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  • A Tai Chi Health Story

    by Patrik Donahue

    Many people who visit Tai Chi hope to find an exercise and/or some symptomatic relief for health issues. In the late sixties, when I first saw Tai Chi being performed at a class in Cambridge, Massachusetts, its beautiful, graceful and relaxed movements mesmerized me. Having had chronic lower back pain which had caused me difficulty most of my life, I wasn't sure I could even do the Tai Chi movements; but I joined a class and found almost immediate relief.

    After learning some elementary steps, I went on to find my teacher, Patrick Watson, a senior student of the Master of 5 Excellences, Professor Cheng Man-Ch'ing. Fortunately, Patrick Watson selected me as an apprentice teacher. I have been teaching Tai Chi for the last 35 years - with no recurrence of lower back pain.

    Perhaps, because you are reading this now, you are seeking ways to improve your own health and balance. Many Westerners have found Tai Chi to be a bridge between East and West, a bridge that provides an easy-to-learn and satisfying life enhancement tool to maintain vitality, increase strength, improve balance, clarify thinking and integrate the body, mind, and spirit.

    Come join us for a free class and see for yourself.

  • Why Tai Chi is important today

    by Patrik Donahue

    Why is Tai Chi, developed by the legendary Taoist master Chang San-Feng during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 C.E.) still a valuable resource for the 21st century?

    Because it has a positive effect on some very basic issues that we all face. Tai Chi is a classic health exercise for well-being; a moving meditation, and a soft martial art, based on yielding.

    1. All of us want to maintain optimal health throughout our lives:

    We all want to develop and maintain our vital energy to enhance our lives and improve our health. Tai Chi is based on the awareness and development of our Chi - vital energy.

    That vital energy needs to be distributed throughout our bodies, penetrating to the depths of our bones. When our Chi is distributed harmoniously throughout the body, mind and spirit, we are in optimal health. This is an enjoyable, rewarding place to be in our lives.

    Our chi rides on the breath. Stress can cause us to breathe shallowly, affecting our circulation, raising blood pressure, and decreasing our energy. The moving meditation aspect of Tai Chi will help you to relax and balance and calm your emotions, thus relieving stress and contributing to physical, emotional, and spiritual good health.

    Tai Chi helps us to yield and circulate energy, thus uprooting our conflicts.

    2. In pursuing this kind of awareness and self understanding, the Tai Chi School offers a diverse curriculum including:

    tai chi form,

    traditional and modern chi kung (study of chi energy that uses time-tested short exercises that help bring the experience of consciousness.

    kath (chi) generation exercises

    tui sho or push hands in partnership with another person

    and the Tai Chi staff and sword, an opportunity to practice principles of Tai Chi using an object, which can be useful, practical and enjoyable to do.

    3. Our curriculum unfolds in the following levels:

    Beginning - learning the moves

    Foundational or fundamental - embodying principle

    and intermediate - use this to bring grace and strength into our movements the form and in your life.

    Apprentice teacher training

    4. One important map to help us make these discoveries and to develop them in ourselves is the 5 elements, a very old, classical way to explore knowledge and movement experiences in ourselves and in our spirits. We will explore the 5 elements throughout the curriculum.

    Are you ready to experience and develop your Chi Energy? If so, join us for a FREE CLASS the first Saturday of each month at Multnomah Art Center in SW Portland, OR, at 10 AM.

  • Awareness of Life's Process

    by Patrik Donahue

    As I contemplate what I want to say here, I am aware of hesitancy: What wants to be said? Can I do it succinctly, well enough to be read by people and somehow be useful and interesting? This questioning initiates a starting point.

    On the other side of me is a confident voice and feeling that say: Knowledge and experience of polarities and how they perdure, either unconsciously or consciously, and perchance to integrate them and positively influence life for myself and others for the Benefit of All, thereby facilitates completing this little thesis.

    Jumping to the point... We are speaking of the basic energies of life: One is active, or Yang as tai chi says; The other is attracting or Yin and reacts in one way or another. Interaction between them is a fundamental fact within ourselves as individuals and in our relations with others and the world.

    Apparent opposites are always coming and going in our minds and lives.

    Voice in audience asks:  "Patrik, isn�t most of what you say obvious?"

    P responds: "Well what is obvious at-a-distance is not always automatic awareness in the heat of the moment."

    The unaware mind is quick to marginalize things and feelings that frighten or spook it. This may be an unconscious act, but not an unimportant one to conscious evolution.

    And..and what is really good to know is that this is not an immutable and static condition; We needn't be stuck with fear and marginalized potential forever.

    Wholeness and process integration of missing parts of self are the logical outcome of practicing our tai chi, processing confusing mind stuff and meditating.

    Change and cycles are constantly happening. Results can be suffering or peace of mind.

     

    Awareness gives us choice.

  • Process Facilitation and Integration Work

    by Patrik Donahue

    Process Work theory holds that the solution is inside the problem awaiting our discovery.  As I follow my own or another person's process, mental and dreambody processes unfold.  Using guided exercises and visualization to facilitate the understanding of marginalized parts, polarities and conflicts, I begin to witness and experience the flow of consciousness:

    At first, an alienated and weakened little self feels marginalized and disturbed by the appearance of strong opposites in the social environment or in contradictory parts of oneself.

