Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No Sleeping In! Sesame Bananas, Sock Holes & Un-Kept Secrets, Paying Attention, and Arm Wrestling! :-D

Greetings Friends!

Gosh, there is so much for me to learn every day with Dr. Zhao. I LOVE being here with him and his whole family. I love them all soo soooo soooooo very much!! Last Sunday, on our 1 day off from clinic each week and Dr. Zhao arranged another wonderful day of adventure…of course that means an early start…as there is no sleeping in in Zhengzhou! :-D Especially when you are with a Master! :)…because, there is just so much to experience and good things to do and…gifts and surprises to be available to receive. :) I love how Dr. Zhao organizes his time. He is a man of great integrity, and if he says he’s going to do something or be somewhere at a certain time, he is there with a smile. If he needs to change his agreement, he is always in communication right away. While it may seem a simple matter, it is part of his Mastery, his being the best Doctor and Being he is. It is a commitment to himself and his word. He has no judgment on others; he keeps his focus on his own mastery, growth and knows each person also has that own responsibility in their own life. It’s actually very similar to Byron Katie’s teachings. I remember going to one of Byron Katie’s lectures where she made the point, “If I’m looking at and judging someone else’s actions, then who’s home in my own house?” – meaning – I’m here to inhabit my “house” – my body, being, spirit, as that’s where my growth, lessons and evolution lies – in being “home” to learn and experience and evolve my own consciousness. If I’m out meddling in or judging someone else’s business, then I’m not home in my own house…or available for what’s happening in my own consciousness. Saint Germain speaks on this too, saying “What is required for the expansion of the Light of one person may be entirely different from that for someone else. You cannot expand so long as you have an opinion about anyone else.” (I Am Discourses, Vol 3, p. 159)

The other day in the clinic, I was observing Dr. Zhao as he worked on a patient. Actually, this patient, Xu Xiao Ju has also become another friend of mine. :) It turns out she also is a professor (of statistics) at the same college, Dr. Zhao’s daughter, Nicole (Zhao Fang) teaches at! :) Xu Xiao Ju is a beautiful woman with such a strong, pure and lovely heart. She is Buddhist and in her first visit with her husband, I noticed she had one of those beaded necklaces used for saying prayers/mantras that she held in her hands while waiting for her treatment with Dr. Zhao. We started talking and I liked her right away. Since then, whenever she and her husband come, I go out to see him, or sometimes she comes to find me with my nose buried in ….yes, the same book I’ve been reading this whole visit (I’m almost done!! :-D)! I love talking with her and it’s been so wonderful to talk about Dharma and learn some Chinese words for some spiritual teachings I hold in my heart.

Absorbing Wisdom
Well Dr. Zhao so enjoys their company too and they have become good friends, often coming towards the end of our clinic hours and staying after hours to enjoy such wonderful discussions on many meaningful topics. Gosh, I just love being with Dr. Zhao and these 2 people, and soaking in as much as I can while they share with one another. Sometimes it’s on topics I so resonate with, and even if I don’t understand every word, I feel I am sitting on the edge of my seat to just absorb every morsel of wisdom I can. I love when Dr. Zhao shares his insights, opinions and thoughts. Sometimes he can be very quiet and not say a lot, so when he does talk, I listen as best, best, best I can. I don’t always understand everything (and I still find this frustrating as I so DESIRE to hear and understand everything he shares with me!!!)…though I know on some level I receive it all as I am listening with my Heart and my Whole Being.

Sneaky Thoughts & the Gift of “Sesame” Bananas
The other day I was feeling a bit down and disappointed with myself for having hurt my wrists. I also feared I had let Dr. Zhao down…He gives forth so much of his own kindness and energy to teach me and then I hurt myself!!! :( Phooey! Well,…I was in herbal room….and yes, you guessed….I was reading that book again! Though this time I was having trouble concentrating as some sneaky thoughts had squeezed their way into my mind saying things like… “gosh, why am I doing this? Should I even be reading this book? Maybe I’m just not able to do this..?” and on and on. And the more the thoughts whispered, the more sad I felt. Well!... as if Dr. Zhao was giving me a perfect antidote to disrupt these thoughts, and in his own sweet way letting me know he is not disappointed in me, he came into the herbal room with a smile and kind twinkle in his eyes and pointed at the bananas on the counter next to me… “Kailun, zhexie xiang jiao she ni keyi chi de. Shi zhima xiangjiao. Ni chi ba.” “Kailun, you can help yourself to these bananas…they are the special “sesame” bananas…enjoy one.” :) Oh so sweet of him!! He didn’t need to come in and tell me that…but the very act of him doing that and sending his kindness my way, totally interrupted my thought patterns and helped me snap out of that funk! Phew!!! I immediately smiled and returned to ….thoughts such that Junling had reminded me of earlier…”wo zhong, wo zhong. dou zhong” “I’m good, I’m capable, all is well” :)

