Finding the heart of Nature inside a city appeals to that compelling drive we have for integration.  We’re all about pulling opposites together (pulling everything together) into a single whole.

I remember a time when people thought you had to get away from the city to find your Spirit.  A few years back, I talked to a doctor friend after he came back from visiting a wilderness camp for troubled teens in the Arizona desert.  He was so moved by the experience.  He was so inspired, he was beaming!

And I asked him, “How can you create that spiritual experience in the city?”  The light in his face vanished.  He said, “It can’t be done.”

Well Doc, it really can.

Where can you find Spirit in a city?  The heart of Nature in a city is us.  The people.  We’re all different. Sometimes opposite. But we’re a single whole. And we can feel it.

Take Brendan Stanton, for example.  He’s the author of the New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York.  Over 10 million people follow his page on Facebook.  And he was recently sent on a 10 country “world tour” by the United Nations.

What does Brandon do?  He takes portraits and he listens to people’s stories.

Basically, he rings our humanity.  We relate. We resonate.  We discover that everybody, everywhere, from New York to Iran to the West Bank, is just like us. It’s all us.  And we’re so beautiful.

You see, I think the feeling of connection is a spiritual experience.  The bridges that bring us together.

It’s an oppressive myth to think that you have to get away, that you can only find God or Oneness or enlightenment in the mountains or the desert. Or that you have to be alone to find it.

Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, said, “Heaven is right where you are standing.”

Rumi says, “There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.  There are a thousand ways to go home again.”

Reach for the feeling.  Then leave a comment and tell us: How do you find Spirit in the City?

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For life is a creative idea;
it can only find itself in changing forms.
Rabindranath Tagore

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Where do you find your own truth?

Kai Chi Do is the free spirit way.  We don’t say, “you have to believe in this” or “you have to believe in that.” Our work, in essence, is to help people find their own inner guidance and to begin to trust that connection, and then from there, take action.

The first connection is with ourselves, to listen, to make decisions, to choose things that feel right to focus on.  All of that is so valuable in cultivating your relationship with yourself.  We see it as cultivation of a relationship with your own truth.

Great teachers have said there is no separation. We are all one and the same. That is the invitation for all of us.

If you think that your teacher or your God is outside of you, that’s where you enter into a parental relationship with the Divine.  And then you develop the myth of a personality.  You look for a personality to guide you or to be an outward expression of Divinity, to make decisions for you.

We believe that inner guidance comes from a very free place, a place that is true to each one of us, in each moment.

Synchronicities are evidence of our connection, but they also demonstrate how we have actually come into a place of cooperation with each other.  There’s an agreement that transcends intellectual understanding.   There’s a much deeper agreement that we all have with one another.  It transcends our loneliness.

When you experience the connection between all of us, you discover that you’re not alone. For me, that feels very comforting. It validates the heart.

Kai Chi Do is a way of practicing and being in that space of freedom where you can experience the purity of the message. To honor that connection to the Divine. And also honoring yourself.  Honoring the unique precious constellation of your own identity. And nourishing the heart.

Photo by a sea of red rabbits on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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Why should I seek?
I am the same as He.
His essence speaks through me.
I have been looking for myself!

– Rumi

We like to think of Kai Chi Do as a kind of Western yoga.

When you think of yoga, you might have visions of twisting and stretching, leg winding or balancing on one foot. But yoga is more than postures and movements.

The word “yoga” means union.  Yoga are those things that bring you into union, into Oneness.  You are doing the postures and movement to bring your Spirit and your body into union. When you breathe and relax, you allow your physical form to come back into yog, back into union with its natural rhythm.

When you are under stress and pushing against things – trying to control circumstances and outcomes – when you feel the stress in your body, you’re feeling the body being pulled out of balance.  You feel it as tension and tightening of your muscles and slowing of circulation. All kinds of illness can manifest from that imbalance, that pushing against, and resisting the natural flow of Life. So the more you can relax and allow the natural flow of Life to manifest, the more you are able to bring your whole being back into balance.

The purpose of Kai Chi Do is the free flow of Life Energy.  Through the breath, the movements, the music, you come into union with yourself. You come into union with Nature. You come into union with gratitude, or compassion, or kindness.  You come into community with others.  Coming into union means coming into harmony.  Back in the flow.

