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And then this happened…

October 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Once again there’s been a delay between posts here. And I haven’t written any poems lately. Many of you already know why:

Sometime, just after the “Lion’s Gate” event on 8/8/2017, I had a heart attack. I am a bit vague about exact time here because my symptoms were pretty mild – no great drama, no race by ambulance to the hospital, no life-saving actions by first responders. No, just a few days of chest pressure and a restless, mostly sleepless night on 8/10.

On 8/11 I taught my Friday morning Qigong class. This felt good, but the pressure in my chest continued and began migrating to my back. Hmmm! Between Rosemary and me we decided to give our local “urgent care” a try. Good experience. They sent me to the emergency room with EKG, chest X-Ray and instructions to Rosemary to get me through triage fast.

Long story short my troponin level, a protein marker for heart attack, was through the roof. By early morning on 8/12 I was on my way via ambulance to Washington Hospital Center for catheterization to determine the cause of this heart event. In at 8:30; by 9:00 they knew I had blockage that needed CABG (the cardiology short-hand for Cardiac Artery Bypass Graft) – three of them in fact.

My CABGx3 got scheduled for Tuesday, August 15 (Mary’s Assumption Day, so I knew I was in good hands!). I spent the rest of Saturday through Monday in the hospital under acute observation; I had this time to prepare.

I continued my Qigong practice. There was this lovely atrium window on the fourth floor where I could go through my morning routine in nice light. I knew at this point that Qigong had saved my life, kept me healthy and strong enough  to endure/survive the heart attack. I certainly wasn’t going to stop practice now, especially prior to surgery!

Surgery was routine, as these things go. I suspect splitting open a person’s chest to access the heart’s arteries is never quite routine. My care at Washington Hospital was stellar! I can’t imagine my experience going any better. (OK, the food was not gourmet but it was edible!). By Saturday, 8/19, one week after admission, was released with new drugs and a few restrictions. No Qigong for a few days! But I walked out with the “heart of a 20-year old” (according to the cardiologist who read my echocardiogram) and new plumbing.

And I have been on a fast-track to full recovery ever since. I started my Qigong classes up again on 9/22 – added two make-up classes to cover the missed August classes.

And now I am launching my next series of classes for the Fall 2017; they run from October 6 through December 29, 10:30 am in West Annapolis. And these classes are available LIVE via internet. You can find the details on my website (linked below).

Qigong saved my life. It continues to speed my recovery process. And I am committed to bring this ancient, life-saving technology to as many people as I can reach.

Join me for this life-saving practice! QigongistheWay.com

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Update and a Poem: Testimony

June 20, 2017 Leave a comment

I have not posted here in a while but I have been busy! Personally I have been deepening my study and practice of Qigong to become a better teacher. The more I study, the more I realize Qigong is not only my life-long practice for health, happiness and longevity, but also my passion to share this health-giving, life-saving technology from ancient China. And it is so simple, so easy, and FREE!

One of my teachers, Jeff Primack, came to Baltimore in early April for a three-day intensive. It is always great to be with a teacher; and I had a profound experience of energy rising during the closing “breath circle.”

In late April Rosemary and I traveled to Sedona and the Mago Retreat Center for an amazing experience with Teacher of Soul, Katye Anna Clark and about 30 other travelers from all over the country. The retreat was a four-day intensive immersion for “Living from the Heart.” Wow! Another transformational experience of opening the heart to live more fully from the soul. And I had the distinct honor of teaching Qigong every morning of the retreat in the beautiful settings of Mago.

And in mid-May I traveled to Daytona Beach to spend another three-day intensive with Jeff Primack, this time at his National event: QiRevolution. And I met another of my teachers, Dr. Roger Janke who offered profound insights into health and wellness from his 40-year perspective of teaching and practicing Chinese Medicine and Medical Qigong.

It was a magical spring. I am honored and humbled to have experienced profound shifts. I am grateful for my further awakening. And I am motivated for share my insights.

And with that I offer:

Testimony

Health is a personal thing
And it is a choice.
It’s personal because it comes from inside;
And only you can make the choice.

Look to the outside;
Visit the impersonal health-care facility,
The hospital near you, the place
You would go if seriously ill or injured.

Do you see health there?
Oh, there is plenty of care.
Sickness, disease, crippling injures
Are within the realm of care here.

Look rather to the inside
If you are seeking health care.
There is where your health lives;
It is in your heart, your mind, your soul.

Your body is a walking, fluid, pharmacopeia.
Visit is often to find wellness.
Breathe, meditate, seek inside
The magic pill of health, happiness, longevity.

Be the testimony to your free choice.
Breathe the richness all life offers.
Move inward to seek the Light.
Balance in the flow of boundless Love.

