After 23 tries I think I’m starting to get the hang of this. The 23rd annual Tai Chi Alchemy in Sedona wrapped up a couple months ago and the magic is still very much alive for me. The love, laughter, and open-hearted appreciation of this group pervade my every breath.


TCA arises each September, Brigadoon-like, in the exquisite red rocks of Sedona. We enter a time warp and seemingly pack a year of experience into a few short days. People start to roll in a week early to get their full measure. Newcomers are greeted as old friends. Old friends pick up where they left off, as though the conversation had only been interrupted by a phone call. Electricity fills the air, a sense of infinite possibility. There is some serious ju-ju happening.

The theme this year was “Superconscious: Opening Three Eyes.” Superconscious is the state where you Know without “thinking.” Sure you can think, and do use your rational mind to make fine distinctions, but it’s a noticeable contraction. “SuperC” (as Clare Gailey dubbed it) is a highly coherent, whole-brain state, that is born of body-mind integration. It’s the feeling we get in a “Flow” state or “in the Zone,” but one that can be accessed rather easily. The trick, of course, is finding it again…and again. It’s where we want to be in our taijiquan, and more important, it is the foundation for all authentic encounter.

Once we set up camp at Mago Garden on Friday we have entered another dimension , so if you want to enjoy the beauty and wonder that Sedona has to offer, you want to come early and/or stay late. One favorite for many of us is Montezuma Well, a few miles south of Sedona. I love this place!


Dangling feet at Montezuma

The energy there is about as yin as you can handle: soft, nurturing, quiet, renewing. When you walk down the stone steps the outside world disappears and dangling your feet in that stream seems to be the most perfect way to spend your time.


On Friday, many of us visited Bell Rock. I’ve been there dozens of times and it never gets old. Jonathan and I played a little push hands.




Rick and Jonathan push hands on Bell


Afterwards, he commented how the uplifting flow of this yang vortex made it much more difficult to feel your root as you went higher. As you descend you can feel the earth connection more distinctly with each step.

Sunrise at Bliss Rock

At Mago, we met the sunrise with qigong at a new spot, Bliss Rock. It’s a wonderful slab of red rock that was uncovered recently at the prompting of one of the Mago elders. What a jewel! You get that Sedona red rock vortex buzz bubbling up as Ethan, Chenoa, and I led some exercises to get the qi going before breakfast.

The theme of “Superconscious: Opening Three Eyes” was introduced Saturday morning. It’s an idea that I have been exploring for many years (See Chapter 6 of Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate) and the subject of a talk I gave for the Society for Consciousness Studies Conference in June. It will also be the theme of this Sunday’s seminar at David Shaver’s Peaceful Wolf T’ai Chi in East Haddam, CT “Superconsciousness in Internal Martial Arts.”

Superconsciousness is a state resulting from body-mind-spirit integration (Eye of Flesh. Eye of Mind. Eye of Spirit.) and is the foundation for all higher level internal martial arts, where it is expressed as the “Three Internal Harmonies.”

1. The Yi and Shen in harmony
2. Yi and Qi in harmony
3. Qi and Jing in harmony
(Anatomy of Yang Family T’ai Chi, by Steffan de Graffenreid)

When body, mind, and spirit are in harmony we enter a state of wholeness that opens us to energy and information that is unavailable to the purely mental state. This was explained in an earlier post “Superconscious: Seeing with Three Eyes.” “The conscious mind is like AM radio: a lot of chatter and occasional insightful analysis; very low-Fi. By contrast, superconsciousness is super HD with a bit of Aldous Huxley’s “feelies” thrown in. We open to multi-dimensional awareness of energy and information that is completely unknown to the conscious mind.”

Annette reads at ChocolaTree garden

We ended our weekend with our traditional feast Sunday night, but this time at a new location: The Chocola Tree in Sedona. It has a magical garden with the perfect stage for our poetry readings and musical performances.

Many thanks to all those who do so much to create this wonderful, safe environment to explore consciousness, subtle energies, internal martial arts and movement. And special thanks to those who shared their knowledge and expertise in presentations throughout the weekend:

Linda Addison, Jonathan Bricklin, Mike Casto, Ethan Deford, Scott Gabel, Valarie Gabel, Sophie Goodenough, Wendy Jensen, Scheila Scheffler, and Chenoa Sigenthaler.

It was a wonderful, magical, heart-opening TCA and it keeps getting better.
Please register early for next September. Do it before January 1 and get a free t-shirt!