Sunday, January 28, 2018

Getting Aligned - My New Work Routine

2017 was a year of finding balance and limits. 2018 has become the year of finding my alignment and removing blockages that don't add value to my life. This results from me facing the fact that I do have some rather significant spine issues that if not acknowledged will only get worse. I recently had the alignment adjusted on my SUV so I guess it's time for me to adjust my own alignment.

If you asked me last week how much I sat, I would say that I wasn't all that sedentary because prolonged sitting was painful and my legs go numb. But, I didn't exactly care how I was sitting nor make it a point to stand regularly. Now that I've learned that the arthritis in my knees won't improve without movement; I've considered a standing desk as my primary workspace; but this seems like a giant change and I'm all about small, well calculated steps.

So, maybe I should simply stand more often or at the very least become conscious of standing regularly. I also took a hard look at my work space and what I could do to make it more beneficial to my particular spinal problems.

Since a standing desk is a big change. I started by playing Goldilocks with every chair in the house. The office chair now sits in the Sunroom. I settled on a folding kitchen stool which puts me at the right keyboard height for the desk I have and I put a small box under my feet so my knees are at the proper angle. It's not terribly comfortable; but better than "coping" with the office chair or other chairs I tried. In other words, it encourages me to sit properly and STAND.  I also put a couple boxes under my monitor to get it at the proper height.

There is a "Stand Time" app on my Apple watch. But, it's easy to ignore. Even amping the frequency of the challenge didn't seem to change my behavior. So, I loaded the free Outstanding  Chrome browser extension. It is a small green dot in the corner of the Chrome browser that turns yellow>red as I interact with the computer. Pretty effective. I'm not a big fan of their little pop-up window threatening my mortality with the evils of prolonged sitting so I tend to get up and move as soon as it turns yellow. After a few minutes it resets and is green again. Sometimes, they send a little pop-up window congratulating me for reaching goals. Clicking on the little colored dot will give me my standing statistics.

That leads me to my next realization.... I do sit a lot more than I thought I did. I race to finish work before the yellow dot appears. I mono-task much better because I want to get things done before my time is up. It really cuts down on the social media surfing or getting sidetracked by email. Those things can be done on my ipad or phone which is a much more comfortable, supportive workspace.

I also learned that I will push (ooops - yellow - BRB) my limits to finish some computer project while the discomfort and pain rises in my body and emotions. In other words I have patterned in a slave mentality. No, that doesn't add value to my life or my goals. I need to change this behavior. Simply reminding me to stand isn't going to be motivating long enough especially when it may take several months to feel a physical impact of these new behaviors.

Standland - it's a free app for iPhone and the watch. Good reviews - sounds interesting. Quite a learning curve for a non-millennial/non-gamer but by day 3 I had goals. I found in app challenges where you earn little gems by standing and completing challenges. The gems can be spent on new environments, clothes for your pet or gemmies, etc. OK - this is totally fun. EXCEPT - I didn't make the first few challenges. But, I stand a lot. I do Qigong standing. I walk, move, bounce..... but I didn't move enough every hour for 12 hours in a day?  Reset challenge 1 and try again. Now, I'm motivated. Those critters and gems keep me going. If I don't stand they fall asleep (thankfully not perish). I'm definitely making progress and paying more attention to keeping my spine happy.

I'm being more mindful of my alignment both with my spine and my commitments. Healing my back is critical to my long term goals. Does it add value? Does it add to progress of my long term intentions? This is the theme of 2018. Who knows where it will take me.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I Had to Buy a New Battery

A few days before the winter solstice, my trusty 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe wouldn't start. OK - so it was below zero and mmmmmaybe someone left an interior light on.

"There's a reason for everything!" I announced and attached the portable jump battery. Surprisingly, for the first time, it didn't work.

"We'll charge it up and tomorrow will be warmer. The battery will recover and we will be back on the road playing Pokemon Go and chasing off to Physical Therapy appointments."

