawn elsewhere until now. I have paraphrased this vision below:

Class Philosophy:
This is a sacred space from entry to exit, a place to join with others to access your own healing power. We honour each other’s unique journey, share and connect while being mindful to allow each person’s experience to be her own. Laughter and joyous connection is encouraged!  

Circle of Presence:
The person holding the stone receives utter presence from the others. No words are spoken, unless the person specifically asks for a response. This exercise is about noticing what is and being with it without judgement. It is about shared presence, shared vulnerability and shared celebrations. Together we hold intense presence both for ourselves and for others and to set and sense the energy field of the group. Healing is amplified in a group, and many traditions consider a group to be a necessary component of spiritual awakening.

Practicing Grace Qigong:
Practicing Grace Qigong is an intuitive practice to open the mind and heart and restore energy flow to the body. We honour all traditions and all human experiences, recognizing that most energy blockages are caused from our emotions, our unwillingness to feel the sensation of emotion and stay with it without assigning a mental story to it. Only when we allow the emotion to move through us do we unmask, let go and open the mind and heart.

Qigong uses slow movements, deep breathing, and focused intention to restore the flow of qi to the body.  Of these three qualities the most important is intention; “intent guides the Qi to produce healing”.  It is not about perfecting the details and doing precise movements. It is about listening and following your body’s innate wisdom to move with the energy.

The following passages from three different teachers  capture the essence of what Practicing Grace Qigong is all about...

It is our Qi that holds us together, animates us and makes us who we really are. It is our true self, the source of consciousness, awareness and life. Without it nothing lives. When our invisible life force signal, qi, is in orderly action, life thrives and well-being abounds.
— Master Waysun Liao
This flow of energy comes from the depth of your being. All the great spiritual traditions give it different names: Qi (Chinese), Prana Shakti (Hindu), Spirit (Christian), Skan (Lakota).

The only reason we don’t feel this energy all the time is because we block it by closing our heart and mind which blocks the energy channels in our physical body (meridians and chakras). Fear is the cause of every problem. We block our flow of energy by closing our hearts and our minds and we do this because of fear.

True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection
— Michael Singer, "The Untethered Soul"
The purpose of the spiritual path is to unmask, to take off our armour, to let go of our fixed identity. Buddha taught that the fixed identity (ego-clinging) is the cause of our suffering. Looking deeper, the real cause of our suffering is not being able to tolerate uncertainty.

If we can get in touch with the sensation as sensation and open ourselves to it without labeling it good or bad, then even when we feel the urge to draw back, we can stay present and move forward into the feeling. Our feelings are the gateway to liberation, an open doorway to freedom from suffering, the path to our deepest well-being and joy.
— Pema Chodron, "Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change"

Last week I received my new deck of Wild Woman Mystery Cards in the mail - I was so excited I just tore into the packaging. My beloved yoga teacher,  Michelle Crawford introduced me to these cards and they have quickly become my most favourite!  On Sunday I drew two cards from the deck: PRESENCE and PASSAGE. I had sensed that we would dive deeper into presence in this week's classes, so this was (yet another) affirmation for me. I was absolutely blown away by Elizabeth MacLeod's description of "passage". To me, her description is exactly what qigong is  all about -  presence through the motion of life. I  hope you enjoyed listening to the messages in class and enjoy reading them again here!

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""Don't just do something, stand there!" shouts the Wild Woman. Be present in all your capacity. Envelop all there is. There is nothing you can do in greater capacity than to be present.

If you want to feel your presence you must be there in yourself. With this, you will feel connection to everyone and everything. 

To maintain balance in your life, especially when things are out of your control, is to recognize that there's nothing you can do, except be present. This is all you need to hold your balance. 

Be present to life now. Let it be. Recognize it is almost always the way. Be present. Just be present, and all will come to you."

- Elizabeth MacLeod, Wild Woman Mystery Cards

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"Passage is a word misunderstood. It suggests movement from one place to the other. Consider for a moment that passage is something more that you go through without movement, as if it were an initiation of sorts. Consider that passage is that which you are always engaged in as you move in and out of each moment in your life. 

