Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Art of Feeling Qi (Chi): Mind, Body, and Life Energy

By Senior Instructor Bill Ryan

Many people have trouble feeling their bodies.

Many people have trouble feeling their chi, or what I call “life energy.”

Why? There can be many reasons. But one common reason is that many people don’t slow their minds down when they try to feel.

Your physical body and your life energy are forms of energy. Modern physics has proven your physical body to be so. As physicists have delved deeper and deeper into the fundamental nature of physical matter, they have found not solid particles, but waves of energy.

As for your life energy – your chi, your prana, your ki, the energy which enables your body to perform its basic functions, the energy that is the prime focus of Chinese medicine – mainstream scientists have yet to accept its existence. But in everyday life its existence is not questioned. Who cannot answer accurately the question we ask ourselves everyday, how much energy do I have today?

Your mind also is a form of energy. In our everyday language we acknowledge this by describing our minds in energetic terms. For example, we say things like the following. Sue has a quick mind. Just focus your mind on the problem at hand. He directed his attention toward me. John is such a clear thinker.

To feel your body or life energy, you must use your mind. The part of your mind that you use is what we call your “feeling awareness.”

The problem is that the energy of your mind moves very fast. You can move your mind across the room incredibly quickly. You can look at and think about one corner of the room and then in an instant jump your mind across the room and think about the other corner.

You can’t move your physical body across the room so quickly. You can move your life energy more quickly than your body, but not nearly as fast as your mind.

So if you want to feel your body or life energy, you have to slow your mind down to the speed of your body or life energy. Think of your mind as vibrating at a very high frequency, and your life energy as vibrating at a much lower frequency. In turn, your physical body vibrates even more slowly. For your mind to feel or resonate with these lower frequencies, you have to slow it down and tune in.

For most of us, it’s easier to feel our body or life energy if we are not moving, either physically, energetically, or mentally. The stiller our bodies are and our minds become, the more likely we’ll be able to feel.

When we are moving, it’s a little trickier, because it’s so easy to move our minds ahead of our bodies. We often first think of where we want our bodies or parts of our bodies to be, and then hope that our bodies arrive. When they do, our minds often are still one step ahead, on to the next thing.

To better feel your body or your life energy when you move, instead of “getting ahead of yourself,” as the phrase goes, try letting your body lead and your mind follow. Or try letting your mind “ride” on your body.

Try this simple exercise. Hold your palm in front of your face. Try to feel everything that you can in your palm and fingers, including any life energy you feel in them. Wiggle your fingers if that helps. Now turn your hand very slowly until that your palm faces away from you. Try not to think about where your hand is going; just feel. Let your mind move at the speed that your hand moves. Notice whether you are able to feel more than you usually would doing such a movement.

Try applying this approach to other ways that you move, whether it’s when you walk, stand up, practice exercises, or whatever. Slow your mind down and “occupy” your body and your life energy.



Sharing A Book – SAK Agent M


Sharing a book (or the opportunity to get a book) with someone is one of the kindest things we can do!  Secret Agent M of Hilliard, Ohio, did just that.

Monday, 16 August 2010

SAK Agent M

Hilliard, Ohio

6:00 p.m.

I am just elated and overjoyed … my heart hasn’t stopped dancing.  I completed my first “official” SAL mission on August 16, 2010, 6:00 p.m., Hilliard, Ohio.

My husband and I brainstormed for ideas to do for a SAK mission.  I thought wouldn’t it be awesome if a person going to pick up an item at the library received a random-act-of-kindness.  An unanticipated nicety that enables the “finder” to feel special, to smile, to inspire them to spread kindness to another, to pay it forward.

I placed $5.00 in a card, with an affirmation and personal note from me:  “There is nothing better on a beautiful day then relaxing with a good book on the banks of a river, in a lounge chair, or under a shade tree.  May this Random Act of Kindness make that come true for you, just because!”

The gift was placed inside of a slot where books are waiting to be picked up by those who have reserved items from the library online.


I can’t wait to complete my next mission!

SAK Agent M

Breath, Finding Stability

by Mary Coleman, Yogini


Our breath. For most of us, we don’t think about our breath until we are laboring to get it. It just is there. Our breath is our life force. Our breath animates us. Our breath refreshes and cleanses us. Our breath means life. We can go without food or water but we cannot go without air.

Our breath can tell us a lot about our emotional state. The practice of mindful breathing helps you learn your pattern and rhythm. When we are stressed just taking three slow, mindful breaths will shift us back into stability.

Recently, I was spending time with a friend who was going through a really stressful experience at work. As she retold the story, her shoulders hiked up towards her ears, she talked very fast and she was angry. Even just retelling the story triggered her body into the stress response. I reminded her to just take a moment to breathe. She smiled and laughed. Then she began slow, mindful and deep breathing. Her shoulders softened, her jaw softened. “Why can’t I remember to do this when I am in the situation?” she asked. This is a great question. Mindful breathing takes practice. We have to turn our awareness to our breath and then acknowledge our emotional state.

What is mindful breathing? Place your hands on your belly, close your eyes. Inhale through your nose – slow and steady within your capacity. When you reach the top of your inhale, exhale just as slowly and steadily as you did with your inhale. You should feel your hands gently rise with your inhale and then feel the belly soften away from the hands with the exhale. Your shoulders should not move. The breath should be supported by your diaphragm (a big muscle below your lungs) which is why you should feel movement in your belly.

