Karmic Comments — Archived columns to keep you informed
Good Karma Publishing: Changes In Teacher Discount Rates
In response to the financial realities at GKP, and in a nod to the changing face of retail (and wholesale), GKP has eliminated teacher distributors and is changing the teacher resale discounts.
Discounts & Discount Code: Instead of receiving a discount for ordering three or more items, teachers will now receive a discount based on the entire value of the order. (Teachers will receive a discount code from GKP via email soon.)
July 1st Deadline: The former teacher discount will be extended until July 1st on all phone orders to GKP at 505-797-7300.
10% Commissions: Teachers will now be incented to send students to www.gkp.com: ask your students to identify you as their teacher when ordering and GKP will send you an annual commission check to say thanks!
Good Karma Rolling Out A New Website
Yes, it’s finally/almost here – a new and improved site to support your teaching with Justin’s materials. It features much easier ordering and an intuitive interface.
Additional Discounts: Teachers will now receive discounts on the formerly full-priced Seijaku DVD, Tentatively Forever (art book), Zen poster, and KNME Interviews (with Justin Stone and Carmen Brocklehurst).
GKP’s Enticing, New Special Packages
From time to time, in honor of something special like Justin’s birthday or New Year’s resolutions, GKP will offer enticing package deals with substantive discounts. To inaugurate the new website, we’ll begin with:
“Hot Off The Presses” => Heightened Awareness + Meditation For Healing for $34.95 including free shipping, which represents a savings of 25%.
“Double Your Fun With Justin” => Featuring one each of his DVDs. Price is $52.95 including free shipping, which represents a savings of $17.45.
“Student Starter Kit” => Justin’s Definitive DVD + Spiritual Odyssey + Photo TextBook for $54.95, including free shipping, which represents a savings of 22% or $15.15.
New Filming Of Definitive DVD:
At the 2013 conference, through a group discussion and show of hands during the GKP presentation, it was overwhelming clear that teachers wanted a new practice session at the end of Justin’s DVD. Since GKP is not in a position at this time to create one, the idea has been put on hold. Regardless, when/if the time comes, the final decision must (and will) balance the needs of GKP’s survival with the needs of the community.
GKP Wrap-Up: The 30-Minute Conference Presentation
In case you hadn’t noticed, Good Karma Publishing has been plowing full steam ahead over the last 12 months:
Serene Nature: Music for T’ai Chi Chih and Music for T’ai Chi Chih Practice & Restful Listening are now available on CD for $11.95 (each) retail. Of course teachers always get their multi-product discounts.
Due to the increased demand of Justin’s Solo instructional DVD, GKP invested in creating “chapter breaks,” for ease of moving through his instruction in a non-sequential way.
A special conference deal – bundling all of Justin’s in-print instructional materials – was announced for new teachers and first-time conference participants. The premise is to help ensure that all incoming teachers have the opportunity to be introduced to the full spectrum of Justin’s teachings. This generous package will continue to be offered at conference, as a good will gesture and incentive to attend. For $100 (i.e. a 56% discount on retail) the package included one each of his DVDs (definitive, solo, KNME); one each of his Photo Text, Spiritual Odyssey, Gateway to Eastern Philosophy & Religion, Climb The Joyous Mountain, Abandon Hope, Zen Meditation; and one each of his CDs (Justin Stone Speaks, Spiritual Stories of the East, Serene Nature, Music for T’ai Chi Chih).
Digital product launches continue apace. These e-books are available on all platforms: Climb The Joyous Mountain, Gateway to Eastern Philosophy & Religion, and Spiritual Odyssey.
Drum roll please: At the time of this writing, after many calls for action, GKP has created e-books for Heightened Awareness and Meditation for Healing.
And another drum roll please: Heightened Awareness (second edition; $17.95) and Meditation for Healing (second edition; $21.95) will be available as a print-on-demand books within a week of this publication reaching your doorstep.
By popular demand, video clips of Justin demonstrating all movements are now embedded in the T’ai Chi Chih app (downloadable on iTunes and GooglePlay for $9.99) and have been posted on Good Karma’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/tccabq – under the heading “historical footage.”
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, how can GKP make itself more relevant to your lives and your teaching lives?
We did a bit of brainstorming, and I look forward to hearing from any and all of you out there – teachers and students alike. Maybe Justin Stone’s GKP materials are not relevant and that just has to be ok … I remember a repeated conversation that Justin and I used to have. I would say, “I’m only one person; there’s only so much I can do.” And he would quickly smile and respond, “That’s right.” So I continue trying to do the work without attachment to outcome.
And I thankfully stumble upon perfectly-timed, prescient messages. In recently reading 20th Century Psalms, Justin jumped off the page as I sat in self-judgement of the effects of my work at GKP and the continued downturn in sales: “Don’t be unkind to yourself … being hard on oneself, in a sense, is ego-aggrandizement.” Okay, Justin. thank you for the reminder. His words, through GKP’s publications, do not get more relevant than helping to unfold one moment at a time.
And with that, might I suggest you pick up one of his books and open to any page and see what lessons his words might impart.
GKP Partners With The Vital Force On Cards
The Justin Stone Quotation Cards, which almost 1,500 worldwide Facebook “friends” have been seeing (and sharing) for a few months, are inspirational and spreading electronically. If there is any interest in printing these as postcards, please let me know.