There are little and big passages, just like little and big moments. Sometimes the simplest moments are the most profound. Simple, Wild Woman is a word also misunderstood. Simple is made to look easy, or made to look quick, but simple is clear and can be as profound as any moment you might ever have. Notice that with each new moment, you are in passage, passage into something new. You are traveling into all that you are, in any given moment. When you realize this, you will know  you that you have reached the initiation of the Wild Woman, knowing that each moment is a passage into something greater than ever came before, because it is a new moment. And with this comes the allowing necessary to open your heart to all the experiences you could have. It's like you are literally birthing into your self in every moment and coming out new, with which to see your perceptions change before your very eyes!  This is the gift of passage. Coming into your self and allowing for passages of life to take place with compassion and light heartedness, you will initiate yourself into your self without the need for anyone to tell you of wisdom they think you should do. You will know.

Wild Woman passage is a sacred event unfolding every minute of every day. It takes a conscious awareness to be present to the steps you take and choices you make in each moment. Passage takes you to another passage. And passage is always there for you whether you like it or not. To be present to passage allows you to take ownership in your life, deciding which road to take and which path to climb. It allows you the full experience of all of you. It's as if with each step you move for you to create yourself. So create yourself. You do not have to find yourself. You are here. Create yourself, in every moment, in passage. What an enormous gift to yourself and ultimately our world."

- Elizabeth MacLeod, Wild Woman Mystery Cards

And, finally, here is the closing Kuan Yin passage and prayer that I shared at the end of our class:

TAI CHI RISING
Your energy field is growing stronger, with more spiritual electricity pulsing through your being. Take time to nourish your nervous system as it adjusts and be gentle with yourself as you adjust to increasing levels of spiritual potency, which gives more impact to your words, actions and thoughts.

A PRAYER FOR TAI CHI RISING
Through the mercy and compassion of Kuan Yin, and my own Free Will, may my energy field grow to meet the needs of my Soul light. May I be strong and merciful, powerful and wise in equal measure, may I be loving and potent with temperance and peaceful intention. Om Mani Padme Hum.
— "Tai Chi Rising", Kuan Yin Oracles by Alana Fairchild
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Thank-you for another meaningful morning. I look forward to seeing you all next week and to welcoming Gabriole into our circle!!

xo
Patti

Howling at the moon! (April 30th circle)

Dear Monday Morning Warriors,

I want to start by thanking each of you for holding such sacred space for each other in yesterday's circle!  The group is very new and many of us have just met one another... and yet there is a  precious and rare willingness to be seen.  Seeing and being seen without judgement and comparisons is, in itself, a healing practice - even if not immediately felt, the experience alone can clear energy blockages and release old patterns. Thank-you for trusting this process! 

See below for some of the readings/pointers that were shared during our class. 💞

As always,  please feel free to contact me at any point during the week if you have any questions, comments or concerns.
 

 Scorpio Full Moon, Sunday April 29th

Scorpio Full Moon, Sunday April 29th

IT’S A GOOD TIME FOR HOWLING...

We’re all feeling the effects of the extremely emotional SCORPIO full moon.

All the pain and passion we’ve held since last October?
All the anguish and anger we’ve felt since last fall?
All the hidden secrets starting to be revealed?

The FULL MOON in Scorpio calls for us to release everything.

Every last little drop of rage, remorse, sorrow, grief, disappointment and despair. It’s a time for howling, gnashing, wailing and otherwise getting it all out.

Yet even bigger, on May 15, Uranus enters Taurus for seven years for the first time in 84 years. Many astrologers are calling it the most important shift of the year—a revolution in finances, materialism, farming, food, physicality. Last time this happened was 1934, when Hitler, Stalin, Mao were in power. Yet other astrologers see it as an extremely hopeful next seven years— a freeing shakeup to old outworn systems.

There is never any fear in astrology, because we are all souls moving toward greater expansion.

What happens in the past is NOT repeated in exactly the same way in the future, because we are continually evolving.

However, if you are feeling emotional, the Universe asks that you focus on yourself as a soul.

Connect in.
Get help from your Guides.
Ask for Divine assistance.
— Sara Wiseman (www.sarawiseman.com)

This is an intense full moon with energy similar to an eclipse. It is an extremely important time to be mindful of your reactions and to take responsibility for them. If you are triggered in any way, you have an opportunity to look at those deep patterns that may be coming to the surface and work through them with focused and disciplined intention. Get help if you need it.

