Thursday, March 25, 2010

Park Stunts, Lessons on Diligence, & a Visit from Dr. Zhao's Gege - Older Brother

Greetings Friends!

I just returned from an evening stroll with Dr. Zhao to the neighboring park....Though our way of strolling and others' way of strolling are a bit different. As I've inherited my Dad's long legs, I tend to walk with a brisk pace and long strides...and Dr. Zhao, who is no ordinary 'stroller' also walks with quick pace - short quick strides, firmly grounded in the earth and a walk with purpose and speed. Together we are good pacers for each other.

Park Stunts
I left my camera in the hotel room and next time will bring it to show you some more "tricks" Dr. Zhao has up his sleeves.:) I'll also video tape it to show you when I get back (we can have a Dr. Zhao movie night!) When we got to the park the first thing he had me do was hold his jacket and then he went for the highest 'chin-up' bar (what are they called?) and shwoosh! He was up and over the bars like a gymnist! Wow! Other younger men stood by in awe and one (who looked like he was in his forties) came up to ask how old Dr. Zhao was, as he was mightily impressed! -- Dr. Zhao is 62 this year and is in top shape with great stamina and skill.

He also went over to the 2 parallel bars, put his forearms on the bars parallel to the ground, picked up his legs and with a swift and graceful kick, he brought his legs and belly almost parallel to the ground and then...voop! he lifted his body up and now supported himself vertically with his 2 hands on the bars. Then he swung back and forth and back and forth kicking his legs and core up high above the bars and after a few swings, ....again...whoosh! - he leaped over the bar on his left and landed on both feet! Yay! -- there was a round of applause by the now gathered small group of spectators :) Things I had learned to do as a 5 and 6 year old in gymnastics class, Dr. Zhao is doing now :)

Lessons on Living Life with Honor and the Power of Love
Gosh, I am feeling so grateful to know this man, to know my dear friend and teacher, Dr. Zhao. The more I learn about him and with him, the more I observe and participate in his way of life, the more conversations we have either sitting in his little car navigating traffic pockets, walking to the park on the busy city streets, sitting at his desk discussing articles he's copied from old library books for me to read, or stretching and doing qigong and stunts (well really him doing stunts and me watching or filming or taking pictures in delight!) in our 'lull' time, the deeper my respect and love grows. In our car ride on the way back from visiting his artist friend on Monday night, he said, "Karen, for some people it's enough to have others like them -- some people like them and some don't. For others, they desire others to love them. For me, I live my life in a way that earns deep respect, the deepest respect." In anything Dr. Zhao does, as I have mentioned, he does with a sense of great care, dignity, thoroughness, steadfastness, honor and love. His word is powerful because he does as he says and says as he does. And he doesn't judge others who live differently. He is quiet and humble in this way. Even his clinic, as you've all seen pictures, at first glance seems/appears very humble and modest. Yet on the wall, quietly hanging are many, many, many "jinqi" (these are the burgundy flag-like tapestries hanging on the walls). Each one of these was given to Dr. Zhao by a patient who has healed from a very serious illness or condition through their care with Dr. Zhao.

He has sooooooo many examples!! (For example, I'm putting together his curriculum vitae in English now and he's shown me some certificates and awards he has for being guest speakers at numerous national and provincial conferences, and for numerous papers he's published (see pic below).

One such paper is a discussion on his herbal treatment for arthritis (inflammation of the joints) with 186 case studies! Another is for high blood pressure with 310 case studies!) Yet how is it that the world doesn't all know of him yet? I feel almost embarrassed for our country that I'm helping Dr. Zhao with the preliminary paperwork requirements for a green card application when, if our government only knew of the valuable, valuable skill and knowledge Dr. Zhao and a handful of other master doctors have, they would be sending numerous green cards to them and their family members inviting them to please come to the U.S. to teach and share their knowledge to our schools and upcoming generation of doctors and health care leaders! I feel so lucky for myself and our country that Dr. Zhao even has the desire to come! He is quite successful here and has a whole large community of patients nationwide and not to mention his large family which I'm still learning how everyone relates to each other! (that in and of itself could be a semester project!!) -- all of these people are definitely voting for him to stay!

Lessons on Diligence and Another Surprise Visit
Also, I often feel in awe as to why Dr. Zhao is so patiently teaching me -- there are so many others who at least have gone through the basics of 3 years of acupuncture school, know all the points and the basic theory, have gone through some clinical practice and know the basics of the herbs, their nature, what they're used for and basic formulas. And while I've had much personal experience with Chinese medicine and have devoted much time and practice and study to qigong. as for the fundamentals of practicing Chinese medicine, I am a beginner! I remember last summer when interpreting for him at the clinic in Seattle -- he soooo LOVES to teach, and as I was the only one who would understand what he was saying (and we were together each day, almost every day of his time there), he would often start telling me about different points and what they're used for and would sometimes recite various meridian "gejues" -- what I mentioned are song/poems for remembering all the points and locations. At that time I really had no idea what he was saying! But he quietly and persistently continued....and now I'm finally understanding!! :) (This is exciting for me and may be more like a "it's about time!!" for him! But he doesn't show that -- he is just quiet and persistent).

