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The Masculine and the Feminine

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Jungian Therapy | 0 comments

Each of us contains the opposite. Perhaps, as in the I Ching, complement is a better word then opposite. Each man has elements of The Feminine inside and each woman has elements of The Masculine. We each express our own individual blend of these principles.

 

I have chosen to capitalize The Feminine and The Masculine to emphasize the archetypal nature of these principles. They are much closer to the Chinese ideas of yin and yang than to simple notions of how we define men and women in our culture. An individual woman may not be yielding but the principle of The Feminine has a yielding non time bound element. Some men do not do well with time or structure but The Masculine is both time bound and structured

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The Feminine and the Masculine are important archetypal elements within our dreams. Most of the women in a dream will represent what is going on in the Feminine. Male characters will point to what is happening in The Masculine aspects of the dreamer. By paying attention to these characters we can see how we are balancing these principles in our life. Has one element become to dominant, perhaps taking over? Are we underutilizing an important part of who we are? The dream may point the way to establish a better balance or to live out our lives more fully.

Reflections on Sifu Fong Ha’s Visit

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

September was an amazing month for me. It was so good to have Sifu Fong Ha on island. There is always so much to learn from him. He continues to focus on the development of awareness and sensitivity. Encouraging us to find our balance and refine our sense of equilibrium.

 

This time he talked a lot about space and form and no form. One of the things he said is that in Tai Chi “the form that is the true form is no form”. Reminding us that we acquire things in Tai Chi only to let them go. He went on to say that “the intention that is the true intention is no intention”. This reminded me of what I have been trying to say to students about just quieting into a place of beingness. We are called to move past our preconceived notions into something deeper and more profound in the present moment. Only then do we align with the Tao.

 

Sifu Fong Ha also continues to teach me with his openness and generosity. He is always willing to share his latest insights and to go out of his way to help his students. He truly cares about their development and about the development of the art of Tai Chi Chuan.

 

If you are interested in continuing Sifu Fong Ha’s work, I teach Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class and private lessons in Kihei on Maui please call me at 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui.

Sifu Fong Ha and Schedule

Posted by on Sep 3, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

It is an exciting month coming up. Sifu Fong Ha will be on island starting on the September 17th for about ten days. That means there will be daily Tai Chi and Chi Kung practice at Kamaole 3 from 6:00-9:00 AM and from 6:00 PM to sunset. He will also be teaching a one day workshop for University of Hawaii, Maui College EdVenture program on the 28th of September. I have already signed up and I hope you will too. He and I have been talking and emailing. He is planning some other special workshops focusing on awareness, sensitivity and effortlessness. He has not given me the times or dates for these but stay tuned for updates.

 

For those who are interested in continuing Sifu Fong Ha’s work after he has left, I will be teaching a Monday evening class through EdVenture. It will be Monday nights from 6:30 to 7:30 from October 1st to November 5th.

 

There is one change in my Tai Chi teaching schedule. I will not be having my Monday morning class on the 24th because it would conflict with Sifu Fong Ha’s schedule.

 

Mahalo, Dani

Remembering Your Dreams

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Jungian Therapy | 0 comments

If we are using dreams as a way of paying attention to the unconscious one of the difficulties we may face is remembering our dreams. The memory centers in the brain are, in brain distances, fairly remote from the brain areas that are most active when we dream. It only takes a few seconds for most of us to begin forgetting elements of our dreams. Some people are lucky and have easy frequent recall of their dreams but for most of us it takes a little effort.

 

There are some habits you can develop to help with dream recall.  Get a dream journal, any kind of journal. It might be fancy or simply a good sized note pad. I had a friend who was into saving paper and his dream journal was used envelops. Personally I love artists sketch pads. I like the large expanse of unlined white paper and the fact that some of the paper is recycled. Once you get a dream journal keep it next to your bed and keep a pen in the first blank page. This way you can write out the dream in the middle of the night without even turning the lights on. Some times it is enough to make an outline or write down key elements of your dream. Just enough to jog your memery in the morning. Many times I have heard people say “I had this amazing dream last night and I was sure I would remember it. Now I can not remember a thing.” So write down what you can.

