Friday, October 9, 2009

How Fast Can We Make This Happen?

“Slowly, slowly. That’s the way. The Chinese say it all the time. Slowly, slowly,” says Michael Max, the man behind the needle at Yong Kang Chinese Medicine Clinic, which recently opened across from the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market.

Michael tells me this at Starbucks, where we’re having coffee on a recent Tuesday. The theme may or may not be a spin-off from this Chinese saying: “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

The effort to sell the condo is not standing still. Sunday morning, you can watch – if you don’t blink – a quick ad for it on the Coldwell-Banker Gundaker show at 10 a.m. on KMOV-TV. Three hours later, we’re holding an open house.

At the last open house, a couple suggested that I trade my condo for their home in Maplewood. We need to do better than that.

So slowly, slowly, I’m waiting for Sunday to arrive as I ponder Michael’s words. We met at a party held at the home of my massage therapist, the incomparable Yue Ma. Now Michael and I get together once in a while to talk about writing, about selling the condo (Michael grew up in Creve Coeur) and about the acupuncture business.

Michael graduated in 1998 from the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine, where he earned a Master's of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He holds NCCAOM national certifications in both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. After practicing for a few years in Seattle, Michael went to Asia for five years, where he studied medicine at Beijing TCM University and worked with doctors in the hospitals of Beijing.

While there, Michael studied acupuncture with Dr. Wang, a richly experienced scholar/doctor, and in Taiwan, he sat with Dr. Jiang Tong, a 95-year-old practitioner who taught Michael his signature approach to using Chinese herbs. When he returned to the U.S., Michael opened the Yong Kang Chinese Medicine Clinic in downtown Seattle. He moved here earlier this year.

Michael offers plenty of health tips on his web site, but he also shares general wisdom. For example:

“They say you can never step in the same river twice. That the slipstream of life with its constant movement, its ever swirl of variable change, is always and continuously presenting us with something new. Change, while it may be imperceptible when viewed through the lenses of habit and assumption, is in fact the only constant in our world.

“Simply look at how we feel about our partners ten years into a relationship, or how the work we do today differs from that we did even just five years ago. Notice how your preference for food has shifted over the course of years, or music for that matter!

“Ever go back and try to relive what was a pleasant memory? Attempt to gain nourishment from something that sustained you at a different moment in life, only to find dust and broken stone? Or, discover much to your surprise that what was once held in disdain can hold the keys to a solution we had given up on?”


Slowly, slowly. One day at a time. Half day, if a whole day seems too long.

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