Staying Merry and Bright this Season…no matter the mall or the mother-in-law
Ever heard the saying “It’s not about fun – it’s about family!”
Ever heard the saying “It’s not about fun – it’s about family!”
The holidays are in full swing and so are our triggers, blind spots and shadow selves.
Remember what Ram Dass said about spiritual progress? If you think you’re enlightened, go spend time with your family!
As the year winds down, so do our spiritual reserves but the holiday spirit is within you, kind heart.
The secret to leading a positive, happy life (translation: perfect well-being and joy) is to balance your energy, or Qi (pronounced “chi”), with what and whom you value.
Are you living an authentic life? Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? What makes you happiest and most filled with joy?
The reason I love Qigong and Chinese Medicine so much is because by practicing these traditions every day, no matter how busy I am, I balance and bless my mind, body and spirit.
Like the weather, Qigong does not hold back; what this moving meditation has offered me is available to you too. There is always enough sunshine for everyone!
Here are three of my favorite Qigong practices. They’re perfect for this time of year, since these exercises strengthen and balance energy when we’re busy, bloated and/or bustling with holiday cheer.
Take a conscious breath. When you direct your attention to your breath, your focus is clutter-free and calm. When we don’t think, we’re peaceful. Take a long, slow inhale through your nose. Pause. Now exhale slowly through your mouth. Pause. Feel better already? Good. In that moment of peace, you are enlightened. Wow. Click here to see a short clip on conscious breathing.
Open your energy centers. In Chinese Medicine, there are three major energy centers called Tan Tiens (pronounced “dahn tee-ehn”). Your upper energy center is in-between the eyebrows. Your middle energetic center is in the middle of your chest. And your lower energy center is just below your navel. A blockage in one or all of these energy centers causes varying levels of imbalances Click here to see the Qigong practice, “Opening the Three Tan Tiens.”
Shake it off. Just like Taylor Swift suggests in her catchy, sexy song, when something is bothering you – shake it off! As humans, we are one of the only animals on the planet that doesn’t shake the body after we experience fear or trauma. Click here to see the Qigong practice, “Shaking the Tree.”
All of us at Morning Crane wish you energy and balance this season and always.
May you forever remember that the secret to a happy, positive and joyful life is within you. To bring peace to the world, we must first strive to make our inner world peaceful.
Now, go get enlightened by enjoying time with your family!
To joy in the season and peace in our world.
Love & gratitude,
—Chris and Parisa Shelton and the Shelton Qigong team
As we wrap up the excitement of summer and shift into fall, our lives and schedules change. The leaves change color. The kids go back to school.
Autumn signifies seasonal change as well as inner change. Now is the perfect time to build our immunity as our energy levels lessen and pull inward, making us more susceptible to cold and flu.
Rather than looking to a flu shot to keep us healthy and fit, look to the fridge, your cozy bedroom and what’s on your plate. Eat well, sleep deeply, move lovingly and stay healthy this fall and always.
Eat: Add pumpkins, gourds, fennel and congee (soupy rice) to your daily diet.
Sleep: The number one tonic for building immunity is sleep. Did you know that you loose inches off your waist if you get at least eight hours of sleep a night regularly? Get your zzz!
Move: In traditional Chinese Medicine, particularly Qigong, autumn is a season associate with the vitality of our digestion. Incorporate these gentle and soothing Qigong movements into your day-to-day routine.
By nurturing your stomach and spleen, going with the flow and slowing down as much as possible, you will find you have more vitality, more patience and a stronger immune system.
Until next time Qi you later.
— Chris Shelton
The arrival of spring means different things to different people. Bikini beach season is around the corner. Gardens are sprouting and looking for love. Sun worship is about to shine.
As the season starts to shift, so do our mind, body and spirit. We naturally feel brighter, eat less and move outdoors. Spring is the perfect time to cleanse the body of the fat and heavy indulgences of winter. Spring is also the time when the liver and gallbladder are most active and you may find that you or those around you are more irritable.
