YAY!! I'm excited to write to you and to be able to send this! My apologies I have been out of communication for so long!! I actually had some big challenges accessing gmail....even with my nifty "jump-over-the-Chinese-firewall" software!! With the help of some IT friends in Beijing, I'm now able to access my gmail again! :) YAY!
As I’m writing this now I’m listening to my music – I often put it on shuffle so I get surprised with the music that comes on when writing :)….The song that is playing now is “Follow Your Heart” …she says “follow your heart ….can you follow your heart….the road is long…can you follow your dreams to the end?”
Oh…this principle is one that I live by and have lived by fiercely since I was a little girl. I have an ever-strong pull, ache at times that builds in my heart and I am committed to follow it …to follow my dreams, to follow them through regardless of whether they “make sense” in the outer world. This trip to China is one I that started building again as the seasons changed from summer to fall and got louder as the temperatures dropped and the days got shorter. In my mind (my analytical mind), I knew I’d be going back to China in August 2014 for our 2 Qigong & Wilderness trekking trips, so it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to go back before then,…but my heart had a different plan.
I also like to follow energy, and as a feeling, pressure grows in my heart, I often receive images that light up…the brighter they are, the more drawn I feel to that particular path. I also had so many dreams of Dr. Zhao and his family and soon knew it was time to go back…back to my other home in the Far East! :)
Sometimes people ask me, what is your purpose? Why are you studying with Dr. Zhao? What is your goal with that? These questions have made me uncomfortable in the past. While I am not a doctor at this time, learning more and more about this system of medicine is for my own self healing, for helping friends and family, for sharing with the greater public and is also a part of my spiritual path. Dr. Zhao is one of my dear teachers, as well as beloved friend and family member. And he is a teacher of both Chinese Medicine and the spiritual laws of life.
(This is a pic of Dr. Zhao and his dear friend who is an artist. They have been friends since they were young boys...and at 17 they both made their commitment to their calling...being a Master Doctor and a Master Artist. :))
As I mentioned in my first update, one of my purposes in being with Dr. Zhao, his family and in his clinic is to study and to study well. Another is to Love. I Love them all so much! And I love being with the patients and experiencing every part of daily life with the good Doctor and his family and all the beautiful people around me. Love is one of if not the Greatest Power in the Universe. And it opens seen and many unforeseen doors.
The other day Dr. Zhao and I were talking. He started sharing with me again how he desires to find a student he can really transfer his knowledge and skills to….one who is fluent in Chinese and has already had a foundational schooling/degree in Chinese medicine, and someone who can be with him day in and day out for at least 3 years. This way he can give, pass on to the next generation some of the treasures, knowledge, wisdom he holds within. While I totally understand and agree with his desire, I also felt sad. I have this burning, intense desire to help and assist in his vision in any way I can, and I started having some of those…yes, pesky, sneaky thoughts again. I was wondering if what I’m doing is of any help? I went into the herbal room with my sisters, and while I was just going to hold this questioning in my heart…, I couldn’t. I started crying. Both my sisters came to me asking what was on my heart. I told them a bit of my conversation and my intense desire that this time I have with Dr. Zhao and his family be of great service and benefit for all. I desire for this time to in some way, in many ways help and benefit many, many, many, many people.
(These are a few pics of my gift and letter to Dr. Zhao and Ayi - a calendar with pics I've taken from the Wild Lands of our Pacific NW to share Nature's beauty with them and so so so much Love and Gratitude to them both)
Power of Emotions, Action and Feeling Uncomfortable
That night when in my room, I had my music on random again and Anthony Robbins came on. :) He started talking about the goodness of the variety of our emotions and of feeling uncomfortable. Often times it takes this discomfort or at times pain, to spur us into action. Well, I started thinking what action could I take to make a difference right now? I had had this thought a few weeks ago to write to Michelle Obama as she and her daughters arrived in China during my time here. I looked up her contact info, and as I didn’t find a way to write to her directly, I decided to write a letter to President Obama himself! :-D YAY!!! Oh my Gosh!! I felt so so so happy writing this letter. I spoke of my studies here in China with Dr. Zhao and how our country can gain so much from learning from him and this system of medicine. And how I believe that through creating a humanitarian bridge of love and mutual respect among the hearts of people in the U.S. and China - 2 world super powers, we have such a massive potential to do and create so much Good on our Planet. (I pasted the letter below at the end of this update…)
The next day, Dr. Zhao’s daughter, Nicole came to the clinic. I had sent her a copy of the letter and she was very happy. She asked if I had told her Dad, and I had not. She told him of my letter and he, in his quiet way, nodded his head in approval with a slight smile on his face. He said, “Shi ta yinggai de.” “Yes, as she should do.” Later that afternoon he called me over to his desk to talk. He said, “Kailun, this is an idea/dream I can get behind.” We talked of how “Zhong Yi” Chinese Medicine has many parts – tuina and massage, acupuncture, qigong, herbs, moxa, dietary therapy, martial arts – that can be used together or separately, depending on the conditions and need.
