YAY! I’m so excited to be writing to you again. Each day has so much to share, and is quite full so I don’t always get to sitting down and writing.
Conspiring for my Success! :)
So I’m going to start again with sharing of my “Sisters”, Junling and Lijun. They are so amazing, and generous and I feel are always “conspiring” for my success!!! They know my time here is short and are doing everything they can to help me learn as much as possible. While I love “zhua yao” filling the herbal prescriptions with them for our patients, now when I go to pick up my “chengzi” – Chinese herb hand-scale, they both look at me while shaking their heads and kindly but firmly say, “Kailun, ni yinggai kan shu ba. Kan shu ba.” “Kailun, it’s best if you read your book – go read your book.” So, they are supporting me in focusing on my treatment studies this visit….and I am learning so much! I’m on Chap 8 now of Dr. Zhao’s acupressure book I mentioned in my last update and am almost ½ way through the book. I think this is actually the longest Chinese book I’ve ever read! :-D And it’s soooo awesome to have this intensive study period. I LOVE the Chinese language, and reading, as I explained last time, provides a great way to learn so MANY (sometimes an overwhelming amount!) new words. As I’m using my nifty ipod to draw in the character I’m looking up in the dictionary app, I am practicing my writing a lot more too! :) I’ve given myself the goal of finishing this book by the end of this study- period, AND, I love how Dr. Zhao in his own loving and quiet way is always expanding my ideas on what’s possible. The 4th day into reading this book and my new resolve to complete it, I arrived into clinic in the morning to find….yet another book all on treatment for lower back/waist issues! Oh yes!!! A good reminder that there is AWAYS more to learn. And I LOVE that about Life! :-) (even if it involves reading even More Chinese books!! :-D)
Another way my sisters are conspiring for my success, is while I often have my head either buried in Dr. Zhao’s book, or my nose to my ipod while scribbling in my Chinese characters I’m looking up, if either of them see a patient come in who is there to get an acupressure treatment, they whisper to me, “Kailun, ni qu kan ba” “Kailun, another acupressure patient is here…you can go watch.” They know I’d like to watch, observe and participate in as many treatments as possible so they have their own antenna up for any and all opportunities to help me learn as much as I can! :-)
Blonde Hairs, Gold Necklaces….& Crooked Collars!
So this “conspiring” for my success really is happening in all areas with my Sisters and my whole Chinese family :). Another example, is …while I like to dress nice each day, I’ve realized that I miss some details sometimes… and my sisters, Dr. Zhao and my other Chinese family members are helping support my own training and awareness in this area as well. The other day I came into the clinic with my purple fleece jacket, and Lijun kindly came over to me and whispered in my ear, “Kailun, ni yifu de beibu you hen duo jin toufa.”..”Kailun, the back of your jacket has a bunch of your blonde hairs on it.” And she kindly suggested I take a few minutes to pick those off. “Oh yes!” again, this is part of my training in keeping my clothes looking new and well taken care of. So after I fixed up my jacket, I put on my clinic apron, both Junling and Lijun came over to look at what necklace and earrings I was wearing and both concluded that they liked these gold earrings best and it looked so nice with the necklace…a gold necklace I happily explained was given to me by my Grandmother. :)
Well then I heard Dr. Zhao’s voice, “Kailun, lai” …Karen, come, come. So I went into the treatment room of the clinic and Dr. Zhao brought me in front of the mirror. “Oh!”, I thought, “he’s going to say something about this beautiful necklace from my Grandmother too. :)”…and I already had a big grin on my face. But then he said, with a smile and twinkle in his eyes, “Ni kan ni de yifu. Ni yao chuan hao” “Look at your collar…make sure your clothes are on right”. Oops!! I had half of my purple jacket collar sticking out of my clinic apron collar and half of it was buried underneath the apron! Ah well, so much for looking professional! And we both laughed. (At least this instance wasn’t as bad as the day many years ago now when I left my apartment in Oakland and biked all the way to work, only to look down and realize I still had my slippers on!! :-D)
Oh so many adventures happen here everyday! I feel like every moment is an adventure. Sometimes while riding my bike to Dr. Zhao’s clinic or around the neighborhood, I just find myself giggling and laughing out loud, “I’m in CHINA! Haha! “ I feel so happy. Somehow even the little beeps on the scooters, people selling puffed rice treats, freshly cut pineapples, and all sorts of other yummy delights on the street sides, and seeing the small, red 3-wheeled, tiny putt-putt vehicles that so confidently pull out into the middle of and somehow miraculously cross a huge city intersection with huge bumbling buses, concrete trucks, cars, bikes and scooters barreling right towards them, all make me feel amazement and a giddy glee about being here.
