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Category Archives: Qi Gong

J -QG Bethany.jpeg

The sun emerged from clouds just after sunrise.  Was it responding to our Sunlight Qi Gong movements, summoning it?  As a child, I thought I could summon sunshine, if I just concentrated hard enough, prayed, wished for it to manifest.

Though many of life’s events have tried to show me that I do not possess that much power, somehow these little coincidences still bring a smile to my lips, a stronger beat in my heart.  Is the energy we generate in Qi Gong much more powerful that we think?  Even if it just reminds us that we are part of vast sources of energy in the universe – the sun, the moon, the stars, the oceans, mountains, all the people working for peace on planet Earth?

Join us in learning Sunlight Qi Gong on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 8:00pm beginning April 4 for 8 weeks.  At the Takoma Park Recreation Center.  More information on our new website: or register at   If you are not available all 8 weeks, drop-ins are welcome.


Reaching to bring the morning light into his heart with the “Monkey Picking Fruit,”my beloved inspires me every day to live a healthy life.  Our health routine begins long before our first bite of breakfast.   We journal our dreams, feelings, insights, read a paragraph from an inspiring teacher, meditate and practice Qi Gong.  For several weeks this winter, we have had the opportunity to practice at dawn near the seashore, with fresh breezes filling our lungs.

A family member has reminded me that I need to lose weight, so I have been enjoying the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables here, forgoing my yen for cheese and ice cream.  I can also swim, bike and walk here each day, in a warmer climate than I would have back home.

We are all responsible for our own health and well-being.  No one else feels the air coming into our lungs, the beating of our own heart.  No one else can walk for us, exercise, make us eat healthier food.  We are in charge of our own health every day.  Qi Gong is a holistic system of nutrition, rest, movement and mental attitude that nourishes my desire to become a slimmer, healthier woman.

One of my spiritual principles is “Compassionate, Healthy Living”:  “We will practice looking deeply into how we nourish our body and mind with edible foods, sense impressions and consciousness….We will consume in a way that preserves compassion, well-being and joy in our bodies and consciousness and in the collective body and consciousness of our families, our society and the earth.”  Please help me practice these principles in all aspects of my life.

Our next Qi Gong Class begins in January 2017.  Please join us. Your health is in your hands!


We greeted the rising sun together in the woods this morning with Sunlight Qi Gong, my favorite movement. As the first rays of the sun reached the tops of nearby trees, birds chirped, we smiled.  We are fortunate to live near woods, creeks, hilltops, many lovely outdoor spots to practice these healing movements daily after journaling and meditation.

After a very busy July, a restful August, a wonderful women’s retreat at Claymont, a lovely Qi Gong “Energize your Life” class and Pat’s speech at the ANFP conference in Ocean City, we are enjoying the changes in temperature and shorter days.  We will be announcing our new Qi Circles website soon with photos of some of these venues for our Qi Gong teaching.

We hope that you also find moments to enjoy the changes of autumn leaves, moving and dancing outdoors.  Qi is the “life force” energy inside us all, in the air, the earth, the trees, the full moon, the rising sun, the stars, so easy to bring into our minds and hearts with each breath.  Enjoy each precious moment of life!

This has been a busy month, traveling to a beautiful wedding on the Mississippi, then to the beach with our precious granddaughter.  Now we are back home to see the bridge near our home being torn down, and taking daily refuge in our Qi Gong spot on Sligo Creek.  We  miss family, but know that life has rhythms of intense activity and periods of calm, both necessary.

Many of us have spent special time with friends and family this summer, traveled, experienced changes in our routine and our emotional life.  How do you react to change – in routine, in surroundings, in people in your life?  Do you have some daily “non-negotiable” needs or routines?

For myself, I need journaling, sitting meditation and some QiGong each morning, preferably outdoors.  So, as we traveled, I continued to wake early, journal, find a different body of water for Qi Gong and meditation before I was ready for all the wonderful excitement and interactions with beloved family.  Time with family goes much better when I am my best self, remembering that I am never alone to meet any challenges – within myself or in my changing world.

J-QG on beach

My favorite place to practice Sunlight Qi Gong is the seashore at sunrise.  My husband and I had the surprise opportunity this week to stay at a friend’s home there for a couple of days to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.  Touching sand, ocean and sky, breathing in fresh morning air, my heart opens with gratitude, a smile comes alive, greeting the rising sun.

When I die, please don’t see my passing as a tragedy.  It cannot be.  I have lived so many lives already, loved so deeply, been loved so beautifully and faithfully.  I am grateful for every extra moment of life, every sunrise, sunset, wave of the ocean, every breath, every moment with family and friends, every opportunity to tell my beloved how much I love him.




by Nick Kenrick

by Nick Kenrick

Life is GREAT!  It’s spring!  My husband inspired me on the morning of the first day of spring….he went outdoors to do some Qi Gong  in the fresh spring air….the moon was coming through the mist…he summoned me to the back porch to see it.  He urged me to read Ken Cohen’s book The Way of Qi Gong about “Harmonizing with Seasonal Qi: Flowing with Change.”  There is so much transition in my life these months – spring bursting through a brutal, arctic winter, all the people closest to me going through huge changes in their lives, some moving half way round the world, another transitioning from a long-term job.