GKP/VF acted out of faith that they would be of interest and paid for them to be produced. If anyone would like to sponsor a part of this project, please know that each costs $17 to create and reaches an average of 2000 people. That’s less than a penny per impression! Please help us continue sharing one per week – with a tax deductible donation to The Vital Force for $17, $34 (2 cards), $85 (5 cards), $117 (10 cards), $442 (for 6 months of cards) or whatever seems reasonable to you.
At the conference we videotaped 40% of attendees demonstrating and sharing the impact of T’ai Chi Chih on their lives.
GKP Partners With The Vital Force On Videos
Both the Good Karma Publishing and The Vital Force Boards of Directors voted to direct funds towards producing short videos at the conference for T’ai Chi Chih teachers who wanted to participate. Neither entity had/has the funds, but it was done in the spirit of “build it and they will come” – meaning, let’s try everything we can to grow TCC. (There was no cost to teachers… although if anyone would like to donate, The Vital Force gratefully accepts tax-deductible contributions to offset those expenses.)
Taken as a whole, they paint a remarkable portrait of what TCC is, how it has benefited many individuals, and shows the diverse range of our community. No one was scripted; we just suggested speaking from the heart for a few minutes (and practicing at home if so desired). Like snowflakes and fingerprints, each is different and yet unified. Not surprising…
The idea was to build and unify our community, to increase the impact of accredited instructors talking about and demonstrating T’ai Chi Chih on YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine. This was partly done as a counterbalance to non-accredited people having videos up. But more affirmatively, it was done to show the world Justin’s TCC, our TCC. And it was done to give teachers a place to send prospective clients when they are pitching a class.
Catherine, our video woman who has more than a passing awareness of TCC and had also spent some time with Justin, was a fountain of encouragement and calm to those being filmed (if the unanimous reports are to be believed). She mentioned being in awe of the inner sincerity that shone through when teachers began moving. Not surprising…
Not knowing whether there would be two or ten interested teachers, the demand ended up being overwhelming – but we were able to accommodate everyone. Was everything perfect? No. Was it a great start? Yes. Did we learn a lot? Yes. Was it worth it? We believe so. Did it build community? Yes. Does it provide lots of teachable moments, if we so desire? Yes.
Within the first two months of the videos having been posted, there have been over 2700 views. Not surprising… In total there were 37 videos made; a total of 46 teachers participated.
As The Web World Turns: WhatYOUCan Do
Let’s review how this hugely disseminated Dr. Oz article (about the benefits of T’ai Chi) got a healthy dose of T’ai Chi Chih inserted into the mix! And how the reverberations for TCC were magnified. And how everyone can do her or his part next time.
1.) The immensely popular www.doctoroz.com writes an online story about how T’ai Chi boosts your immunity. Although we wish Dr Oz had said T’ai Chi Chih instead of T’ai Chi, it’s still a big opportunity for TCC!
2.) Thanks to a media training open to all teachers and sponsored by GKP, media-savvy teacher Pete Gregory immediately jumps into the Dr Oz online comments section. Pete writes a wonderful response that’s both fact-based and personal. He buries the sales pitch for TCC so as not to seem too commercial. He compliments Dr Oz, invites him to investigate TCC via the materials that he himself delivered to Dr Oz’s assistant a while ago, and invites Dr Oz and readers of this article to look into www.taichichih.org. Perfect execution. Then he contacts Kim Grant to enact the next phase.
3.) It’s posted on www.facebook.com/taichichih – which Lisa Otero has masterfully grown into having 1375 highly engaged followers (engagement is KEY).
4a.) 37 engaged followers “like” it – which means that perhaps 3700 more people will see something about the effects of TCC on our immune systems. Those curious, or in need of something like TCC, will click the link to learn more. The 37 friends who “liked” the post are called “influencers”; we tend to be influenced by what our friends like – we believe and trust what our friends like and do.
4b.) It is therefore always very helpful and important to “like” a post.
5.) It is also very helpful and important to “share” a post – which gives the story even more prominence with a larger audience of your FB friends. Without having been asked, four people shared this post. When Lisa or Kim proactively (and carefully) asks followers to share posts, you do – five and tenfold. You are highly passionate (or engaged) foot soldiers and the outcome would not be nearly as effective without your active participation. Thank you!
6.) As a result of others’ sharing and liking, 799 TCC Facebook followers saw this post. Normally 300-600 people see a post. At our current levels of Facebook followers, if 15 people had shared this post, upwards of 2000 could have seen it. Imagine. And further imagine the reach when we double the number of Facebook followers …
This whole stream of events is invaluable. The collective contribution lends a vital hand in furthering our common goal of spreading the word about TCC. But … as Justin often said to me, “Not at the expense of a personal practice!” We can do both, with ease and grace. Thank you.
Three-Minute Videos On YouTube @ www.youtube.com/tccabq
Do you need one more reason to attend the Minnesota conference August 1st through 4th? Here’s a great one: Good Karma Publishing will have a video camera set up to photograph any and all teachers who want to make a presentation about the benefits of T’ai Chi Chih while they are demonstrating their favorite movement.
Remember teacher accreditation when you had to do this (but were probably scared out of your wits)? Now that you are more experienced, it will be a breeze and fun.
Practice at home in front of a mirror and come prepared with — and for — your three minutes of fame. Or let the Chi move you at the conference and be prepared to seize the moment.
For inspiration watch Justin’s videos on www.youtube.com/tccabq and watch Amy Tyksinski’s TEDx ABQED video on tedxtalks.ted.com/video/The-Effects-of-Tai-Chi-Chih-on.
