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Tai Chi, Meditation, and Finding Bliss with Graeme Waterfield

Graeme Waterfield on Tai Chi, Meditation and finding Bliss.

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Graeme Waterfield is a jovial Tai Chi and Meditation instructor. His smile and his peaceful energy are infectious and inspiring. He is a living breathing artifact of what “doing the work” does to someone when they show up for their practice, committed to aligning themselves so they can greet the world from a place of calm, loving presence. He is also very human, before you imagine him floating in the air…full of bliss. As he reminds the audience during our podcast interview, even he gets stuck scrolling through the vast Netflix media library with nothing to watch.

A brief overview of Tai Chi, Loretta Wollering of International Gardens:

“Tai chi is a deep, meditative, internal Chinese practice. At its original core, it is a martial art, but is nowadays commonly practiced and taught in a manner that strengthens and promotes the mind/body health of dedicated practitioners. Though a myriad of people – several millions – practice it daily around the globe, most don’t even know what the term “tai chi chuan” means. And those that believe they know the translation will offer up the popular canned response, “Grand Ultimate Fist.” Ask those same folks what that exactly means and you’ll probably be met with a blank stare and a stammered explanation.

Let’s first consider what the “tai chi” part of “tai chi chuan” means. To understand that, you first have to understand that “tai chi” is a term from Taoist philosophy. Taoism is the ancient spiritual, nature-based philosophy native to China. The Taoists sought to understand reality and how we are a part of it and exist under its natural laws. The Taoists explained that before the universe came into existence, everything (nothing?) was in a state of “wu chi.” Once you understand the concept of “wu chi” you will instantly have a deeper understanding of what “tai chi” means. “Wu chi” means “no polarity.” In essence, it is the nameless, incomprehensible state of void or nothingness. If there is nothing, then no differentiation can exist. It’s somewhat the non-existence of nothingness… space… void… When there was a “change” in the state of wu chi, then there was a differentiation – the original wu chi part, and, the changing part. That state of differentiation is a phase called “tai chi.” It literally means “great polarity.” The opposite poles on of this polarity are referred to as yin and yang. Just like plus and minus, each opposite exists because of the existence of the other. The Taoists say that the yin and yang (born from the state of tai chi) give rise to all things and processes in the universe.” (www.internalgardens.com)

Graeme explains “Tai Chi represents the fusion of yin and yang, meaning fullness and emptiness.” Graeme’s approach to Tai Chi is anchored in Zen related to the classical expression of the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu. He goes onto to say. “which becomes a moving meditation and you start with no answers at all and you are steeped in the mystery of the practice. Over a period of time, your practice deepens and you begin to understand what it is, not from a intellectual standpoint but from a lived experience.”

I asked Graeme specifically, “What has this exploration into this modality meant for your life and how has it changed you as a person?”

Graeme responds with “It is the slow disintegration of illusion, the slow falling away of who I believe that I am, what I believe of the world, people, the universe to be…it’s a simply falling away. And what has come from that is an incredible sense of joy and simplicity. A kind of growing sense of desirelessness, flow–in which I am enjoying being carried by life as opposed to trying to direct it and demand it go this way and that way. Off that back that, is a constant companion of ease and happiness.”

In the case of Graeme, it’s not what he picked up in his practice and education of Tai Chi–it’s what he lost and let go of.

Letting go becomes a vital practice inside of our spirituality. Our spiritual practices allow us the luxury of letting go, peeling off what no longer belongs to us, and releasing any delusions we have long held onto. Our spiritual practices are an alchemic refinement and uncovering of who we truly are as human beings. We find our clear reflection in our practices and the clarity to see the world as it is.

Krista Xiomara is a writer, podcast host, healer, religious wounding and trauma expert, and co-founder of House of Enlightenedhood. She is a practicing Buddhist and incorporates wisdom from both Eastern and Western religions, philosophies, and spirituality.

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Expansion

The Four Elements: Core Curriculum for Understanding the Self with Debra Silverman

You can build a harmonious relationship with yourself by understanding your elemental composition.

