ACCEPTING or TOLERATING?
I have been hearing the word “tolerating” frequently everywhere, on TV, from educators, in conversations… People may think these two words have similar meanings and loosely interchange them. In reality, these two words reflect and project fundamental differences in their energetic content and implication:
Accepting is an act to acknowledge the existence of a life or situation on an equal ground with or without agreement or approval. Momma Panda thinks this act is of utmost importance to your HAPPY in two folds:
- Accepting is a fundamental validation and implementation of our cherished constitutional belief of “all men are created equal”,7 which has united American people and produced our great progress and prosperity in the past 240 years.
- Accepting empowers ownership and accountability by acknowledging that all current situations of us or our societies are the result of our past actions, and that all current actions of us or our societies as a whole are the causes for our future situations.
Every existence validates itself already by virtually existing as part of the divine, just like you and I. Only by first proactively accepting all divine existence as equal can we bring about clear understanding of the past, productive cooperation at the present and meaningful progress for the future.
Tolerating is an act to acknowledge the existence of a life or situation on a superior or rejecting ground with disapproval. Momma Panda thinks this act undermines your HAPPY in two folds:
- Tolerating degrades the reason and purpose of a life or situation as inferior or less important. This is often due to its challenging nature caused by fear, lack of understanding and perception as burdens.
- Tolerating demotes accountability as an individual, a group or a society by not taking full ownership of our past and current actions.
Every existence requires and longs for acceptance and validation, you and I included, my Baby Panda. Accepting is the first step towards HAPPY. Sail and let sail. Value all the quests on your journey, smooth or stormy. If you truly believe your way is healthier and happier, live it as a great example and share it. No coercion is needed. Others will join you.
- “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence of the United States,
WHAT IS QI/CHI?
Qi (气), aka Chi or Ch’i in English, is an old Chinese word pronounced chee.
Here’s Momma Panda’s short answer:
Qi = Energy
Vibrant Qi = Vibrant Life; Balanced Qi = Balanced Life.
Weak Qi = Weak Life; No Qi = No Life.
Qi is just Qi. Qi itself is benign. It flows in space, on earth, around us and inside our bodies. Every existence is a living and breathing generator-battery device powered by Qi. It is constantly absorbing, producing, processing, using, storing and releasing Qi all at the same time. It can and needs to be charged. It also can and needs to charge others. Without this ability and need, an electron, a cell, a person, a society, an entity, a nation, a planet, an event or any matter loses its ability and reason to exist as a part of this supply-demand energetic reality, which underlines and powers our grand visible landscape.
Qi is life’s base currency. All lives need it, are naturally drawn to it, and are based on it. Life is a Qi play. To simply put it:
Qi = Energy = Life = Existence = Everything
Everything runs on Qi. I mean everything. Qi is what keeps the universes moving, solar system spinning, earth rotating, cells forming, hearts pumping, ideas brewing, words effecting, laughter resonating, action taking, and above all, your life going. Need I say more?
So, accept your Qi NOW, As-Is and Where-Is.
YIN or YANG?
Your life and all existence in our world are running on a “Dual-Engine” system. One engine is called Yin (阴), pronounced Yin. One engine is called Yang (阳), pronounced Young. Don’t be baffled by their foreign names. Both Yin and Yang are old Chinese words and abstract concepts used for thousands of years representing the dual tendencies and aspects of all existence.
Your Engine Yang is your driver for power-on, running-growing mode, heating, drying and all linear, logical and scientific applications. Your Engine Yin powers systems for switch-off, resting-repairing mode, cooling, humidifying, and all creative, intuitive and artistic programs. Just remember. Yang engine and its fuels bring the Qi up, outward, hot, tense, intellectual, industrious and logical; Yin engine and its fuels bring the Qi down, inward, cool, relaxing, sensible, artistic and intuitive. You will grasp quickly.
As you can tell, my captain Baby Panda, your Yin and Yang engines are EQUALLY important. They are complimentary and imperative to each other. Depending on the changing conditions inside and outside, you often run one more than the other at times. But to keep your life afloat and in good shape to reach your final destination, both engines are always needed.