Biking with a Master :-D
This past Sunday (our day off from the clinic) was no exception. Dr. Zhao had a couple of adventures planned for us, and the first was he was going to take me to one of his favorite places and centers for selling ancient artifacts such as paintings, vases, jade, calligraphy. This is also one of only 2 places in China where you can bring any of these items to have them inspected by experts – they will tell you whether they are real or fake artifacts, and if real, what time period they are from. Outside of this center are also many street vendors who display their treasures laid out on ground clothes. Dr. Zhao has found many “baobei” “treasures” here. So we got an early start and met at a street corner, both on our bikes and then …yes, we too headed off across this crazy street intersection and then peddled down the city streets with the diversity and abundance of all the other people, and amazing variety of vehicles sharing the road with us. Haha! I was so happy peddling along behind my teacher (and doing my best to keep up with him!! He’s fast!)
An Organic Farm Adventure
So after our adventures at the (what I’m calling) “baobei” or “treasures market place,” Dr. Zhao and I hopped on our bikes and joined the flow of traffic westward. Along the way, he pulled over down a side street and found us a cute little local restaurant to share a delicious lunch of stir-fried eggs and tomatoes, a dish of stir-fried tofu and veggies and seaweed and egg-drop soup with rice. Yum! We ate at a good pace as we still had another adventure to embark on that day. We were going to Dengfeng to one of his client’s organic farms! Oh I was excited to see her farm and to get out into the countryside. :)
A side note here…People in China are also concerned about the state of commercial, industrialized food and it’s harm on health of all life forms…humans, animals, plants and our Earth. There is now also a growing trend towards organically grown foods and staying away from 转基因 zhuan ji yin – genetically modified foods. Dr. Zhao and Ayi grow most of their own vegetables – all organically – on a plot of land they have on the edge of town. I feel so so so very fortunate and grateful everyday to be with them. AND I have the added DELICIOUS blessing of eating lunch with them, their daughter-in-law, Jumin, their grandson, Gaogao, and their son, Zhao Peng every day (their grand daughter, Wenqing is in preschool now and is not home during the day) :). It’s always so yummy!
(this is a pic of one of my amazing lunches with the Zhaos :)!)
So back to visiting the organic farm…Well on the way there…I noticed some gurgling in my belly and new right away that something wasn’t sitting well with me from lunch. :( Oh no! I didn’t want to get sick, AND I didn’t want to cause any fuss on our outing. There were going to be several other people there for our “personal farm tour” as well, and well, I just wanted this stomach pain to go away. :)
Plan A – Self-Treatment Acupressure
So while Dr. Zhao and I were listening so some of his favorite songs and then taking turns singing Chinese and English songs, every now and then I’d get quiet as I’d have a big stomach pain cramp come…Oh no! BUT! I remembered to use some of my acupressure knowledge. There is this wonderful short poem Dr. Zhao taught me in my first visit with him by a famous Daoist practitioner in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), Ma Dayang. The poem has 11 “heavenly” points (though a 12th was added later on). The poem explains the points and which ones are used for treating diseases of various parts of the body. The poem ends with saying, “san bai liu shi xue bu chu qian quan jinjue 三百六十穴不出千全金诀””out of the 360 acupressure points, none are better than these treasure points in this poem.” :-) Well the 2 points listed for stomach ailments are zu san li 足三里 and nei ting xue 内庭穴(Stomach 36 and 44), and zu san li fortunately is below the knee and is an easy point to rub in a rather inconspicuous way. Neiting, however, would’ve required me to take off my boots,…and well that would’ve just been too obvious! :)
So we made it all the way to the farm, and by now my stomach cramps were coming more often with more intensity…even despite my plan of self-treatment! Once there I softly mentioned to one of the other people that my stomach was a bit upset and asked if there was a bathroom. Well, Dr. Zhao is so aware and he somehow picked up on what I said, turned with a concerned look on his face and said..”ni duzi bu shufu ma? You la duzi ma? “Your stomach is upset? Are you about to have diarrhea?” Oh dear! I didn’t want to cause a fuss….and now everyone here knows I’m about to have diarrhea! How embarrassing! Dr. Zhao jumped back in his car and drove me over to the building with bathroom and had another woman go in with me. Oh dear! Well anyway, while I felt thoroughly embarrassed, the funny thing is, no one else seemed embarrassed for me. They were just concerned and wanted me to feel better. Also, it seems that it’s not that big of a deal to talk of diarrhea and other bodily functions here – and especially when with a Chinese medicine doctor, as talking about ones stools is part of the protocol of diagnosis, and hence a part of conversation with many, many people each day :). So, after my visit (well more than one visit) to the bathroom, I did start to feel better and was able to join the farm tour again :).
