Let the Light In: Heart Advice for Hard Times

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over again to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” – Pema Chödrön, author and American Tibetan-Buddhist nun

As May unfolds and Memorial Day approaches, take a moment to remember the people you’ve loved and lost. Perhaps it’s a person you still feel anger and resentment towards? Take a moment and check in with those feelings. No judgement; just look.

When people die we’re often rushed through our grief and mourning.  We get a sanitized unrealistic image of death from TV and movies.  Most people think that if we blur through our pain, our pain won’t find us. But just as laughter and joy are divine so is heartbreak and tears. Grief and sadness, like anger and resentment, demand expression and release. What we resist persists. What we think about we bring about.  What we honor grows stronger.  It’s the Law of Attraction.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sadness, grief and sorrow are stored in the Lungs. If these powerful emotions are stifled or shunned, we suffer even more. Symptoms of depression and anxiety appear.  Physical aliments such as a soft low voice, a scratchy throat, and a dry cough manifest.  Lung Qi opens into your skin so you may experience skin irritations, rashes and acne.  Also digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea may appear.

As uncomfortable and heartbreaking as grief feels, when we lovingly honor and express our sadness, we begin healing our mind, body and spirit.  Knowing the limitations of a circumstance can enable one to create the best possible opportunities from it, and thus enjoy the fruits of any time or any situation. Know and understand that all physical forms on this planet are impermanent; this too shall pass.

The word “courage” comes from the French term  coeur, which means “heart.” Tune into your heart as you remember the people who’ve passed before you. Tune into your lungs as you breathe in courage, strength and acceptance. Take a moment to practice this simple Qigong Lung Clearing exercise . Give yourself the space to remember that love never dies and pain never lasts.

Love & Gratitude,
-Chris & Parisa Shelton and the Morning Crane team

Bring your body back to balance this Spring!

Spring is in the air!Take a look around today and check out the magnificence of our green, glowing Earth. Lovely spring bulbs are reaching for the sun. Mother Nature is making her annual promise to birth new life and offer sweet renewal.

As the months become warmer and sunnier, our liver – a powerful Yin organ – kicks into overdrive. Springtime is liver time! Your liver is the ultimate spring cleaner that clears out the muck from bad habits, bad moods, and bad karma.

In Western medicine the liver is considered a filter that detoxifies the body’s blood supply. As blood passes through the liver, substances such as prescriptions/over-the-counter medications/illegal drugs/alcohol are broken down. The liver diminishes the negative effects that potentially toxic materials can have on our bodies.

In traditional Chinese Medicine the liver houses the negative emotions of anger, frustration and rage. The liver’s tissues are sponge-like and absorb negative emotions so they don’t “spill over” into other organs. Think of the liver as a powerful de-weeder that encourages your flowers to grow and blossom.

Here are three simple tools that blend Eastern and Western wisdom so you can re-balance your liver and glow this spring.

Do gentle Qigong movements. When you practice these soft meditative movements you are “ringing out” toxic emotions that block and distort energy.

Drink warm water, coconut oil and fresh lemon. This special concoction is a gentle way to detoxify and cleanse your liver and gallbladder.

Develop kindness and compassion. The most powerful virtues in the world are also good medicine for your liver. Be kind, be compassionate. No faking allowed!

The human body is an amazing display of Yin and Yang, ebb and flow, balance and harmony. We believe that by blending the wisdom of both Western and Eastern medicine, each one of us will be led into a new level of human evolution.

May you evolve into perfect well-being, peace and harmony in your body and in your life.

- Chris & Parisa Shelton and the Morning Crane Team

Moving Forward without Falling Apart

How you ever felt disappointed? Discouraged? Frustrated? If you imaged your life as a garden, would your patch of paradise be vibrant and bursting with color? Or parched and overrun with weeds?

As the season transitions from winter to spring so does the body, mind, and spirit. Springtime is when the Wood Element is most dominant. The positive virtues of the Wood Element are compassion, creativity and growth. Think of a fresh delicate bud on a sturdy tree. That tiny sprig is soft, flexible and ready to grow, grow, grow. Nature can teach us so much about what we need to nourish our dreams.

