Archive for the ‘General’ Category

On retreat, I tended to wake up between 3:30 and 4:30.. check the clock and then nod off again until 5 am. For the majority of the time, I was making the early offerings for the shrine – water offering bowls, incense around the room and the Dharmapala tea offering. There is a beautiful offering (brief) practice we do for the offering bowls from HH Dudjom Lingpa Rinpoche.

I was up in the shrine room by 5:30 every morning and then at 6:00 I was usually the one teaching Qigong. Talk about being an early bird.

The best part was that I rarely ever planned anything for Qigong. We had 45 minutes, so the night before I would ask what I should teach, and typically something would arise.

I also got inspiration about teaching from the planets out early in the morning – we did a Pericardium specific qigong session when Venus and Jupiter were in the sky, for boundaries, to increase trust, safety and ease in social engagements.

I discovered fun ways to joining together pieces from the half dozen or so forms that I know (and practice on a semi-regular basis). One day we did Tap Qigong with an emphasis on tapping spheres of light into the meridians, then we did Empress’ Seal where you walk around imagining yourself pressing spheres of light into the ground with your Bubbling Springs point (Kidney 1). And we finished with the Pushing Spheres with the hands and arms! It was light and love for the whole body!

Another day we had fun playing with fierce energy – doing Aki Tai So Rowing exercises and sword preparation, as we did this I had them put on extremely fierce facial expressions – “I want you to make sure I don’t mess with you!” It was good fun.

And yet another day, we did more yin Qigong. I had the participants doing about 20 minutes of practice on their backs or sitting / kneeling. They got a definite variety and a decent taste of potent forms!

Finally I dropped in some delicious Extraordinary Meridian acupressure work. There are eight acu-points that correspond, or are borrowed / utilized by the extraordinary meridians, also known as the Strange Flows or Curious Channels (different translations). If you practice Qigong, you probably already know two of the eight – the Du and Ren Mai – the mid-line central channels that make up the Microcosmic Orbit.

In addition to my extemporaneous teachings, three other people taught. This may have been the best part.

One of my friends who was on retreat with us for about seven days, just so happened to study with Mantak Chia for about a dozen years back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Chia is one of the most renowned Qigong masters on the planet. She led us in Buddha Palm qigong – where we energize our channels and run light and love energy through our Palm Chakras. Very potent. Then she even included a little teaser from Iron Shirt qigong – the Golden Phoenix Cleans Its Feathers which included Bone Breathing! It was so so potent! Holy guacamole! Thank goodness for such a potent container the retreat provided! We would never get away with teaching semi-beginners this advanced stuff!

Then yet another friend offered Dragon Meridian Qigong from Master Zhongxian Wu’s lineage. This was also not a beginners practice! Wow wow wow! This was more graceful and fluid, feeling the inner dragon coursing through our meridians. Had we been able to do this practice for closer to 90 minutes, I have heard it helps to generate great levels of heat!

And then we had some excellent foundational qigong practice from the retreat leader’s husband. We did this qigong on the deck looking out at the vast ocean and then at the radiant rising sun. Just amazing and sublime. Oh and all under the watchful eyes of Venus, Jupiter, the Moon and Mercury!

I am so grateful to be able to lead so many great practitioners! I’m probably not worthy 🙂

Thank you for reading, and soon I will try to write more about later (in the day) practices from the retreat.

Happy New Year!!!



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Hello dear friends,

I just returned yesterday from a sublime and moderately restorative (I got from 4 – 8 hours sleep each day / night) dynamic retreat at the beach.

We were at Sandbridge Virginia, in a house which had an easy glimpse of the vast ocean, the endless horizon and the immense spacious sky.

Every other day there were dolphin sightings and on the last full day, as I was walking bare-foot through the chilly low waves of the Atlantic, a small pod of 3 dolphins swam to within 10-feet of me (and a couple other retreat ants were further up the beach watching as well). We were afraid they were about to beach themselves! They were saying good-bye to us and then they swam back out to the larger pod of frolic and playing dolphins. So so beautiful!

Another last-day first sharing… and I’ll need to provide some context so you get the hilarity of this…

Each year, on retreat, we do dream-time play from 6 to 7 pm each evening. Then we have 2 – 1-hour sits to complete the day and to chew on / integrate what we discovered in the dream sequences. In the past, the retreat leader, Janet Evergreen usually always has a dream, somewhere on retreat, of shit – literally a poop dream. And we look at these dreams from both a mundane psychological interpretation standpoint, AND we look at these dreams from an enlightened, non-dual standpoint as well. So a poop-dream is laced with purification, cleansing and composting / renewing.

