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May you walk in balance

Summit Daily/ Kristin Skvorc Joel Proctor demonstrates the last step of the Qigong exercise Squat down to ride the horse, bend the bow to shoot the hawk. Complete this portion of the exercise by lowering your hands to your groin and scooping, or gathering Earth energy. Then bring arms up and bring your palms together in front of your heart.
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BRECKENRIDGE – Joel Proctor compassionately views Hurricane Katrina as the Earth’s way of cleansing itself.Proctor, a Breckenridge acupuncturist and owner of the Mystic Warrior School of Martial Arts, says indigenous cultures have prophesied Earth cleanses (such as tsunamis and earthquakes). Elders say the Earth is a living organism that suffers from humans living out of harmony. Proctor says we can mitigate natural disasters by balancing our own selves, as well as living in harmony with the Earth and every living creature on it.He explains the importance of human balance to the Earth’s wellbeing without drama; his words and tone aren’t loud or pressing. His demeanor is quiet and settled – that of a man who is in tune with nature.Proctor’s Mexican-Indian mother introduced him to “Curanderismo,” a healing tradition passed down from generation to generation in his family. He has blended that knowledge with his studies of martial arts – specifically, qigong – and now he teaches it to people through weekend retreats and other classes. On Sept. 24-25, he offers his second annual autumnal equinox and qigong retreat. It’s geared toward people who feel a lack of balance or harmony in their lives.”Many people who come to my workshops know a lot intellectually but haven’t quite integrated it,” Proctor said. “They’re looking for a practical spiritual practice that integrates their whole being.”In his retreats, he offers down-to-earth exercises and ways to integrate a person’s mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological aspects. Exercises help sharpen intuition and enable people to embody knowledge – in other words, come to a full appreciation of the knowledge rather than just understanding it intellectually.

When Proctor started studying martial arts in 1978, he realized the Taoist lineage viewed healing from the same perspective as his family’s tradition: Both developed health cultivation practices by observing nature. While Native American cultures lost or suppressed their traditions in the late 1800s because government made certain practices illegal, the Chinese developed a complete body of knowledge over a period of thousands of years.Proctor uses a series of qigong exercises in his retreat to integrate the mind, body and breath through simple body movements. About the closest translation for “qi,” or “chi,” is “energy.” “Gong,” or “kung,” translates to “skill.” So, qigong is the skill of attracting vital energy, according to http://www.qi.org. It combines movement and meditation, using visualization to enhance the mind and body connection and assist in healing.Leslie Ross has been studying martial arts at Proctor’s school for four years. She says it has helped her understand her connection with the universe and helped her stay healthier in body, mind and spirit.”He teaches us to reconnect with ourselves through connecting with the Earth,” Ross said. “And he brings a depth and wide spectrum of knowledge beyond the traditional Chinese arts.”Proctor also draws on teachings from the Native American culture. At his retreats, he highlights wisdom in a book written by a Native American intertribal group. The handbook, “The Sacred Tree: Reflections on Native American Spirituality,” outlines main principles of native spirituality.A major teaching of native spirituality involves the four winds, or four directions. Each direction holds gifts, which people may or may not have developed within themselves. For example, Proctor says the United States has developed the gifts of the north, which emphasizes intellect and technological progress. But he points out that north Americans tend to be imbalanced, often ignoring the gifts of the south, which involve a childlike heart, sensitivity, passion and playfulness.Proctor focuses on the four directions as a means to help people get back into harmony with creation and the life force that moves through everyone.

“A big thing is how we relate. We end all of our prayers with ‘All my relations’ – not only human relations, but animals, plants, work. Everything is related.”Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.What: Second annual autumnal equinox and qigong retreat.When: Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25Where: Francie’s Cabin, BreckenridgeCost: $175



Call: Sacred Tree at (970) 453-8558Other retreats with Joel Proctor (location and price to be announced):Eight Treasure Qigong: Thursday, Oct. 13, free talk; Saturday and Sunday Oct. 15-16 seminar. Crane Style Qigong: Thursday, Nov. 17 free talk; Saturday and Sunday Nov. 19-20 seminar.Medical Qigong: Thursday, Dec. 8 free talk; Saturday and Sunday Dec. 10-11 seminar.Microcosmic Orbit and Tao of Sex and Love: Thursday, Jan. 5 free talk; Saturday and Sunday, January 7-8 seminar


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