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Debra Silverman

As a spiritual aspirant part way through my own journey I realized there was an overlap of healing and self-understanding that was happening in parallel to my unlearning and unbecoming. Its a curious thing how every spiritual seeker finds the same set of books, retreats, teachers, and guides along our journey to help with our rebirth. Enter Debra Silverman, psychologist and astrologer who has spent her life (as she describes in the interview) helping people fall in love with themselves, their life, and each other.

Debra wrote The Missing Element: Inspiring Compassion for the Human Condition. This book opens up with a warning alarm, reverberating through the dense fog of humanity asking us to “Wake Up!” The earth is in crisis, humanity is in crisis and Debra reminds the reader that we are both the problem and the solution. For anyone invested in self development, part of our work here is to understand our elemental composition, cultivate each one, and find solutions to bring the ourselves and the world back into alignment and harmony–as best we can, all things considered.

What are the Four Elements?

Water, Air, Earth, and Fire.

In our interview Debra breaks down the different characteristics of each element, their positive and negative manifestations and how most of us have one element that is not as dominant as the other three.

Apparently I have almost no fire, which was really surprising to me as a Latina. This is partly because I’ve been conditioned to believe all Latina’s are born super spicy and culture lore tells us we salsa straight out of our mother’s womb with a bad attitude and confidence for days. I do love to salsa, but if I’m being honest with myself I do have a strong inclination for the softness of peaceful environments (earth), the silence of my own company–writing and creating (air), and the warmth of the Earth beneath my feet at the ocean (water) healing and feeling, instead of at some night club, dancing (fire) the night away.

It is clear that my missing element is fire and armed with this knowledge I can find ways cultivate the element of fire that feels authentic to my core personality traits (without making unnecessary drama as Debra says fire can sometimes do) and bring myself into a balance.

Her book is also a means for moving ourselves from a victimized state of being into an empowered position, where we accept that we decided to incarnate here, in this world, as this person, with this family, this personality, and these life experiences.

Debra says “it’s a volunteer position.” Once we accept that, it opens us up to the possibility that maybe everything that has occurred to us is useful, inspiring, and exactly what we needed in order to evolve and awaken.

As an astrologist, Debra talks about how reading and digesting our natal charts gives us tools and information to understand ourselves better, so that we can interact kindly with ourselves and not try to squelch our shadow sides or the things that make us quirky and unique. Gaining this level of self-understanding is paramount to living harmoniously with ourselves, from a place of deep acceptance so that you can fall in love with yourself.

But more importantly; Debra says, when you gain understanding of your chart, you can look around your ecosystem and create compassionate understanding for the people in your life, by seeing them with a fresh set of eyes and an open heart to love and accept them as they are.

 

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Expansion

Exploring the Akashic Records with Josephine Hardman, PhD

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Learn the origins of the Akashic Records with Josephine Hardman, PhD

Josephine Hardman is an intuitive healer, Akashic records teacher, and podcaster. She’s dedicated her life’s work to helping spiritual aspirants find their way, heal their past, and tune into their innate wisdom. She has an interesting life path story, I’m so excited to unpack the origins of her personal story, that I can hardly get out my prefixed question about her early childhood experience with religion and spirituality.

Josephine grew up in a deeply open and spiritual home, with parents who both nurtured and invited exploration into spirituality. She recounts hearing the shuffling of tarot cards from her fathers desk. He was a trained transcendental and mindfulness meditation practitioner. Her mother was a psychotherapist who expanded her practice to include spirituality, folding in energy work and yoga and the use of the Akashic records. In this progressive environment Josephine had free reign to explore and be curious, she was also a highly sensitive child.

These beginning steps are fascinating, as many of us who come to merge on the path of spirituality find ourselves undoing and unlearning strict Abrahamic roots or nothing at all. Our spiritual education starts later in life, and I can’t help but wonder as I’m listening to Josephine speak how this “head start” in spirituality helped her in own life. She first affirms, that being in this environment helped her as a highly sensitive and intuitive child, who both had the language and experience to understand the non-physical reality around us.

Josephine is erudite and spent many years in academia dedicating her life to education of others. She notes how she has carefully created courses for her students who want to learn the Akashic Records leaning on both the academic and spiritual learnings modalities of education to help each student fully integrate and retain what they learn. Her love of literature and language makes her an ideal teacher, finding all the right words and high notes to help the any seeker on their path of expansion and exploration.