Chinese Medicine ~ Tools for “Baojian”
Chinese medicine has many tools to help people “baojian” “preserve/protect their health.” It is not expensive. It can treat all kinds of illness and conditions. We spoke of how our country can greatly benefit from the gifts, tools, methods, resources of Chinese medicine. Employing this system on a broader public health scale could greatly help reduce health care costs, teach people how stay healthy, how to catch things/illness/disharmony early on and correct them then. Dr. Zhao was recently asked to go to a Middle School and give a talk and demonstration that will be filmed and televised. More and more young kids are developing neck and back pain. Dr. Zhao will speak to the students and staff about these problems, how to treat/relieve them and how to prevent them. Their goal is to help their kids to be healthy, to know tools to stay well. They will then have better “jingshen” “energy/bright – strong spirit”, will be able to study well, will be “cong ming” “intelligent” – and “the health of our children will be good for all,” said Dr. Zhao. Dr. Zhao continued that the spread and use of the system and tools of Chinese medicine is “wei le lao bai xin” so all people young and old can enjoy and live healthy, happy, productive, and effective lives.
Happy people will have creativity, courage, “liliang” “energy to do what they desire, to pursue and follow their dreams. These dreams are sacred. They are in each person’s heart. Living them fully creates a beautiful tapestry that is interwoven, interconnected with all Life…humans, plants, animals. Health provides one of the basic foundational pillars for us to live our Divine Purpose. Chinese medicine helps those who are out of balance get back into balance, and also provides tools for the public to learn and use in their daily life.
(This is a picture of 2 Chinese stamps "yinzhang" that Dr. Zhao's friend, the Artist carved himself. When he came to visit, he showed these to Dr. Zhao :). Each one has a wonderful wisdom nugget. For example, the first one is a line from the poem, "The Peach Blossom Spring 桃花源诗“ 陶渊明Tao Yuanming and it says, "怡然有余乐 yiran youyu le" "an abundance of happiness and contentedness is joy." (note...there may be other translations out there too! This is my own :)). The other is...心泰身守 "May the body and heart-mind abide in peace")
A Family Feast
So my time in Zhengzhou with my beloved teacher and family has come to an end. It has once again been such a rich, rich and full visit and time of study and leaning on many levels. I feel so so so grateful. Part of the ritual of parting and celebrating our time together is to share ..yes, one more most delicious meal with the family. Both Jumin and Ayi prepared extra dishes and made such a feast!! Oh I feel so blessed! And both Wenqing and Gaogao were home too so we had fun dancing around with the scarves I gave them and taking some pictures :)
Ayi and Dr. Zhao!!! :-)
Mischievous Gaogao! :)
Sweet Wenqing! :-D
A Final Treatment & a 3-Wheeled Adventure with Gugu :)
That day I also was in quite a bit of pain. My waist was hurting and the pain had started radiating down and up the left side of my spine. While in the living room, Ayi invited me to sit next to her on the couch but I declined mentioning my waist was hurting. She was concerned and told Dr. Zhao. I didn’t want to bother him as he was also resting – he had started feeling the first signs of a cold so was taking some herbs and resting more that day as the clinic was closed). We all took the afternoon to rest and I also packed my bags in preparation for leaving early in the morning. Well, at night after I finished dinner, I got a call from Dr. Zhao. He was concerned about my waist and asked if I’d like one more treatment to help me more comfortably travel in the next several days. Oh that is sooo sooo generous and thoughtful! I said “Yes!” and put on my jacket and headed over to the clinic to meet him and Ayi. Well his treatment really helped so very much, and as I was resting on the table afterward, Ayi’s sister came by with something for her and Dr. Zhao. She lives close to my hotel and had “driven” over in one of those small little 3-wheeled open carts – with a front seat for her, and a back seat or space for carry any variety of items….which in China is quite an extreme diversity of items! :-D