 

One simple thing you can do is to set yourself up to remember your dreams. Just tell yourself before you go to sleep that you are going to remember your dreams. This works an amazing number of times. Both the journal and reminding yourself before you go to sleep are ways to say to the unconscious that you are ready to listen.

 

If you are going through a phase where you are having difficulty remembering your dreams you might try going back to the last dream that you worked with and seeing if there is not more that needs to be done with that dream. The unconscious works thematically and if you unlock something from an earlier dream it may open the gates for more. It can also work to just take a period of time and write down the first thing on your mind in the morning. I remember one time I had really wanted to remember a dream and in the haze of waking thought that I hadn’t. Then I realized what was going though my head was about President Kennedy and a tree with a brown paper bag. Clearly dream material.

 

One important aspect is to not judge your dreams as good, bad too long or too short. Some of the most powerful dreams I have heard have been just one line or a single particular image. As we create the habit of remembering our dreams we are saying yes to a dialog with the unconscious. The unconscious is always trying to communicate with us now we are listening.

 

To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this website.

Ten Essential Points

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

Every Tai Chi practitioner should have a copy of Yang Chengfu’s Ten Essential Points. Yang Chengfu was one of the best known teachers of Tai Chi. He was the grandson of Yang Lu-chan and was known for smoothing out the form. One of his most important writings is The Ten Essential Points of Yang Chengfu.

1.  The head should be held as if suspended from above, so that the chi of vitality can reach the top.

2.  Sink the chest and pluck up the back. (This is meant as an energetic instruction. Do not pull your chest in or down.)

3.  Sung (relax) the waiste.

4.  Differentiate yin and yang.

5.  Sung the shoulders and sink the elbows.

6.  Use mind (yi) not force.

7.  Upper and lower mutually follow.

8.  Inside and outside coordinate.

9.  Movement is mutually joined and unbroken.

10. Seek stillness in movement.

 

These qualities take years to develop but are worth our attention and dedication. If you did not have a copy of Yang Chengfu’s Ten Essential Points now you do. Use them wisely.

To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui.

Why Tai Chi ?

Posted by on Jun 28, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

 

There are many reasons why anyone of us might choose to take up the practice of Tai Chi. I think many of the best reasons lay in our contemporary life style and life choices. We are told that multitasking is a good thing, the way we should approach our every waking moment. We often rush form one task to the next hurrying along the way. It seems I constantly hear from people that there is too much going on. Sometimes it is even good “stuff” but too much. Our diets are made up of the most immediate item available. Our sleep suffers. We live outside of our bodies. A famous body work guru once said “ All these people are busy trying to have out of body experience, I am still waiting to meet someone who is having an in-body experience”. We live outside of who we are and disconnected from this beautiful planet we live on. Any one of these things drain would our chi, combined they are a disaster. We loose energy, age prematurely and our vitality is sapped.

 

In Tai Chi we have the opportunity to reconnect to our true self. We center, breath, take a small step and begin to make life more simple. We move slowly connecting to heaven and earth. Then we work and play to deepen that connection. An awareness of what it feels like to be in our bodies starts to grow and we can find a wisdom in the body. We find connection in ourself and then connections to the planet. If we stay at it, keep our practice going, we find a deep stillness, a truth that lays deep beneath everything else.

Sometimes we can simply stand and be in awe of it all. Our energy begins to come back, we start to feel good and the hard edges begin to soften. Even simple everyday tasks take less energy. Sometimes when we find the flow we might smile softly like the Buddha.

 

To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui

Dreams: A Compensatory Point of View

Posted by on Jun 28, 2012 in Jungian Therapy | 0 comments

Each of us experiences the world from the point of view of our own egos. We have a perspective on our lives and the lives of others based on how we see ourselves in the world. This is not a bad thing. We need an ego to orient ourselves and to act as a cohesive element in the psyche. The egos point of view is necessarily limited. There is much more going on below the surface than the ego can be aware of. Many contemporary psychological schools empathize the egoic point of view over something deeper.

