Posts Tagged With: balance


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Meet Maura Grant, a certified massage technician. She does reiki, as well. She and her partner, Cammy, whose last name I didn’t get, work on Tom Bell Road in Murphys. The name of their business is Elements, and elements define the Asian basis for peace, happiness, health and balance in everything they do be it healing or gardening or meal planning.

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In her treatment room are the sacred elements of earth, fire, water, and air. Plants represent earth, fire comes from lit candles, thankfully, for me, anyway, without perfume. Just pure soft light.

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Water cascades from a fountain, and air is all around. I’ve had massage and acupuncture before my accident.  I know it to be healing, and soothing and a transmitter of peace and tranquility. Reiki sort of astounds me. How does the heat just emmanate into their hands?  When Maura pressed my chest I could feel the heat in my heart and penetrate to my  back muscles. Margaret Hornick, from Arnold also has that unique talent. Heat just flows from her hands into your body.  

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Even Maura’s bathroom has earth represented by the stones, water is obvious and the candles on the tank are fire.

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The two women have a meditation room where they hold meetings, discussions and teach. In each room, all of the elements are present.

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They also have a sauna. The blue lights have some significance for healing. I’ve had many massages since my accident. Residual pain in my neck and shoulders still plague me. Some practitioners call it “memory pain.”  Debbie Selleck from Angels Camp has really helped me, as well as Margaret and now Maura. Each time, I think, ahh, I’m so close to well, this will be the last massage I will need.

It never seems to completely take away pain, but I’m getting well in small increments.  My weak arm is a bit stronger, the pain is lessened. Stress makes it worse.   Every massage I’ve had, the premises have those same elements, I must add. It isn’t unique to Maura. But they carry it out in a beautiful, complete way.

A day earlier, I stopped in to visit my former doctor,  Dr. Ralph Retherford in Tuolumne County.  He is a holistic doctor and also encourages his patients to perform tai chi on a regular basis. He gave me a tape and I found an improvement in my weakened arm with just one evening of practice. I believe by the time I return home from the Motorhome, I will be completely well with esoteric healing.




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We are up early to visit the UR Garden. The designers took great pains and cost to turn this  beautiful,  former government employee’s home, into a centerpiece of Chinese garden architecture.  Walled gardens are meant to shut out the troubles of everyday life. To do that, a garden must have balance, and elements that instill peace and serenity.

A perfect garden will have  a hill, water, rock, plants, a building and trees,  the major components.
The plants and shapes and positions of everything in the garden have special meanings. If you plant a pine tree for strength, you must have two, a female and a male pine tree. If one dies, you must remove the partner tree and replant two new ones to replace them with their relativity in size maintained for “balance”.

The rock and hill must be a  size to complement its surroundings, not overshadow it.   Gates, bridge rails and doors are smooth and pleasurable to touch. Walkways flow.  Windows and doorways have form and interest to please the eyes.

Bamboo represents strength and resilience and music as the wind passes over its hollowed stems in a gate or a structure.  Each plant is chosen for its symbolic meaning. A flowering plum represents rebirth and renewal when it blooms on bare wood in the spring.   A lotus is purity. Peonies symbolize wealth.

A carved historical event.

A  requisite lion.

A protective dragon.
After this painstaking cultivated garden was matured, a contingent of Chinese garden experts came from Vancouver, Canada to see it. They commented on how “beautiful”the garden was. Not perfect?  When asked why it didn’t meet expectations, it was  because above the wall, in a small corner,  could be seen, a modern condominium in the distance. The cure will be heighten the wall or move the condominium if necessary. They take the poetic aspects of their peaceful garden very seriously.

In the afternoon we cross the river to the Yangtze market to pick up last-minute souvenirs. Several of us take tea at a lovely tea house. We are let loose in the market place within walking distance of our hotel. Three of us go to the Hip Hop Market and gawk at merchandise for teens, babies, grandchildren, ourselves. Very expensive stuff.  Shoes like we’ve never seen in our lives before. Stiletto heels six inches high. See through blouses and bathing suits. This is China?  It was a gas. We dashed from store to store like unruly kids to take it all in.