    Role playing or theater of the mind between disparate and polarized parts of myself helps to put movement and embodiment into the picture.

    A spontaneous and almost magical integration takes place inside  the person:

    What I previously perceived as "not me" somehow is a stronger and valued aspect of a more together me.

    What was disturbing and alien "only in the other person"  is also now a more acceptable, functioning part of a more integrated self.

    Confidence, compassion and joyfulness arise; I feel balanced and supported by the harmonizing and underlying flow of revitalizing chi energy.

     I am carried to a new and refreshing awareness of Process Mind, as Mindell calls consciousness that can objectively witness and help to integrate our lives in a holistic way, including: our  behavior, thoughts, feelings, values, ecology, health issues, extreme states of consciousness, and parallel universes.

    Realizing that a similar underlying consciousness exists in all human being is analogous to discovering a "pilot wave," to borrow a term from quantum physics and Nobel physicist, David Boehm. This omnipresent, mostly unconscious, interior guidance helps us resolve work and personal difficulties, issues of sex, race and age abuse, addictions, body symptoms, relationship and organizational stress. Process Facilitation and Integration Work can be a real force connecting us to the world.

    See for yourself by making an appointment today.

  • Patrik Donahue CV

    Academic

    Process Work Institute, Portland Oregon: studies with Dr. Arnold and Dr.Amy Mindell in process oriented psychology, edge work, rainbow medicine, shamanism, dream body, and world work. 1988 to present.

    Institute of Traditional Healing Arts, Gainesville Fla: Licensed Massage Therapist and teacher 1984 to 85.

    Harvard Medical School Department of Community Psychiatry, certificate in community mental health training and management. 1970.

    Psychotherapy training with Fritz Perls MD, father of gestalt therapy; Carl Rogers, PhD, founder of client centered counseling; Alexander Lowen MD, father of bioenergetics; and Al Pesso, father of psychomotor therapy. 1969-1975.

    Boston University Human Relations Center: Teacher training certificate for T-Group facilitators. 1968-69.

    State University of New York, Binghamton NY: two years graduate study on masters degree in anthropology and community development. 1965-66.

    Northern Colorado University: BA and teaching certificate in ancient history and foreign languages (Spanish), and psychology. 1961.

    Professional Experience

    Private practice in process facilitation/ integration and coaching, Portland, Oregon. 1988-present.

    The School of Tai Chi Chuan: certified with permission to teach. 1974 to present.

    Arica Institute Inc: Certified with permission to teach. 1973 to present.

    United Way, Portland Oregon: Board of Directors sensitivity training and self-awareness issues. 1990.

    Aspen Colorado Athletic Club: taught Tai Chi Chuan and practiced massage therapy. 1980 to 83.

    Gillette Company, Boston headquarters: staff workshops in creativity and teamwork. 1975.

    Spiritual communities: Rajneesh, Zen, Arica, Hare Krishna, Tibetan Buddhist, Christian, Project Place, and numerous new age communities; designed and taught training programs around issues of leadership, sex, race, abuse, rank and gender issues. Boston, Cambridge, New Hampshire, New York, Florida, Colorado and Oregon. 1970 to 1982.

    Massachusetts General Hospital: School of Nursing. Group process consultant with student nurses. 1973 to 78.

    Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge Ma. Teamwork issues with scientific staffs researching short lived phenomena and disappearing indigenous world cultures. 1970.

    Massachusetts Department of Mental Health: Process facilitation, consulting, training and coaching, Region VII trainer/facilitator for hospital and community clinic staffs..Mental health clinician, Plymouth MHC. l968 to 71.

    Self Help Inc., Easton MA: Deputy Director for community development and New Career training for low income persons in the helping professionals. 1966 to 68.

    Broome County NY CAA - community organizer.1965 to 66.

    Instituto de Educacion Rural: Peace Corps community development with Mapuche Indians in Osorno, Chile. 63 to 65.

    Westminster Colorado Junior High School. Geography teacher. 1962 to 1963.

     

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  • School of Tai Chi Chuan

  • Portland School of Tai Chi Chuan

  • The Tai Chi Staff Form

  • Push Hands

  • Professor Cheng Man-chi'ing

    "Master of FIve Excellences" by Mark Hennesy, p. 124

     

    "The tai-t'ien [point of equilibrium in the lower abdomen]

    was called the Sea of Chi [vitality]...

    symbolizing unlimited capacity. Move the chi with the mind...

    through the Three Gates [spinal points]...When open,

    all illness is dispelled."

     

  • Tao Te Ching

    Lao Tzu Verse:33 translated by Brian Browne Walker

     

    "The tai-t'ien [point of equilibrium in the lower abdomen] was called the Sea of Chi [vitality]...

    symbolizing unlimited capacity. Move the chi with the mind...

    through the Three Gates [spinal points]...When open, all illness is dispelled."

     

  • Song of the T'ai Chi Staff

    by Patrik Donahue

    I am not alone.

    The i/chi guides the whirling staff

     

    through the myriad

    changes of Yin and Yang.

     

    Such joy and mystery

    for one so young and free.

     

    Rooted in the earth,

    flying over the trees.

     

    Confused and dumbstruck

    at the dark, light horizon;

     

    and if not there,

    the pointed center remains.

     

    All harmony restored,

    we return to the One.

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