The C.H.I. Exercise And Goal Setting

“What is it you really want, Veronica?”  Scooter from The Saddle Club Series 2

In the above quote, Scooter confronts Veronica with a fundamental existential question:  “What does one want out of life?”  Veronica has put on a series of masks that enable her to dodge this crucial question.  Her parents have instilled in her their values of wealth, position, and consequent prestige, but are those values what she really wants?  In our commercialized American society we are told how to look, to smell, what to eat, what pills to take, what cars to drive, what constitutes romance, what constitutes beauty and what love is about.  Our parents give us their own values, but what do we really want?  For some people that question remains unanswered and unexplored.  The Chi exercise is a means for approaching this problem.

Rod and Brooks Newton of the Hidden Springs Wellness Center in Ashland Oregon have developed brief morning and evening chi exercises to put the mind in a receptive state for deep thinking.  They begin the exercise by asking you to be aware of your life energy and your heartbeat.  Then, you take three deep breaths and let go of any remaining tension.  This clears the body and mind for concentration.  They then ask you to focus on a candle flame, which grows brighter and brighter until it fills your whole body with light and energy.  The energy takes you to your creating workshop, and you are asked to invite your creating guide, who is a source of intense energy.  Together you try to create the kind of day you want to have.  Two questions arise:  “What has your life really been about?” and, “What do you really want out of life?”  Not easy questions to answer, but essential if you are to lead the most fulfilling life possible.  By increasing your ability to concentrate and by intensifying your energy level, you are more likely to clarify issues that prevent you from answering these questions.  Once you can truly state what you desire out of life, you can begin setting goals of how to get there.  Remember that a major part of life’s magic is process and the surprises that may occur when you take that first crucial step towards getting towards your goal.

The Removal Of Savage Rapids Dam On The Rogue River

The removal of Savage Rapids Dam had been a topic for years.  Justification was that it would help the salmon get up the river with one less obstacle.  Many landowners opposed it, because it would mean loss of land.  But, finally, a decision was made to remove the dam.  The process took a few years, and was not without its drama.  While removing part of the dam, an enormous wave was created in the center with fierce hydraulics and a boulder beneath the surface.  The video below shows how turbulent the river was at this point of the dam’s demolition.

When the dam was completed, Savage Rapids came into being, having been absent for about 100 years.  At first the rapids was Class3 as it rushed over a narrow ledge, capturing one human life in the process.  But later, the river widened its banks, and the one menacing rapid had become a mild Class 2 with a few boulders to dodge.  The river had changed once again.

For What It’s Worth

“You are the most precious thing you have.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?”

Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne

The late Jack LaLanne had a simple life philosophy, but an effective one, because he lived to be 96, exercised to the end of his life and died in his sleep.  He has been a model for me in my life and I am grateful to him for putting me on a positive path.

When I had heart surgery for aortic stenosis at Cedar-Sinai in Dec. 2010, I was encouraged to use a Voldyne inhaler to strengthen my lungs and prevent infection.  It worked!  My caretaker at the time, Glenn Malapit, thought I should continue using the inhaler at home.  He encouraged me to do at least 100 inhalations at 1250 ml. before moving to the next 1500 ml. level.  Once I had done 100 inhalations at the 1500ml. level, I would move to the next level, and so on.  Now I do from 40-60 inhalations at the 2500ml. level level.  What is my point in all this?  My point is that for years I had severe allergies during March and April in Southern California, and since I’ve been doing the inhalations, they have mostly disappeared.  Now, I’m just one individual, and there may be other contributing factors.  However, for what it’s worth, at least you could blow out all your birthday candles with one hearty puff!

Let’s Hear It For Health!

The Fundamental Problem of Education(FPE) may be stated thusly:  How to create a learning environment in which all students achieve to the best of their abilities.  The beauty of this statement is that it encompasses all possible educational methodologies and approaches, putting the emphasis on learning that applies to every individual.  The FPE also demonstrates how complex the educational process really is, and that is especially important in the U.S. where education is linked to numerous oversimplified, but catchy slogans, i.e.  “No child left behind”; “Preparing every child to learn”, etc.  There is also a plethora of educational programs in the U.S, whose proponents make grandiose claims of educational achievement.   But rather than attempt to unify such diverse programs, there has been an increase in “fragmentation”.  However, all approaches to education that neglect the inherent complexities of the learning process, are mere shadows.  Such approaches are splinters off the FPE.  Of course, the great teachers from Socrates to Korczak, from Pestalozzi to Sukhomlinsky, have always realized the many-facetedness of learning.

The term “learning environment”  represents any environment where learning takes place.  Perhaps,in the future, it may turn out that schools are not the best places for children to learn.  Learning through the internet is now quite common.  Home schooling is becoming more popular.  Nature, a meeting hall, or various clubs and organizations are all potential learning environments.  And the number of students involved might range from 1 to n. Thus, the FPE could encompass a potentially infinite domain.

The FPE leads directly to the question:  How can we improve a learning environment?”  We might provide stimuli such as games, videos, stories, or anything that furthers a student’s concentration.  Or, we might try to reduce the obstacles to learning.  Such obstacles are either internal or external.  An internal obstacle might be a student’s limited genetics, possible brain disorders, etc.  There is little we can do in such instances, barring a lobotomy, radical brain surgery, or employing a technique we do not know at present.  External obstacles are another matter altogether.  Such obstacles may be treated with positive results.  Reducing external obstacles is similar to opening a clogged air vent that now allows the fresh rush of air.  Relaxation, concentration, meditation offer ways to deal with external obstacles, but it is important to know what such obstacles are.  It turns out that health courses which treat both a student’s mental and physical being are seminal courses, because they have the potential to truly reduce the obstacles to learning in a meaningful way.  Let’s hear it for health!