Episode 6

Published on:

22nd May 2024

Relax! You're Okay!

Today’s episode titled “Relax! You are Okay!” is the second part of Leo’s and my conversation with Cara Conroy-Lau, a Kiwi with a Chinese mom now practicing Chinese medicine and Buddhism in Canada. For this portion, we focus more specifically on the female perspective, both on the giving and on the receiving end of caring. I really appreciate Cara’s insistence on approaching Chinese medicine more light-heartedly as a playful exploration, as part of her culture, family traditions, and just life, rather than as “A THING” (in the sense of a big, serious, very special intellectual endeavor that we all have to get stressed out over). Her training in a Buddhist lineage of direct teacher-student transmission has taught her to just relax into her spiritual practice and leave the ego at the door. As a result, she experiences a “heart-to-heart transmission of joy, confidence, peace, clarity, humanity, and humanness,” as she puts it. In the context of what she calls the “healing friendship” with her patients, she reminds us of the therapeutic effect of food and encourages us to “be our own grandmother to ourselves” and rely on our particular culture’s traditional comfort foods to alleviate the heaviness of human suffering. When Leo asks Cara about the emotional entanglements that women often experience when caring for and worrying about others, Cara introduces the notion of nervous system attunement to establish connection, which she balances with the Buddhist realization that each of us is responsible for our own karmic journey.

Later on in the conversation, we also consider the holes in the transmission of Chinese medicine to the West. Especially in the context of gynecology, so much of the healing work happened behind closed doors, within the family as part of traditional practices, and beyond the written word. We ask ourselves: What would Chinese medicine look like in the West today if we were to plug the holes left by this lack of cultural transmission not with biomedical theories and practices, as Giovanni Maciocia, Bob Flaws, and the other early Western pioneers of Chinese medicine have done, but with the embodied wisdom of Asian grannies?

In the very end, Cara offers a glimpse of an answer in three parts: First, she speaks of her mother’s transmission of a nonverbal quiet presence of “You are okay. You have a right to be here.” Then she mentions the acuity of her Chinese female relatives about food and what is good and not good for the body. And lastly, in terms of menstruation, it’s as easy as “Just let it flow!”

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About the Podcast

A Pebble in the Cosmic Pond
Old and New Stories from China's Healing Traditions
Tune in every other week for inspiring, joyful, and informative conversations on transforming ourselves, our communities, and the world, in the spirit of ancient Chinese medicine, spirituality, and philosophy. Separating fact from fiction, we aim to bring you medicine from China's distant past, translated here to meet YOUR needs today, in clinic and beyond.
I am your host, Dr. Sabine Wilms, medical historian, recovering university professor, and author and translator of more than a dozen books on the Chinese healing arts, from gynecology and pediatrics to medical ethics and materia medica, published by Happy Goat Productions. In addition to writing, I teach and mentor at https://www.imperialtutor.com/, about the roots of Chinese medicine and its larger cultural background. In addition, I will bring in insights from my checkered past as a biodynamic goat farmer and musician, all under the banner of my favorite phrase, “cosmic resonance,” a.k.a. the Chinese ideal of harmony between the three realms of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. I really love to inspire people and spread around some good vibrations, which is what I aim to do in this podcast, with the assistance of some of my favorite clinical and academic colleagues, friends, and guides, like Leo Lok (our self-proclaimed "Purveyor of Multiple Perspective") and Dr. Brenda Hood, master physician and specialist in all things Daoism.

New episodes will generally drop twice a month, with a free one on the new moon and a bonus one for Imperial Tutor members on the full moon. Check out https://www.imperialtutor.com/membership for more information on my mentorship. Episodes will be roughly an hour long and will follow the format of what you may already be familiar with as the Imperial Tutor’s Tea Time Talks: loosely structured conversations that provide education, inspiration, and connection. If you want to be notified of new episodes, why don’t you subscribe to my newsletter at https://www.happygoatproductions.com/connect?
Here are our three main goals:
1. Bridge-building: We gather to explore the liminal sweet spot, in between Heaven and Earth, the distant past and the present moment, East and West, the clinic and the academy, the healer and the scholar, the discernible and the unfathomable, oral lineage and written text, and, ultimately, between Yin and Yang.
2. Collaboration: The treasure house of traditional Chinese medicine is bigger than any single person's expertise, no matter how vast. We actively pursue and embrace a diversity of opinions so that we can collectively deepen our understanding.
3. Authentic Transmission: Translation, from the past to the present, from Chinese to English, from texts to clinical application, etc., invariably involves an alteration and adaptation of the original message. How do we stay as true as possible to the insights expressed in the ancient Chinese texts while still making sense to our listeners? We invite you to consider the creative challenges of this task with us.

Potential future topics include: Meditation Sickness and Qigong Psychosis; The Difference Between Responsibility and Fault; Daoist and Confucian Perspectives on Humanity's Role Between Heaven and Earth; The Creation, Development, and Transmission of Medical Knowledge and the Dangers and Benefits of Lineage; Buddhist Perspectives on Reality and Expedient Means; The Wuwei Way; The Weasel and the Yak, and The Frog in the Well; Simple Questions: How to Read the Classics; The Cosmos in Six Lines: The Yijing as a Tool of Healing; Translation, Transmission, Transcendence, Transcreation; Pointing to the Moon: How to Name the Unnameable; Should Return and A Hundred Meetings: What's in a Name; The Fish’s Delight: The Limits of Sense Perception; Clear Talk: Creating Light in Dark Times; Reverberations of the Valley Spirit; Lotus in the Mud: Buddhism and Medicine...
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About your host

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Sabine Wilms

I am the producer, manager, director, and (whether I like it or not) person in charge of this podcast. I take full responsibility for this project and vision but do not necessarily agree with anything anybody else says on my podcast, whether it is framed as an opinion or a fact. You can find out more about my books at happygoatproductions.com, my mentoring at imperialtutor.com, my classical Chinese offerings at translatingchinesemedicine.com, and my gynecology courses at traditionalChinesegynecology.com.