As spring approaches, dare greatly and ask, “What do I feel growing inside of me? Let me bring that forth, if I can, for its own sake and not for what it can do for me or how it can advance my standing.” (If you’re a writer, yup – that’s Steven Pressfield’s daily mantra to his mighty Muse.)

Here are some fast and easy tips for nourishing your creativity so you can cultivate the sweet blessings of your dreams and hopes.

Cleanse your liver, soften your mind, uplift your spirit.Our liver is located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen just below the diaphragm. The liver is related to the Wood Element, which helps us cleanse our mind, body and spirit of negative emotions such as anger, frustration and impatience. Click here to learn how to cleanse your liver using simple and gentle Qigong movements.

Follow-up intense sessions of creativity and/or movement with rest and relaxation. Yin and Yang at its best! When you decide you’re going to do something, go for it. Focus your intention and energy on why you’re doing something and what you’re doing. But when you’re done with the activity or growing tired, stop! Take the time to recover and replenish. Step away from your Work. Renew your intention by relaxing and refocusing. Now go back out there refreshed and ready to go, go, grow!

Meditate rather than medicate. Rather than drinking that extra glass of wine (love your liver!), texting while driving (dangerous!) or watching television for hours (fattening!), check in with your breath. Watch your thoughts without stories attached. Stop, sit and breathe. Mediation is proven to boost creatively and feed precious brain cells that make you smarter, sharper and sexier. Put down the wine, put down the phone and turn off the television. Now say it with me: OMMMMM.

We hope you feel and receive the bright, loving sunshine that heralds the arrival of Spring. Nourish your creativity, honor your liver and watch compassion, creativity and growth plant deep roots in your life and your world.

OM, Peace, Amen.
Chris & Parisa Shelton and the Morning Crane Team

 

Tips on how to nurture yourself & achieve your dreams

February is a time to feel Love and share Love.  If you’re single, hey! There’s no need to stop reading! And if you’re in a relationship, there’s no need to roll your eyes. (Cupid might be watching.)

Chocolate hearts, bouquets of roses, mushy Valentine’s Day cards. It might be February but those things aren’t on my mind or in my heart. Instead I’m thinking about the Greek word “agape,” which means platonic love, non-judgmental charity and inclusiveness toward the personal and the universal world.

To receive Love, we must share Love. (Sometimes heard as, “You reap what you sow.”) Loving others begins by believing in ourselves and nurturing our inner wisdom and dreams. Your kidneys play a vital role in how well you access self-love and self-appreciation. In Chinese Medicine the kidneys are centers of inner wisdom and willpower. How well (or poorly) we love ourselves is indicative of how healthy and balanced our kidneys are.

According to Chinese Medicine the winter months are part of the Water Season. This time of year impacts our kidneys and their “prenatal essence”, which determines how much energy you have throughout the day and throughout your life. Strong Kidney Qi equals a long life and strong vitality; weak Kidney Qi equals a short life and low energy.  Although our kidneys are like batteries that come with pre-determined energy levels, there are a number of things we can do to ensure that our lives – and our kidneys – are healthy, balanced and energized with joy and wellbeing.

Here are some tips for nurturing your Kidney Qi this month and throughout your precious, heart-led life.

  • Commit to a daily practice of Qigong. Help cleanse and rebalance your kidneys by practicing these gentle, powerful movements. Within minutes you’ll feel calm, energized and centered. Click here to watch Qigong Kidney Cleansing Exercise
  • Go to bed early, get up late. Indulge your body’s desire to hibernate during the winter months. Close the blinds, crawl into bed and stay there! Your mind, body and spirit will reward you in the morning.
  • Drink a lot. A lot of water, of course! (Sorry, wine lovers.) When quenching your thirst, choose filtered water served at room temperature.
  • Eat the sea. Foods that nourish and nurture your kidneys include fruits such as pears and peaches, black beans and other legumes, and super-food sea veggies like nori, wakame, dulse. Seafood is always a tasty, healthy choice.
  • Listen to water. There’s a reason running a bath is so relaxing. The sound of moving water is proven to lessen stress and activate creativity. Add a little Zen to your daily life by running a tiny fountain in your office or treating yourself to a long soak in the tub.