The next day - it didn't start either. Nor the next. But, Hey! Reason for everything. I'm not buying gas if I'm not using it. Let's get that gratitude flowing. We don't NEED to go anywhere. We walked to the nearest pokestop a block away and the weather wasn't too awful.

Jean engaged her Google fu and decided it was a loose battery connection. Whatever she did worked and the puppy started without a problem. Good! We can keep the appointment the next day. That evening we went to start it and it didn't happen. It tried - didn't seem to be the battery. We had lights, ignition, bells.... but no starting.

I'm becoming a bit anxious now. You can't call roadside assistance when it's sitting in your driveway. All my mechanic friends are 3000 miles away. Facebook to the rescue!

My mother drove over from Pillager to take Jean to an important appointment in Baxter. Taxi rides are great; but $20 for a 6 mile ride one way is a little much. Thank you, Mom!!

Facebook delivered! Well, Facebook friends delivered. Amy toted over her battery charger and we chatted while it juiced up. Yep - with the big charger it started right up. So, maybe it is the battery after all? 

Jean goes back to Google and discovers that batteries don't last 10 years in the Lower 48 like they do in Alaska. The hot summers take their toll. I guess the battery is at least 4 years old for sure. So, off to NAPA we go.

The guy installing the battery for us announces, "Hey! This is a factory installed battery!"

Ummmm.... so it is over 5 years old. No wonder it was not reliably starting the car.

So, what do we do as the winter of our life sets in and our "batteries"/ life energy is running low? We can just keep trying to start our engines but we sure can't go buy a new battery. We can get a recharge or find a battery charger and just keep the engine running when not at home. Not terribly practical and slightly dangerous. Eventually, overuse will catch up to us.

It's just like when my car wouldn't start. First thing I did was check for any unnecessary drain on the battery. Then, cut off any possible drain from the task at hand like the seat belt bell, heater fan, lights, etc. What is draining your energy? Relationships? Finances? Health issues?

I checked the connections - made sure they were strong and clean. How are your emotions? Where are your thoughts? Where is your energy going? Do you practice Forgiveness? Gratitude? Do you have blockages in your energy flow? Diseases or discomforts that inhibit Happiness, Joy, & Contentment?

I worked with the weather and environment. Are you eating properly in accordance with the seasons and your personal needs? Are you warm enough? Do you get enough water everyday? How often do you get outdoors and away from technology? Are your clothes and body clean? Do you get adequate rest & exercise? Practice Qigong or Yoga? Practice Mindfulness?

I applied additional support and supplemental energy. Have you asked anyone or the universe for help lately? Do you have certain supplements or foods you need that you have been neglecting? Is your food over-processed or grown with chemicals? Do you have a spiritual practice? Enjoy creative movement, art, or music? Do you work with energy healing? Do you do energy breathing? Move the Small Universe?

Like the battery, we need to stay charged up and in use. I can buy a new battery for my car but there is no other way to renew our on vital energy without nourishing, safe guarding, and recharging it everyday. It is said, "Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It is simply transformed." Yin & Yang are in a continual dance of balance and harmony. That fuels us as long as we keep the flow open and tend to our Qi (life energy).

We will not live in this body forever; but, we can live a very long, happy life if we are mindful of our source.

In a peculiar way, I'm grateful my battery needed to be replaced. It made me stop and think about my own energy supply, I needed a little maintenance too. I think 2018 is going to be a year of realignment and renewal for me. I hope it is for you too!








Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Breathing into Winter

A quilt with a square embroidered with my grandmother's signature in the Dunn County Museum
This year certainly didn't wrap up with the same intention and vision I had in the beginning of the year. It has been a interesting journey with several blind corners, side trail (trials), and events. Staying centered has been a challenge. If not for Qigong and my Qigong family, I don't think I would be going into this precious Winter season with as much vitality. Keeping the channels open and staying connected to the light centering down several times a day into the well of sustaining, strengthening quiet has carried me through. 

