Smile, it’s free

Adam-O is a Caine-from-Kung-Fu-kind-of-guy. He practices Kung Fu. He wears Shaolin robes. He travels small-town-to-small-town solving small town problems (see: The Incredible Hulk, The Fugitive, & The A-Team for more examples). When he occasionally appears back on the grid, he is always dropping knowledge. As I approach my 35th day of consecutive Qi Kung practice, I have begun to work in some of Adam-O’s suggestions into my practice. I am introducing a regular feature here that disseminates the pearls of wisdom Adam-O occasionally drops on me…. Here we go, Grasshoppers!

Smile. Adam-O suggested that I work a smile into my Qi Kung practice. This seems simple on the surface, but the fact is while you’re concentrating on the movements of practice, it is difficult to crack a grin through a furrowed brow of concentration. Doing so allows you to have fun while practicing, instead of wasting energy trying to get every motion right.

While it might sound like some useless hippy garbage, the fact is a smile lowers the Cortisol levels (the “stress” hormone) in your blood stream, it actually normalizes blood pressure, and amazingly it also boosts your immune system increasing antibodies.

I have also begun to translate this into my day-to-day as well. Smiling outside practice can change your outlook and the outlook of those around you. In fact, a Harvard / University of California study measured how social networks were connected with reported happiness. The study showed happiness is contagious, spreading among groups of people. Five thousand people with a more than 50,000 connection network of family, friends, co-workers and others were evaluated (read more here).

Richard Wiseman, author of the Luck Factor, points out that it may also change your fortune  (read more here or download a .pdf copy here). In his psychological investigation into luck, he interviewed numerous self-proclaimed lucky & unlucky individuals and had a team of researchers review the videos on mute recording hand gestures and body language, he found:

The differences between the lucky and unlucky people were dramatic. The lucky people smiled twice as much as unlucky people and engaged in far more eye contact.

If you smile watching the clip below, remember that it may be adding years to your life, quality to those years, and helping spread joy to family & friends!

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First of a hundred hash marks

Today is the first of a hundred hash marks.

According to Taoist text, it takes 100 days to achieve an immortal fetus—& you know I got to get me one of those!—so today marks a beginning. The immortal fetus, it is the point in a Kung Fu flick where the student starts developing serious psychic power, gravity-defying prowess, and all-around-super-Ninja-bad-ass-ness. Here’s a glimpse of what I have to look forward to:

I have been practicing erratically for about five years, but always seem to fall shy of a hundo. This past month has been the most consistent period of Qi Kung activity in the past two years, but today marks a first step nonetheless. Getting knocked up by eternity seems like a great lead-in to (what already promises to be) an extraordinary New Year.

Also, I picked up a copy of Ben Sherwood’s Survivor’s Club. Since hearing Sherwood on the radio a few months back, I have been referring everyone to his dynamic, interactive, story-driven web community (http://www.thesurvivorsclub.org/). It is a very powerful, inspiring site, and Sherwood argues that each of us – in our own way – is a survivor (in fact, his first rule is exactly that, “everyone is a survivor”). Whether recovering from illness, accident, or hangnail, it is definitely recommended reading (& makes a great belated Holiday present for the survivor in your family).