 

We like to think that we know why we are doing things, that we understand our actions and emotions even if they are driven by irrational elements and inner complexes. It can be easy to find ways to justify or rationalize even our most outrageous actions and thoughts. We need a way to balance the egos perspective and stay in touch with the deeper meaning and flow of life.

 

Dreams provide that balance. According to Carl Jung dreams speak a compensatory language. They give us an alternative to the egos way of seeing ourselves and the world. In fact, Jung said that dreams are the objective reality while the egos perspective is the subjective reality. This is why we need our dreams and to understand them as best we can. It is also why our dreams can be difficult for us. Our dreams are trying to loosen the egos grip on our point of view. They give us another way of seeing things that is closer to the truth and the truth can be difficult for us at times.

 

This is also why it can be helpful to work with a psychotherapist trained in working with dreams. They will be able to gently guide you through the process of unlocking the meaning of your dreams and help you to see the direction your dreams are laying out.

Most of the time our egos lead us through life. Dreams are trying to connect us to deeper truths and let those deeper truths lead us.

 

To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this website.

Dreams: A Symbolic Language

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Jungian Therapy | 0 comments

Each of us dreams about four or five times a night. Of course, many of these dreams go unremembered. Some people never remember their dreams. Most people do remember some dreams but they do not stay with them very long. Dreams start to deteriorate in the memory very quickly. If you are trying to stay aware of your dreams it is a good idea to keep a pen and paper very close to your bed. There are those rare individuals who have great recall for their dreams.

 

Dreams speak to us in a highly symbolic language. I have heard lots of people say that they had a weird dream. The challenge with dreams is to move beneath the seeming randomness or strangeness and to capture the symbolic picture of what the psyche is saying to us. There are at least three levels of possible symbolic meaning in a dream, the personal, the cultural and the archetypal. Water, as a symbol, is an interesting example. So someone dreams about water. If they almost drowned as a child there might be a very negative personal association with water. Here in Hawaii water is everything. We are surrounded by it and our very existence depends on it. Our whole culture here is centered around water. On the archetypal level water is the unconscious, the emotions and the carrier of life. When we look at a dream we must look at each element and try to see on which levels the symbols are speaking.

 

Another important aspect of dreams is their basic structure. Each dream has a beginning, middle and end. The beginning of the dream presents what the dream is about. Is your dream about work or relationships or perhaps some aspect of our personality.? They middle of the dream is the action. This tells us what is going on with the topic of the dream. The end is the pointing finger. This tells us about the direction things are headed in or sometimes leaves us with an important question to ponder.

 

Each dream is an invitation into the mystery of our lives and our relationship with the powerful forces we are surrounded by. They are a doorway, a portal that provides an opportunity for us to listen to the unconscious. They challenge us to see more deeply into our lives and the universe.

 

To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this website.

Tai Chi: Three Great Secrets

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

I believe that there are three great secrets to learning in the Study of Tai Chi. In last months post I talked about the importance of finding a good teacher. The first secret to truly learning Tai Chi is to believe your teacher. A good teacher will tell you the truth and share with you the depths of Tai Chi to the extent they understand it at this time. They will be forthright. Sometimes you might not like the answer they give you and sometimes the answer will be “no”. If you really want your Tai Chi to develop believe your teacher and follow what they tell you. Do make sure they are a good teacher. A good teacher will not steer you wrong.

 

The second secret to learning and deepening your Tai Chi practice is to believe the classics. The Tai Chi Classics are a compilation of writings handed down over many years. They were developed in the usual classical Chinese way. There is an original writing that treatises and sayings are added to. My favorite book of the classics is Waysun Liao’s “Tai Chi Classics”. Just open it to any page and there is material worth pondering for a long time. Make the classics a study and then embody them.

