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Directors Activities

How the DaoUSA Board is  involved and contributes to their local communities.

Dr. David B. Axelrod


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 My career, fifty-five years as an educator, professional author and poet, has happily blossomed into the realization that there is an essential energy that religions acknowledge, that artists and writers share—an energy that is manifest in the creative process. When I am overtaken by strong emotions or thoughts, whether I call those moments of “inspiration” or simply vivid imagery, I sense the same energy rising within me that I’ve experienced practicing chi gong.

But before I discuss creative energy, allow me to tell you a bit more about my spiritual quest. I am an “Elder,” an advisor on the board of DaoUSA.  Mine has been a life-long study of comparative religion and Chinese philosophy. I first read The Way and its Power (Dao De Ching) as a teen, and have now collected and studied numerous translations. I’ve taken formal, college-level courses in Oriental Philosophy, and hundreds of training sessions and seminars even before DaoUSA became a constant source for information and expertise.  

I should tell you, though I fancy myself good with languages, I have never read Chinese philosophy or the Dao De Ching in its original. I lived a year as a Fulbright Scholar in the People’s Republic of China and studied with great masters. But I was, essentially, illiterate. Fulbright provided me a tutor and I could speak enough Mandarin to make my way in the streets.

Allow me to reassure you that you don’t need to study the Chinese language or even Chinese culture to benefit from tai chi or chi gong. (Terms like “tao” or “dao,” “chi” or “qi” still mean the same thing.)  It is good if you acquire knowledge and “broaden” your mind, Better still, you can practice ways to live peacefully, healthfully, harmoniously—in balance with your world. What a wonderful thing!

For instance, I have enjoyed a lifetime of benefits by working to balance my chi. It is a universal energy that can be studied, amplified, and directed to improve health and daily life. Chi isn’t mysterious and needn’t even be a religious thing, though DaoUSA is a nonprofit organization recognized by the IRS as a church.

Chi may be like a spiritual essence, even a God source, for some. For others, most often for me, chi is the thing that makes me feel alive and well. It is chi that rises in me when I do my creative writing and poetry. When I meditate, when I practice chi gong, I’ve learned to sense and cultivate my internal energy. If you asked me what chi feels like, I would tell you that it might be a warming or even tingling in my hands as I cup them to focus my energy.

If  you want an easy demonstration, then hold your hands in front you and give them a strong clap together. Allow yourself to be aware of the sensation in your palms. See how long you can still feel that sensation. People trained in chi gong may be able to stimulate the same strong sensations without even clapping their hands. Sometimes, when I teach, I point out that you don’t even have to say a magic spell. You can find and enhance your energy not just in your hands but other areas—in the body and the mind.

When I want to write, I imagine that desire as a palpable sensation that starts at the base of my spine. It moves like an electrical current up my back, and move out across my shoulders, down my arms, and activates my hands and fingers. I focus my thoughts and write or type my words. That is how the chi of creative writing feels to me.

But more so, that is the healing power of writing—a process that I continue to study and teach. When I teach about chi, it is most often the chi of poetry. Writers who study with me don’t complain of writer’s block. As they become aware of and focus their internal chi, they find and release their most powerful emotions—as poetry. If you have too much chi, it can be released or re-channeled. A lack of chi can be remedied through mental and physical exercises—meditation or movement, or in this case, writing and poetry.

My studies and career have been built around creative writing and poetry. I have been happier and healthier following this path. Other structures, rubrics, methodologies that can help you find the “way” and “its power.” You can study Chinese alchemy (not at all turning lead to gold), or Chinese/Oriental Medicine. You can study acupuncture, herbal-ism, even feng shui—literally, “wind water,” a way to harmonize your personal life with the external elements. You can pick the path that best suits you.

I have worked with Master Chen since 1991, and watched his own powers grow as he shares his heritage and expertise with the world. I continue to learn from him. In that capacity, my own outpost of DaoUSA is in Daytona Beach, Florida. I founded and direct the Creative Happiness Institute. Its acronym is “CHI,” and it is a nonprofit, cultural-enrichment organization. If you wish to learn more about me and my organization, go to the website: You might also enjoy a couple features from the local newspapers that discuss my work:

1. “Poet talks about the healing power of writing”:

(For the photo attached, credit: Lola Gomez, Daytona News-Journal)

2. David Axelrod at Creative Happiness Institute:

(Photo credit: Diane Carey, Hometown News)

3. My work with young poets:

4. “The Meaning of Life” article:

5. I am also the poet laureate of  Volusia County, Florida and here is news of my own most recent book, All Vows,  published Nirala Publishing:


Nuris Lemire MS,OTR/L,NC


Dr. James Lemire


Dr. Lemire has taken medical teams to Jamaica and to Brazil down the Amazon on a house boat treating the native peoples.

Locally the Lermires started a free clinic for the homeless in their home county. Dr. Lemire sees patients free, they collect free medicines and vitamins for the homeless and indigents. To assist in their work they have created a team of volunteer nurses to help.

In front of Clinic that we support

Dr. Lemire and Nuris support clinics in the Dominican Republic where they bring free medical and school supplies. The picture above shows Dr. Lemire and Nuris in front of the clinic they support.

The Lemires have provided free medical work in Belize as shown to the right.


This is a picture in Belize where people are lining up for medical treatment.

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Karen McDonald

Karen is active in her community where she works and contributes to Silent Auction fundraisers like:

  • American Heart and Stroke Association

  • Museum of Jewish Heritage

  • Daughters of the British Empire (DBE)


She also engages with her community where she lectures on introductory talks on Daoist Philosophy and Qigong:

  • The 'Celebrate Aging' Livable Community cities Village Fair, Valhalla, NY

  • Campwoods Grounds Meeting Association, Summer Vesper Series congregation, Ossining, Westchester, NY

  • Mizuho Bank, St Paul's, London, United Kingdom

Karen teaching Qigong outside in the shade on a beautiful  sunny day.

Karen lives, practices, and shares her Daoist Healing Arts by offering Yi Jing and Feng Shui consultations in the US, Australia and United Kingdom.                              


In support of 'virus', Karen offers complimentary

-8 Pieces Brocade classes and *EnerQi TM sessions for the Westchester community in Ossining, NY. 

-Private online coaching for those who need support in their practice.


*Karen created EnerQi TM  (QiGong and dance) to promote DaoUSA's global mission for peace, unity and joy". 

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Kristina Naldjian

Kristina Naldjian devoted 10 years of full time teaching the Daoist healing arts; including Tai ji, Qigong, Self-Care, nourishing life and Daoist Philosophy. Kristina taught at continuing education centers, wellness centers, senior centers, health and fitness venues, libraries,  lunch and learn corporate programs and private instruction in NY and Denver, Fort Collins areas of Colorado.


In 2012 Kristina took a full time position at the Dao House in Estes Park, CO.  Since 2012, Kristina has continued to teach a weekly class at the Dao House as well as local community classes, with periodic programs at the libraries and other venues.


Kristina is currently teaching private classes on Zoom.

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Cis Hager

Daoist name: Chong Xue (Snow),  26th Generation Longmen Pai disciple.

​Cis stepped onto the path of the Dao and began earnest studies in1985. 

Under Shifu Chen, she now integrates the Daoist sacred arts of Yi-Jing, Feng Shui, External Qi Healing along with Taiji, Qigong, Dao Yin into her teaching and individualized Daoist health coaching.  She is retired from the field of Raptor Biology and lives outside of Bozeman Montana. 

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