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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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Reflections on European Instructor Training in the Netherlands, October 2013

GFIT-Mon.-G.4 (16)It has been quite a year for me. Last year I completed a 30-year “stint” in Corporate America. This year I began a new phase of my life and with the incredible freedom that I now have also came the challenges of beginning a self-directed life. With the structure taken away it was
now time to create the life I have always wanted. This has proved to be more difficult than I envisioned.

I had planned on laying low for the fall and gathering my energy. At first

Damien Reynolds, Golden Flower Instructor
Damien Reynolds, Golden Flower Instructor

when Master San Gee Tam asked me to come to Europe for the International Instructor Training I declined. After our third conversation on the subject, which began with Master San Gee Tam saying, half jokingly, “lets discuss what is about to be the biggest mistake of your life so far” my intuition told me that I had spent enough time gathering and it was now time for expansion. That afternoon I booked my flight to the Netherlands and I was off to the European Instructor Training. And what an incredible experience it was. Focus, community, teamwork, fun, high energy, inspiring, creative are some of the words that I would use to describe the Training. When I arrived what struck me was how everyone was so helpful and thoughtful to make sure I was taken care of and comfortable and…. that the Golden Flower Instructors and Instructor Trainees were “all charged up” to do some intensive training.

Master San Gee Tam had given us indications that the expanded curriculum was going to be introduced.  We immediately began working on that front. Ba Gua and Hsing I are now officially part of the curriculum due to their powerful impact on health. We worked on the Ba Gua conditioning exercises, Lion Style changes and strikes, Hsing I warm-up exercises and Five-Element practice. Hsing I Animal Practice was touched on and Master San Gee Tam gave us some basic leg practices to work on to condition the legs as the animal Hsing I requires very flexible and strong legs to be done properly. Master San Gee Tam also showed us medicine ball and rope work that will help build our strength and endurance but using Tai Chi principles and mechanics. Tai Chi Staff was also part of the training with Tai Chi Staff Form and Tai Chi 13 Spear practiced each day. Oh yes I almost forgot – we worked several hours a day on the Golden Flower Long Form reviewing principles and form correction.

It was a huge amount of material to cover but everyone was so focused and eager to learn that it was no problem to get through it.

 

Sheri Clawson
Sheri Clawson

Our evening sessions focused on creating and communicating. Sheri Clawson, our web site designer and a Golden Flower Student from Winston-Salem, NC attended the training. It was inspiring that she made a special trip to the Netherlands to participate, introduce the new web site, and work with the participants on the European section of the site.

Master San Gee Tam covered many personal development, communication and self-inquiry topics and really stressed our innate creative powers and some of the steps we can take right now to start to unlock these abilities.

If I had to sum up the training in one sentence it would be “MAN we covered a lot of material”. The training got me back in touch with how much I love the practice of Tai Chi and what a wonderful supportive community that I am part of!!! Thanks to everyone for making it such a great training and especially to Master San Gee Tam and Annukka for their tireless and focused effort.   Happy Chi – Damien

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