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Focus and Flow: A Message From Master San Gee Tam

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In last month’s message I addressed focus. From the feedback we’ve gotten internationally from the Golden Flower Community, developing focus is of interest to many people. This is a vast subject and I’d like to explore it more deeply with you now.

Many times our focus gets attached to triviality.  We’re so focused on the small things on our to do lists we ignore big things like our relationships, taking care of ourselves, and creating an authentic life. Many times we tell ourselves that we’re not taking care of the big things because we don’t have enough time or money. For instance there might be a dream trip you’ve been eager to go on knowing you really need some time to play and relax.  But instead of focusing on how to make the trip a reality in your life you become distracted and repeatedly focus on the story that you have too much to do to take time off, or that your resources are low.

When we do that we’ve forgotten about the power of focus. We’ve forgotten that we have the power to create the life we want. We’ve forgotten how important it is for our health to prioritize fun, friends and personal growth in our lives.

The reality is that life is going to go the way it goes, sometimes in unexpected directions.  This is where flow comes into play. If you can remain focused on what is truly important to you, if you can feel into the flow instead of fighting it, all the help and support you need will come to you.  You will start connecting with your real life, the one that is always there underneath your day-to-day activities.

Just like it is important to begin each day with The Be Here Now Process and by focusing on gratitude and what it is you want to create that day, it is very helpful to step away from your typical day-to-day existence.  The benefits of taking a break from your daily life are immense, whether it is for one day, a few days or even a week.  These breaks (like going for a long hike in the mountains or attending a weekend workshop or travelling for a week or more) offer you a valuable opportunity.  This time offers you space to step back, to rejuvenate, to re-check and re-set your focus.

When you re-set your focus you can better maintain it when you re-enter the flow of your day-to-day life.  You are better able to find your center and stay there. Your mind more easily enters a different, more laser-focused space and you can connect with your true-life experiences deeply and consciously. When you connect to your center, you connect with more and more true-life experiences, finding your true place.

There is no road map to this true place. You find it through using tools like the Be Here Process and Standing Chi Gong which shows you who you really are beyond your body, your emotions and your thoughts.

Standing Chi Gong can be challenging for some people.  For the first five minutes or so your mind tends to be focused on how long you’ve been standing, when you can stop, how your legs or arms are feeling.  But when you are able to stay in place past these first few minutes, something begins to happen.  Your mind begins to shift out of awareness with time.

The domination of the clock, of how much time we have, is very strong for most of us.  But there is one thing that will easily break that domination… focus.  When you are deeply focused time disappears.  Think back to when you have been completely focused on a dynamic heart-conversation.  Hours can go by in a without you noticing.  The same is true when you’re lost in doing something you deeply love or are excited by like playing music or walking on the beach. With practice and focus you can also reach these same states during meditation and Standing Chi Gong.

I invite you to spend some time thinking about where your focus has been lately.  How often is your mind caught up by trivial matters and how often are you focused on what you want in your life, what you are creating so that you may be fulfilled, happy and serving your true purpose.

~ Master San Gee Tam

 

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Your Focus Determines Your Reality: A Message from Master San Gee Tam

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I’d like to share with you some helpful insights I offered to the Golden Flower Instructor Trainees who spent the day at Heavenly Way last week.

Focusing your mind is an essential element of Tai Chi and self-cultivation. Focus and commitment dramatically increase your ability to progress towards mastery. It is something most people don’t think about much of the time, but give it some consideration now:

  • If you wake up in the morning and think about the multitude of things you need to accomplish over the next thirteen hours, you’re likely to have a stressful day. In contrast, if you wake up, listen to your breath, and focus instead on what a wonderful gift your life is, you’re more likely to enjoy your day.
  • If you let your attention jump from one thing to another, you are likely to have a busy, fractured and unproductive day. If you begin your day with standing Chi Gong and focus on one element of The Golden Flower Form you want to practice, you’ll have a more centered, peaceful, productive day.
  • If you focus on feeling tired and wanting to veg out in front of the TV, you’re pretty certain to get a lot of television watching done. If, however, you focus on being healthy and fit, over time you can become healthy and fit through movement, a little Tai Chi practice at home, and eating foods that are full of benefits.

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Focus is an important determinant of whether you’ll achieve a goal or stick to creating healthy habits. Not self-discipline, not rewards, not sheer willpower, not even motivation (also an important ingredient, however). If you can maintain your focus, your mind and spirit will bring a centered power to achieving that goal.

A few more helpful ways to increase your focus and ability to tap into the peace available in every moment:

  • Attend Tai Chi class two or more times a week.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to deeply learn from the beauty of nature during our Annual Retreat at Heavenly Way in August.
  • Practice Golden Flower’s “Be Here” Process. It will help you learn to achieve a relaxed focus, which slows down your breathing and quiets your mind so that learning can come easily and naturally.
  • Make a commitment to do your standing Chi Gong practice every morning.

This is a very exciting time on our planet.  All of us have an opportunity to wake up and be happy.  Life is about being happy.  If you’re not happy, what are you doing here? It’s something you might want to focus on.