One of the fastest and most powerful ways to supercharge your energy and replace the dullness of winter with inner vitality and glow is to eat green and fresh to benefit your liver and gallbladder. You can also do the Liver Cleansing Exercise to reduce any feelings of frustration, depression, or anger, and bring forth more kindness and compassion.
When choosing what to put in your cart, on your plate and down into your belly, remember to include some or all of these spring super foods.
Any and all young plants, greens and sprouts (e.g., kale, spinach, brussel sprouts)
Any and all young cereal grasses (e.g., long-grain rice, millet, buckwheat)
Fresh pungent herbs (e.g., fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf)
Sweet-flavored complex carbs like grains, seeds and beans (e.g., hominy, sunflower seeds, black beans)
Organic beets, carrots, onion and garlic
Any colored pepper (green, red, yellow)
Fresh kiwi, blueberries and raspberries
Be healthy and happy this springtime and always!
— Chris Shelton and the Shelton Qigong team
Chris and I love, love, LOVE summer but according to Chinese medicine, summertime isn’t easy living on the body. As temperatures rise so do our chances of dis-ease and heart trouble. Who knew! Let’s put down our iced teas and tune up our ears. Chris is going to share some quick tips about summer health and then I’m going to open up and hand you my heart. Yup, just like last month. (Spoiler alert: No, we’re not pregnant, but seeing a specialist and taking time off.)
Chinese medicine considers summer a “heart” time on our beautiful bodies because we’re more active, more frequently outdoors and more likely to overexert ourselves.
This summer remember to carve out time to sit in the shade and soak your feet in flowing water. Both your inner world and outer body will benefit from the relaxation and connection to nature.
When you’re making a salad, consider adding watermelon and cherries. The fruits are a powerful way to reduce excess heart chi and help increase your energy and stamina.
While fall and winter have a reputation for contemplation and hibernation, stay mindful of summer’s special spiritual powers. Listen to the inner voice inviting you to play often and expand your horizons.
Love summer, love yourself, love life – it’s easy!
Speaking of L-O-V-E, Chris and I are so touched and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and sharing in response to our blog post last month. You can click here in case you missed it or if your memory isn’t great.
**Bonus tip: Add more cooling foods like mint, celery and cucumber to your diet to cool your summer heat.**
Honestly, writing that candidly about our lives scared the crap out of us! But we knew in our hearts that our to-be-continued-ongoing story about loss, disappointment, change and acceptance could encourage other people. The same whole-hearted principle applies to you: when you share from a place of courage and compassion, from an authentic intention to uplift others, we all benefit. We give birth to a new, kinder world.
Sometimes the worst thing that has ever happened to us (so far) leads us to our very best life. Detours, hurricanes and potholes included!
What I AM facing now – today – and what we will face tomorrow, and likely next month, is bearable and a trajectory for growth and joy because we’ve trained for this. I have strong shoulders, like you, because I’ve known suffering.
When I look back, and look ahead, I’m unafraid of the dark because I know I can turn on the Light.
Even better? I know I am that Light – as you are, beautiful seeker – because I know I am the darkness too. (Yang and Yin, there it is!)
When I met Chris six years ago I was on the path of an early mid-life crisis coupled with a break-up that had left me broken hearted, broken down and broken open. The pain in my heart inspired me to study Qigong, start meditating, start self-helping, etc., etc., etc. You know the drill. We seek and eventually we shall find.
What I thought was The End was actually The Beginning.
That broken-hearted dark time in my life allowed me to see the glow radiating from Chris’ inner light, which sparked my own inner illumination. (And you thought a first date was business-as-usual boring!)
Our love story isn’t unique; finding each other is the universal love story that connects us all. We are each other’s lighthouses as long as we remember the beacon that shines from within our mighty, open heart.
Thank you for listening, thank you for all those kind words and hugs, thank you for being one of our lighthouses.
From our heart to yours. Be cool. Peace.
-Chris & Parisa Shelton