Well Dr. Zhao, Ayi, and Ayi’s sister (I call her Gugu) all thought it was a great idea for me to get a lift back to the hotel with Gugu, so I hopped in the back with both Dr. Zhao and Ayi explaining not sit all the way down with all my weight fully on my buttock. I must support myself with my forearms as it’s quite bumpy and well, there are some holes and rough spots on the road. I nodded my head, and smiled, continuing to thank both Dr. Zhao and Ayi and waved to them as Gugu and I put-putted down the driveway toward the big boulevard. Gugu was delightful and cheery and started happily chatting as we made our way down the street. She said, “Ni lai wo jia wanr wanr ba.” “how about you come to our home and have some fun for awhile?” Haha! She’s so sweet! And ….so relaxed!!! I, on the other hand, was starting to get quite nervous. We had no lights and ….were about to cross the big boulevard. She made our way half way across and then stopped in the middle. Oh no! And I thought it was scary standing in the middle of the boulevard next to the flimsy traffic divider when crossing the street by foot! Now we were in a little vehicle that stuck out into both sides of the boulevard!! :-( I was about to hop out,….but Gugu was so calm…and miraculously the oncoming cars actually stopped and we “happily” bumbled across to the other side of the street. Oh my Gosh! I was so relieved! Well then we’re riding down the foot path and I see fire up ahead!! Oh my Gosh …(yes, OMGosh again :))!!! There was several little make-shift fire piles/pits with people standing beside them and there were 2 just in our pathway in front of us. “Can we fit though” I thought? And why was there all this fire anyway? I asked Gugu and she calmly and happily explained that it was for celebrating Qinming Jie – they were burning paper money in honor of their ancestors – it is a holiday for honoring one’s ancestors. Well somehow as we got really close to the fire, the people around it moved aside, and there happened to be just enough room for us to fit and roll on past between two of the fire pits. Haha! I thought it was funny that both Ayi and Dr. Zhao thought it would be more safe for me to get a ride home with Gugu than to walk on my own. While I felt nervous that it was dangerous, it was also another opportunity to trust and know I’m in good company, and good hands with Dr. Zhao’s and Ayi’s family. :)
Beijing in Spring time!
So after an early morning departure at the train station and many big hugs, I hopped on the train and headed back to Beijing where this journey began. And wow!! Beijing in spring time is just beautiful! The flowers are all blossoming, the trees are newly leafed. And I love being back in the heart of Beijing! I stayed at an old and funky hotel across the street from Kundawell Institute, my qigong Grandmaster’s education, training and research institute. It was my first time to stay there as I usually stay at a nearby youth hostel that is now being renovated. It reminds me of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. It obviously has been built up over the years with maze-like corridors and odd-shaped rooms and “secret” doors that lead to outside stairway cases….some that lead to the back “hutongs” or alleyways, and others….that lead to the roof! :-D My first morning there I had this idea of doing qigong on the roof if I could find my way there…and I did! Oh it was cool to see the surrounding city from up there, enjoy the morning sun and look out to see the Drum Towers, Jing Shan Park and other historic buildings and the top floor of Kundawell and the neighboring Chinese Medicine hospital. One thing I didn’t think about though….was making sure I could get back into the building! :( After practice I was hungry and ready to go find some yummy breakfast, yet when I hopped down the iron staircases to the door….oh dear! It was locked! I went down to the next one and it was locked. Oh no! And the next one! I went down a maze of metal pathways and metal stairs hopping I’d find another exit into the alleyway like I had the night before….but the metal gate was closed this time and bolted and locked :(. Oh phooey! I went back up to the original door and started knocking and knocking and was starting to wish I had started more parkour training before leaving Seattle so I could just hop over some of these gates and walls! Ha! Well I did finally double-check the doors on all the floors…and thank goodness, the very last door…was unlocked. Yay! So off for a yummy breakfast!
Land of Delicious & Random Treasures
And I just love how in China, pretty much anything you’re looking for, you can find within a few short blocks, be it freshly made bread, a shoe smith, new socks, bike repair, steamed dumplings, or freshly blended red bean shakes. Well when I went out for my walk, I did have a thought of where would I be able to buy a sewing kit to fix a hole in one of my skirts and in a sweater? Well, in the land of most anything you desire, there on my right on the side of the sidewalk I was passing by, was a kind, smiling grandma who was selling…needles, thread of all colors, seam rippers, buttons of any design, size or shape you’d like, nail clippers, scissors, elastic bands and more! So for all of about 15 cents, I bought a packet of needles and a spool of thread! :-D Perfect!