Your life is not the only one running on this dual engines system. All lives are. So is our world. Everything relating to us human is subject to this duality.
For a YIN-YANG Chart on Common Food, you can download it now for $5. Go to our SHOP
LIFE’S DUALITY EFFECTS OF THE DUAL ENGINES
|YANG Fuels/Results||YIN Fuels/Results|
|Big Bang||Black Hole|
|Most Meat/Shell Fish||Most Veggies/Fruits|
|Spicy/Sour taste||Bitter/Salty taste|
So, which is better? Which is more important? Which is more valuable?
Look at the list on the prior page. You may favor some over the others. But I am sure you can appreciate the value and the importance of both attributes.
Can you imagine if the Sun won’t go down or if it won’t come up again?
Can you imagine everyone wants to lead but no one wants to support and cooperate?
Can you imagine to keep on moving without stopping?
Can you imagine there is only science but no art whatsoever?
So, you may be drawn to favor more Yang or Yin engine based on your changing needs and situations. But just like your inhalation and exhalation, both are equally imperative and precious to you and all lives. The over use and extreme of one end will lead to the other.
Heaven needs Yin and Yang;
Earth needs softness and hardness;
Humanity needs mercy and justice;
These Three Marvels are interrelated and
based on the balance of the two opposites.
– I Ching (aka Yi Jing易经, pronounced Yee Ging,
Book of Change, 24th Century B.C.)
Various Yin Yang Tai Chi Symbols
TAI CHI or QIGONG?
Both Tai Chi and Qigong are millenniums old Chinese intellectual and wellness modalities comprised of principal theories and physical practices with many branches of schools and teachings.
Tai Chi, aka T’ai Ch’i in English and Tai Ji (太极) in Chinese, is pronounced Tie Chee and means Grand Polarity. It implies life’s hidden operating system. Here’s Momma Panda’s short definition:
Tai Ji/Tai Chi = Balancing Life’s Yin and Yang Engines
Qigong (气功), aka Chi Kung in English, is pronounced Chee Goon and means Energy Cultivation. Here’s Momma Panda’s short definition:
Qigong = Special Ability via energy training or cultivation
As to physical practices, both Tai Chi and Qigong involve sequences of flowing movements combined with changes in mental focus, breathing, coordination, and relaxation. There is significant overlap between the two. Both practices are low-impact, moderate-intensity exercises that are suitable for those who are prevention-conscious and for the diverse patient populations with respect to gender, age, and health status. Tai Chi and Qigong have been characterized as mind-body interventions and as “meditative movements.” They are non-pharmacologic practices for the prevention and treatment of stress-related and psychosomatic disorders. Many scientific and medical researchers have interchanged the terms of Tai Chi and Qigong in their studies.
When it comes to movement training, Tai Chi is commonly a short substitute for the word Tai Chi Chuan (quan拳, pronounced chuan, means fist). Originated as a martial art, it focuses on the interrelation and training of Mind (Yi意, pronounced yee), Energy (Qi气) and physical Power (Li力, pronounced lee) with the intent of increasing power and winning in combat. Although the movements are slow and fluid, Tai Chi forms demand greater physical exertion and coordination than do the forms of Qigong. Normal practice can produce aerobic effects similar to those produced by brisk walking. When practiced with a lower stance and longer time, the intensity can be considerably increased.
In traditional training, Qigong emphasizes the abundance and harmony of Essence (Jing精, pronounced ging, earthy energy), Energy (Qi气, energy) and Spirit (Shen神, pronounced shun, universal energy). Qigong focuses on improving and harmonizing the flow of Qi via ways beyond movements. It incorporates special sounds, symbols, visualizations and higher Qi-containing objects. It also cultivates the external emission of Qi for healing self and others. It can be trained for special purposes such as ESP and enlightenment. Physically, some movement forms are easy while others are more demanding. But all movement forms are directed to improving health, healing and longevity. Qigong form practice is usually not considered an efficient modality for aerobic training.
