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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rebuilding Personal Energy (Ch'i)

Building Personal Energy (Ch'i)

Over the past few days, my personal energy levels had dropped down a bit. I was a bit more tired in the afternoons, and craving carbohydrates and sugars. These were tell-tale signs that my energy and balance were off.

To start rebuilding my personal energy, or ch'i, I prepared with a short and easy yoga session (mostly to stretch out the leg meridians; these help with sleep and relaxation), and took a nap. (Always a good choice.)

When I woke up, I found a good action movie on TV that was just getting started, and did a two-hour yoga/core/resistance/stretch session. Just the basics, nothing new and certainly nothing fancy. But I felt hugely better afterwards.

Then I did some juicing with the last of the "juicing greens and veggies" that I had stored in a special kitchenette where I keep the juicer (and a garbage disposal for handling waste, even though I compost most of it). A dedicated area helps, as a week's worth of juicing veggies and greens takes up a lot of room. Also, since this is "raw foods," it's best to keep it from meats and other food types. My ingredients were: a whole small beet, a whole large carrot and a whole Granny Smith apple, a small handful of parsley, a small handful of cress, and a few stalks of celery (including the leafy parts at the top, and the "celery root" area below the stalks). This was one of the best combos I'd ever made, it was great!

By this time, my energy was perking up. I wound up doing this in the middle of the night, so my goal now is to calm down and go back to bed. However, the combination of yoga and exercise, together with the nutrients from the freshly-squeezed greens and veggies, has my energy flowing again.

It is from this slightly more energized state that I started doing some basic T'ai Chi, and the silk-weaving exercises.

I've looked online for vids of the silk-weaving exercises as described in Michael Minik's book (referenced in a previous post), and couldn't find any good, "basic" ones. I'm sure that chi kung training is similar, but at some point I'll try to do a simple little silk-weaving vid, and post on YouTube. This is a great energizing practice, especially when used in conjunction with the basic things that get our bodies moving and our energy flowing.

P.S. - I'm still winding down and getting ready to go back to bed. Herbal tea - I use Celestial Seasoning's "Sleepytime Extra," the valerian helps induce sleep, and stir in a little GABA. Also have a chug of the Calcium/Magnesium components of the two-part liquid vitamins that I get from Dr. Sievers at Care Plus in Fairfax, VA.

It's only when I've done a good bit of yoga and stretching to warm up and get my lower back released, and core work to get my abdominal muscles engaged, that I feel ready to fully take advantage of T'ai Chi. And then, only after all of that do I feel that my body is really ready to work with dance. The elements of Oriental dance involve so much stretching and flexing of our spines, our pelvic girdle, and diaphragms - and so much core strength if we are to do it right - that we can have a really good dance workout if half our time (or even more) is spent with warm-ups and preps, getting our body ready to move in the right way. Then the dance techniques flow from internal strength and connection, rather than from being "imposed."

And we have a much better chance of doing energy circulation work in dance if we've prepared properly.

Unveiling "Archetypes" and Franklin-Covey "Roles" - A Practical Step in Personal Integration

Personal Integration: The First Adult Life-Journey

I've just posted to the Unveiling blog about how I'm using the Unveiling archetypes to help me clarify and prioritize tasks for my different roles, using the Weekly Compass in the Franklin Covey Day Planner system.

The more complex our life gets, the more it helps us to organize ourselves in terms of roles.

Just in these past two weeks, I've been teaching myself to connect my different roles with the various archetypes from Unveiling.

We each have six core archetypes; three male, and three female. Our masculine ones are Magician (visionary, creating "something" from "nothing"), Emperor (building structures, systems, and social order), and Hierophant (teaching and mentoring, within a well-defined and structured system). Our three female roles are Isis (also known as Empress; nurturing and caring), Hathor (perfumes, pleasure, and play - the "sweet things" of life), and High Priestess (contemplative, intuitive, insightful). We also each have two "reserve" modes; our Hestia (our hearth-and-home goddess; very comforting) and our "Green Man of the Woods" (our inner wild-man or wild-woman, who connects with nature and instinct). (For women, we may think of our "Green Man" as our "Green Woman," or Artemis - the original goddess who "ran with the wolves.")

These eight modes, taken together, are the eight "cylinders" of our "power car engine." We need all eight. If we lose touch with any single one, it's like trying to run a Corvette when not all the cylinders are firing. Dysfuction.

