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This is a place where I can share things without committing to any subject in particular

Liberty

posted Aug 6, 2015, 2:07 PM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Aug 6, 2015, 2:34 PM ]

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This is by far my favorite poem, "Liberty" by Paul Éluard

I first read this poem when I was 9-10 years old. My dad brought home an encyclopedia about World War II and sometimes I used to sit in the living room and read it after I finished my school homework. The poem was at the very end of the last book next to an impressive picture in black and white showing two kids, barely clothed, walking on the road of what it seemed a city in ruins but smiling. This picture was taken at the end of WW II. Looking at the picture and then reading the poem had always a profound impact on me.

For many years I forgot about this poem until I watched the movie "Maps to the Stars" in 2014 and got re-acquainted with it. Throughout the film, liberal quotings from Paul Éluard's poem Liberté meander "through each of the characters' lives," creating an underlying mantra for the film. 

Here it is.

Liberty

On my notebooks from school
On my desk and the trees
On the sand on the snow
I write your name

On every page read
On all the white sheets
Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name

On the golden images
On the soldier’s weapons
On the crowns of kings
I write your name

On the jungle the desert
The nests and the bushes
On the echo of childhood
I write your name

On the wonder of nights
On the white bread of days
On the seasons engaged
I write your name

On all my blue rags
On the pond mildewed sun
On the lake living moon
I write your name

On the fields the horizon
The wings of the birds
On the windmill of shadows
I write your name
 
On each breath of the dawn
On the ships on the sea
On the mountain demented
I write your name
 
On the foam of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On dark insipid rain
I write your name

On the glittering forms
On the bells of colour
On physical truth
I write your name

On the wakened paths
On the opened ways
On the scattered places
I write your name

On the lamp that gives light
On the lamp that is drowned
On my house reunited
I write your name

On the bisected fruit
Of my mirror and room
On my bed’s empty shell
I write your name

On my dog greedy tender
On his listening ears
On his awkward paws
I write your name

On the sill of my door
On familiar things
On the fire’s sacred stream
I write your name

On all flesh that’s in tune
On the brows of my friends
On each hand that extends
I write your name

On the glass of surprises
On lips that attend
High over the silence
I write your name

On my ravaged refuges
On my fallen lighthouses
On the walls of my boredom
I write your name

On passionless absence
On naked solitude
On the marches of death
I write your name

On health that’s regained
On danger that’s past
On hope without memories
I write your name

By the power of the word
I regain my life
I was born to know you
And to name you

LIBERTY

The benefits of Tai Chi in today's modern world

posted Mar 21, 2015, 3:26 PM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Mar 21, 2015, 3:37 PM ]

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If we go online and type “Benefits of Tai Chi” on the search engine of our choice, we will find many references, from virtually unknown websites describing its benefits to more popular websites such as the NHS Choices in the UK. Also listed in the results of the search engine will be websites linked to reputable institutions such as Harvard University and the internationally famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or websites linked to dot-com corporations such as WebMD. The information is abundant and we are not even considering other traditional sources like printed books and magazines or published papers. The benefits of Tai Chi are many and they span in all directions as we will see here. Click here to continue reading.

Happy New Year 2015

posted Dec 30, 2014, 6:13 AM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Dec 30, 2014, 6:17 AM ]

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A beautiful Pilates Experience

posted Dec 30, 2014, 3:24 AM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Dec 30, 2014, 5:05 AM ]

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I've been a Tai Chi and Qigong practitioner for almost 10 years. I do exercise and I'm a regular runner as well. This year I had a series of private and semi-private mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates sessions with Serap in London.
 
What was my experience? At the end of each session I was feeling great and with so much energy and always looking forward to having my next session, so the results were immediate and tangible. It was wonderful to walk out at the end of the session feeling that my body had just had a nice treat in the way of a complete workout. For those not taking Pilates seriously, thinking that Pilates is "light" and it's not capable of delivering an intensive and complete workout and therefore not capable of delivering the benefits you're looking for, I invite you to reconsider and I encourage you to try Pilates if you haven't tried it before. Not everything is for everybody but chances are that you might change your mind about Pilates.
 
