This poem and following essay are written by Deng Ming Dao and are from his book his book 365 Tao. I read this every year on the last day of the year or the last class of the year:

Upon completion comes fulfillment.

With fulfillment comes liberation.

Liberation allows you to go on.

Even death is not a true ending.

Life is infinite continuation.

Always finish what you start. That alone is discipline and wisdom enough. If you can follow that rule, then you will be superior to most people.

When you come to the end of a cycle, a new one will begin. You might say that completion actually begins somewhere in the middle of a cycle and that new beginnings are engendered out of previous actions.

Completing a cycle means fulfillment. it means that you have achieved self-knowledge, discipline and a new way of understanding yourself and the world around you. You cannot stop there, of course. New Horizons are always there. But you can reach out for those new vistas with fresh assurance and wisdom.

With each turn of the wheel you go further. With each turn of the wheel you free yourself from the mire of ignorance. With each turn of the wheel comes continuation.

Turn the wheel of your life. Make complete revolutions. Celebrate every turning. And persevere with joy.

Connecting to Earth

To help keep connections you make when practicing tai chi or qigong in nature, try this. Find a grove of trees or a place in nature surrounded by trees. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, let your tailbone drop, let you head be light as if held by a string from a balloon. Soften your feet and feel the bubbling well in your foot open allowing chi from the earth to flow into your body. Imagine roots from your feet going into the earth gently, connect you to the elements therein. Stand tall like a tree. Breathe. Remain until you feel the connection and as long as you like thereafter. 

The next time you are feeling that you need to be back in nature, or any morning as you rise or evening before bed, picture your footsteps in that place, still connecting you to the earth, and the nature all around you. Remember the roots you put down and feel the energy rising into your feet. Breathe and remember you are still there. 


An Answer

Recently, I asked Grand Master Tung Kai Yang what Gong or Kung meant. As in "Kung Fu" or Qigong.  It is defined differently as "skill," or "training" "hard work," depending where you look. It is used as a general term now, not solely in reference to the martial arts. His answer was, simply,  "time." 



Students and Teachers

When a teacher says that she has learned as much from her students as she has taught, believe her. With Taiji it seems to be especially true because the practice deepens over time – long periods of time – a lifetime. Most teachers are still studying the form with Masters or their teachers, bringing back new insights and corrections to their classes. Sometimes a student will ask a question that requires a teacher to think about something that may never have occurred to them, to see Taiji in a new way, and to articulate a response. We continue to learn.  We learn the form, but we also learn patience and purpose. We learn humility and we are inspired by others – students and teachers, alike. 

Morning Qigong

38 degrees. Who will show up? I had moved the starting date for my annual Qigong classes outdoors at the Mohonk Preserve to mid-May, because last year it was so chilly in early May. And now, it is only 38 degrees. Who will show up? Three stalwarts ready to begin the very sunny, beautiful, clear day with Qigong.  On the green slope in the sun, facing the distant Catskill Mountains, we began our gentle movements, with breath, with chi and with our open minds the chi flows. By the end, we were warmed enough to do a ten-minute standing-in-stillness meditation that I learned from Robert Peng. Breathe. Nourish your chi. Thank you.