I haven’t published anything in a long time. I’m sorry.
I missed you.
Despite my silence, I’ve been pretty busy behind the scenes.
I’m back now, and I’m ready to tell you all about the things I’ve been up to this year, as well as the exciting things I’ve got planned for next year.
So here’s what I’ve been doing…
1. I’ve Been Healing
I won’t sugar-coat the truth. I’ve had a rough year.
From leaving my master of 17 years, to a cancer scare with my wife (she’s clear!) , to the death of my beloved grandmother — it has been one of the most stressful years of my life.
Recently, I took a few online stress tests (like this one). My score was off the charts.
According to one of these tests, people with a score over 300 have an 80% chance of a significant illness or accident.
I scored 879 on that one. Yikes! That’s 579 points over 300.
So it guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I strained my right psoas muscle (located in the inner thigh and groin) earlier this year.
Even with all of my qigong and tai chi practice, I crossed my stress threshold, plain and simple.
The psoas is sometimes referred to as “the muscle of the soul”.
That sounds true to me. Considering everything I’ve been through this past year, I’m not surprised that my “soul muscle” got strained.
All year, I’ve been working on healing my soul and my psoas. I’m happy to say that my soul is about 95% healed, and so is my psoas.
2. I’ve Been Blossoming
But that turned out to be a nice bonus.
I now understand why they say that apprentices can only blossom as artists after they break free from their master.
I’m free now, and I’m blossoming as an artist.
My understanding of my craft has never been deeper. In that regard, I’m actually grateful for all my struggles because they have led me to the path that I’m on now.
And I love this path.
3. I’ve Been Training Teachers
I believe that a strict certification process is important as we bring these arts into the 21st century.
When I was in acupuncture school, I had to study things like ethics, appropriate touch, and medical terminology.
I believe that qigong and tai chi teachers should absolutely learn these things as well.
I honestly think that my certified teachers will be among the best trained in the world. I’ve got an amazing group of 28 people from all walks of life — acupuncturists, licensed massage therapists, MDs, registered nurses, biologists, physical therapists, lawyers, martial artists — all of whom have 2-20 years prior experience with qigong.
My first class of certified instructors will graduate in May 2016. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about them soon!
4. I’ve Been Mourning
Mary was the matriarch of my family, and an amazingly strong woman. Her husband, my namesake, died when she was only 48 years old, leaving her to care for 3 sons.
Despite having zero experience with the working world, she went out and started a career. She was so successful that she lived, to the end of her life, off her own money.
In her later years, Mary showed inspiring resiliency after breaking both hips, the first one in her 80s, and the other in her 90s. Each time, she stubbornly refused to be confined to a wheelchair, and worked hard to regain her mobility. And she succeeded, both times.
Perhaps you can begin to see why I and many others mourned her loss so deeply.
Some of you knew her personally. Others knew of her through my posts, pictures, and stories. Some of you have eaten her famous cookies.
I’d like to share that famous cookie recipe with you. (Click on the image above to enlarge.)
May you enjoy these cookies and taste some of my grandmother’s wonderful sweetness.
5. I’ve Been Sitting
But my psoas injury limited my mobility, thus preventing me from using qigong the way I normally would.
A Catch-22 if I’ve ever seen one.
I’m all about solutions though. So I started sitting. Sitting meditation, that is.
I first learned sitting meditation back in 1992. Luckily for you, I was terrible at it.
I say that because it was my struggle with sitting meditation that eventually led me to qigong (and later to tai chi).
Now I’ve come full circle. After 20 years of practicing standing and moving meditation, I now find sitting meditation to be incredibly powerful.
I absolutely love it. I love it so much that you will be hearing a lot about sitting meditation from me in the future.
6. I’ve Been To Costa Rica
It was the best group I’ve ever had the honor of leading.
You can see some pictures from the retreat by clicking here.
One of the students made a funny joke during the retreat.
“I’m glad you got this place in the divorce” she said.
In case there was any confusion, my relationship with The Blue Mountain retreat center has never been stronger. I look forward to leading retreats there for many, many years to come.
7. I’ve Been Getting Hacked!
Last month, my website got hacked.
Don’t worry. No personal information was compromised. All of that information is safely stored on a secure, 3rd party site.
Mostly, the hack was just a pain in my ass, and disrupted some of my plans.
I did, however, lose a lot of emails in the process. If you’ve been waiting 2 months for a reply, you might want to resend it.
I hired some pros, and the website is all fixed now! And believe it or not, I’m grateful to the hackers for helping me to raise the security level of my website.
Flowingzen.com is now highly secure, which is great because I have have big plans for this website!
8. I’ve Been Blogging
Blogging is a lot of work, but but it’s a labor of love.
Once upon a time, I faithfully published a blog post every week. I hate that I haven’t been able to stick to that schedule in 2015.
I’ve been writing lots of draft posts. That’s why I say I’ve been blogging even though I haven’t been publishing.
I’d like to renew my commitment for 2016. I’m committing to a new post a week, without fail, in 2016. Please hold me to it!
9. I’ve Been Innovating
Now that I’m free from that master/disciple hierarchy, I’m free to innovate, especially in the world of online learning.
After lots of trial and error, I believe I’ve figured out what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to teaching qigong and tai chi online.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn from me live, soon you’ll get a chance to do exactly that — and from the comfort and privacy of your own home!
If you want updates about this and other awesome digital projects, then stay on my email list (or get on it here).From the heart, Sifu Anthony