We’re excited that Charles has been invited to present Kai Chi Do at the September 2011 Bhaktifest in Joshua Tree, California.  Bhakti is the yoga of devotion, finding union or Oneness with the Divine through love.  It’s a perfect place for Charles and Kai Chi Do.

photo by Rama V at Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution

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I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.
Thich Nhat Hanh

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Our dear friend Tina talked to us today about how much she loves the Kai Chi Do movement called “Holding Center while the World Goes Round”.  The truly magical thing about the movement is that you can FEEL that balance between centeredness and motion – the balance between your connection to Source and Self  and your connection to the world around you.

So often we fall off center, so to speak – trapped in the busy-ness of it all.  Overwhelmed by the tasks…and the personalities…and the schedule…and the hubbub.  And it’s confusing and you feel scattered and kinda dizzy.

And then you react and rebel and say we need to get back to the garden.  We need to get more spiritual.  We need to sit in high lotus.

But God is not an escape.

We see people try to get rid of their ego in order to be more spiritual.   They think the ego is the enemy.  But it doesn’t work.  Naturally, the ego puts up a fight.  And then you’re trapped in a struggle – rejecting a part of yourself.

The ego is the mathematical mind.  It likes to organize and calculate.   It really just wants a job!   And it is capable of such diligent service!

So we put it to work.  The ego is assigned the job of making Spirit tangible, bringing it down to Earth.  Instead of an ego that separates you from your Self and others, we give the ego the job of creating union.  We give the ego the job of reconciliation.

“Holding center while the world goes round” is about keeping your balance.  It’s not about choosing between the physical and the spiritual.   It’s about filling your everyday life with Spirit.  It’s about integrating the Divine and the human aspects of yourself.

Tina says it sometimes feels “exquisitely beautiful and exquisitely painful at the same time.”

photo of HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche by Wonderlane on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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Move and the way will open.
—  Zen proverb

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We talk to so many people who avoid their spiritual practices when they are feeling lousy.  Then they regret not doing them, and feel guilty and then feel worse and feeling worse is more immobilizing and…they’re stuck in the struggle.  Call it spiritual procrastination.

Procrastination is draining – and it doesn’t help your fatigue.  It actually makes you feel more frustrated, more bored, more lethargic to avoid actions that you believe will be uncomfortable.  The belief is what’s limiting you.  You’re uncomfortable where you are but you’ve concluded that if you take action, it will increase your discomfort.  Then you feel trapped.  You feel that there is no way out.

Skip the struggle.  Quit trying to figure it out.  Don’t psychoanalyze.  Just move.  Do…something.

When we first moved to Florida, it was months before Charles found a job.  He was finishing his Master’s degree in counseling, but couldn’t find work in the field.  So he finally decided to take a job raking recycled roofing chips.  True story!  And – not surprisingly – he got a job offer in behavioral health a week later.

Action is medicine.

Once you recognize that you’re procrastinating, take the actions that are within range.  Do what’s realistic.

Don’t expect your dream job.  Don’t expect to scale Mount Everest and perform open heart surgery in the same day – If you expect so much of yourself that you’re bound to fail, you’ll end up in the cycle of hopelessness and self-criticism and more avoidance.  Don’t expect Nirvana – just expect to feel a little better (and that’s enlightening enough).

Procrastination is a lousy cure for fear of failure.  Your avoidance just confirms the belief that you can’t accomplish what you’ve hoped and dreamed of.  You never get to discover what will happen if you try – if you take action.  You never get to discover that you are capable of more than you ever imagined – more courage, more determination, more creativity, more brilliant uniqueness, more joy.  More sweat.

Do what’s possible, even if it’s not your ideal.  Even if it doesn’t look to anyone else like you’ve accomplished anything.  Take action, even if it’s just tiny small steps.  Action starts the process of movement – not just physically, but also energetically and emotionally.  Your energy starts to flow, and that’s invigorating.  Energy flowing leads to more energy.  Reducing resistance makes you open to receive.

Mind-body-spirit-relationships.  It’s all mashed together. Get your energy flowing in any part of your being, and you get the energy flowing to all of it.

Photo by Wayne National Forest’s photostream, on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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