My first practice of Tai Chi

With soft meditative music in the background, nearly a dozen of us gather on the brick patio behind the Topsham Library for an introductory lesson in Tai Chi.
We focus on the three basic conditions: Mind, Breath and Posture.
We learn to transfer energy by gathering fresh energy from the sky and ground while breathing in and exchanging out the stale as we exhale.

shadow photo by Keith Spiro of Tai Chi on the patio

Tai Chi and Qugong have been prevalent in China for thousands of years. They are key to self-care in Chinese medicine and are used to increase vitality and inner peace. The practice of Tail Chi can also be a lovely way to loosen up your muscles and start the day.  The smooth fluid motions fit delightfully with the background music and being outside, we felt the light slightly cool breeze and bright Sunshine. The library’s new patio allowed a choice of sunshine or shade at that 9 o’clock start time.
Our guide, Robin Brooks, directed us to take in a full awareness of ourselves as we traced our own energy across our body along the energy channels. She has come back to Tai Chi after first practicing it many years earlier. While there are 108 movements, she now practices a form of easy Tai Chi. Actually, there is even teacher certification for it as Tai Chi Easy as taught by a fellow in Santa Barbara California. His method makes it immediately easy, beneficial and probably of growing value in rehab and long term care venues.
the new patio at Topsham Library photo by Keith SpiroFor all of us that morning, it was a fast and fun introduction to the practice of Tai Chi. With concentration, I really could feel the energy in my hands while holding a Tai Chi ball.  The fluidness of motion was easy on my barely awake body as I gently stretched muscles and tendons.
I found it quite pleasant to be gathered as a group going through the practice and motions while paying attention to my posture and energy.
Big thanks to the Topsham Library and Robin Brooks for giving us the opportunity to learn something new – while showing off the new space outside the library walls. Topsham library truly is a community center for everyone.

Brighten your winter with sunshine from Maria

We can always count on Maria Castellano Usery to offer bright and cheerful artwork to chase away the cold snowy darkness of winter.

Maria confidence shoes photo by KeithSpiroPhoto

Maria Castellano Usery showing off her confidence shoes at show opening in Brunswick Maine

Friday January 4th opened her one –person show at Curtis Library gallery in Brunswick with over 54 pieces that she has created since 2008.

She told me that in the last four years she has disciplined herself to paint, at least a little bit, every day.  The newer works show an incredible vividness of color and her trademark playfulness of everyday objects and situations.  I am particularly amused by her annual birthday cake – acrylic.   This is the time NOW – was last year’s  offering  it also became the cover image for the Topsham Public Library’s 2012 annual report. No matter how much I enjoyed that one, I laughed even harder when I got a sneak peak at her current TPL Joy of Art entry. Birthday Version 4.0.Image You can see this image up close at the Topsham library now and her large show of 54 pieces, including mixed media, at the Curtis Library in Brunswick – both through the end of January.

Great Show! Nice turnout, good live music from Cumberland Crossing and thanks for putting together all that food. Yum.