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This is my weekly (or biweekly) update from Crestone Colorado, where I am attending a magical, transformative and intense massage school program.
It is truly incredible how much we are packing into these weeks. With a schedule from 7 am until 7 pm, we rarely have any free time.
I have completed part 1 of the 3 oral exams. We were tested on about 150 acu-points in various sequences. The nice friendly teacher turns into a gruff sensei for oral exams – questioning my confidence enough so I have to really push the right answer. It was good though. Next week is part 2 – the assessment portion. We are already doing complex Oriental assessments and acupressure formulas for various issues and complaints.
We are forced to do Kundalini Yoga once / week. And I typically dread it. If you are a dedicated Kundalini Yogi – turn away, skip the next couple of paragraphs, etc. I come from a place of radical kindness – from Zapchen Somatics where we rest a lot to allow the brain to integrate and soak up the neurological nourishment of playful, dynamic, soothing exercises or whether from a Pre- and Perinatal place that uses science to back up the fact that as babies we needed 20 – 30 minutes of rest time after a very challenging transformation from dim, quiet, private, cozy womb-resident infant to bright, semi-harsh, overwhelming-amount-of-new-senses air-breathing human new-born. Here is the problem though – needs like that rest time and other needs are often not met in most hospital births. And we develop the belief that life is tough and that we must push through, we must work harder to get what we need and want.
But this is not true. It is an impossible job to control everything in our world (but we try!). And I believe that some people transfer this inner unease onto their yoga practice. There is another way! A kinder, gentler, easier way to move toward ease and grace. Down the road I plan to teach this style. (there is an irreverent part of me saying, “I can call it Kundalini Recovery”) (if Kundalini is an authentic beneficial practice for some people, then I apologize)
So I am sitting with this inner conflict and pushing through my objection (not good!). I need to express my objection and let it out. Fortunately there are only 8 more sessions of Kundalini Yoga. Oh – and we are forced to teach an hour of it too. Hopefully I can find the gentlest Kriya there is – one where we are not holding our arms at awkward positions for 7 or 11 minutes straight.
Actually, the stretch pose (where you lift your legs off the ground as you do Breath of Fire) reminds me explicitly and distinctly of my time in the military. That was one of the positions the Drill Sergeants put us in when they wanted to “smoke” us (humiliate, punish, deprecate, etc). Not cool – I left the militaristic paradigm 13 years ago. I’d rather not go back to it.
Thank you for reading my rants and more to follow soon,
Big hug,
Kirby
P.S. I am gazing out at frosted mountains with a couple inches of snow on the ground with flurries wafting through the air. There is much to be appreciated here!
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Pictures of Vajra Vidya in Crestone Colorado. A beautiful Karma Kagyu Dharma center nestled in the foothills of the massive Sangre de Christo mountains. Khenpo Lobsang is a solid teacher – equanimous, clear, direct, fearless, very compassionate and wise!

Hello dear friends and loved ones,

We are finished with a quarter of the magical massage school. It is difficult to believe.  Soon we will be heading downhill toward graduation.
Here is our typical schedule (now that we have settled into a regular routine):
7 am – Chi Kung & Walking / Nature Chi Kung
9 am – Breakfast break (where we now have Oral exams going on for the next 5 – 6 weeks as well – 2 ppl a day)
10 am – Lecture on Physiology or Traditional Chinese Medicine
12:30 pm – Lunch break (more oral exams if it is our turn)
2 pm – Lecture on the current modality we are learning – at present, that is Shiatsu (Japanese meridian massage)
3 pm – practice Shiatsu on each other (students)
5 pm – Practicum clients come in and we do an extensive intake, assessment, read their pulses, look at their complaints and formulate a treatment plan, then we execute said tx plan
7 pm – we are finished as far as group exercises go, but we generally have another 2 hours of assignments and we have to study for the oral exams
As you can see, our days are LONG. We even have class days one Saturday / month. So our 2-day weekends are very very precious.
This week was Losar – Tibetan New Year. And considering there are not less than 7 Dharma centers in town (or in the massive subdivision where this school is located), there were a lot of events going on.
Several of us went to a Losar party on Friday – there was dancing and good food. It was nice just to get out of the school for a night. To meet new people.
Small world – I met a retreatant (who only comes out of retreat once a month for a group event or once / year for Losar celebration) who knew my main teacher and who spoke very highly of him. He encouraged me to practice hard and to put the Dharma teachings into personal experience. That was very pleasant.
Not being able to go to a Losar celebration on Thursday, I wore a nice Tibetan tunic to class. That was fun. I did however eat at a restaurant owned by a Bhutanese family that evening – and met some more great people.
This is an interesting and dynamic community. There is a group of people working on a film about Chi Kung where they are using Kirlian photography to show how people can change their auric field by doing various Chi Kung practices.
There is another guy here who attaches a machine to plants such that when he plays music to the plants – they play different music back to him. He has put on plant music concerts and my new friend who lives nearby has also played shows with him. I have a plant music CD I need to listen to. Apparently it is very relaxing to listen to and he recommended I not listen when I drive!
Yesterday I went to a different Buddhist center – Vajra Vidya. This is a large Karma Kagyu center with a beautiful shrine room – large ceilings, massive Buddha statue, dozens of Thangkas, and enough room to fit 70 or 80 people. Plus they have 2 resident Khenpos and rooms for retreatants. So I got to practice speaking Tibetan – thank goodness he speaks a dialect that I know easily. See pictures below.
Then I hiked up to the Dream Road – a separate road whose only destination is a large stupa. I hiked over to the stupa, did some meditation, gazed at the incredible views across the valley and hiked back to my car – about 3 miles total.
I took a short cut back to the school. I’m hoping I didn’t do any damage to my car, but basically let’s just say I found myself driving my Corolla up a creek bed! Fortunately I was praying very hard – so I somehow didn’t bottom out.
Today I went again and offered Khenpo a bodywork session for next week. He was grateful and he recommended I do the Medicine Buddha practice if I am going to be doing bodywork / massage with others. Good advice I think!
Oh – and I discovered that around four miles from the school, I can get enough reception so I can use a pre-paid PIN number to make cell phone calls. First time I chatted with my parents in 3 weeks…
Thanks for reading my travelogues!
~KM