Our goal at Morning Crane is to help you nurture yourself, your life and your world. This month our hearts are set on helping you be a sweetheart to your kidneys.  Your inner Cupid wants you to practice self-love and self-appreciation.  Nourish self-love and share your heart with your inner circle and your community. And then watch as that Love beats all across the world. Agape.  One Love. One Life.  May you Be Peace. And Happy Valentine’s Day… forever 4->.

Love & gratitude,

-Chris and Parisa Shelton and the Morning Crane Team

 

Chris Shelton treats Cung Le – Celebrity Sweat Episode One

Check out this video where Chris treats professional UFC fighter Cung Le

Chris Shelton treats Cung Le – Celebrity Sweat Episode One

 

Celebrity Sweat shows us a day in the life of Cung Le, professional fighter.
How does Cung Le stay fit and healthy?
One of his stops happens to be Morning Crane Healing Arts and Fitness Studio, where Cung Le receives his routine Medical Qigong session.

How to make 2015 the best year of your life!

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” — Andrew Carnegie

It’s January, the beginning of a new year and a new you! Welcome to 2015 – now is the perfect time to set goals, get quiet and reflect deeply.

So where do you begin? Right where you are. Everything worthwhile in life is slightly outside your comfort zone. Safe, secure and comfortable is not where your bigger, better life lives. Goals that inspire and stretch your imagination are an invitation to your Higher Self to show up, saddle up, and live it up!

We believe that everyone has the power to change. You have the ability to transform your life at any point and at any time. The catch is that you have to want to change and be willing to do the work to change. Here’s an oldie but a goodie: it’s not enough to just wish for a skinnier waistline. You have to change your diet and activities to lose weight. For you to be the best YOU possible, YOU have to set goals and take inspired action. Give yourself deadlines. Be proactive. Go the extra mile. Smile. Enjoy the process. Celebrate your day-by-day wins.

Here are three tiny tips for achieving BIG results by getting quiet, reflecting on past accomplishments and challenges (aka learning opportunities) and setting goals worthy of Who You Are.

Sit and be silent. Sit, breathe and count your breaths. No matter how much you have on your plate or how many kids you have at your table, you absolutely can make the time to consciously count your breaths for 30 seconds. Breathe in, breathe out. You’ll relax immediately. When you access Silence, you access Spirit. So sit, be still and savor the silence.

Meditate and be mindful. Practice Chris’ free Qigong “Renewal of Spirit” meditation to balance mind, body and spirit… in less than 10 minutes! Click here for details

New Year, New You journal practice. With old-fashioned pen and paper, make a list of your accomplishments and what you learned in 2014. Once you’re in a joyful place on the page, make a new list of three to 10 goals for 2015. Close your journal session with one or two super huge crazy goals or wishes you have ZERO idea about how to achieve. For example, one of our goals (the Chris and Parisa show) in 2015 is to finish our second book on holistic health and well-being. Another one of our goals is to decrease our consumption while living balanced, healthy and happy lives. The super huge crazy goal we have a lifetime to fulfill? Chris winning the Nobel Peace Prize!

We hope for you today, this month, this year and forever that you achieve your wildest dreams and your biggest potentials. We’re all on this wild, wonderful ride together.

Let’s help each other and make 2015 the best year of our lives!

Love and Gratitude,
Chris & Parisa Shelton

Renewal of Spirit Meditation

This is an excerpt from  Chris Shelton’s book, “Qigong For Self-Refinement, Total Health with the 5 Elements”. Chp. 12 Pg. 74.

This meditation can be done daily or once a week, ideally on Sundays, to renew your Qi for the week. It is also ideal to do during any seasonal change such as the spring or vernal equinox. You can start with invocations and/or an energy cultivation practice, or simply begin.