Why is GKP filming teachers and uploading the videos onto its YouTube channel?
1.) Because GKP has the technical wherewithal, and an awareness about how this vital social media channel can be leveraged;
1.) To offer its ready-made platform where you can send prospective clients when you pitch classes;
2.) To showcase a gathering place that has gravitas (i.e. T’ai Chi Chih is a bona fide movement with lots of great teachers collected in one place);
3.) To demonstrate that the YouTube channel is a resource for the whole community.
We hope everyone attending the conference will take advantage of this offer.
Hot off the presses from Good Karma Publishing
Order online @ www.gkpub.com / Order by voice @ 505-797-7300
Music for T’ai Chi Chih Practice & Restful Listening
Original compositions and performance by Justin F. Stone
Compact disk $11.95
Pub Date: 15 February 2013
SERENE NATURE: Music for T’ai Chi Chih
Original compositions and performance by Justin F. Stone
Compact disk $11.95
Pub Date: 15 February 2013
Meditation for Healing: Particular Mediations for Particular Results
E-book Available: 15 March; $9.99
Print Pub Date: financial
feasibility to be determined.
E-book Available: 15 March; $9.99
T’ai Chi Chih – Solo DVD with Justin Stone
**now with chapter breaks**
Pub Date: 15 February 2013
New Video Clips Embedded Into The App
By popular request, Good Karma Publishing is in the process of adding long-lost footage of Justin Stone performing each movement of T’ai Chi Chih to our app. It’s available on the iOS platform (http://sutromedia.com/apps/Tai_Chi_Chih) and Android (http://sutromedia.com/android/Tai_Chi_Chih) for $9.95. Now that it contains both the photo text and video clips (two-for-the-price-of-one) download it before the price goes up.
As teacher April Leffler of Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, reports: “One of my students, who is probably older than we are, recently said she didn’t remember how to do the moves when she got home. But guess what!?! I told her about the spankin’ new TCC app! (I knew she was tech savvy because just the week before, she had shown me a YouTube video on her iPhone.) Her whole face lit up! I felt so 21st century. It was amazing. Because of that interaction, I’m now going to email all my college students about our TCC app.”
Electronic Editions For Three Of Justin’s Books
Yup, it’s true: Good Karma Publishing has put Climb the Joyous Mountain: Living the Meditative Way … and … Gateway to Eastern Philosophy & Religion … and … Spiritual Odyssey: Selected Writings on a whole host of e-platforms, including Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad, Sony Reader and others. Now you can take your favorite reading everywhere you go. The additional features offered by these e-books are too numerous to enumerate here, but you can download the PDF on www.taichichih.org/conference-2012/ to see the “screen grabs.”
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Media Outreach Training
In November, GKP identified the 40 top selling teachers of GPK materials and invited them to participate in a media training conference call hosted by a professional media consultant who practices T’ai Chi Chih and knows Justin. The intention was to provide these top-selling teachers with specific tools they could leverage to gain media attention for their TCC classes. The conference call expanded on GKP’s Media Kit which was updated recently.
At this juncture, all members of the TCC community may freely access the recorded call until April 6th. Simply dial 218-237-0339, and when prompted, enter the access code 506238#, and then enter reference number 1#.
The recording is 76 minutes long and includes: two minutes at the beginning waiting for the call to begin; a 45-minute presentation; a 15-minute Q&A period; and a 15-minute period at the end while teachers were visiting. Listeners have access to three play-back features:
• Press 1 to rewind 30 seconds;
• Press 2 to fast forward 30 seconds;
• Press 3 to pause/resume playback.
Deb Bertelsen, one of the teacher participants, followed up with this note:
“Thank you for an outstanding job. I’m still working on my media coverage approaches, but I haven’t given up. It just takes a different way of thinking and the time line is not quick turnaround.
Kim, the written materials were excellent, as always. Catherine, your conference call presentation was on point, and extremely thorough and encouraging.
A local company contacted me in August 2010 about teaching T’ai Chi Chih for their 2011 Wellness Initiative. It took many phone conversations, face-to-face meetings with demonstrations, a written proposal and more than three months to get a signed contract, but it has so been worth it. I taught employees during three different lunch hours on Fridays and over twelve weeks. And I was invited back for refresher/practice sessions.
I’ve learned to get testimonials, but this media coverage has me thinking differently. I’m going to ask my contacts in their human resources department if they know of another company that would benefit from TCC; if they would they be interested in sharing their TCC experiences in a media story; if they have an internal employee newsletter and if so, would they write about the classes and employee experiences.
The GKP printed material and conference call has given me renewed confidence and energy – and maybe some momentum, too, to carry this into 2012 in a different way. Thank you both for your talents, guidance and dedication to TCC and the teachers in the community.”
Justin’s Teachings Continue BigTime – With Picnic Baskets & Breadcrumbs
I’m driving Justin home from having Saturday lunch out (for the first time in I don’t know how many months), and he says “beautiful trees” as we pass a stand of brilliant yellow aspens and a giant cottonwood tree also bursting with yellow leaves. He wasn’t merely referring to the “trees” and he didn’t mention the flashy yellow leaves at all. After all these years with him, I know better than that. My spirit perked up. A smile grabbed my heart. Justin’s twinkle met my glance in his direction… Why? What? One weekend prior, when I was editing The Vital Force by his bedside, with him supposedly snoozing, I was pulling excerpts from the 150-plus pages of Gateway to Eastern Philosophy & Religion. I could have pulled anything and I certainly didn’t read it to him. But please do (re)read the anecdote in the fourth paragraph on page 12 of this issue. The one about leaves, trees, identifying with individuality and reincarnation. With each breath, and whenever we are paying attention, Justin continues to pack picnic baskets brimming with big time lessons. If you have not been lucky enough to meet him in person, he’s left us plenty of breadcrumbs lying in plain sight – in every one of his books.