 

The third great secret is that as you assimilate what your teacher tells you and develop a relationship with the classics, question everything. Tai Chi has a rich history with deep roots in the past but it is not a dead art. Tai Chi is an alive practice that is still in development. If we are true practitioners of the art we should be adding to the body of knowledge and practice that make up Tai Chi. One should approach Tai Chi as a study. I remember one time Sifu Fong Ha said to me “Tai Chi is a non-spacial replacement exercise”. I had very little idea what he meant at the time but it became my Tai Chi koan. I learned a lot from contemplating and questioning what he meant.

 

There may be one more secret and perhaps it is the most difficult for people. The biggest secret is to practice.

 

To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui.

Jungian Psychotherapy and Counseling: In the Beginning

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Jungian Therapy | 0 comments

Starting any therapy can be difficult. Most of us would like to start when it feels like it is a sunny day out in the meadow and psychotherapy will be an easy thing to do. Usually when someone starts therapy it feels more like it is dark, cold and wet. It is just before midnight and the only thing we know is that it feels like it is going to get worse. Our everyday mind has run out of ideas and options. Somehow we are going to have to get some help and we are not sure which way to turn. Getting a recommendation from a friend for a good counselor might help. Some times we go online to see what we can find out about the therapist or just look in the phone book.

 

Starting with an initial consultation is a good way to start. This gives you some time to see how the therapist works and how it feels to be in their office or online with them. You might want to do this with a few therapists until you find one where it feels right. Usually we want to be fixed right away and that is not the way therapy works. It is patient work building trust in the relationship. It can be challenging sharing the most secret parts of our life. Often we expect the same sort of judgement and shame that we have received from others and that we hold inside ourself. Gradually things will begin to open up. We find that it feels like we have found a safe place. A place where it is OK to be ourself. Sometimes we even begin to wonder why it seemed so difficult to begin therapy and the process feels as natural as breathing.

 

A good psychotherapist does not tell you what to do or offer insubstantial platitudes. They will journey with you so that you can find the right answer for you. In Jungian psychotherapy and counseling we use the unconscious as our guide. We listen to dreams, creative urges, fantasies and images as markers along the way. It is a mater of two people, therapist and client, sitting with what the unconscious presents and to the degree possible following the direction laid out. We unfold and come into who we are. This is deep and respectful work.

Tai Chi: In the Beginning

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

Learning Tai Chi is not an easy thing. I like to say that Tai Chi is very simple but learning to be that simple is difficult. To learn Tai Chi the first thing one must do is to find a good teacher. Personally I was very lucky to find Sifu Fong Ha. A good teacher will guide you on the right course in your study of Tai Chi and it’s related arts. When you begin it is important to remember that it will take time and patience. Be gentle on your self. Many people stop studying Tai Chi because their inner critic overwhelms the desire to learn. The most common reason that people give for stoping is that they are not making fast enough progress. Well if you stop so will your progress. In the I Ching the most common phrase is “perseverance furthers”. So stick with it.

 

Take small steps, literally and figuratively. When you begin it is important not to take on too much. When I first started I would try to take one thing home with me from each class. I would practice it that night before I went to bed and again first thing in the morning. I have found that this works well for people. We slowly build our practice adding on a little bit each time. Stay with the new piece you are learning until you have it. Then add a little more. A good teacher will break the form down into digestible chunks for you and help you to assimilate them.

 

Books and videos can be helpful aids to your learning but you will need a teacher. Tai Chi has been passed from teacher to student for centuries and that is the only way it can be done. So find a good teacher, be patient and enjoy. One of the delights of Tai Chi is that you do not have to be a Master to get the benefits. A little gentle practice can start a long and health filled journey.

 

To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui.

Listening Jing

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

There are many skills we must develop as Tai Chi players. I consider the development of listening jing to be among the most important. Two months ago I wrote about the heart in Tai Chi and the need to foster quietness and openness in the heart. These two processes are very interdependent. As the heart quiets it creates space for us to be able to listen. Listening is done with the whole being, body , mind and spirit. It means more than to listen with the ears and develops slowly over time. First we must listen within ourselves. We need to know and be able to be honest about what is occurring inside. As we begin to feel the inner flow of Tai Chi we can tune our attention into what is happening. We can see the beauty and be aware of the flaws. This can lead us to corrections and deepen out Tai Chi experience.