On the other side of this personal inner crisis energy is the support for expansion and the possibility of moving into something new and different. This is also a good day for gratitude and honor as you celebrate all of your accomplishments up to this point in your life without being attached to how they have defined you. Allow this full moon to support you in creating new intentions for redefining who you are.
— Lena Stevens, The Power Path School of Shamanism

True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection. This is done by constantly remembering that you are the one inside that notices the voice talking. That is the way out. The one inside who is aware that you are always talking to yourself about yourself is always silent. It is a doorway to the depths of your being. To be aware that you are watching the voice talk is to stand on the threshold of a fantastic inner journey. if used properly, the same mental voice that has been a source of worry, distraction, and general neurosis can become the launching ground for true spiritual awakening. Come to know the one who watches the voice, and you will come to know one of the great mysteries of creation.
— Michael Singer, "The Untethered Soul", Chapter 1: Introduction

When you feel pain, simply view it as energy. Just start seeing these inner experiences as energy passing through your heart and before the eye of your consciousness. Then relax. Do the opposite of contracting and closing. Relax and release. Relax your heart until you are actually face-to-face with the exact place where it hurts. Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You will not want to do this. You will feel tremendous resistance do doing this, and that’s what makes it so powerful. As you relax and feel the resistance, the heart will want to pull away, to close, to protect, and to defend itself. Keep relaxing. Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you. It’s just energy. Just see it as energy and let it go.

Eventually you will understand that there is an ocean of love behind all of this fear and pain. That force will sustain you by feeding your heart from deep within.
— Michael Singer, "The Untethered Soul", Chapter 11: Pain the Price of Freedom

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VALE OF SHADOWS

A lotus blossoms with deep rich mud into which she plunges her roots and draws great nourishment. From this mud, made of water and earth, growth happens and great beauty is revealed. Your Soul lotus thrives through depth of emotion and aliveness of your body into which she can plant her Self and unfold as a lotus of light.

A PRAYER FOR ASSISSTANCE THROUGH THE VALE OF SHADOWS

I pray to Kuan Yin, beloved spiritual mother, please help me be fearless in the Vale of Shadows, realizing that I am just growing in self-awareness and whatever has grown ugly through lack of love will gleam like a polished jewel through my attention, willingness to love and accept all parts of me and my divinely-inspired creativity in integrating this part of me into my life with more consciousness. Om Mani Padme Hum. May all parts of me be blessed. Om Mani Padme Hum
— Kuan Yin Oracle Cards by Alana Fairchild, #43 Vale of Shadows

Acceptance, exploring the nuances of willpower, and celebrating those who are beside us... (April 23rd circle)

Dear Monday Morning Beauties,

Oh, how I love the freedom to explore what arises in our circle!  Thank-you ladies for a contemplative and powerful gathering yesterday!  I learned a lot from each of you and appreciated how our conversation flowed into our practice. 

Here is the reading that stimulated a great conversation on tolerance, will and acceptance:

The Wisdom of No Escape

The central question of a warrior’s training is not how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to discomfort. How do we practice with difficulty, with our emotions, with the unpredictable encounters of an ordinary day? For those of us with a hunger to know the truth, painful emotions are like flags going up to say, “You’re stuck!” We regard disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, jealousy, and fear as moments that show us where we’re holding back, how we’re shutting down. Such uncomfortable feelings are messages that tell us to perk up and lean into a situation when we’d rather cave in and back away.

When the flag goes up, we have an opportunity: we can stay with our painful emotion instead of spinning out. Staying is how we get the hang of gently catching ourselves when we’re about to let resentment harden into blame, righteousness, or alienation. It’s also how we keep from smoothing things over by talking ourselves into a sense of relief or inspiration. This is easier said than done.

Ordinarily we are swept away by habitual momentum. We don’t interrupt our patterns even slightly. With practice, however, we learn to stay with a broken heart, with a nameless fear, with the desire for revenge. Sticking with uncertainty is how we learn to relax in the midst of chaos, how we learn to be cool when the ground beneath us suddenly disappears. We can bring ourselves back to the spiritual path countless times each day simply by exercising our willingness to rest in uncertainty of the present moment - over and over again.