This year, several people slept in the shrine room on their last night of retreat (especially if they left early – this is how several people slept separately in the shrine room on several evenings). I continued this trend… and guess who had a poop dream?

Me! I asked Janet (once we broke noble silence), if she had had her usual poop dream and she said “No.” I told her that might be because I just had one! 😀

She jokingly said, “Oh that must mean you are taking on more of a leadership role now!”

Very funny indeed – especially if you had been sitting in the sublime and tranquil stillness for 10 days…

Will share more soon!

Wishing you all Tashi Delek for this New Year! Auspicious greetings and wishes for everyone who is practicing virtue! (And may those not practicing virtue come to realize the ignorance of their ways and return to the path of merit and wisdom.)

Until soon, Big Hug,


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Hello dear readers!

I just completed the application today to begin Somatic Experiencing training in Roanoke in March. It is a serious commitment – 3 years, 8 modules, 12 sessions, 12 group sessions and a significant financial obligation. So I had been chewing on this for several weeks – and actually pondering it for several years now. I just learned about the Roanoke training a couple weeks ago (a city about 2+ hours away from my home).

After completing the application, I took a nap and had a fairly profound dream:

I should also mention that I have been doing more Emotional-Process-oriented-bodywork as of late, involving more Craniosacral Therapy, Polyvagal Therapy, Visceral Manipulation and Birth Process work, aka Pre- and Perinatal and Attachment Therapy. It is that last modality that seems to play the largest role in this dream.

In the dream, I am doing a PPN (birth process work) session with a client. Then, in the dream, I go into a trance state, and go back in time apparently. Because in the trance state, I walk through a corridor of a hospital and encounter my client’s mother hand-cuffed to a metal table. There is a cop, a doctor and a nurse near her. My client is about to be born. 

In the trance state, within the dream state, I start imploring with the doctor and the nurse to loosen the restraint on the mother. I am persistent in pushing to take off the hand-cuffs for the benefit of the unborn child. The cop tries to grab me but I step back and I am still diligent in trying to benefit the unborn baby client (part of me).

The trance state fades and I am back with my client in the “normal” dream. And it seems like the trance benefited her somehow – having an advocate, having someone offering protection, even from a distance helps.

Then I woke up. Pretty wild dream (for me anyhow).

Somatic Experiencing is a modality specifically for trauma resolution. It helps to identify the state of the nervous system and it provides many tools for working toward greater self-regulation and a healthier, functional social nervous system.

I am greatly looking forward to this training! Apparently so is my unconscious mind 🙂

Thank you for reading!

Be well,


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I was recently asked to substitute teach for a Qigong class at the local City Center. It was a great group – 6 students attended. We went slow – it was their first class. 

We went over a foundation (which can be a complete qigong practice in and of itself), and then did Tap Qigong (Dahn Hahk style). It took me a few minutes to come down out of a busy few days – since last Thursday I have not had many hours to myself (actually).

But soon I was smiling into my radiant heart. Activating the Wei Chi (protective, boundary, immune system life-force energy) via Tap Qigong, I asked them to slow down, to notice… what is the same… what is different from when we started?

Then we covered another foundation. And brought those two with us into Chen Style Waist Power qigong. It was very nice, going slow, pausing in between each exercise.

At one point, I had a vision of myself doing and teaching qigong on a foreign mountain top – probably teaching to some of the people there tonight, yet long ago. I got the sense I was teaching on one of the five element mountains, one of five sacred mountains in eastern China. That was obviously another lifetime however, as I have not been to China yet (this time around).

Then after about 3 or 4 exercises, I asked if they had any questions. Of course one of them asked where exactly this originated from. Cognitively I did not know the answer, but I think my vision showed me. So I told him, “from the 5 Elements Mountains of China.” That was pretty cool!

They asked, “What exactly are we activating by doing these exercises?” There were so many great questions asked! I loved it!

My answer was, “by focusing on our roots, we are consciously strengthening Yin Chi energy, as a result, we are bringing ourselves closer to the Earth, to earth energy. And in turn we attract healthy yang energy. Yin is like the fortress or the palace, yang is like the soldiers or the people going back and forth. Yin is structure and form, Yang is dynamic movement.”

Then later someone else asked, “Isn’t our culture strong enough when it comes to Yang? Why would I want to attract more Yang energy?” I loved these questions! And of course I had a good answer for her.

Thanks for reading!

If you are in the Central Virginia area, I will resume teaching qigong in January if I find a location (in Charlottesville). One of the students actually asked, “When do you usually teach qigong?”