Pay Attention
Dr. Zhao then also called me into the treatment room again. He was working on Xu Xiao Ju’s husband. He told me to watch closely and asked me to tell him all I saw and observed him doing. “What did you see? Did you really see? Did you really see all I was doing?” he asked. “What I am doing may look simple but are you really paying attention?” He explained that telling me what he was doing .. “mei yisi” “was not meaningful or helpful.” I must come to see and understand for myself. I remember my very first summer with Dr. Zhao and watching him treat so many patients. At that time I had no idea that I would eventually be studying these techniques with him…and in his own clinic in China! :) And I remember feeling in awe, how what appeared to be a simple technique was having such a profound positive effect on each patient that came to see him. This time in my visit I’ve been taking each opportunity I can to observe Dr. Zhao and to do it in a new way. As he goes into a deep calm state and starts to breathe with his patient as he begins his technique, I also join my breath with his and the patient’s. In my mind, I  am Dr. Zhao, Dr. Zhao is me…and I am also the patient. In this way I imagine and feel what both Dr. Zhao and his patient are feeling, and experience the whole treatment myself as I stand and observe. I am feeling the treatment, giving treatment, receiving treatment, and observing treatment all at once. The essential and foundational teaching of “Be here now” again rings so true. – this is it. To fully receive the gold, wisdom, teachings, wonder of Life, I must pay attention. Dr. Zhao tells me 2 words. “shou shen” 守神 “observe, abide by, be close to Spirit, the supernatural, the magical.” Contemplate on this and you will slowly “tihui” “understand.”

Irony of Pain & Loving One’s Body
So part of my studying here, has ironically brought about some intense bodily pains! :(…I actually find it a tad bit amusing that there seems to be just too close of a similarity to my own pains and the many “pains” and conditions I’m reading about (in that famous book!! :)) and the many pains several patients come to the clinic with. After about my 2nd week here, I started having some neck pain and then into the 3rd week it spread intensely into my upper back, between my shoulder blades.  While this pain has actually provided good material for me to practice with…doing my own self treatments …AND having my sisters and Dr. Zhao so generously give me some treatments, it also again highlights for me the very importance of good health and taking such loving, attentive care of our bodies….”ai ziji de shenti” – “to love one’s own body” – as Dr Zhao says. In my quest to “do it all” each day and on this trip that means doing my morning meditations, exercise, qigong, writing work, clinic hours, reading that book(!!), and then at night doing more of my writing work, I have been sitting far more than I usually do in my daily life in the States. And while my body did give me some mild signs of protest, I decided to “jianchi” “continue on”….and now my body is talking to me in a very strong loud voice! While I have been feeling frustrated, today I actually woke up feeling grateful. My body is partnering with me to make sure I do my best of living in balance, living and walking and moving along in my “middle path” as the Buddha speaks of.  These pains are serving to only deepen my commitment to cultivating and maintaining my healthy body, to my daily qigong practice and the many, many tools I have for taking care of my body and soul (I’ve been so enjoying doing Self Healing qigong practice that Mingtang shares), and are planting and nourishing inner seeds of compassion for so many people that experience mild discomfort to severe pain in their bodies.

“Kanbing” ~ Observing Patients
This past Monday when I arrived at the clinic, Dr. Zhao said “zhege libai buyao zai kan naben shu” -- no more reading that book this week…you can continue to “man man kan” (slowly read) when you go home. (And he bought me 3 books to take home with me!!) He explained that I was to observe “zenme kan bing” “how he diagnoses his patients.” Oh I LOVE this!! I love meeting his patients and absorbing as much as I can while I sit on the edge of my little stool next to Dr. Zhao’s desk and observe and listen, listen, listen to feel the whole interaction of Dr. Zhao with his patients. And oh soooooo many patients!! On just the first day of doing this observation, the number, variety of cases, spread of ages, diversity of classes was amazing. …