~ Master San Gee Tam

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‘The teacher leads you to the gate, but only you can pass through it’

The simplest way I can describe my experience of learning t’ai chi is to symbolise it into ‘Golden Gates’:  The first Golden Gate that opened to me was discovering t’ai chi 4½ years ago when I enrolled my whole hamlet community (nestled 13 miles from Oxford, UK) in taking weekly lessons in one of our neighbouring gardens; after some enquiries, Tom Gold-Blyth very quickly agreed to come from Oxford to teach us.  The second Golden Gate opened 18 months ago when Tom put his faith in my becoming a teacher and holding my own classes in one of our nearby villages.  The third opened Golden Gate was my opportunity to train towards taking The Test so that I could become a Golden Flower Instructor.  Passing The Test during this February 2014’s training lead me through the fourth Golden Gate.  Passing through these gates taught me that when adventure comes, it is an invitation to open the way to what is new, an invitation to going on a journey towards priceless treasures.  Indeed, through the wonderful art of t’ai chi and the support of the Golden Flower School I learn every day how to find quietness, how to manage my realities, how to enjoy life, how to simply be myself.  I know this is the beginning of many more Golden Gates to open through the safe guidance offered by SanGee, Annukka and the Golden Flower School.

– Marie Carty

For tai chi website

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Some thoughts from Michelle …

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Several years ago I promised myself to attend the International Instructor’s retreat every year, even if only for a few days.  This year I was able to attend 3 days…and it was a joyous 3 days.  It’s difficult to put into words how it feels to “come home” emotionally, but that’s exactly how the instructor’s training feels.  Surrounded by loving instructors from across the globe, practicing Tai Chi in a beautiful environment (with many horses watching), and eating delicious, home-cooked meals (thank you Marti and Cindy) – it was a beautiful experience.  I equate it to how I felt at summer camp when I was 9 years old, only instead of camp counselors we have San Gee and Annukka to plan our days’ events 🙂

I highly recommend that all instructors try to attend as many as they can.  It is a great way to build relationships with all the other instructors from our fabulous Golden Flower community. Thank you everyone for being part of such a memorable few days!

– Michelle Carter

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Instructor Test as Heavenly Way – Marianne

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It was a great week here at this wonderful place.  All the teachings, the lessons, the inspiring people, lovely food, and the beautiful environment.  Marie from England and I were doing the instructor test this week.  We got a lot of support from the other instructors.  And we succeeded!  Getting to the test, I learned a lot more about Tai Chi and more about myself.  There were many other aspects to deal with during the preparation for this test, such as learning to work on the computer, driving my car to get to trainings, flying in airplanes, developing even more focus, endurance, discipline, and new creations.  So it was a very good path to go on and it added a lot more to my personal development and my life.

I feel very grateful and blessed and I really want to thank everybody for supporting and teaching me, especially Annukka and Master San Gee Tam, to whom I am deeply grateful.

Love to you all!!!

Big hug from Marianne Loggers

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Some thoughts from Leen

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It feels as if I’ve lived my life in a reversed order.  When I was young, I felt old and weak and was often sick.  Now, being 60, I feel young an healthy and strong.  And during the instructor training sometimes I felt playful, really as if I was playing as a child.  And I learned while I was playing.

Just for fun!

Just great!

 

– Leen De Leenheer

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Tai chi … and Russian Opera?? – by Corrie

Our instructor training is awesome!  This international event shows how easily people from different countries and cultures connect when they do the same Golden Flower Tai chi practice. Yesterday our Russian friends gave a great and spontaneous performance of Golden Flower Tai Chi in opera style! Quite humorous!  Working together this way is healthy, peaceful, and a lot of fun!

Oh, and we’re still finding out what they were actually singing!

– Corrie Reijnhout

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Golden Flower – The world comes together!

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Our Golden Flower International Instructor training started off with a real bang!  We had an incredible weekend with friends from around the world coming together to share tai chi, good food, lots of laughs, and warm-hearted fellowship.  I can’t think of another community that offers so much to so many people.  We have so many different cultures and countries represented – Russia, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and the good ‘ol US of A – but we all shared a common experience and a love of tai chi.  And food, food, food ….

With such a diverse group of folks, it’s amazing how harmonious the whole experience is.  I really feel that Golden Flower is laying out the path for the future of the world.  We’re showing how we can all really get along, cooperate, co-create and have a blast doing it.  Thanks Sangee and Annukka for holding the space and possibility for us all.

With love,

Rick B.

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Higher Vibration – thoughts from Levi

This year marks the beginning of a new cycle and a new form.  The embodiment of this cycle, which we can channel through our practice, has resulted in a most refreshing and cleansing training thus far.  I feel more connected to the universe and more integrated in my body.

The Golden Flower Long Form has been a delight to learn and has really brought my Tai Chi practice to a new place.  Working on my stance each day alongside with developing my spiraling energy has brought a new level of integrity to my form.  Even if my legs burn, I can find the place where my body dissolves from the 3-D world into something more powerful that words cannot describe.

 

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Practicing alongside such enthusiastic instructors, we inspire one another through wisdom, insight and spontaneous hilarity.  This group resonates at a vibration higher than most and it is truly a treat to practice alongside such an enlightened community.

– Levi Koral

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Instructor Training Begins! Thoughts from Tom

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The International Instructors Training got off to a very clear, calm, and focused start today. It is great to have 4 days dedicated to deepening our Golden Flower Long Form practice.  We learned a new level of detail in the sequencing of the moves. It is amazing to feel how each movement is distinct and yet we internalize the separation so it is unified.

We repeated the first part of the form so many times that our focus kept building. Master San Gee Tam explained that our physical body is within our energy body and that we need to develop inner strength to ground and express our energy fully. Without all the details our Tai Chi is stuck at a beginner  level.  Later, we all joined Richard’s class in the lodge. This class spontaneously developed into a healing energy space as we practiced slow movement with ever expanding consciousness. It was a fantastic end to the first day.

Tom Gold-Blyth