Oh, Are You Crying?!
Once back together with the group, the others decided this was a perfect opportunity to take some good photos of the owner with a foreigner (me!) amongst the tomato plants :). So we took a ton of photos and then photos with all us women together among the plants, and then went outside the green house to take more. Well, thinking my attention-getting stomach distress was over, I was happy to just smile and participate in the group fun….that is until while we were in this 2nd round of picture taking with the owner, that my eyes started burning and stinging and watering profusely! Oh dear! What an inopportune time for this to happen! I tried to just wipe my eyes, hoping the tears would stop, but it just made it worse and by now I looked like I was crying! And as I was posing for pics, I wasn’t able to hide this and one of the women exclaimed, “oh ni ku ma?” “Oh, are you crying?” Oh no! No, no, I explained, my eyes are stinging for some reason and I need to flush them out. Again I felt so embarrassed. I had only met most of these people for less than 1 hour and already felt I caused such a fuss…twice! Well, this group of women were so kind, they gave me lots of tissues and water to rinse my eyes; and they could tell I felt embarrassed and kept saying, “oh this happens to me too – you know there is dust in the air – ‘meiguanxi meiguanxi’ – no big deal, no big deal. :)
(Here's me with the owner of this organic farm - she's a patient and friend of Dr. Zhao's :))
(Notice I often have one of these tomatoes in or near my mouth! They are sooooo delicious! :-D !)
(Here's a pic of me with the organic farm and pig farm owners - husband and wife :))
After the farm tour we went out to another part of the country-side as this woman, a client and friend of Dr. Zhao’s wanted to show us her organic pig farm too. Oh it was so beautiful! We drove down some small country roads through villages and over a mountain ridge and down the other side. I was so happy to be out here in the open land! It was a clear day too, so you could see across the valleys and the all the surrounding mountains. While this was a group event that day, I enjoyed my moments of stepping aside and watching and listening to the land, the fields, the surrounding mountains, being present with them and drinking in the Life – the energy of the trees, the shape of, roll and angles of the hills, the valley and the emerging Song Mts in the distance. These are the mountains within which Shaolin Monastery abides, and are mountains I hiked and practiced qigong in daily when in training intensively with Grandmaster Xu Mingtang in 2005. And I love the trees! – just their presence emits such quiet, yet full, strong beauty.
Inner Energetic Connections with Terrains
On our drive back to city, I loved continuing to observe and feel the land, and consciously creating an inner energetic connection within me …of the mountain, farm, and valley terrains – an energetic map I can visit and return to.…I watched how the terrains changed as we drove in Dr. Zhao’s “cars” (as he calls it :))…entering the smaller hills with the caves that Ayi spoke of the other week, smaller trees,…and then entering flatter lands, and crossing a beautiful river right on the edge of the big city. It is here, on the edge of town on the bluffs above this river, that Ayi and Dr. Zhao grow their food. As we crossed the river I turned my head to look west towards the mountains and saw our setting sun…then looking ahead towards the city, I saw our beautiful round and full moon rise. Wow!!! It was soo sooo beautiful! I feel so blessed. I now take these images, this energy into my meditations, early morning sits, qigong practice and listen, be with land…even when I’m in city terrain, I enjoy Listening.
(Note - this pic is blurry -- it's not your eyes! :-D ...I just loved this tree and the view!)
YAY!!! Thank you so much to all of you who have made it through another one of my long updates!!! YAY! I love sharing with you…and so much more to share! I still have yet to tell you about the various clients I’m meeting. Here’s one woman who is a long-time friend and client of Dr. Zhao’s who has not cut her hair in 40 years!!! When I asked if it was for religious reasons, she smiled and said no – it was because her son from a very early age asked her not to cut her hair! :)
And this beautiful woman and young girl is another client of Dr. Zhao’s. Her name is Li Xiao Ping and she is a wonderful opera singer – and her grand daughter is sooo cute! I had the wonderful opportunity to have dinner with them the other night and Li Xiao Ping's grand daughter is so delightful!!! We danced, jump-roped, made paper wallets, picked out sparkly stickers to put on our phones and ….enjoyed a most yummy dinner that Li Xiao Ping made :). Through it all, this wonderful little girl kept coming next to me and hugging me, saying, “Wo xihuan ni” “I like you!” Oh!!! I like her too! :)
I will be traveling and hiking on Yun Tai Shan (Yun Tai Mt) this weekend, and will include more pics and stories from that trip when I return.
Oh, I am so so so so very grateful for my Chinese family and for the opportunity to be here and to learn so much, AND I am so so so grateful to be able to share this amazing gift with you all!! SUCH BIG LOVE to you all from CHINA! :-D
Much LOVE and Joy,