Now at his clinic, he is also showing immeasurable patience and persistence with me, as again I've mentioned my other-than-fast and graceful learning curve with measuring and wrapping herbal packages, not to mention my slow reading of the Chinese medical papers he gives me and a basic Chinese medical massage book. (For example, today he gave me a paper on the basics of observation diagnosis for women's health conditions. In seeing how many words I looked up in my handy i-pod dictionary (this is really life-saver for me! Thanks to my friend Matt McNeil for suggesting I get one!! :)) just to read the first 2 paragraphs, he took a deep breath and suggested I first start with the 1-page paper on pulse diagnosis. :))

Earlier this week I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Zhao's 2nd eldest brother ("Er Ge"-- meaning 2nd older brother). He came by the clinic to greet me, and Wow! What an amazing man! Dr. Zhao was doing more calligraphy painting (and mentioned that he also looks forward to the day when he's done with his service of being a doctor and he can live up in the mountains and drink tea and practice his Chinese calligraphy and said I could join him and practice mine too - that's generous of him as I can definitely use a LOT of practice! --As Jun Lin can attest to, though she probably wouldn't :) - as she kindly writes out the herbs I'm learning in big characters -so I can see all the strokes - and then looks over my shoulder as I write them in my notebook to make sure I get it right :)), when his "Er Ge" came. Dr. Zhao's eyes lit up upon seeing his brother and he quickly introduced him to me and me to him and said, "My brother is a master calligrapher. Let him paint for you" as he handed him the brush. He proceeded to paint/write my Chinese name and welcomed me to China as his American friend in his calligraphy words.

We then proceeded to have a long conversation. He held my hands, shaking them fervently while saying, "Ni hen liaobuqi. Ni hen liaobuqi. Hen bu rongyi dao Zhong Guo lai -- yao guo women de da hai cai dao. Ni cong xi fang pao dao zheli lai zhen de bu rongyi!" "What you have done is amazing...This is not easy to come all the way to China from the west, all the way across our big oceans to come here. This is not easy!" Dr. Zhao's brother is a bit slighter in stature than Dr. Zhao, and his eyes have a depth that show volumes of the hardships, joys, struggles, changes, challenges, victories, steadfastness, and persistence he has lived through. He told me of his and his brother's (Dr. Zhao) past - 7 kids growing up in a one room home. Their mother, he said was also "hen liaobuqi" (amazing, extraordinary). She had no one to help her and all her tasks - tasks that were "Mama's tasks" - cooking, sewing clothes, socks, shoes, getting water, making fires, buying, planting, harvesting food -- were left for her to do alone. Yet she did her best and loved her children and they knew that in their bones -- even when they had to run to school amidst high snow banks in bare feet (as they had no socks -- and this way their cloth shoes would at least be dry when they got to school). He said they all learned a lot about persistence and diligence from their mom and love her deeply for all she did -- "even though we were very naughty as little boys," he said with a twinkle in his eyes :).

Dr. Zhao's brother also obviously holds very high respect for his "didi" - younger brother. He said, looking over at Dr. Zhao while he was now helping another patient, "Ta hen qinfen! Ta hen hui xia gongfu!" "He is very hardworking and diligent! And he knows how and is willing to focus and be persist in his determined efforts." "We weren't from a family of money or high educational background," he said, " yet, he created his life, profession, success through his sheer determination and diligence." Dr, Zhao had told me that he and his artist friend used to be "gong ren" together - workmen in their youth. Yet at the early age of 17, he chose to follow in his grandfather's steps (he was a highly respected and recognized Chinese medicine doctor) and study and pursue Chinese medicine. Since then he has studied fervently and persistently. Even in the cultural revolution, when any such studies or practice of medicine was outlawed (and doctors were being jailed or sent to the country side for "education"--meaning basically hard labor), Dr. Zhao would wake up before the rest of the village to study his books. He says his field is a life-long dedication to learning and service.

Gosh, I still have more to say! (I guess that's probably not a surprise any more, huh? as I often say this! :)) It's probably a good thing that I write these updates at night and slowly get sleepy as I'm typing and then am surprised when I realize its already time for bed yet again! -- otherwise these updates may be infinitely long! Thank you for those who have made it to the end of my updates -- I am so honored and grateful to share about my dear friend and teacher. I have this desire in my heart for our world to know and see him -- to have the gift of knowing and loving him as a dear friend and teacher as I do. And through writing, I feel I can share this with you. So thank you -- and thank you to all for your emails and letters. I so enjoy hearing from you!!

Reporters Coming to the Clinic Again Tomorrow
Tomorrow 2 reporters from Henan Province newspaper are coming to follow me around in the clinic :). They came today as somehow they heard an American came to study one-on-one with a Chinese doctor. This is very unusual as most foreign students who do come, study in a hospital through one of the schools. Rarely does a Chinese student (although this is slowly starting to change again), let alone a "wai guo ren" - a foreigner, come to study one-on-one with a doctor. It was fun watching both of the reporters' eyes open increasingly wider and glow with more curiosity as they started to realized who Dr. Zhao is and why I've chosen to come here. They asked themselves out loud --"how did we not hear about you (Dr. Zhao) before?!" Again, Dr. Zhao is humble and persistent -- he has never put out any advertisements for his clinic -- people just come from word of mouth. Both reporters are going to get some treatment tomorrow too. One already had his pulses taken and will start taking herbs :).

Time for bed for me -- and more pictures in my next update -- this one has the pics of some of Dr. Zhao's awards and one of me dressed in one of Dr. Zhao's "doctor" coats :) I don't usually wear this, but when the reporters called to say they were coming, Dr. Zhao had me put it on to look more professional :). As you can see (as I'm wearing a winter coat underneath) warm, spring weather has yet to arrive here in Zhengzhou :)

Much great Love to you all!!


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