But operating in society, we tend to over-emphasize our Amazon (which for women is a combination of all of our masculine modes), and our Isis - leaving little or no time for Hathor or High Priestess. (No wonder we not only feel stressed, but - from time-to-time - disassociated. We're missing at least two of our "power modes.")

So as we use time-management and life-organization systems such as the Franklin Covey Day Planner, we can consciously factor in and identify roles that incorporate each of our core archetypal modes. Sometimes, we'll blend two or more archetypes into a single role, but we can do this consciously and purposefully, so it will work.

Then, as we start allocating time, we can make sure that we identify Hathor-time, and factor pleasure and play into our daily lives. We can identify High Priestess time, and be certain that we step away from society, and from "digital distractions," and commune with our inner being. We can associate simple housekeeping chores with our Hestia, and know that we're nourishing an important part of our inner reserve by caring for our physical surround. ("Wax on, wax off." This can be very refreshing.) And we can group our various nurturing and caring activities into our Isis mode, where we consciously choose and know how much time we spend on caring for others - and the trade-off in terms of caring for ourselves.

This gives us the basis for wisdom and discernment, two superior life-skills.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sexual Power - and the "Jade Egg"

Sexual Power, the "Jade Egg," and Oriental Dance (Belly Dance) - Yes, There Is a Connection!

Darlings -

A wonderful word - I'm getting my "review copy" of Unveiling either today or tomorrow; it shipped from CreateSpace yesterday. So of course I had to let everyone on my email lists know about this last night.

The first question that came back had nothing to do with archetypes, integration, or even the "Fountain of Youth" (ch'i cultivation). Instead, it was as direct, simple, and pragmatic as it could get - and it has to do with sex, and with giving and receving pleasure.

T., a dancer, asked:

... Have you ever herd of a Jade Egg and if so does it truly work? I'm in my thirties. My boyfriend told me I don't contract. I also don't get any pleasure from him so I feel kind of weird. I'm looking for a web site about the Jade Egg, but haven't found any useful information yet. Can you help me?

T., your question is very important. In fact, it is REALLY important – both for you and your partner. And your basic Oriental dance (belly dance) training can help you a LOT. You just need to emphasize working with your core as you do your movements, integrating “core work” into everything – I teach this, and will start to have workshops beginning this fall, including this topic.

Yes, I do know what you mean about the “Jade Egg.” The “Jade Egg” is an egg-shaped stone (various sizes) that a woman inserts into her vagina, and learns to move it up and down her vaginal area through muscular contractions.

You don’t have to use a “Jade Egg” (although there’s nothing wrong with it), but you CAN gain a strong core that will enhance your sexual pleasure, and your partner’s. I actually describe the best approach (an abdominal training exercise) in Unveiling, Chapter 25: Sex Secrets of Belly Dancers, and you should be able to order this either through Cleo’s Closet, or through CreateSpace (later today or tomorrow – if the “review copy” they shipped yesterday arrives in a timely manner, and I can approve and they set up their e-store – all this can happen VERY fast), or in a week or so from Amazon.

Your best resources for overall descriptions and training are:

Gerson Kuhr’s Core Training for Belly Dancers – (see link above). I make this part of the Registration Package for all of our Beginners (and even advanced students, joining in from another class), because core training is VERY important.

Unveiling: The Inner Journey, Chapter 25: Sex Secrets of Belly Dancers. Details on a type of abdominal crunch that will improve your interior and exterior oblique strength, which is what you need to induce strong pressure on your partner during love-making, and some very interesting (new!) information on how our dance movements can actually induce clitoral stimulation - indirect, but very nice!

Also, just as important as gaining core strength (and learning how to use this strength effectively), we also need to release our back tension, and tension in our pelvis and sacrum. Releasing (unnecessary) tension is as important as is using our strength. I write about this in Chapters 14-16 of Unveiling, and we can learn to use our dance movements for tension release as well as part of our dance training.

Healing Love Through Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy, by Mantak Chia and Maneewan Chia, Chapter 7. Lots of detailed and fairly technical information. Rather dry and dull, but comprehensive.

Really, I suggest factoring core training into your dance moves as being the most fun and "juicy" way to get your core strength to enliven your sexual pleasure.

Best wishes in all, and let me know how this works out for you!

Yours in dance – Alay’nya