As our conversation continues to unfold, Josephine discusses how growing up on the spiritual path at an early age, she too experienced how disorienting and unsettling the spiritual awakening process can be. She mentions how interacting with people and having them say one thing and their body language and internal energy contradict what she was sensing and feeling. As a child and one with sensitive and intuitive skills she wanted at times to escape this reality of feeling so intensely. From my perspective, of not having a head start and coming into contact with my intuition and innate wisdom later in life I understand this disorientation she speaks of and I can’t imagine how a child would navigate it. But she did and I instantly admire her life story more deeply in this moment when she honestly articulates the ebb and flow of her childhood.

As we fast forward into the interview, we arrive at Josephine giving the audience an overview of the inception of the Akashic Records, how they are access, utilized, and what they can teach us. She breaks down the benefits of accessing the records and gaining information about ourselves looking back in time and peering into our past life decisions and current ones can aide in breaking old patterns, internal blocks, and limiting beliefs. She uses an example from a recent session where a woman had inherited through her lineage (like many of us do) a conditioned response to “staying small” or “playing small.”  A common theme we see in our current society that asks women to be small, demure, and to not make too many waves or conflict. Using the records Josephine assessed that this trait was passed down to help keep ancestral and descendant women in her lineage safe and was a coping mechanism. Working with her client, together they honored her ancestors for instilling this as a means of protection and breaking the cycle through this client, thus liberating her lineage backward in time and forward. .

 

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Expansion

Embracing the Positive Side with Jeremy Todd

Jeremy Todd on choosing the positive of side of perspective in all things.

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Jeremy Todd is an author and podcaster, who has turned his life experiences into something useful for the collective. He’s moved from victim to victor in a few short years after realizing that he didn’t want to continue to make excuses or blame external variables for the obstacles he had come up against in his life. He wanted to live empowered and in a frame of mind that was positive, without bypassing. Upbeat without ignoring the reality of what has happened or what could happened.

He began rewiring his mind to become more resilient, more solutions based then problem heavy. He realized that he had something to say and even though he faced real hardship from his past and current situation. He was determined to find a way to grow while dealing with his past and current situations that were less than ideal.

He wrote The Positive Side: How I Overcame Bullying, Bankruptcy, and a Bad Attitude and Found My True Identity and in our interview he talks about being bullied in his youth because of his height and boisterous personality. He shares how underneath his big bright personality he was hurting, and he couldn’t tell anyone about sexual abuse he had incurred as well. He found the courage to write about all of it in his book and let his past see the light of day and show people how he emerged from this adversity to become more aligned, honest, and authentic. To show people there’s another way out of the darkness when bad things happen to us.

He’s spent the last five years of his life, hosting his podcast of the same name and in our interview he talks about embracing a positive perspective in life and how his growth and evolution didn’t always sync up with the people in his ecosystem. Many of us on the path of spiritual awakening and personal development experience this, the growth pains of shedding our old identities, mastering the ego, seeing the world for what is, and general waking up to a new reality that is divorced from societal, religious, and familial conditioning and traditions. Jeremy says that when he started changing, people began to push back on his evolution and eventually some people in his inner circle had to be exited.

This is a tough thing to do, to compassionately choose our change over the discomfort of others. To move away from the safety of old friends, co-workers, family members, and acquaintances that once “knew” us and say “I’m not that person anymore…” and in order to continue the deep work of growth and becoming leave some people behind. But Jeremy did exactly that. He’s found peace and a new found perspective.

We also talked about spiritual bypassing, which is a real epidemic in the spiritual industry. Often times positivity can be replaced with bypass and it is important to be able to face the displeasure of the moment, crisis, or pain without turning away or offering in exchange a fluffy quip like “everything happens for a reason” then quickly moving past the real struggle that is occurring for a person in that moment. Jeremy gives a beautiful and vulnerable example of how he is doing this in his life, having been separated from his wife for three years they are turning the page and beginning again to reboot their relationships on new terms. Jeremy says he’s going into this new life change with his eyes and heart open but mindful that there is work to be done. That the relationship still requires repair, recalibration, and tenderness to become what they both collective wish it to be.  He is going into this new chapter of his life, with a positive attitude and envisioning the best outcome for all involved and he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work, to do the work.

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