— Pema Chodron, "Comfortable with Uncertainty, 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion"

Our conversation on tolerance, acceptance and willpower inspired me to revisit the teachings of Michael Singer and his book "The Untethered Soul", which I have paraphrased below:

What is it inside of us that even has the ability to resist the reality of life? It is called willpower.
The power of Self, when it is concentrated and directed into the physical, mental, or emotional realm, creates a force, and we call that force “will”. Will is a real force that emanates from your being.

Amazingly, we often assert our will in opposition to the flow of life. If something happens that we don’t like, we resist it. It is understandable that we don’t like it, but since it already happened what good does it do to resist it?

When you resist, the energy has no place to go and it causes serious problems. Because you don’t let the energy of the personal event pass through you, it leaves an impression on your mind and heart. Those impressions become the basis for asserting your will to either resist or cling to current events, creating ongoing tension, turmoil, struggle and suffering.

The alternative is to use life to let go of these impressions and the stress they create. Let your spiritual path become the willingness to let whatever happens make it through you, rather than carrying it into the next moment.

Begin dealing with every situation with acceptance. Acceptance means that events can make it through you without resistance. Don’t think that because you accept reality it means you don’t deal with things. You do deal with them. You just deal with them as events, and not as personal problems. First, you let the energy make it through you. If you don’t, you will not actually be dealing with the current event, you will be dealing with your own blocked energies from the past.

Once the personal energies pass through you, the world becomes a different place. You bring awareness and clarity to everything you do.

Open and expand your heart and mind to encompass reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey.
— Michael Singer, "The Untethered Soul", chapter 16: The Spiritual Path of Nonresistance


As we discussed there are many gifts from being in a circle such as ours. Here is the prophecy I was drawn to share with you  spontaneously during class:

To my fellow swimmers:
here is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift,
that there are those who will be afraid,
who will try to hold on to the shore,
they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
and keep our heads above water.
And I say see who is there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history we are to take nothing personally,
least of all ourselves, for the moment we do,
our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
For we are the ones we have been waiting for.
— From the Elders of the Hopi Nation Oraibi, Arizona, June 8, 2000

And, finally, here is the closing Kuan Yin passage and prayer that I shared at the end of our class:

The only wish of the Divine Mother Goddess is that all beings be spiritually free. The Divine Goddess calls us to realize our true nature, to fall in love with our own divinity. Enlightenment is a culmination of many small steps, each one as a drop of water forming a divine ocean of peace, realization, love and unity within us, an ocean that washes away fear, separation and scarcity and bathes us in abundance and bliss. You carry the torch of enlightenment within you, beloved. Let it shine each day.

Beloved Kuan Yin, Green Tara, Mazue, Goddesses of the Great Divine Mother, please help me to live my light, to live my enlightenment in each day, to know my own Self and to live the beauty and bliss with peace in my heart. Thank you for your help. Om Shanti. I feel your Peace in my heart now. May all beings feel and know this peace within. Om Shanti. Om Mani Padme Hum.
— "Dynasty of the Divine Mother", Kuan Yin Oracles by Alana Fairchild

Thank-you for this particularly rich morning. I look forward to seeing you all next week and to welcoming Michelena into our circle!!

xo
Patti

Well, that's a great way to start off our week! 🙏 (April 16 circle)

Hello Monday Morning ladies,

What an absolute gift and honour to share my first post-surgery qigong class at Wolf Willow Studio with each of you! I cannot wait to share the next eight weeks with you and to grow together. 

Michelena and Gabriole we look forward to having you join our circle when you return from your vacations and Carla I look forward to meeting you next week!

As I shared yesterday, I am continuously drawn to the integration of various teachings — there seems to be an innate desire and need to find the common threads and to weave them together. The movements of Qigong seemingly open up the channels so that divine truth can flow in and I am just here to say YES, YES and YES…and to bring as many people with me as I can. Thank-you for coming along for the ride! Lately, I have been drawn to the basic teachings of Buddhism and have found the words of Pema Chodron to be the most soothing and insightful. So, for the time being, we are going to explore some of her words. Here is the passage I shared from her book, “ Comfortable with Uncertainty, 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion”. 
 

The Love That Will Not Die

Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all others behind. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.

On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others , our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is our heart - our wounded, softened heart. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die. This love is bodhichitta. It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious. The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings


Wishing you all a week of open-hearted presence!

xo
Patti