Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

I’m a student again!  Blogging 101 is the first class I have taken in maybe decades.  This is my first assignment–Introduce Yourself to the World.

I’m a writer! Since I can remember, I’ve written. I learned about mail in second grade and cheerily wrote letters to our student teacher, Miss Bruce, all summer. I think postage was about $0.05 back then. I passed notes to friends in middle school. I looked forward to writing essays in high school, and always felt a rush as I typed them late at night. I submitted a paper on the contribution of Chinese workers to the Transcontinental Railroad to The Concord Review after graduation—ya gotta love writing to spend summer vacation doing that! Intermediate Composition, which I took in my junior year at Northwestern, taught by Charles Yarnoff, was a turning point for me. I learned that quarter the true great potential of words, and that I could wield them. That was 21 years ago, and this past winter, when I received the brochure for a writing conference for healthcare professionals at Harvard, my soul leapt for joy and I knew I stood at the threshold of something big. Thursday morning, before for the conference started, I had no intention of blogging. By Saturday afternoon I was scrambling to secure a domain name from my phone on the cab ride to the airport. It is time.

I’m a physician, wife, mom, daughter of immigrants, almost native Coloradoan, and lover of nature and Brad Paisley! Turns out, as I reflect, I’m also a connector. Growing up I merged Chinese and American culture into my own expression of self, which has served me well. At work I became interested in integrative medicine, and today I stand confidently with one foot each in the conventional and complementary medicine hemispheres. I can sit in a room with people from different backgrounds and with divergent interests, and find common goals.

I’m here on WordPress to connect patients and physicians again! Technology, pharmaceuticals, and large medical organizations all contribute greatly to the fight against disease and disability, but they often get in the way of the patient-physician relationship. And it is only our relationships that truly heal. I have a specific point of view on this (see my first post), and blogging allows me to express it freely, in hopes of connecting with others to share and discuss.

When I go home to Colorado, I like to visit Red Rocks, the renowned natural amphitheater. The great iron-laden land formations inspire and soothe me. Once I happened upon a Native American drumming circle on stage. It was the middle of a typically sunny Colorado day, with tourists milling about, and local athletes taking advantage of the seating steps for interval training. The timbre of the drumbeats impressed me, and vibrated to my core. This is how I see my blogging. I beat my drum to my own authentic rhythm. The blogosphere is my amphitheater, which I share with other drummers from around the world. When those striking resonant sound waves find me, we drum in coherence. Our collective rhythms synergize and create a movement of communication and mutual respect, toward the health and well-being of patients and physicians alike. Wouldn’t that be great?

If I keep it up, by one year from now, I hope my style and content will have matured a little.  I look forward to making more friends in the blogosphere, and learning about people’s experiences in our healthcare system.  I want to contribute to productive dialogue and mindfulness of the common humanity that, in my opinion, should lie at the heart of all healthcare.

20 thoughts on “Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

  1. “And it is only our relationships that truly heal.”
    I love that line! It is the essence of what you are all about. Keep the blog posts coming, Cathy. You’re doing a great job.

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  2. Lovely intro! Your passion and excitement about writing is inspiring! My fiancé is from Colorado as well 🙂 I don’t know if you saw in my post but I’m writing a musical about mental health and (along w other things) it aims to highlight some of the problems patients encounter with mental health care. I’ll be posting about it a lot! I’m looking forward to following your posts! 😀

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  3. Dear Catherine,

    I feel you are working for a noble cause. 🙂
    I want to give you a lot of feedback on many things. I have tried to talk with many bloggers in past few days. I could not see your posts in commons as there are many posts. This community is an amazing place indeed. I have met many wonderful people in last few days. People like you who have a beautiful soul, beautiful voice and a capacity to heal.

    My attempt hear in blogging and in life is similar to yours. To heal others and get healed in the process myself 🙂 I feel when we attentively listen to what others have to say–we get healed and our relationships start improving immidiately. This healing has a miraculously positive effect. It’s spreads like contagious diseases. People who get healed start healing others–together creating a society which is peaceful, harmonious and full of love. 🙂

    I don’t just like your blog’s theme, tag and tagline–I am in love with it. I feel your title image keeps changing. When I first reached your website I found an image of a blue bird. It was so beautiful. Your blog immidiately gives me an impression that you are a very calm person. You are serene and peace loving. You might also be an introvert which I gather from your font size.