 

In two person work, pushing hands, listening is vital. We need to move our listening skills outside of ourselves and into the system we have created with another person. When two people touch their fields join and form one system. The connection moves from the ground of one persons foot all the way through each person and into the ground of the other. Listening enables us to know what is happening in this system. We can perceive the flow and the breaks, thus knowing when to act or be patient. As we develop our listening skills we move beyond action and into spontaneous being. From the Tai Chi perspective the one who is most relaxed and listens best wins.

 

To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui.

Listening

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Jungian Therapy | 0 comments

 

“the blossoming and unfolding of the individual as the experimental, doubtful, and bewildering work of the living God, to whom we have to lend our eyes and ears and discriminating mind.”  C.G. Jung

 

Our inner work requires cultivating the art of listening with our whole being. We are each of us a work in progress, changing, growing and developing. There is an inherent inner process that wants to go on. We can and often do stop the process but we can also listen and bring ourselves in tune with the greater plan that resides in each of us. Our dreams are often the greatest clue to what is trying to unfold.

 

Many people think that God or the unconscious is not talking to them. That there is no communication. I think the challenge is to realize that the unconscious uses a highly symbolic language. William Stafford’s great book “Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language” does a wonderful job of clarifying this approach. The unconscious speaks to us nightly through our dreams. Our challenge is to do our best to understand the message of the dream. This is often challenging to do by ourselves. When we look at our own dreams we are stuck within our own way of seeing. We have monocular vision and can not see in depth. When we sit with another person we can get binocular vision and begin to see the true depth of what is being presented.

 

To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this website.

Four Things We Must Do

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Tai Chi | 0 comments

Sifu Fong Ha has said there are four things we must do if we are going to make progress in our Tai Chi work.

First we must learn a form. It might be I Chuan, Chi Kung or any of the variety of Tai Chi forms. With out a form we have no place to root our practice. We are lost wandering with out a map. With a form we can find our way into the deeper aspects of our work on ourselves.

Second we must breath. Our lives begin on and inspiration and end on an expiration. Breath is the very basis of building our chi. In the Chinese language the symbol for chi is the steam(breath) coming off of a bowl of rice. If we are going to cultivate our chi we have to take the breath and combine it with other forms of nourishment. Without breath there is no life.

Third we must find our balance. Sifu Fong Ha says we will find our balance one way or the other, either horizontally or vertically. Our balance is there with us everyday. If we do not fall down we have found our balance. I like to encourage my students to go in search of their balance. Seek it out. Take a step and carefully look for that place where everything aligns and everything sinks into the earth. Then you will know you have found your balance.

Fourth clarify your intention. Most people approach intention from a western perspective. They think that intention means think punch when you punch, think kick when you kick. Their idea is that you should intend what you are going to do. I believe this is fundamentally incorrect. From my point of view intention is a clarified state of beingness. We simply are. It is that place when we are in the present moment with no distractions. In those moments we are in alignment with the Tao and peacefully alert. This is the true power of Tai Chi.

To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui.

Coming Home to Ourselves

Posted by on Feb 23, 2012 in Jungian Therapy | 0 comments

From Jung”s Letters: “Natural life is the nourishing soil of the soul. Anyone who fails to go along with life remains suspended stiff and rigid in midair”

 

The work of psychotherapy is to help us come home to ourselves. In some ways all sickness is homesickness. Through the trauma’s of our lives and the dislocations of our culture we loose what is essential and what roots us in who we are as individuals and as part of the larger collective. To come home we need a safe place. A place to rest and reflect. We need space to explore, to have successes and to make mistakes without recrimination. So many have lived with harsh internal and external critics. Voices filled with the ability to cut us off and destroy what is new and trying to grow within us. The therapy sessions should provide the safety and openness to journey through our lives and help us to rebuild that most essential relationship. The relationship with ourselves and our souls

To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this website.