Simplicity of Tools
I also love the simplicity of tools which Dr. Zhao uses for diagnosis and treatment. Mainly he uses his hands, his eyes, his heart-mind and body. If required he’ll use acupuncture needles, but most often after diagnosing through pulse-taking, asking questions, observing the patient’s energy, skin color, posture, demeanor, glow or lack their of in their eyes, looking at their tongues, he then picks up his pen and begins to write an herbal prescription, and/or if needed he’ll give some tuina massage and acupressure. Note that he also does all of this so very calmly and with a masterful grace and confidence, while the patients and others in the room are all watching him and every move of his black ball point pen on his prescription pad. Talk about pressure!! Yet, he shows none. There’s no…”um, excuse me for a minute while I think this case through and look a few things up. …and step out into another room to write this up.” There is no other room! :-) and…Dr. Zhao has his years of study, clinical experience and knowledge all inside him. He consults within only, picks up his pen and begins to write a powerful herbal remedy specific for the patient at hand.

I also love how all people, ages, income-levels, educational backgrounds, etc are welcome. There is no big, expensive equipment, no insurance or paperwork to deal with. Yet there is much genuine kindness. With each patient, he “xia gongfu” “exerts ‘gongfu’” and does his very best. His treatment room is comprised of some waiting chairs, his acupressure/tuina table, a few extra stools, his desk, small “ba mai” “pulse-taking” pillow, prescription note pad and case books – all of which are hand written for each patient. These casebooks are organized by date and by type of “bing” or illness.

Also each day, patients just come – there are no appointments needed; there’s no waiting 1, 2, or 3 months before one can come in to see him; and there’s no waiting upon an insurance company’s prior authorization request to have it covered. People just come and Dr. Zhao greets them all with same genuine care, concern and wisdom.

No More Gambling
I have so many examples of patients and their stories to share so I’ll give you a sampling…Today a young pregnant woman came along with her husband for an early check-up. She mentioned that she likes to play “majiang” –(a Chinese gambling game)…and well that actually, she likes to play it a LOT and has been doing this more as she is “resting” more now that she is pregnant. Dr. Zhao explained to me after this patient left that as doctor, he feels it’s his responsibility to say something in such a case. It’s her choice as to whether or not she listens, but it’s his responsibility to speak out of care and desire for what’s best for the patient and her growing child. He told her quite frankly that she must not gamble anymore. She must stop. “Duo yun dong. Chifan hou, qu waimian duo huo dong, huo dong. Kan shu, xiang hao de dongxi, ting yin yue. Dou dui xiao hai hui you da bangzhu.” “It’s best you exercise more. After eating, go outside and move around, take a walk. Read some good books, fill your mind with good thoughts, listen to some good music. All of this will be good for your developing little baby.”

“Not to Worry. You Will Get Better.”
Another young woman of 30 yrs came in along with 3 of her girlfriends. She was suffering…Her face had broken out with severe acne. It itched and was getting worse, regardless of what she did to try to help her skin clear. She also explained that she’s getting married in one month and is so very worried. Dr. Zhao listened with compassion, took her pulses, asked some questions and starting writing a prescription as he told her…“Bu ai zhao. Hui hao de. Wo hui xia gong fu.” “Not to worry. You will get better. I give you my best efforts.”

A mother brought in her young 8 year old son. He had “fish scale” skin disease where the skin on several parts of his body took on the form/texture of scales. He had just completed a round of Chinese herbal teas and was already much better. He came in this day for his follow-up appointment and to have his herbal formula tweaked to continue taking a bit more herbs to fully heal.

Another patient was a young man from Kaifeng. He was being treated for impotence and Dr. Zhao took great care, talking with him in a soft voice, writing out some more sensitive questions for him to answer so as to protect his privacy in this open, one-room clinic. He was given 30 bags of herbs since he was coming from so far and wouldn’t be able to come back for a while. (this is a lot!! Some patients only take 3 bags of herbs at a time, 5-7 bags is the norm; and others take 10-15 if they live further away.)

A woman in her mid 40s brought her cousin in who had amenorrhea. After her cousin got her prescription, she slid over onto the “treatment stool” in front of Dr. Zhao’s “pulse-taking” pillow and asked if he could help her too. She’s a bus driver, she explained, and works a late shift. Her sleeping and eating schedule is no longer regular, and she’s developed stomach pain, and her skin color/hue has become “an” “dark”. She came for assistance in “ba shenti tiaoli hao” “helping rebalance her body and health.”