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©2017 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

MONDAY’S POEM: Qigong in Winter

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

From corn planting under Butterfly Maiden’s watchful eye to deepening winter my poems Friday and today span the seasons. Qi, too, spans the seasons and all that we sense and know. Let the Qi rise and flow through all the seasons of your life!

Qigong in Winter

Relax shoulders, take breath to belly,
Slowing and expanding with each intake,
Holding;
Releasing downward through body,
Feeling the cleansing exhaustion
Of the stale and spent.

It feels good to sink into self,
To become aware, at the cellular level,
That the Qi is alive
With Light,
With Love.
If feels good to be home,
Fires burning, caudron bubbling,
Steam rising upward.

As the snow falls heavy like moths
Fluttering to Earth, Heavenly Qi
Feeds wooly worms
In some strange reversing
Metamorphosis:
Renewing, shifting, transforming,
Always new!

©2014 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Evolve Your Light – Richard’s Commentary

November 27, 2014 Leave a comment

As I was writing my Morning Pages the other day it came to me that I want to go deeper with Qigong. Why? I had raked leaves the day before and loaded 15 bags from the front yard – heavy work. As the evening descended my muscles and joints began to remind me that I am older than I think. But I did some breathing and reminded my body that I practice Qigong; all the twisting and pulling motions of raking leaves is not unlike certain Qigong moves I make in practice. In fact I was very mindful of these motions as I raked.

Last year when I raked leaves from that front yard I ended up with stiff muscles in my back for a week afterward. This year I woke up the morning after and felt great. So, I raked more leaves ahead of the East Coast storm we enjoyed yesterday. There is no question in my mind that my body practices are keeping me younger in body than my age in years would indicate.

My plan is to Evolve My Light, or I could say “Evolve My Qi” and take further steps down this path of growth. Why? Here’s how Rosemary answers this question:

Now, at whatever your current age is, those souls are looking to you for your light to shine on the path that you are sharing. How do you shine your light? By living your soul’s purpose, by being the light that you already are.

“Those souls” are everyone in my community. They include you, dear reader. My “soul’s purpose” is to build community. And my approach is to build community around Qigong. Qi is Life Force; it is Light; it is Love. By continuing to go deeper with my Qigong practice I am answering the call that Rosemary reminds us we are here to do.

I am reading some excellent books on Qigong and Taiji. And I am putting the word out I am looking for deeper instruction. At this time I am between classes that I have been teaching because I am feeling this call to go deeper before developing my next series of classes. Naturally I always learn more by teaching as well; a new class will be offered early in the New Year.

What form does your light take? How are you “Evolving Your Light”? This is the most important question you can ask yourself! Why?

YOU are in charge of the development and evolution of your own consciousness. No one around you can do it for you. You were not born to find answers and then stagnate. You are here to learn the next thing, to study, to grow, to evolve.

Never stop. There is no end here, no bottom to the deeper!

I am grateful to Rosemary for this important reminder! Enjoy your “gratitude day” today as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US.

Choose to Celebrate! – Richard’s Commentary

October 30, 2014 Leave a comment

The press does a great job of getting us into fear. This word is the center-point of Rosemary’s post. It seems, especially since 9/11, that there has been a deliberate campaign to keep us fearful. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you will, but think about it; watch the news (FOX or MSNBC) and listen for the undercurrent, the focus of the articles, the energy of the reporters or anchors. What is your sense?

Now, I don’t even want to go into the motivations for this, if there even are any. Sensation sells. And if the commercials on news channels are any indication then the news is all about selling. And maybe it’s that simple.

The key point here is we have choices. We can choose to listen and believe everything we hear on the news. If we do there is good reason for fear! Ebola is big in the news with a handful of people here in the US who have come down with the virus and one unfortunate death. But it is well controlled, contained and the chances of an epidemic here are next to none. So why all the frenzy and controversy? It sells; it keeps us tuned in. We have a choice – to tune out!

I am not suggesting a total “news fast” here, although there are many, including some of my esteemed teachers, who recommend avoiding the news, all media for that matter! I do limit the amount of news programming I watch and I watch with a very critical eye and ear, looking at the underlying story, motivation, nuance. And most importantly I choose how to react.

That said, if you ask Rosemary she would say I often over-react at the nonsense that is being spouted and reported as news.  Maybe that’s my choice!

Here’s the key to Rosemary’s Exploration:

There are a lot of fear-mongers who would invite you to feel fear. There are a lot of situations in the world that, when focused on, will generate fear. There are, though, a lot MORE situations that invite us to celebrate.

Rosemary goes on to list many, even down to the functions of our bodies, the meals we eat and the air we breathe. Do you celebrate your stomach for taking care of the meal you just ate?