I had to say, “Well I normally teach out in Crozet or Afton.” I gave him my card because I do want to teach more locally.

And have a good evening!


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Chi Kung class 9: Water Qigong

Beginning with an aside… due to holiday travel and lodging in new places, I went four days without doing my usual 30 – 45 minutes of qigong in the morning, and I am really feeling it. Just doing 20 minutes of it tonight helped to right the ship as it were.

It is interesting, but qigong is becoming my go-to spiritual practice. Yes I still hold Bodhicitta dearly in my heart, but doing Dharma practice (aside from sitting occasionally on my meditation cushion) is challenging for me by myself. Qigong though has become a healthy, life-enhancing habit. I am very grateful for all my teachers – especially Dan Retuta for re-kindling the qigong fire within me.

Last week, I taught qigong again, in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains (literally at the base of mountains that support Wintergreen Ski Resort). The clean crisp mountain air and water are truly a blessing. Just to walk around out there mindfully, slowing down and taking in the clarity and purity was special.

I saved Water Qigong for last because it is the most subtle. Solar (fire) Qigong is quite obvious – you feel the sun’s warmth on you! Tree Qigong is embodying the connection between heaven and earth – which the trees do before our very eyes! Dropping roots down into Mother Earth while reaching for the heavens simultaneously. What better teachers of Heaven and Earth practices?

But Water Qigong? It takes a refined being or someone with the potential to become a refined being (and who isn’t that?) to feel the subtle flow of yin chi energy across the hands. To feel the cool breeze of the water chi as you stand near a mountain stream.

Just like the previous week, the practitioners (students) were hungry to learn. Although I think they were just as surprised as I was that last time Tree Qigong would reveal so many insights!

They were definitely looking forward to the Water Qigong (I may have talked it up a bit). Just standing meditatively near a clean clear mountain stream however is healing, beneficial, prayerful. Then having gratitude in your heart and having a decent lineage of teachings to go with that – makes the process even more profound.

I loved how we each had a different symphony of water / stream / river sounds to listen to. Two people even heard some bass notes playing. I love the land where we practiced. I hope to do my own practice out there soon.

I say that because as I stood near a convergence of two streams, a little water spirit came and stood by my side. It was a little uncanny at first – I could see her (I’m pretty sure it was a she?), but I definitely felt her presence. She was urging me to do more for the environment. I also suspect she was most displeased with the incoming pipeline which is going in a few miles from where we were practicing. Therefore, I’d like to get back out there to see if I can open up those lines of communication again – to hear her more clearly.

After my time in Crestone Colorado, where the water spirits (and wind spirits and more) are much more accessible, perhaps that influenced my connection with them elsewhere. I’m not sure. Not bragging, just noticing. Nothing special, just rare communion with nature spirits. 🙂 Rare for me that is – precious and few-and-far-between.

Thank you for reading!

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Chi Kung class 8

Hello Dear Readers,

I have skipped a few descriptions of classes in the past few weeks. Been staying pretty busy. And I consider myself to be privileged to lead Chi Kung – I am slowly discovering what it means to be a Chi Kung (qigong) teacher.

We met at a new venue today. An idyllic, well-cared for house and land in the Blue Ridge mountains of Nelson County Virginia. Incredibly beautiful, radiant, soothing, serene – the perfect setting for chi cultivation!

Today, among other exercises, we did Tree Qigong. I love the elemental forms of Qigong we learned at Crestone Healing Arts Center in Colorado – Tree, Solar and Water Qigong. I have also been working with another friend and mentor who studied with Mantak Chia for a number of years – she has been sharing some great advice and techniques, and I am downloading new exercises for taking these forms of Chi Kung deeper.

The first time leading Tree Qigong, I was blessed to have the group share and Wow! They had some beautiful words and experiences!

When we flush our circuits with light and love for over seven weeks, then it will start to open things up – in a gradual, safe, contained, kind manner! All 5 of us received a different message from our trees – a magnolia, a weeping willow, a poplar, an oak and a cypress. “Be radiant, share your inner beauty,” “allow your thirst for water to rise up through all your cells – drink to your heart’s content.” Etc. Great stuff!

In addition, we discussed the wind points on the back of the neck – appropriate considering the breezes and the temp tonight is supposed to drop to 23 degrees! Plus we did brief Dr. Yao’s Tap Qigong, the Chen style Waist Powers and we completed Solar Qigong! Amazing what we can cover in 8 weeks.

I love the saying, “By going slower, you get there faster.” That is so true of qigong. It takes practice, but over time, it will definitely start showing its results.

Thank you for reading! Donate if you like.