I talked to another woman in her 40s who came to get a prescription for her little brother to prevent nasal surgery. We got to talk a bit while she was waiting for an acupressure treatment for her shoulder. She’s known Dr. Zhao for 20 years! She lived in his neighborhood and first came to see him soon after getting married. She had had awful headaches ever since she was 12, and just took painkillers….”keshi ba wo duzi chi huai le” “but I took so many that they serious affected my stomach”. She needed another way to help and that’s when she came to Dr. Zhao. She took 3 bags of herbs and was significantly better. After 3 more, she was completely healed of over 12 years of migraines. Later Dr. Zhao also helped her nephew of 3-4 years of age resolve painful kidney stones. He too was significantly better after just 3 bags (3 days) of herbs. After 3 more, he was completely better.

“Oh I have too many illnesses, right?”
Later in the day, a woman in her late 50s had waited her turn and then in a somewhat defeated, low-energy manner, came up to Dr. Zhao’s desk and sat/slumped down. She squeezed her eyes shut as she reached over and brushed down her face with her hand. “Shi bu shi wo de bing tai duo?” “Oh I have too many illnesses, right?” she sighed. She was in for a follow-up appointment and Dr. Zhao was reviewing her prescription and his notes on her case. He started asking her about this condition and that condition, and this woman started to perk up…”oh yes, oh..hmm yes, that is much better, oh and that is much better too..” She started to realize that she was already doing so much better; so many of her “bing” “illnesses” were already going away! :) Dr. Zhao calmly and confidently said, “Duo hui hao.” “All of these illnesses will get better and go away.”

Doctor’s Visit ~ A Family or Neighborhood Affair :)
I love how groups of people all come together to see Dr. Zhao. It’s not just an individual thing. People come as family – with the Mom, Dad and baby.  Husbands come with their wives. Boyfriends come with their girlfriends. Grandmothers bring their grandchildren. Grown sons bring mothers. Groups of girlfriends all come in together. And sometimes whole extended families and/or neighbors come in together. Sometimes they all see Dr. Zhao for treatment and other times it’s just 1 in a group of 4 that is coming for treatment.

Gosh, seeing all these patients I am again reminded at just how important and what a great blessing good health is!

Humble, Consistent, Masterful…
The other day when Xi Xiao Ju and her husband (the Buddhist woman who is a statistics professor and is a new friend of mine and Dr. Zhao’s :)) came in again for treatments, the 3 of them were having another wonderful conversation. I was observing Dr. Zhao’s treatment techniques and so love listening to them share and discuss. In one conversation Dr. Zhao was talking about how there are many doctors, “who’s to say who is good and who is not?” “Some doctors can help you; some cannot. That’s your ‘yuan fen’.” (yuan fen somewhat translates into ‘destiny or fate’) “It’s easy,” he continued, “ for people to say, ‘oh that doctor is no good. S/he didn’t help me.” Well, maybe s/he didn’t help that person but has helped many others. This conversation ties in with what I wrote of in the beginning of this update, of Dr. Zhao being the master of his own world …and keeping his focus there. As he is a well-known doctor, Ayi told me the other day when we had some time together after lunch, that there have actually been a few “doctors” who, knowing of Dr. Zhao’s good reputation, have set up a ‘clinic’ closer to the main street, put up a sign and proclaimed to be Dr. Zhao himself!!! What?! But Dr. Zhao did not say anything; he just continued doing his work and producing great results with his patients, and one by one each of these impostures went out of business or moved else where. Dr. Zhao went on to say there are many methods for treating illness and restoring health. He is modest and humble and would never say his method is best. He just, as I said, consistently, quietly, masterfully does his work, his service and his results do the “talking.”

Dr. Zhao’s Treat!
Gosh, I started this update mentioning our Sunday outing of adventures and then didn’t tell you anything about what we did! :-D Haha! There’s just so much to share!!!! And with all my body aches, I haven’t been wanting to sit and write …or if I do, I keep getting up to jump and shake and dance around to help my back muscles relax again! :) So, on that Sunday to finish sharing…Ayi and I ended up taking a bus one of Zhengzhou’s museum just the 2 of us as Dr. Zhao needed to go to their farm plot to water the plants and do a bit of gardening...and he offered to make both Ayi and me a wonderful lunch! :-D Ayi and I had a great time at the museum and enjoyed our “woman time together”. Ayi is so wonderful!! Well we made it back on the bus just at 12 noon, and Dr. Zhao was just proudly finishing making such a delicious meal! (see pic below…tofu and organic greens from their garden, and home-grown carrots and “menzi” – little chewy patties made from sweet potatoe flour – Yummy!!!

