January 13, 2014

zen In The Garden Highlights!

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a joyous weekend fulfilling your dreams.

I had a fantastic time at my zen In The Garden workshop Friday, which I’ll share the highlights of below. (NOTE: You can enlarge any image by clicking on it)

Saturday, Mike Salemi and his brother Sebby were here for Mike’s assessment and program upgrade as we work towards achieving his Masters certification in Russian Kettlebell lifting.

Mike is doing great as always, and it was fun to spend time with his brother, Sebby, Mike’s older brother and who is a lovely soul. Vidya and I really enjoyed meeting Sebby and spending time with both of the Salemi brothers.

Angie Lustirck (CHEK HLC Instructor) stayed after zen In The Garden to join me during Mike’s assessment and coaching. She’s doing a private internship with me so it was nice having Mike there so she could see how I work with an elite athlete. Great to share with you as always Angie!

Sunday was a day for play and rest for me. I came to my Heaven House Sunday morning to work in my New Years art gifts for my instructors, and headed home to spend time with my wife (Penny) for the rest of the day.

The day was very beautiful, and we spent some time relaxing and napping in our yard, and later continued that practice in the house in front of a beautiful fire. I love my wife and as busy people, we love the times when we can hold still and be together without having to think about deadlines or issues of the world… Thanks for a Lovely day Penny!

zen In The Garden Highlights!

One of the most common questions I get from my students is, “How do you talk to plants, trees and stones?” Since the concept of inner or soul guidance is strange and unfamiliar with most people (even though 85% of the world population claims religious affiliation?!), I created an exercise to help my students understand the process.

P teaching I AM

I listed the names of the five elements that life is expressed through: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether/Space. I then had each student inform me as to what percentage of themselves is represented by each element.

I told them it doesn’t matter if their numbers add up to more or less than 100%, because the answer is always going to be the same in the end.

As I suspected, every one of my students found that their list of elemental fractions totaled more than 100%, which showed them two things:

1. Everything they interact with in life is also made of these elements and is contained within space. Therefore, aside from the “being” or “soul” animating their elements, they are no different in composition than the plants, trees, or even stones they are communicating with.

2. Because they clearly realized there is something more to them than just elements and space, they all came to the conclusion that it is their “consciousness” that is animating their elements.

I asked each one of them this question… “If I wanted to speak to you specifically, but you were not bound to your elements, what direction, or address would I have to go to address you?”

They all concluded that they would be everywhere!

Ah Ho Great Spirit! They figured it out.

Aside from the elements that make your body, you are consciousness. The consciousness that looks through your eyes and experiences life in you as you, as a human being, is also the same consciousness that created ALL That IS.

When you are talking to plants, trees, and stones, you are talking to yourself!

With that understanding, we began our preparatory training for rock-work. I planned on using the heavy rocks in my stone circle with this group, so making sure they understand breathing mechanics and how breathing and body mechanics work together was essential for safety reasons.

Learn to breath and move

Here you can see me teaching my students how breath control can be used to enhance the eccentric/receptive cycle of an athletic movement, or the process of receiving or lowering a heavy stone.

Breath Suspension tx
I used medicine balls and water-filled Swiss balls to emulate rocks for our dynamic warm-up. Here I again emphasized the proper use of breathing and movement to maximize efficiency of the musculoskeletal system.

Dynamic warm up

This exercise prepared us well for what was to come next…

Tapping In
Here you can see us doing what I refer to as “Tapping-In”. We each choose a s tick from the brush as our instrument. We then begin tapping the stones together, seeking to harmonize with each other and make our own special music.

The process allows each of us to relax and become fully present with each other. I’ve found that this practice greatly enhances the efficiency of a group, which is essential when lifting heavy stones in close quarters.

My students were AWESOME. We harmonized quickly and easily, making beautiful music with sticks and stones alone. Our day expressed our amazing harmony; at no time did any of us obstruct the flow of the others, even while moving among many stones in a small area.

Dismantling warm up
Our first exercise in the stone circle was to dismantle my previous sculpture and mandala, which was a heart of stone surrounding a twin tower stack. There were a lot of very heavy stones in this structure, so getting everyone ready was essential.

I wanted them to master handling, flipping, rolling, and carrying stones before they tried building upward, which is much more dangerous. They all did great.

We took a lunch break to enjoy our yummy food – everyone prepared or brought something organic to share. It was a great joy to eat such amazing food and spend time with amazing and beautiful people.

Paul L is a wellness consultant and shaman; Angie is an instructor for the institute and a practicing shaman/healer; Mike is a CHEK Practitioner, coach, and athlete; Sebby works with his brother Mike in their family business and is a very healthy athletic man who loves jujitsu; Mark a CHEK Practitioner…and there was Vidya and I.

Great Food

Sebi Salemi



After lunch, we began the most essential part of building a rock sculpture, which is choosing the right base stone and being sure it has an optimal footing on the ground.

Choosing Bottom Stones

Anything you put atop a poorly set base stone is very likely to fall; sound at all like life?

Our configuration was a stone circle with seven stacks; my stack was in the center, and the other six were equally placed in the circle. Our final event was to divide the circle into six pie pieces, with each student having their own section of the circle.

Raking the Circle

My contribution was to carefully rake the circle in a circular format to create the basis of the web of life. After raking the circle, each student was asked to create symbols that expressed who they are and what they experienced of themselves through the teachings and experience of the day.

drawing symbols
When it was done, it was a very powerful stone mandala and we could really feel the energies coming from our stones and ground-art.

Group shot

After completing our project, I had the students stand outside the circle to feel the yang/male energy it projects, and then step inside the circle (or even stick your hand within the inner-space of the circle from outside it) to feel the difference between the yin/female energy inside and yang energy outside. It was quite an experience for the students.

zig Completion 1-14
Here you can see us all celebrating the completion of our amazing day together.

This was an unusually enlightened group. There are always people in every group that are more or less evolved than the average of the group, but this group was very strong.

Each person was well established in the importance of exploring themselves as an individual as a means of better understanding life and the world. It is unusual to have two practicing shaman in one class.

I had a tremendously beautiful time with everyone in the group, and feel very blessed to be able to share simple, practical ways we can all grow and develop spiritually, while embracing the ups and downs inherent in the life process fully.

In my video today I share more about our process together.

I look forward to sharing more zen In The Garden workshops, and for those interested, there is a LOT of practical spiritual teaching included in all my Holistic Lifestyle Coaching courses available through the C.H.E.K Institute at www.chekinstitute.com

Love and chi,
Paul Chek