The Brainerd Community Schools offered me the opportunity to teach Qigong classes. It was a wonderful experience and I made many new friends. Watch for new practice groups forming after Christmas. One will be in Pillager. I also hope to resume the Brainerd group soon.

Winter is a time to meditate and stay near the source of warmth. It's ok to snuggle under your quilt and cancel a few of those social events to keep yourself from being "over exposed." The light will return and we can again resume our "busy-ness." It's also the perfect time to banish all fear from your life. It will help to support the life-sustaining kidney energy. The very best way to do this is to practice gratitude. I tell my fellow travelers that social media is a perfect place to do this. It holds us accountable; and when we share our gratitude with others they benefit as well. Throughout the month of December, I post 3 things I am grateful for on my Facebook page. Posting 3 things a day stretches me a bit and encourages creativity. I resist redundancy because I am posting where my friends will be reading it. Beginning January 1, I will start keeping a gratitude journal. This is the first time I've set this intention. I was inspired by Mahalo a journal by Timber Hawkeye. Many masters teach that gratitude is the source of great healing. 

So as I contract and inhale for Winter, I exhale all that is no longer useful from the past year and expand into new intentions.  

We went to see the latest Disney/Pixar movie last night, Coco. A wonderful movie! Not at all what I was expecting. Last night I dreamt of my ancestors and felt so much closer to my family. In the movie the young boy discovers his roots as well as coming face to face with evil, deception, negativity, and impermanence. He is mistaken at first and his family is not supporting him; but, as the story unwinds the family comes to understand truth and abundance follows. Take home message is to use your time on earth wisely and not hesitate to follow your dreams. But, also, to respect all living beings and honor them for who they are not what they appear to be. Good lessons for me right now. 

Living in Minnesota has been wonderful. I have finally regained my health, vision, and can one again plan my future. The past year has been a year of many losses but also many gains. As we approach the Solstice and return of the Sun, I am hopeful that I have found my true home and family.

Over the next few weeks I will be growing an online journal to support the holistic community in the Northern Minnesota area. It's quite an exciting prospect to work with local folk again. 

SMILE! BREATHE! QI!





Saturday, September 30, 2017

Community Ed. Classes Now Enrolling

It's time to GET SMART!!

Explore Qigong
REGISTER NOW
Brainerd Community Ed. Classes

Instructor: Lynn Tatro


SMART START -  Stress Management And Relaxation Techniques


Just need to reset? A jump start? Stressed? Anxious? Depressed? Fearful? Tired? Curious?
Spend a few hours experiencing and exploring Qigong. Feel a difference!
Increase energy and relaxation with this very calming class. Rebuild your physical, mental, and emotional health with the ancient art of Qigong. With Qigong you can reduce stress, improve your immune function, strengthen bones and joints, regulate your metabolic system, improve balance, digestion, blood pressure and much, much more.
During this 2 hour class you will learn:
  • Simple, gentle movements
  • Breathing techniques for Energy & Relaxation
  • Mindfulness practice
Class # 6504FA
Forestview Middle School Team Area 7C 1 session $35
10/05/Th 6-8pm