Dr. Zhao wouldn't let either Ayi or me do the dishes either, saying that Sunday was a time for women to rest...he told Ayi and me just to enjoy more of our "woman time" together :-) -- so sweet!
In the afternoon, Dr. Zhao took me to Zhengzhou Guwan Cheng 州古玩城 “Zhengzhou Antique City”, a really cool market that has 5 floors of all kinds of treasures, plus merchants with their treasures spread out on clothes on the roof and outside of the building on the ground level. We had so much fun looking at all kinds of jade and old porcelain and pottery pieces. Dr. Zhao has this nifty, TINY little light and magnifying glass he pulls out of his little blue tot bag to further examine the treasures we find. :) On this day, he helped me pick out a special piece of jade to make my own "yinzhang" -- my own Chinese stamp with my Chinese name on it. :-) While it’s not something I had in mind to buy for myself, I trust him, and in China, that is an important thing to have. :) Plus he just gave me 3 books to study so now I can put my stamp in it ! :) (In addition to reading them of course! :-D)

Sock Holes and Un-kept Secrets!
Oh my gosh!! I still have more to say!! And this is getting very long. I will send this and follow it up with my next update. Just two more funny stories though .. :-D

The other day Dr. Zhao was once again so kind and thoughtful. I’ve been having this wrist and waist pain and Dr. Zhao said, “lai, wo gei ni anmo.” “Come, I’ll give you a treatment.” YAY! I quickly came in the treatment room, took of my “apron” and lay down on the treatment table. I love his treatments – they are powerful and my body responds right away…and it’s not a momentary relief of pain. With each treatment, there is an underlying shift, untwisting, nourishing and rebalancing that happens in my tissues. So I laid down feeling happy, taken care of and so much better all at once….and then…oh no! I forgot about my socks! Oh dear! I didn’t want him to see them. They are one of my favorite pairs of socks – long brown socks with a cool plaid pattern that I like to wear over my brown tights. :) They have two BIG holes on each heal…BUT when I’m wearing my boots, no one else has to know about these holes, right? :)…Everyone else just sees this cool looking socks. So the holes are just a secret between me and my socks..and my feet. :) Well, alas as Dr. Zhao moved down my body pressing points on my legs….he….well saw my socks AND their holes! :-( “Kailun, ni de wazi zenme le?” “Karen, what’s up with your socks?!! You should fix them..Do you know how?”…Ah well, I was embarrassed and told him I was hopping he wouldn’t notice. “Shanui” – my nickname for “silly girl” – we both laughed!

Arm Wrestling ~ Dr. Zhao does it again!!
Last week a couple of Dr. Zhao’s friends from Dengfeng (outside of Shaolin Monastery) came to visit. They both challenged Dr. Zhao to an arm wrestle...and although he is 20 and 10 years the elder of these 2 men, he calmly, easily and with great poise....well...totally kicked their butts! Haha! And one fellow (the one who is 20 years younger) is a strong tai chi practitioner :) Here's a short video attached (oh,'s too big of a file - it's on my Facebook page though :)). While he may be short in height, his strength and "liqi" is that of a Master. And I just love the expression on this guy’s face in the 1st and 2nd pics! :-D

YAY!!!! Thank you so much to all of you who have made it through this marathon update! :) And again, THANK YOU to all of you who have written to me. I may take a while to respond, but I LOVE hearing from you! :) If you’d like to share my updates, they are all also posted on my blog: Being Joy: Adventures in Qigong & the Mystic Arts in China

(Here's a pic of me and my other "sister", Lijun :-))

Also, as some of you are on the East Coast of the U.S., I also am excited to share and invite you to join me at Omega Institute this Memorial Day weekend!! I am honored to have the opportunity to teach with Llyn Roberts – we’re offering a weekend course May 23-26 on Shapeshifting and Barefoot EarthWisdom – I will definitely be incorporating some of my learnings from China, Dr. Zhao, Mick Dodge – Barefoot Sensei who is also good friends with Dr. Zhao :), and our amazing Wild Lands.

So Much LOVE to you all!
Kailun 凯伦

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