1. As usual, start with the Three Regulations: Steady breath, relaxed mind, Wu Ji posture (feet shoulder width, shoulders relaxed and broad, tailbone tucked, Crown Point rising).
2. Pull Dow the Heavens three times.
3. Allow heavenly energy to descend. As this divine Qi descends, imagine that any and all dark turbid Qi from the body is pushed out through the feet, deep into the earth.
4. Start doing the Mystical Pearl Meditation: Focusing on your breathing, breathe deeply into the lower Dan Tian for 5 minutes. Imagine the Dan Tian filling with golden mystical light from the earth.
5. Now bring your awareness to the Third Eye, the center of the forehead, the Upper Dan Tian, and imagine a brown pearl turning there. Feel this brown pearl pulsating, rotating, vibrating.
6. Now imagine peeling away the brown skin of this pearl, then polishing it until it is brilliant white, shining, and filling the entire Upper Dan Tian with pure radiance, illuminating all your senses.
7. Next imagine that the white light descends through your body, cleansing everything in its path.
8. Now focus on the golden light of the Lower Dan Tian and allow the golden and white lights to mix. Feel the mixed energy cleansing every part of your body, both physical and emotional.
9. Imagine the cleansing energy moving down. Focus on the bottoms of the feet and imagine turbid energy leaving through the base of the balls of the feet, replaced by pure energy.
10. As you feel your body becoming purified, cleansing and rejuvenated, start to bring your awareness back tot he present.
11. Slowly awaken all your sensory organs one at a time. Start with your ears, allowing for a complete opening of the ears. Next, stimulate your saliva and the mouth, allowing for the mouth to fully awaken. Then awaken the nose, allowing for the sense of your nose to bring in positive life force energy.
12. Finally the pores of the skin: allow the pores to open, bringing your heightened awareness of everything around you. Feel your environment and your connected to everything.
13. Now, simply, relax. You are ready to start your day (week) with increased awareness, alertness, and profound tranquility, grounded and centered in your true nature.
14. Pull Down the Heavens three times, just for good measure.

Is it Really Better to Give than Receive?!

The holiday season is in full swing!

Hustling-and-bustling is a time-honored tradition this time of year. There’s so much to do and so many (nice and naughty) people to see. Spiritual teacher Ram Dass once humorously observed that those of us who think we’re “enlightened” should spend one week with family to see how kind and peaceful we really are.

In the light of eternity we are all nice and no one is full-time naughty. (Yes, even that relative who activates your “Liver Qi”.) We all have naughty behaviors and personality traits waiting to be transformed and healed. The holidays are a perfect time to practice what so many of us believe and preach: love, centeredness, courage, wisdom, kindness.

As the holidays approach Love is everywhere… and so are our blind spots. The situations that drive us bonkers and push our buttons are opportunities to stay open and not close down. (You know, charming holiday traditions like yelling too much, eating too much, drinking too much, judging too much, silently seething too much, etc.)

How appropriate that Five Element Theory heralds the winter holidays as the beginning of the peaceful and purifying Water Season.  And the 2500-year-old Tao Te Ching agrees. The Tao offers us timeless guidance about how to thrive in this busy beautiful world. Be like water and take comfort in knowing the holidays are packed with family, friends and festivities so we can grow, grow, grow. (Not growl.)

Water always takes the lowest position.

Obstacles do not hinder it.

It accommodates whatever is in its path and continues to flow forward.

It never loses its direction.

By remaining low it follows its true nature and its fundamental direction is not influenced by superficial obstructions.

Water is always ocean-bound, seeking to reunite with the whole.

To follow the way of water is to return to one’s spiritual essence.

Here are four tips for slowing down and flowing open this Winter Water season:

‘Tis better to give than receive. You don’t have to be a “material girl” or “material boy” to know we’re living in a material world. Giving doesn’t have to break the bank or your heart.  A simple gift of gratitude and kindness can change someone’s world. Your time and attention are two of your most precious gifts to share. No credit card required.

Go to bed early.  Think about how bears hibernate during the winter.  When the days are shorter, our bodies need more rest. So put down the eggnog and get up to bed! Sleep is proven to be one of the most restorative medicines around. And your zzzzz are free.

Eat the sea. The Water Element is associated with the Kidneys, an organ that thrives when it’s nourished with simple non-processed foods like wild-caught fresh fish and sea veggies (e.g., nori, wakame, dulse). Other favorites include tofu and black bean soup.   

Give yourself a pearl of wisdom. Kick up your Kidney Qi and your Life Essence by practicing the “White Pearl Qigong Mediation.” Click here for details about accessing more energy, vitality and joy this season and always.

We hope you flow through this holiday season with the ease and purity of water.

Happy Holidays!