More Community Building
Users are leaving comments on movements (and more) within the new T’ai Chi Chih “photo text” app. Check out this screen shot to the right. Teachers and students: join the dialog. Scroll to the bottom of any entry within the app and click “comments” and submit. It’s that easy. And for all you Android users, there will be an app for you in early January.
There’s an app for that!
There will be within weeks, anyway… Justin Stone’s instructional Photo Text will soon be available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Click through on the home page of taichichih.org or find it on iTunes. Search any of these keywords on iTunes: tai chi chih, t’ai chi chih, Justin Stone, Good Karma Publishing, TCC. Price is $9.99. (An Android version coming within a few months.) What are the benefits of having it on this platform?
• We can stay current and reach a younger market.
• ALL photos taken of Justin during the original photo session can now be seen, for greater fine-tuning of your movements. The print version (by the necessity of print economics) could only include a limited number of images per movement.
• The background text contains hyperlinks to Wikipedia to further illuminate Justin’s references to Lao-Tzu, Karma, Taoism, and more.
• Movements are linked to one another (when referenced in the original text) with one click.
• It’s easy to take with you on vacation and share movements with friends.
Anatomy Of A New York Times Article
The New York Times health blogger, Tara Parker-Pope, wrote an article in March about T’ai Chi Chih. It was based on recent UCLA research studying the effects of TCC on easing depression (among other things) in the elderly (among other populations.) There have been grumblings that there was only one mention of TCC in the article, and that it didn’t even get that one mention right: “The study used a form of tai chi called T’ai Chi Chih that uses 20 simple exercises that are nonstrenuous and easy enough to be performed by older adults.” But if you’re not aware of how the media world works, this can seem insignificant and disappointing. But it’s quite the opposite.
I’ve been working with a media specialist since early 2011 to leverage the exposure that Roselee Blooston secured in the November-December 2010 AARP magazine. The Vital Force was given an outreach donation a few years ago, and it was set aside until the “right time” – and the AARP article offered the perfect opportunistic springboard.
Our media specialist contacted Ms Parker-Pope a few times in early 2011, seemingly to no avail. But then the UCLA results were published in mid-March, and we sent another press release to Ms Parker-Pope (among other outlets), and she, having been introduced to T’ai Chi Chih twice over two months prior, picked up the significance of T’ai Chi Chih in the UCLA study. (The UCLA press release from 16 March 2011, by the way, only once mentioned T’ai Chi Chih – as opposed to T’ai Chi. It also inaccurately describes T’ai Chi Chih as “a gentle, Westernized version of ‘tai chi,’ a 2,000-year-old Chinese martial art.” Further, the official bio for researcher Helen Lavretsky, MD, on the UCLA website, says her research is being conducted on “tai chi.”) Is it any wonder why other media outlets are getting it wrong? Thus the assertion that it’s a significant victory that The New York Times got it right. Time magazine picked up UCLA research, too, but it would not issue a correction when we contacted the reporter.
The other major point is that the article directly hyperlinks to https://taichichih.org/overview.php – which simply does not get any better. Period. If the article offered nothing else, this would be a huge win.
As a result of the NYT article, an alternative health editor at Metro International (circulation of 17 million in over 60 online editions worldwide), who thought she’d heard of every practice under the sun, was intrigued by the word Chih tacked onto T’ai Chi and contacted us. She’d found a new hook, and she needed an interview and photos within 24 hours. Although I spent a few hours gathering high resolution scans from my files, she still ran stock T’ai Chi photos that were more glossy. Since then I’ve asked teacher and photographer Andrea Cole to build a portfolio that we can have available for these purposes. Andrea has generously offered to donate her time to this cause.
There have been other placements, too, like:
• A feature recommending Justin’s instructional DVD in Community Health magazine (readership of 500,000 in the Midwest and South) as one of the five best “workout” DVDs for the new year;
• An article featuring teacher Maya Caudill, discussing how TCC relieves her arthritis symptoms, in the San Jose Mercury News (circulation of 575,000 in the Bay Area and syndicated). Maya graciously met a typically-intense reporter’s deadline around New Year’s Day.
• Syndications of (or variations on) the NYT article in dozens of other media outlets;
And at least two more high quality placements – places we pitched, and again leveraged from the NYT article – will unfold over the next few months. Stay tuned.
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Spiritual Odyssey: Selected Writings 1985-1997 (2nd Edition)
Justin Stone’s best selling book (okay, well, after the instructional photo text) has been reprinted, redesigned, and features one of his favorite paintings, Mu, on the front cover. Mu, by the way, roughly translates as the key to a Zen koan. When the master was asked if a dog had Buddha nature, the master answered “Mu.” Did the student understand?
In working closely with the text to bring this edition to fruition, it’s abundantly clear for the umpeenth time that this book is loaded with ripe fruit ready to be picked by eager students. If you haven’t picked it up lately (or, gasp, if you don’t know it), it’s time to go out on a date and get reacquainted.