Get SMART !! Stress Management And Relaxation Techniques


With roots in Chinese medicine, Qigong is a practice of cultivating and balancing life energy through aligning breath, movement, and awareness.  Today, numerous studies in medical research worldwide have concluded that qigong practice plays a positive role in various categories of health benefits, and is being studied as a form of alternative medicine.
During this 4 week course you will learn:
- Simple movements, breathing & mindfulness techniques
- Energy flow in your body - Energy Blockages & their origins
- Fall prevention (learn to stay on your feet this winter!)
- How to integrate techniques into a sustainable practice
- How to deal with our old pal Resistance
- Emotional balancing techniques
- A bit of history, terminology, & resources for continuing your practice
Increase energy and relaxation with this very calming class. Rebuild your physical, mental, and emotional health with the ancient art of Qigong. Qigong has been used for self-healing, rejuvenation and internal transformation for millennia and is slowly being recognized in the west for its beneficial properties. At a minimum you can reduce stress, improve your immune function, strengthen bones and joints, regulate your metabolic system, improve balance, digestion, blood pressure and much, much more with this practice.
With roots in Chinese medicine, Qigong is a practice of cultivating and balancing life energy through aligning breath, movement, and awareness.  Today, numerous studies in medical research worldwide have concluded that qigong practice plays a positive role in various categories of health benefits, and is being studied as a form of alternative medicine.
During this 4 week course you will learn:
  • Simple movements, breathing & mindfulness techniques
  • Fall prevention
  • How to integrate techniques into a sustainable practice
  • How to deal with our old pal Resistance
  • Emotional balancing techniques
  • A bit of history, terminology, & resources for continuing your practice
Open to all levels and recommended for beginners and those with physical challenges. Come as you are. No special equipment or clothes required. This is a very gentle, low impact activity.
Increase energy and relaxation with this very calming class. Rebuild your physical, mental, and emotional health with the ancient art of Qigong. With Qigong can reduce stress, improve your immune function, strengthen bones and joints, regulate your metabolic system, improve balance, digestion, blood pressure and much, much more.

Open to all levels and recommended for beginners and those with physical challenges. Come as you are. No special equipment or clothes required. This is a very gentle, low impact activity.

Class # 6504FB
Forestview Middle School Team Area 7C 4 sessions $108
10/23-11/16 /M (*) 6-8pm
*Class meets Mondays 10/23, 11/6, 11/13 &
Thursday, 11/16

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summer Where Did You Go?

We stopped in Chamberlin, South Dakota on our way home from seeing the solar eclipse in Grand Island, Nebraska. This is a beautiful 50 foot statue named Dignity. She is made of steel and stands on a bluff above the river. The wind and light flows through her. The energy here is amazing. Who knew dignity could be so transforming. Gave me a lot to ponder. I am so inspired. I like to think she is doing Tai Chi!

I spent a month in Kirkland, Washington with family. I enjoyed the harbor and revisiting the lush green, growing Pacific Northwest. There I saw people doing Tai Chi & Qigong in the park. I would love to see that in my area. Don't forget to do your Qigong outdoors when you can. It is so powerful. Take off your shoes and connect with Mother Earth.

Next week, I am travelling to Texas. And,, probably a trip to Missouri in October. But, I am going to be teaching Qigong through the Brainerd Community Schools beginning the last week of September and then a longer session mid October - November. The availability of the space is very limited so I could only fit in a 4 week class. I'll post the schedule here when it comes out.

I am still searching for a location to hold practice groups, classes, and workshops. Please, let me know if you have suggestions.

I'm gearing up to post more frequently here and begin some online "classes" I haven't quite narrowed my focus yet. But, expect awesome!

Don't forget Master Jou's advice - Know yourself, Do your best, Make a little progress everyday, and don't overdo it.

Friday, April 28, 2017

It's World Tai Chi and Qigong Day!!!

My view for World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2017
Lake Mille Lacs - my new dojo
Best weather I can recall for WTCQD!

When you aren't doing Qigong or Tai Chi you should be following the Facebook Livestream with David Dorian Ross featuring people participating in the celebrations at 10am their time all over the world! It's captivating!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day - April 29, 2017

One World One Breath


 

BE A HEALING PART OF HISTORY!

JOIN IN WORLD TAI CHI & QIGONG DAY! 
LAST SATURDAY OF APRIL EACH YEAR (10 AM LOCAL TIME WORLDWIDE)
IN hundreds OF CITIES, SPANNING 80 NATIONS, PEOPLE COME TOGETHER, TO BREATHE TOGETHER, PROVIDING A HEALING VISION FOR OUR WORLD
SPREAD THE WORD! WTCQD IS APRIL 29, 2017
WWW.WORLDTAICHIDAY.ORG FOR MORE INFO & LIVESTREAM!