The Pilates sessions with Serap were wonderful. Serap is an amasing, dedicated instructor. She always give 100% and that's exactly what you get out of each session. In my case she listened and paid attention to my needs and developed a programme that was tailored specifically for me, thus delivering maximum efficiency and benefit.
 
Thanks to Pilates and Serap my posture and alignment improved. My Tai Chi and Qigong practise is much better and has improved tremendously. My runnings in the Park are more enjoyable and my knees don't bother me anymore. The flexibility and range of motion in my body has increased and overall I feel much better.
 
I'm still a work in progress and I look forward to having more sessions next year. After seeing and experiencing the benefits in all aspects of my life, Pilates is no longer "another thing to try for a while". It is now a way of life along with my other practices. Happy New Year Serap and thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication. I wish you all the best and success in 2015.

Workshop June 2015

posted Dec 17, 2014, 2:36 PM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Jan 4, 2015, 7:19 AM ]


Summer Solstice Weekend Workshop 
(Pilates/Qigong/Energy Healing-Meditation)
20-21 June, 2015
Chapel House Studios, Station Road, Totnes, Devon, England UK TQ9 5HW.
  
 
Click here for more information.
 
Come and join us for this very special Solstice Weekend workshop in the heart of Devon. The workshop will offer you the opportunity to explore and try different alternatives aimed to deliver a more fulfilling experience in life through pain-free movements, mindfulness, body awareness, balance and inner peace.

The Workshop is well-balanced with a variety of activities which were carefully planned and selected to help you create a deeper connection and a more meaningful relationship with your mind, body and spirit. Join us in a very special place, where we'll be taking the most of out of the summer solstice energies.
 

Book of the month - Dec-2014

posted Nov 29, 2014, 1:31 AM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Nov 29, 2014, 3:17 AM ]

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We are hooked on salt, sugar and fat. These three simple ingredients are used by the major food companies to achieve the greatest allure for the lowest possible cost. Here, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael Moss exposes the practices of some of the most recognisable (and profitable) companies and brands of the last half century.
 
This book is my third (and last) recommendation on the subject. Next month (first of the new year 2015) I'll move on to a different subject. I want to keep a rich bibliography by recommending books from a variety of subjects and topics.
 
Jason Vale's Slim for Life introduced me to the subject of eating healthy and gave me some insight about the tricks the food industry plays on us to get us hook in order to buy their products. It also awoke my interest to read more and explore deeper on the subject. John Yudkin's Pure, White and Deadly provided me with more serious data. Finally, Michael Moss takes an investigative approach to expose the ugly truth about Salt, Sugar and Fat and how the food giants use these 3 ingredients to hook us so we can keep buying their products.
 
A great deal has been written about Sugar, Salt and Fat. After years of investigation and research scientists are beginning to realise that some of our ideas and beliefs -which were based in past studies- are wrong. A typical example is the popular misconception about Fat. Fat is making us overweight was the claim. So the food industry "came to the rescue" pretending to care about consumers and created low-fat products. However, to compensate for the lack of flavour on these new products they added more sugar to them. New research and investigation though has demonstrated that it is sugar (and not fat) the one that cause obesity, which by the way, is reaching epidemic proportions in developed countries. 
 
People's beliefs and ideas are changing based on most recent studies and research. Unfortunately, it's a slow process and the public misconception about salt, sugar and fat remain high. Read these books, or read other books (there are dozens of books out there on the subject) and form your own opinion and increase your awareness. For me, these 3 books made a good balance and gave me the insight I was looking for and that's the reason they made it to my list of recommendations.