Valentine missives

The transformative energy of this place is starting to show… (did I mention Hogwarts previously?)
BTW – juicy info below, closer to the bottom… (Valentine’s is the hint)
I have had the two most curious ridiculously dichotomous days. This is on top of other experiences I have been having while doing Chi Kung or while meditating next to mountain streams or while doing a Zen-like walking / sitting meditation in a Tibetan Buddhist temple.
I had some boundary issues arise, which got amplified by my treating a client who had some anger around boundary issues. That was yesterday – and yet during my treatment of her – while I was very charged in my body – she received an amazing Chi-harmonizing treatment! It was miraculous almost – I had a vision of a red dragon when I was treating her Pericardium (the Heart Protector).
Then I was fuming after that… this Chi cultivation thing is maybe working too well (!) I lay in bed for 4 hours without being able to sleep. That was yesterday.
Today I woke up still highly charged, but down-regulated a good bit. I had no idea what today would bring, except I knew that I needed to deal with this boundary issue thing.

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Oh – I should mention there is a woman here I am interested in – we are slowly getting to know each other. And because this program is so rigorous, she wants to only be friends for the next 8 – 9 weeks and then see if there is anything after that. This is not going to be entirely comfortable for me, but honestly I think it is for the best – what better way to get to know someone (platonically) than at a 12-week hyper-intensive massage / chi kung / yoga transformation school?! I made her an extremely creative Friend-only Valentine nonetheless. I hope she likes it.
Also, while I was on the table receiving a treatment, I got two messages – one of the muse which showed me how to make such a creative Valentine in under an hour… and the other was a message that I should teach a one-hour lecture on Healthy Boundaries to the group – during our down time… which we don’t have much of… and to teach tonight… Eee Gads!
I taught on the 4 Levels of Trust. I mentioned the 3 strategies that people have for disconnection (even though they think some of these are actually healthy boundaries). And I covered briefly what a healthy boundary looks like. And then I somehow taught on Physiology – specifically osmosis, diffusion and pressure gradients. Oh and I threw in some Enneagram info for people as well…
I’m quite certain this is the only time in the 25-year history of this school that this lecture has ever been given. Maybe this school should be called the Creativity-Expanding School for Massage and Magic, or something like that.
So I taught that lecture tonight, it went well. People were pretty blown away. It is amazing how many people do not know what constitutes a healthy boundary. Then I came to my sanctuary bedroom away from the school and quickly made the valentine 🙂
And now, yet again, I am having difficulty sleeping (or I might need to wrap my head around the possibility that I don’t need as much any more).
Oh – BTW the Valentine involves a cipher – a key to unlock the hidden message in the mundane seeming words. Therefore it is a message hidden within an innocuous set of words on paper.
I am practicing decent self care now. For the first week, I was trying to do / give too much. Now I have a healthy routine set up.
Now it is definitely time to sleep.
Wishing you all well!
<3,
Kirby

Comprehensive Natal Chart Interpretation

Kirby will spend 90 minutes interpreting your Natal Birth chart. You can chat about any area that you like. This includes printed charts and it also includes about 30 minutes of preparation time! These are typically done on the phone, via Skype or in person if you happen to be in Virginia, USA.

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I have been in Crestone Colorado for over two weeks now! Wow! So much has been learned at massage school and it has felt like an eternity at the same time – honestly, like we have packed a couple of months into these two weeks!

I wrote a little poem about how I was confused walking around a few days ago. There were snow flurries falling around me. Then I remembered a helpful little verse, and the sun came out to illuminate my body and my mind just as I stood with the powerful sensation of alignment of body, speech, mind, heart and breath:

Mountains Misty clouds low,

Snow falls,

Mind is turbulent,

Remembering body rests Like a mountain,

Breath like the ocean,

Heart like the sky.