(these are pics of one of my YUMMY dinners in Beijing! My dear friend, Anna at Kundawell recommended her favorite restaurant to me that's in one of the old hutongs (alleyways) and for dessert I found an awesome little cafe selling Taiwanese desserts!! YUM! This is a yummy item "xian cap" I ate a lot with my friend Rosey last year in Taiwan :-D)
Becoming Her Own Doctor
I also enjoyed a great visit with my dear friend, Miao Yin, the woman I call the Modern Daoist sage. This visit she shared more with me about her path and how she healed herself at the age of 25 when she became very, very sick. Since the age of 18, she started performing as a singer, worked late nights and also paid her way through college. At first she really liked it. She enjoyed getting all dressed up, putting on lots of make up and enjoyed the attention of the crowds. Yet after several years, and feeling more and more tired, she started wondering what this was all for? It’s one thing if she was a big star, but she wasn’t. She was providing a momentary pleasure for an audience, but didn’t feel it was anything of lasting affect…and her health was starting to go down hill. Finally, as she had gotten weaker and weaker, she quit singing at 25 and looked for help. Yet, all the doctors she went to, turned her away. They feared she was about to die and they would be of no help. Faced in such a predicament, Miao Yin went back to her homeland in Yunnan, back to the mountains and began meditating “nian jing” and reading some of the ancient and famous Chinese medical texts. She spent 6 months reading the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Cannon), making porridges with red dates, goji berries and other easy to digest, nourishing, “Bu” herbs. Over time she regained her strength and even built back her health to better than before. One of the doctors who knew her but wasn’t able to help, called her after about a year…really to see if she was still alive. When hearing she was not only alive but healthy and well, she wanted to meet up. While most people train to be a doctor by attending a medical university for several years to get a degree and then do some apprenticing, this doctor saw that Miao Yin had already taught herself much. She suggested that Miao Yin work beside her closely for 3 years. This way she would gain much clinical experience and could then go read more of the theory, etc in school. So this is what Miao Yin did, and after that teacher she met another teacher she is with now and has been with for 3.5 years. She is an amazing generous woman and already a talented doctor. My guess is she will be a part of many future updates as well. :)
Like on the Wings of a Bird
So in closing this series of China adventure stories, sharings and updates, I conclude with a video of Dr. Zhao reciting a poem (see below) he wrote upon the departure of his first visit to the U.S. He speaks fondly to the rich friendships he cherishes with here in the West, of the vast oceans that separate the U.S. and China and of him departing …like on the wings of a bird, disappearing into the sky :).
I so look forward to seeing many of you soon!! :-) I will be back in Seattle in June and will be traveling and hiking in some of our great South West National Parks before then...among other travels. :) I'll send pics and continue to send you all so much Good Qi!!! Thank you once again for joining me on my journeys in this amazing land of China. Till the next China Adventure….
So much LOVE, Blessings, more LOVE to you all!!
p.s. Here’s my letter to President Obama if you’re interested in reading it…:)
Greetings President Obama,
I am currently in China and saw the arrival of our First Lady and your daughters on the China News. I’m thrilled they came to China to spread the good will and human kindness between both countries. I view myself as an ambassador between the East and West with the aim of building a similar humanitarian bridge based on mutual respect and love between these 2 super powers. I am a writer, and I write of my travels and studies with a Master Chinese Medicine doctor, Dr. Zhao Fu Xue in Henan Province, and the amazing experiences of learning from him in his clinic and sharing daily life, meals, outings, etc with him and his wonderful extended family.
The sharing of my learnings, love and interactions has transformed many American's negative view of China and opened their hearts to the loving, generous hearts of the Chinese people. As 2 super powers, I feel if the U.S. & China are aligned in love and the hearts of the people, both countries have the potential to be such a positive force and power for Good in our World.
Also, I feel our country has much we can learn from and gain from Chinese Medicine. The Master Doctor I am studying with can treat many varieties of illnesses, ages of people, and conditions, all through his humble clinic -- doing precise diagnosis through pulse, questions, observation and the writing of herbal prescriptions. All people, poor and rich are welcomed and treated with the same kindness and genuine concern. It is affordable and yields quick results with no harmful side effects. I feel our country has so much to gain from embracing this system of medicine and learning from some of China's masters.
If there is a way I can be of greater service in the good relations between the U.S. and China, and/or facilitate teachings from Masters such as Dr. Zhao Fuxue, please contact me. By training I am a Cultural Anthropologist, am fluent in Mandarin and have my Masters in Public Health from U.C. Berkeley. Here is the link to my blog on my writings of my studies in China: www.qidancer.blogspot.com
Here's a China TV News Broadcast from Henan Province of me and my studies with Dr. Zhao :). It gives you a sense of what I'm doing here and of Dr. Zhao and the beautiful being and honorable Doctor he is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llUScGZ0-Dk
Thank you so very much for reading my letter and for considering my vision and how I can best be of service to our country and our good relations with China.
Thank you for all your good work, Mr. President, and many thanks to your wife, Michelle for all the good she does for so many. I am so glad she was here in China. I loved knowing we were both here at the same time! :)
Karen Joy Fletcher, MPH