Cohen says “resistance to disease is lowered during times of transition, whether this be positive or negative emotional change, a change of employment or environment or the change of seasons.  An important benefit of Qi Gong is an improved ability to flow with changing situations.”

I tried this classic meditation for attuning to the seasonal changes by the fourth century alchemist Ge Hong, adapted by Cohen for the Spring Equinox.  Stand outdoors facing east.  Imagine clouds of healing green Qi flowing from the east and entering the body.  Inhale the Qi or imagine it entering the top of the head or the pores of the skin….as green Qi fills the body, see oneself as beautiful green jade.

Is this a version of visualizing oneself as a tiny molecule of the “instant cosmos” in the last blog??  Will folks think I’ve “taken a turn around the bend”??  Whatever!  Why not!  Once I decided that the God of my youth was way too small for my needs, I’ve become more open to whatever works, however strange it might sound to others.  Energy (“Qi”) is definitely a divine form in my body, my spirit, the buds on trees, the moon shifting among clouds, the dawn of a new day.

Let me know how you celebrate the advent of Spring!

And come to our new Qi Gong class beginning April 9 at the Takoma Park Recreation Department – Wednesdays at 7:30pm.  See Patrick’s wonderful description at

IMG_3156Last night at a wonderful women’s meeting after the big snowstorm, my first time “out” in two days, I was reminded of how isolated and confused many of us can get, especially on cold winter mornings.  I actually had two lovely mornings indoors, while a beloved child slept, doing meditation, readings that inspire me and Qi Gong to the rising sun.  But developing the morning routine, and, in retirement, combining it with exercise connected to nature, has helped me greatly to dispel isolation, loneliness and confusion during the first couple of winter morning hours.

What do I do?
First: journal…write whatever thoughts, feelings, dreams, worries, bright ideas, affirmations come to me…write until my body, mind and feelings are calm, in the present moment, ready to begin formal meditation.

Second: Qi Gong (or yoga, any stretching, shaking, breathing movement that works for you).  Doing “Sunlight” Qi Gong as the sun is on the horizon is very energizing for me.    Ideally outdoors, but not when it’s so cold, rainy or windy.

Third: Read inspiring words from the wise ones.  I’m using Your True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh and one of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings right now, just short readings that give me food for concentration in meditation.

Fourth: Sitting meditation for a minimum of 20 minutes (usually with my husband or twice a week with a sangha of friends for an hour of sitting, reading and dharma sharing).

Fifth: Prayer that the connection with my Higher Powers will stay with me during the day, that I live the day in mindfulness and service to others, that all those I love and all beings be safe, happy, free from fear, anger and worry.  I have developed a written list of people in my family, community and the world for whom I pray daily, then the St. Francis Prayer, Serenity Prayer, etc.

This routine was suggested by a friend over 28 years ago and has expanded as time allows, but even when I taught high school for my second 20 year career, I got up at 4:30am to be able to have time to find connection with the Universe, energy in my body and mind and calmness in my feelings to be able to enter the classroom a human being at 7:00am.  A good breakfast was also necessary.

Whatever your morning routine might be, I hope it enables you to see the sunrise even when it is behind clouds, feel your own body’s energy and breath and find inspiration and gratitude from connection to the living beings in our world.

Thay’s inspiration from yesterday’s reading: “We have to light up that lamp of mindfulness so the light will shine out and the darkness will dissipate and cease.  Our practice is to light up the lamp.”



In the midst of suffering from war, death and personal health challenges, our morning meditation and Qi Gong practice enables us to transform daily.

This morning I awoke at 5:30am from a scary dream, one in which I had reverted to old self-destructive, mindless behavior.  I needed to WRITE, to journal, describe the dream in detail.  Then to practice Qi Gong with my husband, shaking out the remnants of fear and self-disgust, turning our Tai Chi balls over our bellies, practicing new movements we had just learned the night before from our teacher.  My mind cleared.  My arthritic limbs softened.   I took a long, slow time with my practice, adding a full Sunlight exercise in the kitchen where I could view the rising sun.  Then I did walking meditation to our porch to join my husband in meditation and in offering incense for all those who suffered in 9/11 and the families who still suffer the loss of their loved ones.

 What would I do and be without a solid morning practice of journaling, meditation and Qi Gong?  Not as peaceful, not as happy, not as energetic to help others.  So, now, onto a day of helping others by working with friends,  spreading the word about our QG class beginning September 18, our Day of Mindfulness Sept 21, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace Walk in Boston and the Women’s Retreat on Self-Compassion October 25 at Claymont Court (flyers attached).  My affirmation for the month is on sangha building.

 Hopefully, the transformation I experienced this morning from scary dream to enthusiatic Qi Gong teacher, the transformation in just a few days of US plans to bomb Syria will bring hope to you in whatever challenges you face today.


For more information on the events mentioned, email  Register for Qi Gong at while space remains in the class.




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 ( 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.”

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 ( 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.