Donation to Kirby’s blogging efforts

Hi dear Readers, Help me buy tea so I can continue blogging. So if you enjoy what you are reading, please make a little donation. Thank you very much!


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If you are looking for a post about specific Taoist practices of sexuality, look at Daniel Reid’s book – the Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity; or seek out the Jade Dragon / White Tigress books. Mantak Chia’s books also provide a lot of specifics around sexual practices.

I was discussing what little I know of Taoist wisdom around sex, health and longevity with a friend, and I started pondering this topic more. Also, I realized that we cannot separate Chinese medicine (which has some strong Taoist themes), from Qigong (which has very strong Taoist roots) or from Taoist beliefs around sexual practices. Sometimes sex can used as medicine if practiced correctly, with virtuous intentions, with the proper inner stance. Qigong is definitely a practice of inner alchemy and prevention of disease. You might say qigong is becoming a medicinal breakfast for me most days!

For me, qigong does many things:

  • It centers and aligns my heart / mind.
  • Introduces playfulness into my daily activities – smiling, enjoying the movements of my body, feeling the inner dance of ecstasy from time to time.
  • Brings awareness from the head, down into the body, and specifically into the Dan Tien and lower body, allowing me to be more grounded, more centered and more in touch with my pelvis and roots.
  • Cultivates clearer, cleaner, virtuous Chi (life-force energy).
  • Occasionally, qigong generates inner heat as we do specific breathing techniques to prime the pump as it were – re-kindling the inner furnace, re-igniting the spiritual fires of the belly.
  • With the stoking of the inner spiritual flame comes a sort of purification (for me at least). I often times sweat from my arm pits during or after doing qigong. To me, this has me more in touch with my vitality and subtle energy channels.
  • Rarely, I get in the flow. What does this mean? I start to become non-conceptual around certain activities – I will just find myself doing something that needs doing without thinking through the steps. Or my body will turn and start to walk toward something that I subconsciously need – but it is only conscious a few seconds later.
  • And possibly most importantly, I strengthen my boundaries. The delineation between me and other becomes stronger. I am settled in my body. I am content. I can be quiet. I am beingness. There is nothing to do. This space I inhabit is my space. The little bubble around me, is my space. I even notice this when I ride my bike after doing 45 minutes + of qigong – instead of riding my bike with trepidation and apprehension of the cars around me, I find myself feeling that that space on the road is mine. I walk with confidence, I ride with confidence, I sit with confidence. I abide confidently.

As a good lover what do we need? Of course this is slightly different depending on your gender, but some constants can surely be found across the spectrum.

We need balance. Harmony between self-orientation and other-orientation. Too much of one and suddenly there is strain in the relationship – whether implicit or explicit.

We need awareness of our body. If we are numbed out on recreational substances, this will affect our vitality and our endurance – love making more than once / night or a few times / week would be impossible. We need to be moving in the direction of clear, grounded embodiment. We want to, at least in the ideal world, be moving toward clearing up any imprints which no longer serve us. (By the way, smoking cigarettes or marijuana disrupts the subtle energy channels, and this in turn disrupts our clarity, our vitality and our ability to have robust health and endurance.)

When we are conceived, Shen or spirit comes down into / around the new conceptus, and this divine blueprint is our highest possibility. But then life happens (suffer happens, confusion happens, misunderstandings turn into inner tension and resistance), we encounter all sorts of ancestral double binds and conflicts, whether from our parents directly or indirectly from a line of ancestors. And these blocks to our divine blueprint are known (in pre- and perinatal psychology) as imprints. We want to work to clear up imprints as much as possible. Otherwise we will revert back to childish reactions when our partner wants us to be a healthy adult!!

The clearer my mind and heart are, the more centered and balanced and grounded I can be, the less seriously I take myself while resting contentedly in my body, the easier I can be in my pelvis, the more I can cultivate solid vitality and clean Chi, and the clearer I am about my boundaries, the better a lover I will be.

Qigong is a practice self care, and for me, it is more than that. It builds resilience. It helps bring clarity to my mind and heart (and body). It can be a spiritual practice.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. I am starting to ponder the idea of having my blog be member’s access only. The ads on here are annoying I know (sorry about that) and they do not pay for the blog entirely. In other words, each year, I lose about $60, which does not count the hours I spend writing drafts to post on here. If you have any ideas of how I am get compensated for my time and the cost of maintaining this blog, let me know!

Donation to Kirby’s blogging efforts

Hi dear Readers, Help me buy tea so I can continue blogging. So if you enjoy what you are reading, please make a little donation. Thank you very much!



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