Practice this several times a day (as many as you can). This simple act will help you get more stable and grounded. Then, the next time you’re feeling stressed, start to mindfully breathe. You need to practice this every day for it to become a natural reaction for you.

Good breathing and many blessings,

How Do You Describe Your Legacy?

Whether we like it or not, each day of our life is an etching in the legacy we leave behind. I look at it as a personal logo or print signifying our existence. I asked myself, what is my legacy? Do I take more than I give? Do I cause others pain through my words or actions? Do others feel accepted and loved in my presence? Does my life benefit others?s I cannot help but allow logic to prevail and remind me that our legacy follows us wherever we go, albeit job to job, town to town, country to country, life to death. The more I witness my own transformation and evolution, the more I feel that all those summers spent staying with my Grandmother allowed allowed her legacy to take root in me.

I witnessed my grandmother, Ida Faye (Dempsey) Maynard, live according to her truth. I was fortunate to benefit from her life from the time I was born until adulthood, after which time, her days on this Earth were no more, I saw her simply a a saint (and quite honestly, still do.) I heard her speak no ill will towards anyone. I never witnessed her act out in anger or hate. In fact, I cannot remember a time she did not embrace another person, familiar or not, without a kind word, warm embrace, or heartfelt smile. When she hugged, you could feel love rain down upon you from head to toe.

Looking back, I could never be her, because I am me. But, as mentioned before, it would not surprise me that she willed her legacy to take root in me. Premeditated legacy transference. If that be so, then each day is an opportunity to carry on with her beautiful legacy as my own, passing it forward to other souls by loving unconditionally, giving with no expectations, and sharing the best of one’s self with others.

Tina Robbins, a contributor to the blog, Tiny Buddha, wrote:

Recently a friend asked me what kind of legacy I want to leave for future generations. It was an unexpected question that really got my wheels turning. Usually when people pass away there is a huge focus on the things they owned and who gets what, and the idea of handing down ideas and values was a totally new way to look at it. What if the most important gift we can give our descendants is not a tangible item, but a piece of ourselves?

It seemed revolutionary!

So I started thinking about the things my loved ones (the ones still living and the ones who have passed) have shared with me.

I thought back to the backyard parties my grandparents used to have with friends, food, and music. My grandfather played guitar and sang us children’s songs in Spanish.

My dad’s sisters had been dancers in their youth, and as kids we would play for hours in my grandmother’s attic, trying on their colorful costumes and playing make believe. My mom’s sisters and brothers shared their love of games and books with us.

Some things were passed on and taken to heart. These are the ones that I want to continue as part of my legacy.

My grandparents on both sides demonstrated deeply held faith and never missed church on Sunday. Even at ninety-five my grandmother still gets upset that the family won’t let her walk to church whenever she wants.

My path isn’t the same as theirs, but I hope to inspire a deep connection, with self, loved ones, and with the divine.

There is magic in connection. Take the time to listen. It’s so easy to hurry through life, but it’s over too quickly and there is so much to learn and enjoy when you stop and take in the stories that are shared with you.

The stories of my grandfather bringing home people who needed a meal are family legend, and I have seen my dad fill a bag of groceries from our refrigerator to give to a young mother who was in need.

A few years ago my brother gave his Christmas money to a single father who needed holiday gifts for his kids. And those are just a few examples.

I like to say that generosity runs in my family. I am but one link in a long chain of sharing and lending helping hand to those who were in need.

And what I know is that the energy of giving is extremely powerful, and generous actions will bring you as much blessing as it brings to those you help. I hope to be a good example of generosity in action.

I have vivid memories of all of these things. They have become a part of who I am and I hope they will become part of future generations.

I’ve also learned a few things of my own that I want to pass along.

I hope I can leave others with a belief in the goodness and the magic of the world outside their door. Because I know that there is beauty everywhere, you just need to open your eyes and take it in.

And I want to be a reminder that you should keep going when things get hard. If I learned anything through my own hardships and challenges, it’s that I was stronger than I ever thought.

Going through divorce, financial struggles and bankruptcy, job loss, entrepreneurship, moving to a new state—all challenging—all tested me in ways I never could have imagined. I came out the other side stronger than ever before, and I will again when the next challenge pops up.

I want to remind people not to think about how you will find the strength; instead, just keep moving and the strength will come.

Looking at what I have taken in from others and also what I have learned from my own experiences has been a powerful exploration of who I am and what I hope to leave behind.

And I realized that in order to be that example, in order to pass on these beliefs and values, I have to live them consciously, right now.

Knowing the legacy I want to leave behind helps me stay focused on what I’m doing in the present so that my goals are in line with that legacy. It offers a concrete sense of purpose in choosing what I am giving my energy to.

And the whole concept of legacy can be a deeply powerful way of connecting with others. Looking at your roots, ancestral, blood family, cultural, spiritual, or whatever avenue you choose to explore, connects you to those who have gone before you.

Planning the legacy you are leaving behind connects you to those whose lives you touch, and that they touch, and so on, potentially for generations to come.

I encourage you to take some time and really look at the things you carry on from past generations. See what you need to leave behind, as well as, what you want to carry forward.