Interview: Narrye Caldwell L.Ac.

Our whole site is built around the ancient Qigong method known as Blossoms in the Spring. We asked the co-author of the new book on Blossoms to share her experiences as an acupuncturist, her insights into Qigong and her view of medicine, East and West.

HARMONY: Is there anything you might like to say at the start ?

ncgarden-011NARRYE: I’m kind of hot right now about the tendency in this culture to make everything a workout, to drive towards getting to some goal. I’m trying to make people aware of the disadvantage of being always attached to a specific outcome, rather than an involvement in the process.

HARMONY: Can you go into a little more detail?

NARRYE: We tend to see ourselves as projects in need of improvement. An approach that I like is to gently remind people of the Taoist notion that perfection is inherent in all living things. During my first pregnancy I confessed to my midwife my worry that all new mothers have, that my newborn might not be perfect, that there might be something wrong with my baby like a birth defect. My midwife’s response to my concern was ,”Every child is a perfect being.” Qigong helps us simply get out of our own way and sink into our own perfection.

HARMONY: In what way does it do this?

NARRYE: First we are required to observe ourselves without judgment. That’s harder than most of us would think. I’ve noticed that the first thing that happens to me when I want to get quiet and listen during Qigong is that I squirm around and want to change things. I pick out all the things that seem “wrong” to me about my body, that’s there tension here, or I’m not standing right or I can improve my posture. It’s hard not to do that.

HARMONY: How does this attitude of self observation correspond to how Chinese medicine works?

NARRYE: I would say that it’s very closely related to the basic paradigm of Chinese medicine in that the practitioner has the job of seeing the patient’s wholeness even when they can’t see it themselves. Since the patient is out of balance they don’t come in always with a sense of their own wholeness and that’s one of the things the practitioner should be able to reflect back to them.

HARMONY: Is there anything in your own life particularly where Qigong helps?

NARRYE: I do so many physical things: I dance, I work out, I do marital arts yet I see Qigong as the foundation practice for all of those things.

HARMONY: Really?

NARRYE: Yes, because it sensitizes me to my own energy. It helps me to be more aware of my body when I’m doing other kinds of physical work so that I’m much less prone to injury and it helps me to optimize the quality of the other activities I’m doing. Basically I think I’m a better dancer, martial artist, even acupuncturist, because I do Qigong. The Qigong trains my attention.

HARMONY: Thanks for talking to us.

NARRYE: Any time.