Climb the Joyous Mountain: Livingthe Meditative Way(2nd Edition)
A virtual reading group has formed on the T’ai Chi Chih Facebook page where quotations from this inspirational and illuminating book are being shared and commented upon. Join us for a daily dip into Justin Stone’s journey toward becoming the vessel through which T’ai Chi Chih was born. Quite simply, to fully understand TCC, you need to have read this book. Get the new second edition to best follow along. It’s the one with Justin’s painting From The Mountains to the Ocean on the front – the painting of a profile of Justin looking down from the snow-covered Himalayas (to the unseen ocean).
– AMAZON.COM –
This e-commerce behemoth is a double-edged sword for GKP. On one hand, it has a huge audience reach and we want our products featured on it – in order for as many people around the world to discover T’ai Chi Chih as possible. But on the other hand, amazaon.com demands a 55% discount and free shipping from GKP, so in the final analysis, GKP basically provides books via this channel as a service and with no profit to GKP. The bigger issue is that whatever GKP offers on amazon.com is available to students at a lower cost than teachers offer in class – except when considering the shipping component, which brings teachers back to being competitive with amazon.com.
**We offer books (and the instructional video) through amazon.com that we cannot get most teachers to promote or carry on a regular basis. GKP does not, however, sell our most popular product – the instructional dvd – through amazon.com because we want to preserve the re-sale market for our teachers, to support them in their teaching.
Unfortunately, multiple sources (including those going under the names of “TCC of Central California,” “InnerSelfMarket” in Florida, “Livamed” in Texas, and “Emerald Market” in Pennsylvania) are reselling Justin Stone’s instructional dvd and photo text on amazon.com as third-party retailers. And this directly undercuts every other teacher out there. So on behalf of GKP, I am sorry that some people ordering from GKP are hurting the incomes of other teachers by reselling those discounted dvds via amazon.com. All I can say is this: when shipping through the re-seller is factored into the final price, the dvd ends up costing students the same – whether they bought it from a teacher in class or from amazon.com. The only way for students to get a dvd through class, though, is for teachers to keep it in stock and sell it at class. GKP is trying to help teachers by not selling the dvd through amazon.com. We hope you’ll help by promoting Justin’s dvd and offering it to your students directly in class.
– SPEAKING OF AMAZON.COM –
A number of Justin’s fans have reviewed his books on Amazon recently and it’s really helped get the word out. Feel free to add your voice on amazon.com. Here’s a random sampling:
“The single most striking aspect of this little book [Gateway to Eastern Philosophy & Religion] is the depth of its overview of Indian, Chinese and Zen Buddhism as well as the elaboration on Taoism and Yogic practices. It is a delightful blend of both the author’s scholastic knowledge, embellished with a brilliant glossary, defining Sanskrit and other terms, and his personal insights and stories stemming from his time pursuing Self-knowledge in the Orient. Of special interest is the wide-ranging bibliography culled from Stone’s library, which could be used by Eastern Philosophy Departments to structure their degree program. – Ann Rutherford, Albuquerque, NM
“Just read Spiritual Odyssey by Justin Stone again. …There is so much to learn and I learn a little bit more each time I am ready to listen to what the author has to say. Each writing is short, making it perfect for bedtime. I turn off the light feeling like I have just taken a sip from a bottomless cup of wisdom. As the author says, “Only the one drinking the water knows if it is hot or cold.” I strongly recommend that you read Spiritual Odyssey and see for yourself.” – Sheryl Adair, Atlanta, GA”
[Abandon Hope] is a must-read for anyone who desires to explore the meaning of life. No matter what your religion or spiritual practice might be, the book offers countless treasures of eternal truths. My attention was captured on the very first page and subsequently drawn deeper into Mr. Stone’s perspective as he compares and synthesizes how and why we look for and find meaning in our individual lives. It’s quite likely that the reader will refer back to the book’s pages often, gleaning Wisdom for everyday living.” – Judy Chancey, Atlanta, GA
– Video Clips of Justin on YouTube.com-
Every two weeks, GKP posts another never-before-seen clip of Justin explaining how to do a certain movement. (If you are a member of the T’ai Chi Chih facebook page, you receive notice of when these are posted. If you are not a member – it’s free and easy to sign up at www.facebook.com – you can still find them by going to http://www.youtube.com/user/tccabq.)
Says teacher Jim Shorr of Portland, Oregon: “Congratulations on getting Justin on YouTube. The video is superb; I understood most of his suggestions and avoidances. I’ve already watched and listened to him (three or four times) moving and articulating tips on Working The Pulley, Joyous Breathe and Bass Drum. I picked up several points on proper teaching and stressing the circularity. …. We learn something new every time we watch Justin Stone “in action.” For Six Healing Sounds, he clearly articulated the nature of the aspirating sound versus the spoken word, emphasizing the hand moves firmly but not hard. (I see some folks forcing that forward motion of the hands.) We also noted that he drags out the chewwww – eeee sound, and he says that people with kidney issues can do the entire Six Healing Sounds and enunciate chewee the whole time. Keep up these helpful points from Justin.”
– Hot Off The Presses –
The 3rd edition of the T’ai Chi Chih Photo Text is hot off the presses, and its cover price remains constant at $15.95. Why purchase this edition when your old one is all marked up with notes? One reason is not to confuse your students when you offer them the new, gradient blue-to-green cover. But more significantly because it contains important adjustments that make consistent what Justin teaches in his DVD and what he’s teaching at Tuesday morning practices in Albuquerque. For example, we do not hold Cosmic Consciousness Pose for four minutes; we hold it for one. We do not ground between movements for 20 seconds; we do it for four or five seconds. And more. We hope you’ll reinforce the new edition by purchasing it and studying it closely.
