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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Shelter:beach

What better way to stay in the present moment

than playing with a beloved child?

Running on the beach, finding shells for a necklace,

tossing a wave-jumping ball,

finding a covered stairway on a cold, rainy, snowy day

from which to watch the waves?

No worries about the past.

No fears of the future.

Just joy.

 

c@rljones

c@rljones

For the last several years a friend and I have been offering women’s meditation retreats that are very powerful and transforming.  I had just returned from one in Florida to hear that the dates for our May retreat in WV had been taken by another group.  This news was upsetting because we had advertised widely and begun receiving deposits.  Was there another weekend open?  Would the retreat happen?  The retreats are very important to me, one of the main ways I have found in retirement to give to others some of the great gifts I have received in meditation, tools that keep transforming my life.

The anxiety and frustration I experienced waiting to hear from my contact at the retreat venue for the next 24 hours was a great opportunity to “practice what I preach” on the retreats.  My partner and my husband reminded me to BREATHE, relax, take it easy, not struggle, trust.  Ruth (www.ruthfishel.com) was very confident that new dates would work out fine.  I used Qi Gong to keep my vital energy moving, meditation and prayer to calm my mind and help me think clearly.  I focused on taking care of my feelings instead of bugging the person from whom I wanted an answer NOW.  What was going on beneath the surface?  Ego? Fear of embarrassment?  Of not getting what I wanted?  Losing the respect of my women friends? I even knelt down (a desperate posture for this ex-nun) and turned the problem over to the God of my understanding, the Force of Love, the great Mother Earth, the Universe that is bigger than all of us, holding and caring for all our needs.  I wrote “May retreat” on a tiny piece of paper and put it in my God box.  To “turn it over,” I called up the image of Life as a rushing river in which I had the choice to cling stubbornly to a boulder in the middle or “let go” and “go with the flow” of its energy.

Then I noticed that other opportunities were flowing in at the same time – a location for our free Qi Gong class in May, a good movie, a great meeting.  I could give my attention to other people and their needs, letting my anxiety take a backseat.  Waiting is one of the hardest things in the world for me to do – hence my vast need for the tools of meditation, relaxation, patience, ego reduction, a sense of humor that brings perspective.

Relief came eventually, a call last night assuring me that a new date had been scheduled for our retreat.   I need these oases of nourishing peace, joy and calm as much as any of our retreat participants.  And there must be Forces greater than me involved in all the good that flows from them.

“Want to make God laugh?  Show her your plans.”

International Women’s Day 3-8-13

IMG_1809

Tiny spits of snow
Trying to assert winter drama
Tickling, floating, dancing in
Dawn’s lightening clouds.

You tricksters have so few days to play

‘til Spring daffodils triumph.
IMG_1808

Fl QG sunset

My husband and I joined our Qi Gong (energy work) teacher this morning at 8:00am in a nearby park to practice “animal walking” – the crane, turtle, bear, eagle, deer, tiger and monkey. He offers this free class every Sunday, no matter how cold the weather. I recalled that coming to this class on a January morning a year ago in 23 degree air took away my “winter blues” and helped me to deepen my commitment to energy work.

Then in February of last year, I attended a women’s retreat in Florida where I led Qi Gong exercises each morning at dawn on the banks of the Manatee River. The women were so enthusiastic about these movements as a form of morning meditation that they encouraged me to become a Qi Gong teacher. I wrote an affirmation for 21 days – “It’s so exciting to share my talents with others”- while continuing to attend my twice weekly Qi Gong classes. In March, our teacher Nianzu Li (www.songho.net) invited me to join his first Qi Gong teacher training program. My affirmation worked! After eight months of daily practice, an extra two hour training session on Sunday mornings in the park, in addition to study, journaling and the regular Tuesday class and testing, my husband and I were certified as level one Qi Gong teachers in December.

Just last weekend, I returned to the women’s retreat in Florida to share my gratitude and offer Qi Gong with a new level of understanding and energy in my body and spirit to share with others. Although I had been practicing QG on retreats for many years and leading exercises on retreats and days of mindfulness we organized, I now felt I had much more to offer. I have long felt the health benefits of Qi Gong in relieving arthritis pain, increasing mobility and strengthening my immune system. The spiritual benefits include allowing the energy of nature to enter my body, bringing much joy, peace and stability. This movement form of uniting body and spirit has become a regular part of my morning meditation process.

This morning I felt so much energy, good energy, hopeful spring energy as we breathed in the 30 degree air. Cold air keeps me in touch with life. The trees, the frozen earth and clouds give energy here, just as the warm air, sunshine and Gulf waves gave us energy last week in Florida. This is a powerful form of exercise that I can carry wherever I travel. Everywhere I go, the outdoors is present, whether on the Florida beach or in my backyard.

I am grateful for my teachers – including the daffodils moving through the frozen ground, the crocus buds that know warm air and soft ground will be here soon. I am deeply grateful to have a new level of energy work to share with others. May I continue to learn and grow the rest of my life. May the energy of sun, moon, stars, clouds, earth and air move through my mind, body and spirit to all beings I encounter today.