For more than ten years, I’ve been operating as a practitioner of classical Chinese medicine. During that time, I’ve built up five clinic locations, closed three, taught for ten years at National University of Natural Medicine and started and stopped dozens of projects revolving around the professions of Chinese herbalism and acupuncture. I’ve read, studies and hustled a lot.
From the time I was a kid, I’ve had this deep urge to take what I am learning, thinking and experiencing, process it, and give it back to the world publicly. For most that know me, this is a curious urge, given that my overriding nature is introverted and private. For some reason, doing this work is an essential part of how I make sense of being human. That others are receiving the content is a secondary consideration.
So, my process of working things out online continues. I’m grateful for any of you who have stuck along for the ride as things have developed.
During the last five years, I have had diminished time and mental energy to write. This was because my University teaching load kept me too busy and depleted to generate the impetus to do the work. I’ve found little bursts of energy to do something now and again, but it seldom satisfied that creative urge.
I’ve made some inroads in understanding why that is – and those insights will guide how I approach the Deepest Health project.
Insight 1 – Focus on profit or readership is a mistake
This website has never been a big money generator – other streams of income have buoyed it. Despite that, over the years, I’ve wanted to see if I can at least make it pay its way. The hope is that it could give me a little extra money to invest in special projects. Due largely to my own failures, Chinese Medicine Central never did that.
Along the way, I did a lot of research and experimentation related to making money online. That information has proved valuable, but it also stifled my creative process. That I had to create something “good enough” for someone to spend money on it was particularly damaging. That pressure proved toxic.
The irony is, at least for my process, a focus on creating something that people will be eager to consume actually crushes my ability to create anything worthwhile. I’m putting all of that behind me. I’ll still search for ways to help the site pay for its expenses and my time invested. But, I’m much more interested in using the platform for free exploration and expression. I’d like, from that base, to grow into using the site to fund interesting projects focused on improving our profession and my local community.
But, from now on, Deepest Health returns to its root. A place for me to explore interesting things with no focus on the eyes watching me, or my bank accounts. I feel grateful for this insight, and fortunate that my lifeway allows for this decision.
Insight 2 – Blogging is best when personal and messy
The whole blogging deal has changed so much since its invention. I’m an old LiveJournal guy and took part in hosting BBSes (pre Internet digital community spaces) before that where I expressed myself in various ways through text. What blogging has become, particularly in its combination with social media, is a whole different beast than in those simpler days. When I started Deepest Health, it was guided by the energy of the early days of blogging.
I think what has changed the most is the degree to which we filter ourselves for our audience. There is so much more personal exposure by volume through photos, videos, long Instagram captions. But the raw and open vulnerability of diary like blog sites common in the early part of this Millenium seems sometimes lacking in blogs today. My early blogging was more immediate and open. I wasn’t so much trying to teach or show my knowledge as I was struggling with concepts and making a public art installation of my own developmental process.
Being at all vulnerable online is increasingly frightening because the Internet seems to provide a cloak behind which so many of our worst impulses bubble forth. People can be mean. But, that has never worried me. Instead, as I settled more into a Professorial role, and saw more and more patients, I became frightened of saying or doing something wrong or appearing I wasn’t the ultimate fount of wisdom. So, not only was I not wanting to write much, but I was editing everything I wrote to where very little of it is worth reading.
So, from now on, I return to the essential messiness of existence. We’re all human. We’re all learning. Being open to share one’s own process of trying, failing, trying again and succeeding is more inspiring because it is relatable. I endeavor, here, to create relatable content by being very real about my process. But I will still be editing my Instagram images so they show my good side. 😉
Insight 3 – My zone exists at the intersections
I have always been obsessed with crossroads. Intersections. The places where two, often disparate, things come together. It is in the examining and embracing these dynamic aspects of reality where I find the greatest depth. This is an intellectual curiosity, but also an aspect of the way I strive to live in the social, political and spiritual spheres.
What sorts of intersections?
- Philosophy and medicine
- Theories of gender and theories of ecology
- Economics and healthcare
- Business and spirituality
- Biomedical and East Asian medical theories of health
- Political activism and professional obligations
- Ethics and epistemology
- Groundedness and ethereality
- Professionalism and authenticity
- Music and business operations
Intersections are complex by nature, as are living systems. Their exploration is also complex. I don’t expect to draw any clean lines, here. It’s a sandbox.
Consistency governs it
In projects like this, consistent flow of content is vital. To that end, I’ll be writing and creating freely with little structure. It’ll coalesce – it always does. If you’re interested in keeping up with the flow, you have options.
- Just visit the site when you think of it. Default. Elegant in its simplicity.
- Sign up for the email newsletter. I am starting fresh with a new list as of December 2019. I’m imagining 1-2x offerings per month, focused on simple site updates & any golden opportunities. Easy to unsubscribe, and more regular than I’ve been in the past.
- Follow DH on Facebook and Instagram.