Love and gratitude,

-Chris & Parisa Shelton and the Morning Crane team

Attitude of Gratitude: Giving Thanks and Celebrating Love

It’s 11/11 our favorite day of the year! The C & P Show (Chris and Parisa!) were married three years ago today. But that’s not the only reason why we’re celebrating. We’re thankful that every day we have the opportunity to practice love and gratitude with you. What a perfect beginning to the Thanksgiving and holiday season. If I were to ask you what “gratitude” means, could you tell me? If I offered you a turkey drumstick (tofu stick if you’re vegetarian), could you explain how gratitude makes our lives happier and healthier? Me neither. Thank goodness for experts!

Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading scientificexperts on gratitude, says that gratitude is an “affirmation of goodness.” According to Emmons every time we practice gratitude we’re affirming to ourselves and others that the world is good and our lives are blessed with gifts. Gratitude teaches us that “other people – or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset – gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

According to Emmons’ The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley people who practice gratitude consistently report the following benefits:

• Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More joy, optimism, and happiness
• Acting with more generosity and compassion
• Feeling less lonely and isolated

Here are some useful tips for cultivating an attitude of gratitude this holiday season and always:

• Take time to give thanks. Right now, in this moment ask yourself, “What am I most thankful for?”
• Before you go to bed write down a Top 10 Gratitude List (like Oprah!)
• Send an old-fashioned, snail mail thank-you card to someone you love and appreciate; you’re thanking them for being wonderful and kind
• Exercise regularly and stay active. You’ll feel better from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Mindfulness traditions such as Qigong and yoga are proven stress-busters and peace-makers
• Be present and stay present. Focus on what you’re doing and what you’re feeling in this moment. (When you’re anxious, you’ve likely projected your fears into the future. Come back to the pre-sent, where all the action is.) Pay attention to your thoughts and don’t believe everything that pops into your head. Is the glass half full or half empty?! Perception is reality so see the world as benevolent and kind.

We so appreciate you, dear reader, for including us in your lives and for reading these posts every month. We believe everyone on this plant is connected. When you nurture the seeds of love, appreciation and gratitude in your heart, we all benefit. You don’t have to be an expert to know that when we share love, we spread love. Show kindness to yourself, extend and share that love with your inner circle, and watch the ripple effect take care of the rest; from you to the world. Imagine. What a gift to be the change you want to see in the world. Gratitude starts with YOU.

One love, one world, one giant thanks from us to you.

Love and Gratitude,
Chris & Parisa Shelton and the Morning Crane Team

Lung Clearing Exercise

This is an excerpt from Chris Shelton’s book, “Qigong For Self-Refinement, Total Health with the 5 Elements”. Chp. 9 Pg. 53.

This exercise particularly clears and harmonizes the energy of the Lung. It is useful for reducing any of the physical or emotional complaints listed below, or it may be used as a general health practice. It is particularly beneficial during the autumn to help strength the lungs. It can also help release excess sadness and sorrow.

Physical signs:
•Shoulders rolled forward.
•Phlegm
•Chronic coughing
•Dry Skin(Eczema)
•Stools dry and hard or loose
•Aversion to cold or heat
•Easily catches colds or flu

Emotional signs:
•Lack of willpower
•Disinclination to talk
•Lack of assertiveness
•Feelings of sadness, disappointment
•Hypersensitivity
•Feeling exposed, vulnerable
•Unable to attain one’s goals

The Movement:

1. Start with the Three regulations: Steady breath, relaxed mind, Wu Ji posture (feet shoulder width, shoulders relaxed and broad tailbone tucked, Crown Point rising). The tongue should be lightly touching the roof of the mouth behind the upper teeth.

2. Pull Down the Heavens three times.

3. With the eyes gazing forward, allow the arms to float up in front of the body to shoulder height, palms facing down.

4. While inhaling, spread the arms out to the side, palms down, as though opening curtains. This movement expands the chest.

5. Turn your palms up and, while exhaling, bring your arms back to the front, to the center of your body, closing your chest.

6. Repeat, with a continuous flowing motion.

7. End by Pulling down the Heavens three times.
Notes

1. It is recommended to do this 3-6 times for health maintenance; 9-36 times when addressing a particular problem.

2. You may enhance the efficiency  of this exercise by saying the Lung sound “SSS” when exhaling.