– Newly Released Clips of Justin Stone Demonstrating Movements –
There is a newfound cache of Justin Stone demonstrating how to teach and how to move in the Good Karma Publishing archives. Justin has been captured on video at teacher conferences (thanks to hosting teachers) and through greetings he has sent to conferences when he was unable to attend in person (thanks to Brock Brocklehurst). Previously, if you didn’t attend a particular conference, you wouldn’t have been privy to these offerings. Now, if you join the T’ai Chi Chih Facebook group (it’s free and easy to sign up; see The Vital Force, February 2009) or scour YouTube, you will be able to benefit from them. They’re priceless little gems, and through them, you’ll see that the principles haven’t changed one iota over time.
Twice monthly, we are releasing short clips of these Justin Stone teachings. If you’re a member of the Facebook group, you’ll be the first to get the announcement. (We don’t send general email notifications because The Vital Force has a policy about not using your contact information for purposes other than emergencies.) If you’re not a Facebook member, you can, of course, still find the videos on YouTube. On the group T’ai Chi Chih Facebook page, scroll down to the video section to see links for the clips all in one place.
The first day the first clip went live, Chris Norkus, a Facebook T’ai Chi Chih member and teacher, wrote to say what perfect timing it was. Chris had been working with Working The Pulley just that morning, and Justin’s comments directly spoke to an element around which he’d been trying to get clarity.
– Growth Of Certainty & Commitment –
I moved to Albuquerque four years ago to be in Justin’s presence more. And when I’m not traveling, I see him at the Tuesday morning teacher practice, at his house for meditation three days a week, and I take him to lunch on Saturday (since he relinquished his car). Of course he’s constantly testing students, and he needles me at times about why Good Karma isn’t selling as much material as it did seven or eight years ago. I have many responses, but these days I usually simply say, “I’m only one person.” To which he says, “That’s right.”
By spending time with Justin, my faith has increased and my impatience (though still present) has decreased. I have a growth of certainty in the growth of T’ai Chi Chih and a faith in it remaining free of other attachments. Sales are down about five percent from last year, but I remain committed to doing my part. A Goethe poem was given to me recently that addresses this subject head on: “Until one is committed there is always hesitancy / The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness / … / The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. / All sorts of things occur to help that which would never otherwise have occurred. / A whole stream of events issues from the decision, / Raising to one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents and meetings / And material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way, / Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it. / Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
I am grateful for to the opportunity to do one person’s part. I know each of you is also – whether it’s through a sincere daily practice, offering Justin’s teaching materials in your classes, spreading the word about TCC, and/or keeping TCC free of commercialization and other affiliations.
– LinkingT’ai Chi Chih With Other Disciplines –
As Justin Stone says in Spiritual Odyssey, published by Good Karma Publishing, “If T’ai Chi Chih is hitched to other activities, no matter how worthy, it will, in time, fade. To use TCC as the key to opening the door to pushing other matter is wrong. Keep them separate. It’s best to examine motives – at rock bottom level – for this type of activity.”
– Trademark Licensing Agreement-
This agreement, which Good Karma’s copyright and trademark attorney has long suggested that teachers sign in order to protect against trademark infringement, will no longer be required. Justin believes it sets the wrong tone – to ask newly minted teachers to sign these kinds of legal documents.
GKP does respectfully request, though, that you continue using the registered trademark symbol ® – after the first use only of T’ai Chi Chih in any article that you write for print or web publication.
It is also still important, as much as possible, to use T’ai Chi Chih as an adjective – as in the “T’ai Chi Chi practice.” Why? Because when a trademarked name stands alone it becomes generic, and its value eventually becomes watered down. For example, it used to be Kleenex tissues and Xerox copies and Coca-Cola soft drinks. Now it’s “Please xerox this for me” even if it’s being copied on a Canon copier. Or it’s “May I have a kleenex, please?” when it’s actually a Charmin tissue.
– LiabilityI nsurance For Teachers –
SetUp By Marie Myszkier, Albuquerque, NM –
Teachers in need of liability insurance may contact the Fitness and Wellness Insurance Agency (not Marie), where applicable policies are underwritten by the Philadelphia Insurance Company (tel 800-395-8075). Visit the website (fitnessandwellness.com) and search for Liability Only > Select Your Association > T’ai Chi Chih – Joy Thru Movement > Select Your State and continue. If you are leasing a business space or have employees, see the “Business Application” section. As of this writing, the cost for $2 million worth of coverage is $145 annually (if you teach part time or less than six hours per week.) If you are teaching full time (i.e. over six hours per week), the cost for $4 million worth of coverage is $205 annually. Thanks, Marie for sharing. This information will be posted on the hidden teacher URL under taichichih.org. (Contact Lorraine Lepine if you don’t know it.)
