Bugs in the machine

richmond-park-car

Yesterday was my first day back to reality after spending 4 days sweating out a horrible bug. I missed my Brother’s birthday celebrations and all food for 3 days. It is the first time in my life I ever remember smelling bad too. I am sure my close friends will disagee with the last statement, but man, I stunk. Even after bathing, I could smell it coming out of my pores.

Keep on Moving

My friend Stu suggested movement as a means of getting rid of my bad moods, and yesterday I tried it out. My 3rd Tai Chi lesson, was the most strenuous yet. I am enjoying the challenge of holding some of the positions, for periods at a time too. Ok this is Chi Kung, but to my mind it’s all the same thing. These prolonged postures are very good for us, and chatting to other members of the class, before it began today it would seem that they too are seeing remarkable benefits from these classes. The Chi Kung body slaps are a good wake up too, better than coffee.

Sing a song

John also introduced us to some more healing sounds too, which I am extremely excited about. I am very interested in the power of healing audio. I was so excited that I have now forgotten, which sound heals what part… It goes something like this:
Strike the Wu Chi pose, then take a deep breath and as you exhale make a noise for as long as you can. “Heeee” is good for your brain (I think! I’ll double check this next week), “Ahhhhh” is good for something else. Next week, I will try and remember the full list!

Too many Fingers

Highlight of my illness was watching the fabulous “Too Many Crooks” on TV. An absolute classic with Terry-Thomas at his devilish best, take a look at the cast – Billy Gordon …… Terry-Thomas, Fingers …… George Cole, Lucy …… Brenda De Banzie, Snowdrop …… Bernard Bresslaw, Sid …… Sidney James, Whisper …… Joe Melia. Made in 1959 (which was a great year for Gibson Les Pauls, but not too hot for Tibet) in Pinewood, it is a truly wonderful film, and proof that laughter is a great medicine.

Tibet, Where art thou?

Potala Palace

After downloading the new Mac version of Google Earth, I was interested to look up Tibet. Couldn’t find it. “Lhasa Tibet”, “Tibet China” – no joy. “Lasa China” found what I was looking for, well it’s a place mark anyway. No real info though, hidden by Google to appease the Chinese authorities I suspect.

Tibet, Where art thou?

Help is at hand though. Thanks to the Google Earth Community though, I managed to find Tibet. I think it’s sad that Google of all companies had to bow to China’s search engine filtering requests and to compromising Google Earh too. Microsoft and Yahoo had already conceded to China, but I thought Google could take the right stance on this.

Lhasa, can you hear me?

If you are in Tibet, The former autonomous region of Tibet, Beijing or any where else in China, did you find this web-site/post ok? I would love to correspond with people from Tibet or China to find out how restricted information is on the Chinese Super Information Highway. Inquiring minds would love to know… Free Tibet?

Wu Chi

Kew Gardens

I have been a bit grumpy again, didn’t bother to go to my new Yoga class yesterday, still not smoking though. So with a sort of heavy heart I approached my second Tai Chi lesson at the North Kingston centre.

Practice makes perfect

Fortunately my lack of gusto was soon dissolved by the gentle exercises of the Chi Kung ‘warm-up’ movements. The class environment always seems to give me the focus and discipline that I lack at home. The strange thing is that most of the movements are almost effort less.

Wu Chi Posture

John went to some length today about the Wu Chi posture. In a nutshell, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend to the knees, and a nice oval shape to your arms as they hang to your side. He also went on to demonstrate another move, similar to the Wu Chi but with your arms in front of you as if holding a beach ball. We held this position for about 5 minutes, at times this felt a lot longer. John said that the old Tai Chi masters would make their students hold this position for as long as they can. To use the bodies discomfort as a guide to any blockages. This is a great way to let go of any tension, and is one of the ‘higher’ postures too, so it really is good stuff.

Tai Chi in your life

We also were encouraged to carry our Tai Chi practice with us through the day. Sitting at my computer I am conscious of my posture, my feet are flat on the floor and I am completely grounded, dropped shoulders and deep breaths help put a little bit of Tai Chi into my computer work.

Computer Posture article

The Science of Enjoyment

Drunk

No, it’s OK, I haven’t slipped off my new diet/way-of-life. The above picture shows me knocking out some wicked riffs out of my air guitar in the Red Lion, Cropredy, New Years Eve. On closer inspection, notice the dark stains on my top, caused by spilling my Jack Daniels and Coke. Also notice to the right of the picture, my nephew Callum, learning some new tips from the master.

ARISE – Associates for Research Into the Science of Enjoyment

According to “Super Health Detox” by Michael van Straten.