The sun of clarity reveals itself,

Radiantly

 

Thanks for reading!

~km

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Wow what a full week!
We started practicums this week – meaning from 5 pm until about 6:45 pm we see a client each week day. There is a protocol we go through before giving them a treatment – at least we get paid, whether in money, or food (we have eaten really well this week!), or beautiful cards that a local artist painted, or a home-made tapestry, or crystals – someone gave me a gorgeous Tiger’s Eye pendulum.
I passed my first test – on acupressure. We are learning to read acupressure (acupuncture) pulses, meaning we can track whether there is deficient, normal or excess chi in any of the 12 organ meridians. On top of this, I have now learned somewhere around 150 acupuncture points (for acupressure / shiatsu treatments). We will begin doing shiatsu sessions toward the end of next week.
Chi kung is deepening even further – we are now starting to gather chi energy from the earth and from trees. It is really wild. My appetite is going down – I think this is due to my acclimating with the altitude, feeling more at home here with the routine and I also believe that all this chi kung and breathing practice is boosting my health. And I also wonder if all the breathing awareness during all the treatments we are giving is somehow contributing to my needing a little less food.
On a side note, I do my Buddhist practices from time to time – I try to start each day with a Buddhist prayer and to end each day with one – that way, I am book-ending all this Taoist practice with my more familiar Dharma practice.
We have a ton to study – we are receiving about 4 physiology lectures / week and we will have about two tests / week starting soon.
It is incredibly crazy to think that we have only completed two-weeks of school. 10 more to go! And yet it has felt like an eternity.
Some people are talking about visiting the hot springs – that would be the nudist (clothing optional) hot springs on Sunday. I’m not so sure – I desperately need to hike for exercise – don’t get much during the week! If I do end up going, I will be clothed 😀
There is a restaurant in town that is owned by a Bhutanese couple. They apparently throw a huge celebration for Tibetan New Year – which is coming up next week. I am trying to get someone to join me for that.
Much sleep to catch up on and meridians to study!
Wishing you all well,

Hello again dear friends and loved ones!

As I mentioned previously, school is awesome, full, rich and abundant with cosmic and tangible wisdom. Also, as mentioned previously, I would not be able to fully describe all that we are learning and delving into here. I would love to try, but it is mind boggling – better to chat about it in person!
I have experienced several insights though which I do feel capable of sharing. I have been dabbling in Chi Kung for about the past year. But without having a teacher who I work with closely (I love what you have shown me Jay!) and who explains the basic foundations, I was basically going through the hollow shell version of it.
Dan, the main teacher, explains what he is introducing thoroughly. Side note: it is fascinating – back in 2002 / 2003, I read the Tao Te Ching (one of the Taoist “scriptures”) dozens of times. I would take it into vision quests and just read it multiple times / day – this is because I felt it was a sacred text. But at that time, I was only putting the information in my mind. I was not experiencing what it meant in my body. I did not have a qualified teacher of it at that time.
There are a number of contradictions (at least according to Western thought) that I am realizing are true.
In working with the Chi – which is the energy that results from the relationship between Yin and Yang (negative and positive principles), we can begin to invite it to harmonize and flow smoothly by doing some simple exercises.
One interesting contradiction: by working with the Yin principle (receptive, passive, earth) in our bodies, we invite Yang into the system as well. So basically, by only working with a passive, humble, gentle, kind, soft energy, we invite strength and power. It is mind boggling to feel this, to experience this, to open to this wise conundrum.
Yang, the positive energy, is attracted to Yin. By strengthening our connection with the earth, with water (a very humble, receptive substance), and being in our primordial center of gravity – the Dan Then or Hara (below the navel), we attract and invite harmony and potency.
In other words, the less we are attached to Yang (the assertive, active, broad, heavens) energy, and the more we cultivate softening our edges, being humble, putting roots down into the ground, the stronger we become.
Another insight I have only glimpsed so far: we can choose to be still inside, no matter how fast we are moving on the outside. This is a concept which challenges my thoughts on the nervous system – if we are tightly wound or high strung, it seems like moving faster might increase catecholamines (adrenaline etc) which would not lead to inner stillness. Quite the opposite in fact.
Well, something inside of me is changing. Because I glimpsed for the first time while doing Tai Chi, that we can be more still internally, the faster we move externally. Pretty darned wild!
I am excited about weaving my knowledge of the autonomic nervous system, pre- and perinatal psychology and Western astrology with many threads of Eastern philosophy and healing wisdom. I don’t quite know what the tapestry is going to look like, but I know I will be a better practitioner for my time here at CHAC!
Gratefully,
Kirby
Thank you for reading!
P.S. I only mentioned Super Bowl Sunday because that is what day it is today. I am not going to be watching this spectacle. Instead, I will be studying, grocery shopping and then catching up on rest and self care. Oh and I will go visit Yeshe Khorlo Dharma center.

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