Due to its training on Qi, Tai Chi Chuan is considered a branch of Qigong.
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile;
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Like Tai Chi, “Smile” has gotten some serious hidden power of its own for HAPPY. This is why Momma Panda paired up this super “power couple”.
Do you know, my beloved Baby Panda, that smiling is actually contagious?8 The part of your brain that is responsible for your facial expression of smiling when happy or mimicking another’s smile resides in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area.9 When you see a smiley face, you have to exert conscious effort not to imitate.10
According to researchers, the simple act of smiling produces many benefits to health and happiness. Here are just a few. Smiling can:
- Naturally reduce stress,11 lift mood, and combat depression12 without medication. All these will in turn lower heart rate and blood pressure.
- Alleviate pain by releasing your body’s natural “pain-killer”13 without harmful side effects.
- Enhance your look, attractiveness14 and even longevity.15
Next time when a challenge shows up like a blown-up monster, stare right to its face and shoot it with your magical bullets of smile. I guarantee it will deflate like a popped balloon. Or if you’d like, “Hold out the Happy Guitar” (You can learn this HAPPY TAI CHI™ pose in my book, “INDOMITABLE SPIRIT – The HAPPY TAI CHI™ Meditation & Movement”.) When at ease and empowered, the right solution will come to you with peace.
- Primitive emotional contagion. Hatfield, Elaine; Cacioppo, John T.; Rapson, Richard L. Clark, Margaret S. (Ed), (1992). “Emotion and social behavior”. Review of personality and social psychology, Vol. 14. (pp. 151-177). Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc, xi, 311 pp.
- O’Doherty, J., Winston, J., Critchley, H. Perrett, D., Burt, D.M., and Dolan R.J., (2003) “Beauty in a smile: the role of medial orbitofrontal cortex in facial attractiveness”. Neuropsychologia, 41, 147–155.
- Sonnby–Borgström, M. (2002), “Automatic mimicry reactions as related to differences in emotional empathy”. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43: 433–443.
- Seaward BL. “Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being”. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett; 2009:258.
- Karren KJ, et al. “Mind/Body Health: The Effect of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships”. New York, N.Y.: Benjamin Cummings, 2010:461.
- R.D. (2000). “Neural correlates of conscious emotional experience”. In R.D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp. 345–370). New York: Oxford University Press.
- “Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research” Phil Trans R Soc B June 12, 2011 366: 1638-1659.
- Abel E. and Kruger M. (2010) “Smile Intensity in Photographs Predicts Longevity,” Psychological Science, 21, 542–544.
VEGETARIAN or MEAT EATING?
Recently Momma Panda witnessed a heated debate on Facebook among a group of Tai Chi practitioners. Some vegetarians feel that animals have the right to live just as much as humans do. So they’d rather select plant-based food sources. A few vegetarians even expressed hatred and detest towards the meat eaters. Here is Momma Panda’s take on this issue:
Two thirds of modern Americans already have an over-heated Yang engine. Excessive intake of growth hormone-infused meats, which mostly fuel your Yang engine, definitely makes things worse. So, as long as no excessive carb or sugary food is consumed to compensate the craving for meat and fat, and no excessive anti-nutrients from the skin of whole grains and nuts is consumed, a Yin-fueling plant-based diet surely helps cool your Yang engine off and promote better health. However, for those with an over-run Yin engine, a vegan, vegetarian or raw juice diet may just do exactly the opposite of what is needed. So you see, my smart Baby Panda, there is no 1-way-fits-all diet. Your unique life journey changes from time to time. So shall your diet. You must identify and satisfy your changing hungers. Chapter 5 will help you figure out the current status of your Yin and Yang engines. You can then feed your Body and Mind with whatever food you like within the 70/30 bound.