    I feel your introduction is very well written. Though to be honest I love large font as it is easy to rea. I wear glasses. I think your eyes are healthy. Though we write for others as much as we do for ourselves. Mostly blogs and books. 🙂

    I really appreciate your visit to my blog and your insightful comments to which I would respond there to avoid making this comment bigger than your post. 🙂

    I hope to keep visiting your blog in future because it has been a pleasant experience for me. And I am speaking this from the core of my heart. 🙂

    You are a beautiful person. Thanks for your kindness. 🙂

    I wish you very best in 101, blogging and life 🙂

    Cheers 🙂
    Anand

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    • Thank you, Anand! I’m glad the theme conveys peace–that was my intention! And I know the font needs to be bigger! I think I tried doing that–it seemed to work for the post titles but not necessarily the text. I’m still working through our assignments, and I look forward to playing around with the theme and fonts.
      Regarding the blog title and tagline, thank you also for your support! But I wonder if it could be more inviting? How about “Healing Through Connection” as title, and ” The Inner Work of Physician-Patient Relationship”? Maybe I’ll just ask on the 101 Commons.
      See you there! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Welcome Cathrine. 🙂 I am glad you considered my suggestion. Please put a question on commons with proper introduction and many fellow bloggers would suggest you the proper thing. I would also contemplate and answer you 🙂 Cheers 🙂

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  4. Very beautiful introduction, and I really love the background you have chosen for your blog! I visited Colorado to see some of the national parks there with my family last year and it was so sublime, a drastic difference from the suburbs where I live 🙂 I hope you succeed in all your writing endeavors and I can’t wait to see what else you post in the future!

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  5. Great job, seester! I’ve always been so impressed by you, and I’m so proud of you for always seeking and doing your passions. Love you!

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  6. I think this is especially important: “This is how I see my blogging. I beat my drum to my own authentic rhythm.” When I began blogging, I was given a good bit of advice about how to succeed. I cheerfully ignored most of that advice, and went on my way, following a path I instinctly felt was right.

    You’ve got a clear vision of what you want to do, the ability to express it, and a realistic appreciation of the role of patience in all this. In a year, I think you’ll be surprised how pleased you are with the results!

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  7. You’re taking on a big task… and you know that already. 🙂 I like the appearance of your Theme in that it feels both peaceful and natural. That natural feeling is what many patients feel is missing in modern health care as is the sense of being connected to the person upon whom they must rely for information and professional recommendations. I agree with @Vibrant that your tagline should be “healing through connection”.
    – Layne

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  8. Yay, Catherine! You are a student again (how exciting). And… you ARE a writer! I liked the name “Inner Work” because it is how I came to know you, though I do agree with the others that “Healing Through Connection” works very well. It immediately suggests a fusion of medicine and personal relationships. (I’m glad “inner work” has been kept in the tagline.)

    I, too, am restyling my blog. I’m impressed by how you make time to blog and am using you as a source of inspiration. You have the courage to hit Publish!

    All the best to you in the Blogging 101 course. Is it the Daily Post course? (I just did a quick google search.) Also, are you using the wordpress.com out-of-the-box version, or the totally customizable wordpress.org version?

    I’m so excited for you! You’re taking a slice of pie, enjoying it, and the pie is whole again!

    Ps. Can you tell? I’ve started _The Art of Possibility_ based on your recommendation. The chapters, styled as individual practices, have both a meditative quality and a koan-like feel. There’s an abstractness there at times that challenges me yet it is good to puzzle through. It’s definitely a book that demands slow, ruminating reading. Thanks for the suggestion!

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    • 😀 Nancy! Thank you so much for these encouraging words, they mean so much!
      Yes, I loved “The Inner Work,” as that is the core… But it doesn’t adequately show what the blog is about. And I agree, it feels good to keep it in the tagline. 🙂
      Yes again, I think Blogging 101 is the Daily Post course… I think that is how I saw it… And I am pretty sure I’m using wordpress.com. I would totally not be good at a totally customizable site–I was referred to squarespace initially and could not make heads or tails of it.
      And WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO, Art of Possibility!! As soon as I read the pie reference I understood!! 😉 What is a koan? You are welcome for the suggestion! And I agree, it’s best to contemplate books like these, but I cannot help myself I devour them! So I just read them over and over again, and each time something new connects, clicks, and sticks. It’s even better on audio, because you can hear the music. I recently finished _Start With Why_ by Simon Sinek, and marked it all up, it was AMAZING. Now I’m listening to it on CD, re-learning and remembering more bits! I’m also listening to his second book, _Leaders Eat Last_, and it’s just as good. There is just so much learning to be had all the time, everywhere–it’s awesome!!! 😀 Thanks for reading, and it’s so good to be connected!! 😀 Have a great week!

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  9. I think I’ve seen a TED Talk by Sinek. I will definitely look into _Start with Why_, the title alone sounds promising. I think of a koan as very short story or parable or even something like a riddle that encourages Zen thinking. Although the anecdotes and practices in _The Art of Possibility_ are not strictly speaking koans, I think the word popped into my mind because presenting a koan is a teaching technique that forces the student to become actively involved, to think it through, even though there may not be a “right” answer. I personally struggle with these as I’m very grounded in the concrete, though I like to challenge myself to think more abstractly.I like that idea of reading something then listening to it…taps into different modes of learning/receiving info. I’ll put online articles into the app Pocket, which has just introduced a read aloud feature, though the voice is very mechanical. Still, nice to do the dishes and catch up on articles of interest. 😉 Happy waning days of the week to you as well. 🙂

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