One of the methods I choose while practicing Qigong is the “inner smile” made popular by Mantak Chia. As my practice winds down and I begin the closing breathing and self-massage, I go through my inner organs in my mind’s eye and thank them with a smile! This is my way of celebrating my health, my body and my physical life. Fear, bad news, horror stories of violence and greed will not give me ulcers. I smile to my stomach and offer my thanks and praise for the awesome work it does!

And if that sounds too weird to you, then choose other ways to celebrate. Maybe it’s your safety record as a good driver. Maybe it’s a fabulous accomplishment by you or a family member. Look for the good news from the simple, everyday successes to the complexities of technology that allow you to read this half-way around the world, instantly.

As Rosemary concludes:

Celebrate! You are reading this. Fear reminds you that you have forgotten to celebrate what’s good, what’s going well. Choose to focus on celebrating and let the fear take a back seat. There’s always something to celebrate, even if it’s just that next breath that you take!

MONDAY’S POEM: No-place

October 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Today’s poem is a bookend to Friday’s. Our Autumn weather here in Maryland is wonderful. Now all we need is a frost to bring out the colors!

No-place

It is a beautiful day with mild air and brilliant sky;
The trees, their light branches and leaves still so green,
Dancing in the breeze,
Doing their Qigong practice with the breath of Nature.

It is a high-pitched light vibration
That whispers joy, peace and surrender,
Echoes through the bubble that is time eternal.

It is a gentle kiss flirting with my light mood.
It tickles me with the chuckle of baby boy,
The chiree of high-flying hawk.

Then it settles, relaxing into a still space;
I exhale to rest in this no-place.

©2014 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Be Your Brightest Self! – Richard’s Commentary

September 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Rosemary’s article and post this week continues this conversation about “being the light.” I have heard her and the multiple “sources” she channels say many times “you are the light of the world.” This is an easy phrase. Many of us have heard it most of our lives as quotes from the New Testament of Christian Bibles. Jesus frequently said this about both himself and his followers.

But when that simple phrase is closely considered it is not necessarily the easiest concept to embrace! In particular here is one challenge Rosemary throws out:

And when you are having a bad day, do you seek the light within yourself or do you try to pull others into your bad mood to commiserate with you?

OK, I don’t think I try to pull others into my bad moods. But I do have them. And when I am in a mood that is not necessarily of the lightest variety, do I seek the light within? Not always! Do you know what I mean? Are there moods you experience that are dark but you want to stay there, to feel them, to wallow for just a bit? There’s a soothing quality to these moods sometimes.

But consider others around you. I have to pull this notion toward me first when I am in one of my moods. Now that I’m retired I “work” at home. And, yes, it is actual work to keep two businesses going. The point is I am home, with Rosemary, a lot. We do have a big enough house to spread out and go to separate rooms. However we are frequently and often together; our moods rub against each other. It is much easier and more pleasant to reach for the light, even when I am in the darkest of moods – it’s only fair!

How do I do this? As I’ve written many times I have lots of practices to move my moods around: body practices include Yoga and Qigong and I do one or both almost daily. My mental practices include reading, research and my “morning pages.” My “pages” are the quickest way to shift my mood. I enjoy writing anyway; to write about my moods is a sure way to dig in to them, sift through them and finally shift them. Some of my page writing begins quite negatively. But by the end of the third page they always end on high notes! I don’t even know how this works, but it is true. It’s a wonderful practice, for me, and the reason I’ve been doing it for years now.

My spiritual practices include several forms of meditation. But it is difficult, for me, to meditate when I am in a mood. The mood needs to be shifted first. I need to “seek the light within” first and be in that space of light in order to still my mind. But there is one Koan meditation practice that does work; I’ve written about it here before. It is to simply ask the question “what is this?” when the mood insinuates itself enough to be recognized as “a mood.” The question is answered and then repeated several times until the root cause is revealed. It works. You might wonder at first if this is more like a mental practice, but as the questioning and answers move deeper the process does become meditative.

You may ask “why go through all this; moods change eventually.” Hopefully for most of us this is true enough. But here’s what Rosemary says about the “why”:

Your purpose on Planet Earth is to be your own Sun, to shine your light. Those around you are looking to you to shine. They need the light of your love and warmth as much as they need the Sun’s. Who are you to withhold that light from them?

It starts inside. We need ourselves to be lights for ourselves! And this radiates out to those closest to us. And it continues to radiate out to the neighborhood, the community, everyone we encounter from store clerks to friends, from family to strangers (friends we just haven’t met yet). Imagine if we all knew this purpose and became “suns” for everyone else on the planet!

For one thing we’d all have shining eyes – and that would be something to smile about!