That night, at our  farewell dinner, we  traded  email addresses with our new friends and said our goodbyes.  I don’t remember  our  farewell dinner  but, I’ll never forget  China.

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Around the pool yesterday morning, everyone was talking about the circus Thousand Trails booked in for the Labor Day Weekend. They talked about the head honcho, a guy in an electric wheelchair, who has put this thing on the road for 52 years. An amazing feat in itself.  He told me that today’s circus kids are an off-shoot of the gymnastics craze. Not everyone can go to the Olympics and be a standout, but the circus…well you will see the  talent at work.

I’m taking a break from my China Trip of 2006 to acquaint you with the Wenatchee Youth Circus because it is a great venue, and because I have two personal connections to the circus.  Earlier this year, two of my grandsons attended a circus camp and I was quite impressed with the program and the head honcho there who started this camp in Mendocino County, California over 50 years ago. He dresses as a clown and gets around in an electric wheel chair.  You know what I’m thinking, don’t you?  This has to be the same outfit.  But, it was not.

This little youth circus has a fire-eater, and that is my second connection to circus.  My great-aunt Mitzi was a sword swallower and fire-eater in the circus during the 1920’s and 30’s.  She said they practically starved to death, sometimes surviving on leftover popcorn or bread and gravy when money was thin. But enough!  Wenatchee kids are from 3 years to 18 years in age. The fire-eater was tearful because after 9 years with the circus, this was her very last performance. She also does high wire.

The day was so bright and sunny, we were truly in point and shoot mode and hoped we’d get something on camera. The three-year old is probably one of the children of an adult associated with the circus. There are plenty of adults around to make sure the kids don’t get hurt. But, the kids are fearless, well-practiced and impressive performers.

The high wire acts, (and they were numerous) were by the book, the standard acts you see in all circuses on professionally rigged  high wires.

Billy and Amanda. Billy does tumbling, high wire, flying trapeze, swings and  just about every thing in the line-up. He is one of the top talents.

Here he is on the top of the free-standing ladders. The strong man is in the middle.

Billy  again, on the high wire as part of the wheel barrow. These kids performed five or six different difficult feats, sitting on a chair, walking a bike rim, stopping mid wire, performing, and getting back up to a standing position on the wire. Great strength and coordination is a must.

Billy is also a flyer. The catcher is Brendan, an 18-year-old who also retires from the circus this year to enter college. This circus is a non-profit, supported by grants and donations, but what a marvelous youth experience, responsibility, hard work, team work, sharing  living quarters, all ages. It’s a given that these kids have a one-up on their peers from working the circus.

No act is too small. They start out as clowns, they learn balance, how to fall, timing, to entertain and graduate to more strenuous feats.

And, a final bow.

You can read a bit about the circus on the following website:

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After an appointment in Sacramento, I managed to spend a couple hours with grandsons Owen and Theo at their Karate lessons. Its very much a family affair. My perception was that Karate is a “fighting” exercise taught for defense. Besides defense, good sportsmanship, politeness, camaraderie, balance, coordination, strength, competition and exercise are among its many benefits.

Kids of all ages line up and learn the moves in a fast pace. To be quick, to be sharp, to never be caught unaware of your surroundings or danger. Girls and boys both find karate appealing.

More experienced, older kids help younger kids become adept in flash tests.

Then in sparring gear, students go one on one, all ages, all sizes mix it up. Owen, left,  is known for his ability to kick high and maintain his balance.

During the sparring matches, protective gear, and care not to kick or punch vulnerable places is the method used in training. Here father’s and sons, mother’s and daughters all participate as a family. This class has a handicapped kid with half and arm is adept at self defense and assumes a great measure of pride in his physical agility and ability. If you’ve never thought of Karate for your kids, you may want to reconsider. Not everyone is suited to traditional sports, but Karate seems to fit every size and abili

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