It’s gracious for you to make food choices out of compassion to animals, my loving Baby Panda. If eating in a certain way is a part of a spiritual or religious belief, it is yours and others’ divine choice. Everyone nevertheless must come to term with the fact that life and death are equally important, just like your Yang and Yin engines. All life forms want to live yet all are food sources to others too. Do you realize countless microbes will be killed with each breath you take? Because of this, you are given back to them at the end. It’s all a supportive flowing cycle of Qi. So, the most important thing is to truly honor, appreciate and enjoy your food so nothing died in vain. Simply follow your cravings and intuitions. Always eat fearlessly, gratefully, slowly and joyfully, no matter what type of food you might prefer at the moment.
ORGANIC or NON-ORGANIC?
A 2014 meta-analysis of 343 reports on nutritional content and pesticide residue on organic and non-organic produce did find organic crops, on average, have significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants, minerals and plant compounds, lower concentrations of Cadmium, and 4 times lower incidence of pesticide residues than its non-organic counterparts across regions and production seasons.16
Do not panic or become extreme. The potency and purity of our food is no doubt important. We’d like to minimize the chemical pesticides and genetic alterations in crops, the growth hormones and antibiotics in stock feeds, the high-heat and chemical use in cooking oil production and all the non-food additives in processed food. But real, whole and fresh food with a tint of residue won’t really hurt you due to the body’s normal detox ability. Loads of fear and worry surely will. Whether going organic or staying with non-organic, choose the decision you feel most comfy with, both mentally and financially.
If you’d like to go organic with a limited budget, here are Momma Panda’s tips to improvise:
- Eat at home more. It will benefit both your stomach and wallet.
- Organic veggie, fruit, meat and spices are more potent in taste and nutrition. You will get satisfied with less food intake than before.
- Switch to organic and cold pressed oils rich with Omega 3 such as Olive oil, Coconut oil, Sesame oil, Avocado oil and Grape Seed oil. (However, clean animal fat is still healthier than hydrogenated “fake” oils or heat processed “rancid” oils.)
- Make your own gourmet salad dressings with your new yummy oils, sea salt and organic apple cider vinegar. Delicious and $ saving! J
- When your budget allows, switch your eggs and dairy if you eat them. If you can’t find organic cheese, goat or feta cheese is a naturally cleaner alternative.
- When it comes to veggies and fruits, no need to go full organic unless you are after their better taste. Many fruits have better shielding and some we just eat the inside. Top cleanest 15 are grapefruit, honeydew, watermelon, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, onion, sweet corn, sweet peas frozen. Non-organic is fine.
- Go organic if you can on these fruits and veggies that were found with the highest concentration of pesticides. The top dirty 12 are apple, cherry, grape, nectarine, peach, strawberry, celery, cherry tomato, cucumber, spinach, sweet bell pepper and tomato.
- If fresh organic fruit and veggies are too pricy for you, there’s always the frozen version. It’s cheaper, cleaner and still nutritious and delicious.
- Same goes with all meats and seafood. Check out your options for cleaner fed and more nutritious fish, chicken and red meats at the freezer section.
- Baranski, Marcin, et al (2014). “Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis.” British Journal of Nutrition05: 794-81.
WHAT ABOUT SUGAR?
There are many debates on this subject too. Is it Yin or Yang? Is it good or bad? Here is Momma Panda’s take on this:
- Natural sweet flavor itself from real food is actually Yin-Yang dual fueling. But, most manufactured sugars such as table sugars are pick-uppers and Yang-fueling. Processed concentrated sugary syrups are even more Yang. Honey is Yin-Yang dual fueling. Rock sugar is slightly Yin-Fueling. Xylitol appears Yin since it is anti-inflammatory.
- Many sugar-containing real foods are Yin-fueling such as most fruits and clean cow milk, or Yin-Yang dual fueling such as most grains and beans. This is because of the water content and other Yin ingredients in them.
- For your sweet tooth, many real, whole and clean foods are sweet and nutritious such as watermelons, red raisins or unsulfured dried apricots. Eat some if you need a boost. Yum! Don’t forget to smile. J
- Always remember, my Baby Panda, a few candy bars or sugar cookies here and there won’t ail you. Chronic fear and worry will.