Thursday, January 20, 2011


now treating patients




Tuesday, October 05, 2010

the beginning of a practice

So, I've not been posting here for awhile now, because things are moving in a whole new direction for me these days. I've started my practice at Watershed Community Wellness in SE Portland right on Ladd Circle in Ladd's Addition. It's a perfect spot and I'm working with great practitioners. We are providing high quality chinese medicine and acupuncture and massage treatments for people who want an integrative approach to health. I'm currently taking new patients, so please contact me (by email or here)if you're interested. I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where's the Bees?

In reading a distillation of an alchemical text, Sir Francis Bacon is paraphrased:

The Ant experiments by haphazardly collecting and using materials, which method indicates the all-too-human tendency to use materials without clearly understanding them.

The Spider neither experiments nor collects but produces webs from its own substance, which method indicates the tendency to formulate hypotheses based upon subjective bias, opinion, and conditioning leading to the confusion of subjective ideas and beliefs with direct perception of truth.

The Bee gathers both the nectar and pollen of many flowers and, little by little, transforms this nectar into honey through individual and collective effort and inherent nature. The product of this labor is then used to feed itself, the community, and the world at large. This method indicates an approach which uses both experimentation and observation (a posteriori); as well as using direct
interior penetration (a priori) in such a way as to eliminate the abuse of either, or the confusion of the one for the other. Assistance and guidance throughout the process is provided by a community of expert practitioners; the end of which is the transformation of the self and society in the service of all Life and the Source of life.

The disappearance (and hopeful reemergence) of the honey bee can thusly be seen as a metaphorical extension of man in the world today. I find myself thinking about the current climate talks in Copenhagen and what it truly means to practice Chinese Medicine as a bee.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Blue Fire

The caelum, then, is a condition of mind. Envision it as a night sky filled with the airy bodies of the gods, those astrological constellations which are at once beasts and geometry and which participate in all things of the world as their imaginal ground. The caelum does not of course take place in your head, in your mind, but your mind moves in the caelum, touches the constellations, the thick and hairy skull opens to let in more light, their light, making possible a new idea of order, a cosmological imagination whose thought accounts for the cosmos in the forms of images.

-- James Hillman

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Holy Longing

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making
sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter,
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and, finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.

-- Goethe

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Fifth Month and Hexagram 44

As things tend to do this time of year, my regular post for this month is a bit late. The fifth month started on June 5th with the seasonal qi of “grain in the ear" which is a reference to the corn harvest and also contains the qi of the "summer solstice" which occured on June 21st. The month will end on July 6th. In a way, my tardiness is good because this month is all about relationships and warmth of people (as opposed to the cold clickity-clack of computers). I don't know about you, but it has been really difficult to concentrate on school work in the midst of finals - all I want to do is hang out with friends and eat food and enjoy the sights and smells of a Portland that seems otherworldly from the dark winter of last.

Hexagram 44, 姤, is translated as Coupling, Meet, Rendezvous, Intercourse, or the Royal Bride. It is wind beneath heaven and aligning with the organ of the Heart, this hexagram is really about connection and contact: it's the spaces (distance and proximity) between all of us as individuals where the magic happens and where we can discover who we really are as an individual.

Here's the hexagram text:


A strong or royal woman, do not marry such a woman.


The image says: Encounter, a meeting, be soft yet firm in the meeting. Do not marry such a woman, for it will not last. Heaven and earth are both meeting, they produce the rules of all things. Firm and equitable meetings, produces great movement under heaven. Encounter is a time of great honor!!!

The image says: Below Heaven there is Wind, Encounter. The queen uses this to carry out her imperial mandate int the four directions.

The idea of wind below heaven indicates to me an exchange on a purely energetic level that is not to be cemented into the material. The sage uses this energy to draw into himself while simultaneously connecting to the will of heaven. This is a good time to see that our desires are not to be placed into the material realm, but to appreciate the ever-changing nature of the flow of energy, which at this time is pivoting.

Wilhelm writes:
This hexagram indicates a situation in which the principle of darkness, after having been eliminated, furtively and unexpectedly obtrudes again from within and below. Of its own accord the female principle comes to meet the male. It is an unfavorable and dangerous situation, and we must understand and promptly prevent the possible consequences.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

on healthcare costs

The hot topic of the moment, and likely for the next few years unless something drastic happens, is healthcare. The Obama administration is attempting to revamp the insurance system, which is in dire straits. The question is, how to balance quality care with affordable care? The criticism for nationalized healthcare is that it becomes inefficient and slow, and lacks quality. People use Canada as an example. Though prioritization is certainly a problem when you have a lack of doctors and services, quality does not, necessarily need to suffer. This is the argument from the free-market champs who believe that the free-market is the only mechanism that can deliver the best quality. But as we've seen in the auto industry with respect to fuel efficiency, this is far from true. The so called "free-market" focuses on making profits, not delivering superior goods. The latter is only true if you have customers making informed honest decisions based on good information. But because corporations are required to make money, they often use obfuscation and dishonesty to bolster the image of their product. So we aren't operating in an environment where customers can really make informed decisions because they are being duped or expected to be experts in fields that they clearly can't be. (e.g. the recent financial crisis).

In terms of health insurance the problems are deeper because you: 1) don't know how sick you will be in the future, 2) can't understand exactly what you're buying and 3) the cost structures are inherently very complicated with rules about what is covered and what isn't. When you add in the necessity of healthcare, the customer not buying the product isn't really an option (though because of costs, it does happen). This sets up a market that is incredibly difficult to navigate for a customer. Therefore as customers we find ourselves in a position where the insurers want us to engage in "preventive medicine" but at the same time, they won't pick up the bill for such care.

As a future healthcare practitioner, I'm encouraged by examples of doctors who have tried alternative fee structures such as subscription services. For example, a doctor in New York, charges his patients $54-$130 a month depending on their age. They get unlimited access to him and he even makes house calls. He encourages his patients to get emergency coverage, and they have to pay for their own medications. But because he sees fewer patients, he gets to spend more than the disgustingly low average of 15 minutes with his clients. This extra time allows him to really streamline his patients treatments, often reducing the number of medications that they are on to half. This is real cost savings to the patient, and the system as well. Less referrals to specialists, and more patient-doctor interaction is a good thing for everyone.