We’re Throwing A Party & Everyone Is Invited
Considering our far-flung internet exposure with Wikipedia and YouTube, T’ai Chi Chih is continuing to embrace the 21st century – this time by creating a group on Facebook.com, the wildly popular friendster and social utility site that lets users connect with those with similar interests. How can it work for TCC? Let us count the ways; the possibilities are truly infinite. To start things out, we’ve posted links to articles referencing TCC and to a few TCC-only websites. Beneath those links are places for folks to comment – students and teachers alike. It’s incredibly powerful software; the basics are easy to use. For instance, under the link highlighting “T’ai Chi Chih May Help Elderly Sleep” (which links to a story on UPI – United Press International), you can comment about how TCC has helped your insomnia. Share your experience; it’ll help others become convinced that TCC may help them. You can also answer a question posed by a teacher or student to keep the thread (or conversation) going. And you can share links to related web sites, post calendar items, add videos and photos, write notes, and more. You can invite friends, students, and teachers to participate. The more the merrier.
Groundswell Of Grass Roots
This method of developing communities is referred to as “Web 2.0.” It’s all about harnessing social media outlets to spread the word out about a movement, group, or idea. The thinking is that the best endorsements for something come from its community of adherents and loyal users. Instead of relying solely on Good Karma Publishing, for instance, to tell you how great Justin Stone’s DVD is, folks who’ve used his DVD can tell you with their own voices. These days, this seems to be the most trusted form of spreading the word.
It offers a vibrant, healthy, and transparent way to connect, and it offers itself as an egalitarian place for equals. It’s also a way of attracting a younger group of users and having a centralized and richly layered place for media and others to learn about TCC.
HowDo I Get Connected & Join The Conversation?
Go to http://groups.to/taichichih/ and if you’re not already a registered user of Facebook (which is free), you’ll need to create an email address/account to log on. To do that, click “No thanks, take me straight to…” which will take you to the basic T’ai Chi Chih page. You can scan the main page without joining the group. But if you’d like to join the conversation and post, click the green button in the upper left corner to sign up for Facebook. Then you’re good to go.
An Important Caveat
There are basic guidelines we need to adhere to, the most important of which are similar to those advocated by The Vital Force: It’s about keeping T’ai Chi Chih pure and simple, just the way Justin Stone wants it. Please do not mix postings about TCC with other practices. There’s plenty to say about TCC – and one’s personal experiences with it, and the effects and benefits of it – all by itself. Additionally, if you are posting photos or videos, please consider if they depict the movements being done correctly. There’s little use in spreading TCC if we’re setting an incorrect example by not paying utmost attention to its principles. Done with integrity, we have the ability to attract an infinite number of new practitioners with this “service to humanity” and this “form of love,” as Justin Stone, the Originator, so eloquently reminds us.
At the July teacher conference, GKP reported its year-to-date activities, including the fact that:
• Justin’s Climb the Joyous Mountain, Second Edition was just published – note the cover painting by Justin, entitled “From the Mountain to the Ocean,” which is a self-portrait of him looking down from the top of a snow-covered mountain;
• Justin’s Spiritual Stories of the East was published as a 2-disc CD;
• Justin’s 1994 instructional video was converted to a DVD – we refer to it as “Justin Stone Unplugged” since its production values are simpler than the 2000 filming and since Justin himself is the one who conducts the practice after the instruction;
• We switched to daily shipments using UPS in order to provide speedier and more reliable service;
• We printed a new 2008 catalog with lots of new information – so please throw out all prior catalogs.
GKP also presented the sales figures (from 2007 through year-to-date 2008) for each of Justin’s books, instructional DVDs, and CDs. Although we hesitated to bring it up, since we prefer to affirm the highest, we thought it necessary to reinforce the truth: If things continue the way they are going, Justin’s words will soon be lost. In short, Justin’s materials are not being utilized by teachers and students as well as they could and, dare we say, should. It was not a sugarcoated presentation; the transparency and numbers shocked most teachers in the room – if post-presentation comments were any gauge. More and more T’ai Chi Chih practitioners (teachers and students) are losing their connection with the originator of T’ai Chi Chih because fewer and fewer of them purchase, read, use, and understand his materials.
A New Perspective
That is why GKP asked three teachers (Sheila Leonard, Vicki Schroeder, and Dan Pienciak), who sell more of Justin’s materials that anyone else besides the GKP teacher distributors (Carmen Brocklehurst, Sandy McAlister, Pam Towne, Sue Bitney, and Chery Ann Hoffmeyer), to write about how and why they are so successful in reaching out to their students with Justin’s materials. (See pgs. 12-13.) Please consider their words carefully. The connection to our originator depends on it – and you. Thank you.
(no column this issue)
One Degree Of Separation – Or Six Degrees?
In talking with a T’ai Chi Chih teacher friend recently, I came to clearly understand a fundamental choice or position that we all have to make as teachers and students of TCC. This teacher believes that it’s inevitable that T’ai Chi Chih, one day, will morph into something that doesn’t really resemble Justin Stone’s TCC. His analogy went something like this: take an original to the Xerox machine and make a copy. Then make a copy from that copy and another from that copy and so on. By the tenth generation of copies what you see will only faintly resemble the original. It’s just the way it is, he said. But I disagree about the inevitable outcome because of one important reason: We have a great DVD of Justin Stone doing TCC. No one need ever be more than one generation removed from Source. Ever. Imagine having a video recording of the Buddha teaching meditation under the Bodhi tree. It’s as simple and clear as that.
A 15-year veteran teacher phoned GKP recently to order photo texts and I asked her why she never ordered the DVD. She said she’d never seen it so she couldn’t recommend it to her students. I gently suggested that she might want to check it out. Now that she has, she orders it for her students.
Re-namingThe Movements & The Practice?
