For long time readers, especially those of you that read by email subscription or RSS, I implore you – come check out the site! It’s been entirely redesigned, and I would really love to hear your thoughts about the changes. For those of you who are new, you’ve come on board at an exciting time.
For the last year, I have labored on this site. The low rate of content production might make you think that was not true. Indeed, I’ve not been putting out posts at the high clip of my earliest days, or even at the medium clip of the middle days. This was not for a lack of something to share, nor a lack of caring. It was equal parts rising to the reality of clinical practice, business owning & raising a teenager peppered with a healthy dose of relaxation, getting married & reconfiguring my life outside of the rigor and schedule of institutionalized education. A lot to manage.
So, if I wasn’t writing, how was I laboring?
Chiefly, I was coming to understand the reason for this site’s existence. If it is no longer to be the record of a student journeying through formal Chinese medicine education, then what? Delving into mission, vision and how I want this site to interface with the rest of my life occupied a great deal of my time and energy. I had some great help from business mentors Jonathan Mead at Illuminated Mind and Mark Silver at Heart of Business, as well as various conversations with family, friends and colleagues. Where would any of us be without our companions?
Some help from the Yijing
Speaking of companions, one of the constants for me has been The Yijing (aff link). Always ready with sage wisdom combined with jabs to the ribs, I asked again and again for clarification about Chinese Medicine Central. Two themes stood out, exemplified by two hexagrams.
First, the aim of this site is characterized by hexagram 20 – 觀 guan – translated by Stephen Karcher in his Total I Ching (linked above) as “Viewing.” In my education, I learned that this hexagram is the “tidal hexagram” for the kidney organ system. This simply means that this hexagram has something very important to teach us about the kidney, when we’re talking about medicine. In the context of this reading, it tells me that I have to take the whole cosmological universe of the kidney seriously as I am contemplating the future and direction of Chinese Medicine Central. In some real way, the Yijing is telling me, Chinese Medicine Central is to do kidney work in the world.
What can this mean? At the moment of the reading, a few things became clear:
1. We take the deep, wide, big view. This includes focusing on material that feeds from the deepest level.
2. We nourish from the root. This is related to #1 of course, but came to me as an important intuition.
3. We don’t try to be everything to everybody. Part of coming from the depth is that we reach everything, without having to focus on everything.
Ultimately, this means that our view remains resolutely “classical” however that is defined through time. More importantly for me, though, I feel encouraged to focus closely on that which feeds me most deeply. Herbs, in other words. While acupuncture is an undeniably important part of Chinese medicine, it is not my primary passion. As soon as I was able to focus there, my energy was released and all kinds of movement began to happen.
The second major message from the Yijing came in the form of hexagram 37 – 家人 – jia ten – translated by Karcher as “Dwelling people.” This hexagram is affiliated with the heart organ system, and all the energies and associations therein. In some ways, then Chinese Medicine Central is defined by the pole of association between kidney and heart. This hexagram is particularly interesting to me because it speaks of nourishment, of coming together with others, and of the value of language. Karcher’s translation of one portion of the text states, “This is a time when Noble One uses words to connect the beings and movement to preserver on the path.”
While I’m not sure I’m a Noble One, I certainly aspire in that direction. This gives me heart that reaching out, building a community, and helping people through teaching is a positive direction. There is, of course, a lot to unpack in all of these associations – but these were the immediate insights.
What does this mean for you?
During this visioning time, I came to understand the real heart of this site and my work with it. So, I set about to figure out how to make it a viable part of my life, how to give it energy, how to make it of service to others. What you’re seeing before you, and what you will see in the coming years, is the result of all that thinking, consulting, meditating and working. For now, focus on the following four aspects of Chinese Medicine Central’s evolution.
Publications and products
I am going to focus on the creation of highly relevant, classically informed, real-world tested courses and publications. This will take the majority of my time as a writer, and the majority of the space on the site. While free content will always be a major companion, the hope is that paid products will help increase the quality and quantity of information coming from the site through supporting this independent scholarship.
Products will tend to be herbally focused. I’m hoping to eventually find someone with a passion in acupuncture to join the staff and offer acupuncture focused products to the eager CM public. If you think you might be that person, please contact me.
I’m currently working on an offering that will really help to transform people’s experience with Chinese herbs by tapping into what they already know and their innate talents. Now is the time to get in on the ground floor, as whomever accompanies me now will get more individualized attention and get to have a hand in shaping the course itself. If you think you might be interested, given these sketchy details – get on the early interest list by clicking this link.
Blog content and other resources
The blog will continue to be regularly updated. For the first couple of months, we will be re-releasing important information from the archives. We will also be purging a huge amount of lower quality, unfocused, or date specific information from the site. This is part of the Autumnal metal energy necessary to bring about abundant new growth!
The blog content will vary in topic, but often be focused around whatever publication or Chinese Medicine Quarterly issue we’re currently working on. As such, it will be more actionable, more engaging, and more topical than the blog content has been in the past.
I am re-launching the Chinese Medicine Central podcast. New episode will come out monthly, and you can visit that page to view the preliminary schedule. The podcast will mostly focus on clinical reflections from myself, teachers and colleagues. Interviews will mostly cover current events in Chinese medicine as well as discussions of the future of Chinese medicine. Many people have written to me in the last several weeks asking for new podcast episodes, so I trust this information will be exciting to at least those people.
I am going to start publishing videos as well. At this point, videos will probably be brief discussions about particular topics, but may include some interviews or clinic tours. This is the most unformed and experimental part of Chinese Medicine Central, as I just don’t know what will best serve folks. If you have some ideas for great video content, please let me know by clicking the link.
There are more bits and pieces on the new site, so please visit often to check them out!
Chinese medicine quarterly growth and development
Chinese Medicine Quarterly, a new digital magazine for Chinese medicine practitioners and students, is going to be publishing its third issue soon. We’ve learned a lot through the first two issues, and hope to incorporate our learning into every successive issue. Moving forward, we hope to offer a print-on-demand option, increasingly interesting and high quality writing, subscription service, and free issues to new Chinese medicine students to increase engagement and community participation.
If you haven’t already checked out the magazine, please consider purchasing the inaugural issue or the second issue, a meditation on spirit.
Social media as primary space for interaction
I recently eliminated the Chinese Medicine Central forum. It wasn’t being used very heavily, and was becoming overrun with spambots. I decided that withdrawing and slowly considering a relaunch sometime in the future was the right way to go. This doesn’t mean that the age of interaction is over, however. You can hook up with Chinese Medicine Central on Facebook, you can find me tweeting away on Twitter and figuring out Google+, and can always post comments to individual blog entries. Feel free, also, to contribute a letter to the editor at Chinese Medicine Quarterly, and be published in our next issue! Hopefully, these elements will be sufficient to help encourage dialogue – the wellspring of so much positive growth for our profession.
Please explore the site and feel free to contact me if you have questions!
About Eric Grey
Hi - I'm the founder of this site and the primary master of all functions here. When I'm not writing, you can find me reaching out to the Chinese Medicine community across the web and in my own backyard. I currently teach Chinese herbs at my alma mater, the National College of Natural Medicine. Additionally, I'm the founder of Watershed Wellness, a thriving local clinic in Southeast Portland in Oregon. No matter where I'm working, you'll find my focus on the Classical approach to Chinese medicine laced throughout everything I do.