“Believe it or not, in England there’s a scientific body called ARISE. Some of their prestigious meetings include lavish dinners where many different wines are served with each course, and the diners eat foie gras, goose, chocolate pudding, cheese and petits fours. Then they are encouraged to enjoy a large Havana cigar with their port and the meal finishes with strong black coffee.

Appalling? No, because ARISE is an acronym for Associates for Research Into the Science of Enjoyment. Like me, it’s members are inreasingly concerned that the ‘food and health police’ are creating a world where enjoyment and pleasure stand for sin and guilt.”

I have since found out that maybe ARISE should maybe feel a little guilt, but I agree that a little ‘blowout’ is good. A little bit of what you fancy and variety is the spice of life are all regimes I now subscribe too. Sure, I have puritanically culled my need for nicotine, sugar and caffeine, find myself checking food packaging for salt levels. But I will not let this be a rod in my back to stop me enjoying myself or stop exploring some of life’s more indulgent pleasures. I had a great take away Indian meal Saturday night!

Food makes you mental

According to the BBC, “Changes to diets over the last 50 years may be playing a key role in the rise of mental illness, a study says”. All this prepackaged, heavily processed food we are so fond of may not be just bad for our figures. It would appear that it may be bad for our minds too. This is so true – my new healthy lifestyle was given a seal of approval by my friends daughter, she said I looked “all happy” when I went round a couple of days ago, and I was. Eat Raw – it works.

Drum Different Podcast

Chris Cooke has just uploaded a new edition of his Drum Different Podcast, which looks at “music as an avenue for political and social advocacy” and was launched to coincide with Martin Luther Kings birthday. It is well worth a listen.

My free gym

I have joined a great gym. It gives my whole body a bit of a cardiovascular work out and is toning my arms and legs. My gym is about a mile away, and can be reached via the towpath of the River Thames. It is a nice walk, I love watching the ducks, geese and rowers on the river. The light reflecting off it is something else too.

Free Gym

Many of you will be surprised that Sainsburys is now a gym. Well of course this is not true, but I find it a good work out. A mile walk, then a bit of shopping. Then fill up my backpack and bags, for the march back. I get Free fresh air, Free views and I save the environment and save money by leaving my car at home.

Free Lithium

According to Sting, sunlight contains Lithium, so if you get a chance, get out in the sun for a free, natural high.

Free Music

I got the new GarageBand 3 yesterday and the GarageBand World Music Jam Pack. So I was up to 6:30 this morning, recording and writing this tune – World Jam, which is a apocalyptic view of the world. You can find more free world music mp3’s here.

Learning to fly

Eagle

I am a million years away from meditation induced levitation, but I feel like I am making progress in my own way. Had a tough day yesterday, putting it down to the nicotine snake, trying to have one last bite out of me. So once again, it’s all good, it is, what it is.

Tai Chi – A very short form

My Tai Chi practice has never got past about half way through the short form. I started learning Tai Chi with Sue Weston in Isleworth. But have never managed to learn the complete short form as Sue left for a years retreat in Holy Island before I reached my goal. I want to get back to my classes, but am enjoying remembering what I already know. Without thinking, more and more parts of the form are coming back to me. I find this really exciting and rewarding. My last few Tai Chi sessions have been quite hard, so as I am about to embark on my mornings practice, I am going to have a little meditation before some Chi Kung and Tai Chi

Mindful Practice

Bamboo

Still not smoking, but I got some strange pangs yesterday for ‘ol nic-o-teen. I met an amazing person called Maurice a few years ago, who might have been holding the reason for these desires. I was standing outside my sisters shop, smoking a ciggie. When Maurice came up to me and started talking. He was an elderly gentleman, and started talking about everything, from the power of violet to nicotine. He produced a drawing of a nicotine worm or snake entwined through someone’s body. It had quite a strong effect on me, and I reckon it’s not too far from the truth. I am finding it a useful device now too, when I remember it. I must not forget that I am not out of the woods yet with regards to smoking.

Guru Violet

I have not seen Maurice since this first meeting – which lasted about 2 hours, but he was an amazing character. I don’t think I have ever met anyone with such a complete education. He actually inspired the idea for Guru Violet too, (which I still haven’t finished) Thank you Maurice!

Tai Chi Practice

I got up today at 6:30 and had a cup of hot water with lemon. Then got down to my Tai Chi. I had to work at it today, some-days I can just sort of let go and I am in the flow. Today, I had to gently keep reminding myself to not get distracted by work. I probably did too much work yesterday. Up at 5-am and still working at 10pm – that would explain my lack of focus today. I dug in with my practice though and had at least a few moments of bliss, and I know that even bad practice is good. It all counts, it all works together in the long run, like listening to “Stages of Meditation” by HH The Dalai Lama, which is now on constant play on my iPod. I find it hard to understand with my mind sometimes, but I know at least in some part of my soul, little seeds of good change are being planted. It’s all good.