Book of the month - Nov-2014

posted Nov 4, 2014, 10:13 AM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Nov 4, 2014, 3:37 PM ]

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John Yudkin published the first edition of this book in 1972 (That's 42 years ago!) and was one of the first scientists to claim that sugar was a major cause of obesity and heart disease. I'm glad I found this book. After reading Jason Vale's "Slim for Life - Freedom from the diet trap" book (See October's Book of the month) I wanted to read more about sugar and its effects in the human body. For me Jason's book was an eye opener and it changed my views about food and the food industry. It was also an excellent introductory material and an invitation for me to explore deeper on this subject.
 
Some of my ideas and beliefs have changed as I've grown older. My relationship with food falls into this category. I'm very conscious that I'm a soul, a mind and a body. In order to live a healthy, fulfilling and rewarding life I need to take care of each one of them equally and achieve an optimal balance. When it comes to my body I do it in 2 ways: by exercising and by eating healthy and keeping a balanced diet. I'm very aware that this is the only body I have in my present form. If I don't look after my body, no one will, and certainly not the food industry when they pretend to care about the consumers when in fact they only care about profits and making more money. Sugar, along with Salt and Fat is one of the key ingredients the food industry uses to lure us into buying their products. The food industry has known for years the drug-like effect refined sugar creates in the human body and they use that to their advantage. 
 
Too much refined sugar may result in Diabetes and unfortunately many people still don't take Diabetes seriously. Diabetes can cause long term damage to our body. Furthermore, Diabetes affects our blood vessels and nerves and therefore can affect any part of the body. The effect of Diabetes on the heart and the eyes are well known. The long term complications are many. For that reason, now more than ever it is important that we know and understand the real facts about sugar and its effect on the human body. If one is well-informed, one can make smart, informed decisions. "Pure, White And Deadly: How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it" is an excellent source of information on this subject.

Book of the month - Oct-2014

posted Oct 8, 2014, 9:24 AM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Oct 12, 2014, 7:10 AM ]

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Freedom-Diet-Trap-Slim-Life/dp/0007284926/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412784999&sr=1-1&keywords=slim+4+life++jason+vale
I first came across this book in 2011 when I was at work. My colleague sitting next to me had the book on his desk and for some reason it caught my eye. I asked him if I could had a look at it. I took it and I opened it at a random page. It turned out to be the starting page for the chapter on Sugar. I read the first page, then the second, then the third. Five minutes later I was still immersed in the book. I was so into it that I had to snap out of it and get back to work. I could have taken it, start this time from the beginning and finish it in one go. Anyway, I took note of the book and the next day I went to one of the book stores in West End and bought it.
 
The book is easy to read and gets to the point of things. Many will know Jason as the "Juice Master" (it's on the cover of the book as well) but as he says, this is not a book on juicing and if you're not into that you don't have to do it. It is about reaching a permanent state of healthiness by changing our approach and our relationship with food. The book covers many topics: How to set free from diets, the truth about Big Pharmaceuticals, how we became obsess counting calories and reading labels, the truth about refined sugar, how bad it is for us and its drug-like effect, the truth about fat-free food and how Big Food and Big Drink adds even more sugar to this food to compensate for lack of flavour, the truth about salt and how refined table salt isn't necessary at all -just like refined sugar and fat- to a healthy human diet.
 
There's also a chapter on meat (eating or not eating meat, it's always a debatable subject), but one thing I like about this book is its objectivity and the fact that is not intensively advocating for one side or the other. Jason also points out that being vegetarian or even vegan is not always synonym of eating healthy and he asks the following question to get his point across: If you had 2 dishes, one with pasta and the other one with chicken and some steamed vegetables, which one would you thing is the most healthy? A lot of people would choose the pasta, but if the pasta is made of white refined carbs, we'd be better off eating the chicken and the vegetables, so long as the chicken is coming from a good source.
 
