Saturday, October 14, 2017

An Unforgettable Zen Story About "Letting Go"

Harriet Lerner Ph.D.

Psychology Today, March 8, 2015 
There is a classic Zen story of letting go that is told in many different versions. One of my favorites appears in a book for young readers by Jon J. Muth called Zen Shorts. 
Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. The rains had made deep puddles and she couldn’t step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn’t help her across the puddle.
The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side. She didn’t thank the older monk, she just shoved him out of the way and departed.
As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then she didn’t even thank you!
 “I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk replied. “Why are you still carrying her?”
It feels good to let go—not when other people tell us to “let go and move on,” but when we ourselves see the necessity of it.  Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting or whitewashing the other person’s behavior. It means protecting ourselves from the corrosive effects of staying stuck. Chronic anger and bitterness dissipate our energy and sap our creativity. Each of us has a certain amount of energy that fuels our spirit. If five percent—or seventy-five percent—of that energy is directed toward carrying someone who has wronged us, then that same percentage is unavailable for other pursuits.
If anger keeps us stuck in the past, we won’t be fully in the present, nor can we move forward into the future with our full potential for optimism and hope. We don’t need to forgive a particular bad action when the other person fails to genuinely acknowledge the wrong.
But we do need, over time, to dissipate its emotional charge. We need to accept the reality that sometimes the wrongdoer is unreachable and unrepentant, and we have a choice as to whether to carry the wrongdoing on our shoulders or not.

Monday, June 19, 2017

DVD Receives a Positive Review!

I'm very pleased the Midwest Book Review gave a positive review of my DVD, "Tai Chi for Body and Mind Fitness":

"Hosted by traditional Yang style Tai Chi instructor Pat Akers, Tai Chi for Body and Mind Fitness is a DVD designed for both beginner and advanced students of the art. Featuring step-by-step instructions, front and rear demonstrations of every tai chi movement, advice for improved balance and posture, tips especially for individuals with physical limitations, and more, Tai Chi for Body and Mind Fitness is an excellent addition to fitness DVD collections and a great way to learn Tai Chi for benefits in health and mental focus. Highly recommended! 2 DVDs, 283 min."

Clips from my DVD are on YouTube!

I'm happy to announce we now have a YouTube channel with 8 short video clips
from my instructional DVD, "Tai Chi for Body and Mind Fitness"
Here's the link:
You can view these clips on a computer, cell phone or any TV set with streaming device like Roku.  

I​t would be much appreciated if you would "like" the channel and/or leave a comment about the videos. (Note, please don't leave personal messages or notes to me.)  You have to create an account and log in to in order to leave a "like" or comment.  Here is some information about this:

Link on how to "like" a Youtube video
Link on how to post a comment on Youtube

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why Tai Chi Is As Good For You As CrossFit

This is a good article on the wide ranging benefits of tai chi:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Tai Chi for Body and Mind Fitness" DVD is Now Available!

I'm very happy to announce my instructional tai chi DVD is available to order online. To order, just click on the picture of the DVD. This 2-disc program is one of the most comprehensive, tai chi DVD's available today. I take a playful approach to this ancient, Chinese martial art and encourage students to relax and have fun while learning this “moving meditation”.

This program provides:

  • Background information on tai chi
  • Easy to follow instructions for all levels of students
  • Practical advice to improve posture and balance
  • Tips to make tai chi accessible for those with physical limitations 
We all know the importance of exercise. The challenge is to find an exercise we'll stick with and that is appropriate for our bodies as we age. I've purchased gym memberships but stopped going after a few weeks because (here are a few of my excuses): The drive was too long; I didn't have time before work; I was too tired after work. (Fill in your own excuses here _____).

I provide detailed, step-by-step instruction so you can learn tai chi in the comfort of your home. No special equipment or clothing is required and you can do it anywhere, in a small amount of space. Unlike other forms of exercise, tai chi conditions your body while it quiets your mind. The flowing movements of tai chi are enjoyable to perform and they can help reduce stress, improve balance, lower blood pressure and increase joint flexibility.

Always consult your physician or medical professional before beginning any exercise program. I recommended you use this video in conjunction with a tai chi class.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Continuous Movement, a.k.a., Keep Moving!

After being seated at my desk most of a day preparing my taxes, I had stiffness in my lower back and hips.  I wasn't surprised because I'm aware of the importance of "keeping things moving".  I was surprised I'd forgotten that important lesson! 

Today, in class, I reminded students to strive for continuous movement in their t'ai chi.  During silent practice, I thought, the continuous movement of t'ai chi is a reminder to keep moving in our daily lives.  

Someone once said, "stasis is death".  Here is a definition of stasis from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
"a slowing or stoppage of the normal flow of a bodily fluid or semi-fluid, as in, slowing of the current of circulating blood. Stagnation." 

Most of the lessons we learn in t'ai chi are applicable in our daily lives.  
Keep moving in t'ai chi and in life!