When referring to the movements while teaching or as a student, please retain the original full and proper names. Please don’t say “Wrist Circles” when it’s really “Pulling Taffy, Variation Two, Wrist Circles.” Please don’t say “The Daughters” when it’s “Daughter On The Mountaintop” and “Daughter In The Valley.” Please don’t say that TCC consists of 20 movements when it really consists of 19 movements and one pose. Why? Because before you know it, twenty years down the road, no one will recall the proper names or how you really do them, and perhaps someone will come along and call the movements T’ai Chi Chop. When we don’t act from the highest integrity with intention, we’re usually on a slippery slope in the wrong direction.
We all know what problems arise when T’ai Chi Chih isn’t referred to as T’ai Chi Chih in the press. The studies out of UCLA using T’ai Chi Chih can’t seem to get it right, and when the press breaks (even more than it has) it’s not going to do teachers and practitioners of TCC any good – unless we stand firm in insisting that “Chih” be used. Please do not drop the “Chih” when speaking or writing about TCC.
We have converted Justin’s earlier teachings, filmed in 1994, to a DVD, and it is now available for $32.95. If you want another perspective on the practice, this invaluable resource is now readily accessible. If you own the 2000 DVD and are a dedicated TCC practitioner, you owe it to yourself to learn from the 1994 DVD, too.
We have also converted the out-of-print Spiritual Stories of the East to CD, and the double-set CD is now available for $19.95. Pop it in your car and cruise to another world and realm.
New Catalog & UPS
Yes, the new catalog features three new products (with one surprise published in June 2008), but the real change is a switch to shipping with UPS. In addition to package tracking, GKP also has daily pick-up. Note: if you currently use a PO box for shipping, you will need to supply GKP with a street address.
Direct Transmission fromThe Master
How many of you have met Justin Stone? How many of your students have met Justin Stone? How many of your student’s students have met Justin Stone?
As time passes, fewer and fewer among us will have ever interacted with Justin in person. (And even many who have interacted with him have not plumbed the depths of his writings.) Materials by Justin Stone offer a window into, a direct link to, the originator of T’ai Chi Chih. It could be said that you can’t know T’ai Chi Chih without knowing about Justin’s life and experiences. His works encourage you to do the work for yourself.
Ask yourself: do you owe it to yourself, your students, and the practice to know the entire oeuver of Justin Stone? Do you owe it to yourself to work with his instructional dvd on a continuing basis? Do your students – in order to get the most out of T’ai Chi Chih – deserve to receive a direct transmission through his DVD? (Yes, this is a strong pitch to staying firmly connected to the originator.)
Web Site: www.gkpub.com
As hopefully you know, the new Good Karma Publishing web site is up and running. It includes a complete e-commerce section for ordering DVDs, books, CDs, audio tapes, and Justin’s poster. (The first time that teachers log in to create an account, the site will verify that you are indeed a teacher. During the check out process, your order will reflect the teacher discount.) You may also request a catalog or download an order form.
The web site contains many more elements, too. Choice morsels include two video clips from Justin’s instructional DVD; transcriptions of talks given at conferences over the years (also available as free downloads); press clippings; previously published articles by Justin from The Vital Force and the New Mexico T’ai Chi Chih News; and wallpaper graphics. There are also informational sections on T’ai Chi Chih, Justin Stone, Good Karma Publishing, and The Vital Force.
Feedback is quite welcome and encouraged.
The Good KarmaPublishingWeb Site Is Up And Running
Thank You For Your Patience.
Visit www.gkpub.com for more details.
Circularity: Subject and Object Cease to be Separated
Among other things, I’m a freelance Acquisitions Editor for The Countryman Press. I was recently in New York meeting with dozens of authors who were pitching me ideas they had for new travel guides. In the course of talking to them, I learned some were well established health writers. So I pitched T’ai Chi Chih to them and they were eager to take classes so that they could write articles for magazines.
I was then pitching my stable of authors to magazine editors so that these authors could get high paying magazine work, since we can’t pay them what they’re worth. During the course of those exchanges, a few editors hired me to write for them.
Then, I was at a meeting with the Sales & Marketing Department and the Editorial Department at WW Norton, in my capacity as Acquisitions Editor, and I pitched Justin’s DVD and photo text to them (so that we could have a bigger distribution channel). The Editorial Director suggested I contact his friend who produces and sells swimming DVDs on her Web site and gets hundreds of thousands of hits a month.
The synergy was beautiful. And the longer I stayed working, the more the circularity went round and round.
High and Low Cease to be Differentiated
I was in Manhattan recently and had just come out of a meeting with the managing editor of Trump magazine on Park Avenue South. And my cell phone rang. It was a Good Karma call that had been forwarded. The teacher, who had no idea where I was, placed an order and asked me to calculate the postage for sending her package media versus priority. So I got the GKP catalog out of my briefcase and calculated her order while standing on the sidewalk.
It reminded me of the story about the Zen master who sweeps the garden, makes the tea, and cooks in the kitchen. It’s all the same. What could have been a high falutin’ meeting was brought down to earth by the postage calculation. The stark difference was humorous. (I felt even more grateful, though, that the Trump meeting never even reached that level of headiness.)
The Vital Force is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving T’ai Chi Chih practitioners worldwide. • Board of Directors: Dora Derzon, Guy Kent, Lisa M. Otero. • Copyright 2007-2014 The Vital Force Journal Inc. Not for reprint, redistribution, or reuse in any format without written permission.
All rights reserved. • T’ai Chi Chih® is a federally registered trademark of Good Karma Publishing, Inc.