As for my personal experience after I read this book, I can say that without taking extreme measures, my relationship with food changed for better. For example:
 
  • I stopped eating sugary cereals in the morning and I eat porridge with fruit and nuts instead.
  • I haven't given up meat but I eat less and I make sure is of good quality.
  • I stopped drinking milk and that did wonders to my digestion (i.e. no more heartburns).
  • I try to avoid sugary snacks between meals. Carrots and celery with humus is my favourite snack.
  • I try to eat more vegetables. Avocados is definitely my favourite one.
  • I stopped buying cartons of juice at the supermarket and I have natural, fresh juice at home.
  • I haven't set one foot at McDonald's or any other Fast-food restaurant since 2012.
Apart from the last bullet which is 100% true, I still eat refined sugars and many times I don't eat healthy (Fish & Chips anyone?), so I still have to improve  on my relationship with food. However, I don't feel anxious or like if I'm depriving myself of anything. Instead, this is a journey I'm quite enjoying. In the end the key to eating healthy and enjoying life is moderation.
 
Another thing this book did for me is that it expanded my horizon and encouraged me to explore and read more about these topics. Since I read this book I read a few other books which go deeper on the subject and include statistics and scientific studies showing the reality of things when it comes to Big Food, Big Drink and Big Pharmaceuticals.
 
Happy reading. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

Book of the month - Sep-2014

posted Aug 30, 2014, 12:17 AM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Nov 4, 2014, 3:39 PM ]

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This is one of my favourite books. It's humorous, yet it's an eye opener into the truth of an industry plagued with loopholes, complacency and greed. The most shcoking revelation for me was to know how the gun industry is always profitable as it is supported by the British Government. Guess who end up paying and subsidising written off deals by corrupt regimes? That's right, the British taxpayer!! This is because the system is designed for the gun industry to never lose on a deal.
 
Click on the picture to be re-directed to the Amazon webpage or click here to see the book's reviews. Additionally, click here to see my complete Reading List.
 

Wales Retreat - What a Treat!

posted Aug 9, 2014, 3:16 AM by Fernando Echeveste   [ updated Nov 4, 2014, 3:45 PM ]

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I just came back from a retreat in Wales organised by Miguel Chavez and Kat Bumbul. Miguel, who is my Reiki Master and a very good friend invited me over and since he knows I'm a Qigong instructor, he asked me if I could teach at the retreat. I gladly accepted. Little that I knew that from that moment, things started to get in motion in the Universe to ultimately deliver one of the richest experiences in my life.
 
The Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfalls in the Berwyn Mountains is a beautiful, magical place in Wales. Going there with a group of 20+ people from different backgrounds, coming from different ways in life and with different personalities, ideas and perspectives in life, was even more magical and memorable. Since day 1 when we met in West London to catch the mini bus that would take us there, my experience from beginning to end was incredible.
 
The unfold of events was superb, starting by saying 'Hi' to old friends and meeting new people. The conversation during my journey with the person sitting next to me was lovely, rich and insightful. Then arriving at the place and meeting other people, having the first meal and knowing and feeling that it was cooked with dedication and so much love. Finally, after arriving late and tired, having a good, sound sleep. The way my day ended was just a little taste of what it was coming in the following days.
 
The next days were sublime and very inspiring. The Reiki shares and the Gong bath meditations were great. It was chilly at the Yurt and my body was cold but the bath took me to a different place where I was under the sun, relaxed and calmed, resting in a beautiful meadow with a million flowers. Total bliss that lasted long after the sessions. My soul was having so much joy and I was receiving so much love and kindness from everyone that my only intention during the retreat was to reciprocate in the same way.
 
I'm very grateful for this experience. Thanks to Tomas for taking us there and bringing us back safe in the mini bus. Thanks to Miguel and Kat for their love, passion and dedication. Thanks to Eywa and Rima for the delicious food they cooked for us and thank you to you all for your kindness and for everything else you shared (the laughs, the smiles, the hugs, the chats, the walks, the anecdotes, the stories, the knowledge, the experiences, etc). This retreat has been one of the richest experiences in my life. Thank you for a super magical time!!
 
"Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again. May the circle be open and for ever unbroken, may the love of the goddess be forever in your heart." (Thanks to Melissa Stanton for sharing this with us).

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