Even though I don’t have a license to practice medicine and don’t stick needles into people, I consider myself a practitioner of Chinese medicine in the true and grand sense of “medicine” as expressed in the Chinese classical literature: the harmonizing of Heaven and Earth in our pivotal role as humans. While I do have a serious academic background, with a PhD in East Asian Studies and Medical Anthropology, I have always been more interested in exploring the practical applications of what I read, study, and translate, both for myself and for clinicians. As a biodynamic goat farmer in the mountains of northern New Mexico, I learned many valuable lessons on agriculture in my younger years that I find eminently relevant to my ability to comprehend the classical medical texts. Managing waterways, ruling a country, freeing blocked flow, distributing moisture and nutrition, fending off external invasion, restoring fertility, or simply “nurturing life” (yangsheng)… all of these are reflections of the sage’s ability to attune yin and yang and to align her- or himself with the ever-changing transformations of qi that occur in the various microcosms in resonance with the macrocosm.
I do love to teach and to share my understanding of Chinese medicine, and of classical Chinese culture, philosophy, literature, and religion, with modern Western clinical practitioners and students. So until last year, I was teaching full-time in the doctoral program at the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. These days, though, I prefer a much quieter simpler life and am happy as a clam in my new home on magical Whidbey Island north of Seattle where I write, translate, and publish (as Happy Goat Productions), and go for a blissful swim in the sea when my brain needs a break. In addition, I do some traveling for lectures and retreats and am in the process of building a mentoring program (ImperialTutor.com) for the more personalized instruction style that I love best, to teach Western practitioners of Chinese medicine how to read the classics.