plant phylogeny

"Phylogeny" is the evolutionary relationship between organisms. 7song says that there is only one other herbalist in the USA that teaches phylogeny as part of their herbal studies program. I feel honored and glad to be part of this program studying this. A question that often arises for me is, "Why?" This is because I have been asked this question so often through the years, especially in Asia, regarding my life choices, as well as my areas of work and study. So, why? Why would we want to study the evolutionary relationships between plants? In my wilderness work, understanding phylogeny will help with answering the endless questions of my students (excellent questions that make me dive deeper into the depths of my own understanding and non-understanding, creating an atmosphere of constant healthy growth and learning.) Understanding phylogeny also helps with truth-based storytelling that comes from a deep knowledge and recognition of plant origins, from a evolutionary (aka. ancient) backdrop of thousands of years of accumulated history. In healthcare, we seek to find and treat the root cause of the disease. Likewise, if we can understand the root cause of the chemical compounds of the plants that make our medicines, then we can better understand and utilize these medicines for today's uses. Like in yoga, where we root down in order to rise up (first get grounded so that you can fly freely), it is important to understand where plants originate from (their phylogeny) to use them in a complete way (which is, in Sanskrit, "moksha." This is freedom.) 

We covered three (of five) primary plant KINGDOMS: protista, fungi, and plantae. "Kingdom" means that they all evolved from a common ancestor. 

The PROTISTA kingdom consists of algaes and diatoms. These seem to be primordial sea-based tiny creatures. Diatoms are so tiny that we can barely see them, like krill. Diatomacious earth is one kind of diatom. When diatoms die, they leave behind their hard little shells. I wonder if the crust that slowly develops on top of the desert Earth in Joshua Tree National Park (CA) if composed of deceased diatoms. We focused on algaes, which include seaweeds. The pH of the blood that runs through our bodies mirrors the ocean's pH; our blood is very closely related to seawater! Is this why eating seaweed helps to build healthy blood? Seaweeds make up half of lichens (which are symbiotic relationships between algae and fungi). They are thin enough to take in and put nutrients back out into the water. Algaes (and seaweeds too) don't make seeds. They can both sexually and nonsexually reproduce.

The FUNGI kingdom includes mushrooms, yeasts, molds, mildews, and rusts. Mushrooms are the obvious fruiting bodies of fungi. Mycellium is the fungi itself, often threadlike. If you pick a mushroom, you can see the white threads of connection running beneath the Earth- this is mycellium. I like to think of it as a huge net right beneath the soil, binding all the Earth together, recycling dead matter into fresh energy right beneath our feet. (But what about concrete jungles?) Fungi reproduce with spores. In class, we ended up talking a lot about reproduction because this is how life continues: we grow, we procreate, we die. And if we don't procreate, then there is no continuation of life. (I am speaking from the perspective of mushrooms, but also human beings.) Fungi are all heterotrophs (live off of photosynthetic organisms), instead of autotrophs (who photosynthesize and produce their own food from sunlight, CO2, and water.) 

The PLANTAE kingdom takes us to our next section... 

The PLANTAE kingdom includes bryophyta, pteridophyta, and spermatophyta. (These are great names to name your children!) 

The BRYOPHYTA plants are nonvascular spore-producing plants that include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. These are the oldest plants in the world, from dinosaur days! Mosses have rhizoids, instead of roots; they anchor loosely to the soil. Mosses take in water directly from the atmosphere, like a sponge. They are autotrophs that photosynthesize their nutrients. The difference between spores and seeds: seeds are baby plants, containing all the genetic information needed to create a whole new plant. Spores only contain half the gametes (specialized reproductive cells) to create a new plant. Thus, spores need to meet another spore of the opposing sex to reproduce. Mosses need rain or wetness to reproduce. When the rain droplets (or wind, or whatever instigates the movement) hit the moss arms (I am unsure of the technical term of the non-leafy moss arms), the male spores go flying from one moss arm off to meet a female spore on another moss arm. If the male spore lands below the female spore, then it will use a process called chemotaxi (amazing) to travel up the moss arm to meet the female spore. The male spores can only chemotaxi in water, that's why you will find more mosses in wet environments, such as in Taiwan (gorgeous). When the male spores chemotaxi up the moss arm, it propels itself with a little tail, much like a male sperm cell, or tadpole. Except that it has two tails! Another amazing quality of mosses is that they can dessicate (dry up) and live! They need water to reproduce, but can dry up for a long period of time, and then come back to life (I will try this one day). 

The PTERIDOPHYTA ("pterido" means "winged" and "phyta" means "plants") plants are spore-producing and vascular plants that include ferns, club mosses, and horsetails. These plants came after the Bryophyta plants, with real roots that pull nutrients from the soil, allowing them to grow taller and closer to the sun. These plants dominated during dinosaur days. When they died, they turned into coal and other natural resources that we are still utilizing today. Vascular plants have vascular bundles that carry water and nutrients throughout the plant. They are like the circulatory system of the plant. Two groups of cells form the vascular system of plants: the xylum and phloem. Xylum carries water and dissolved nutrients from the roots and soil up to the topmost extremities of the plants, while phloem carries the products of photosynthesis (usually sugar) down through the plant. Xylum draws nutrients up, phloem carries nutrients down. In a tree, the xylum becomes the hardened heartwood in the center of the tree trunk. The phloem becomes the bark. Over time, the hardened rings of xylum and phloem (the vascular bundles) become the tree's age rings: you can watch the aging process of the tree by looking at the patterning of its vascular bundles in a cross section of the tree trunk. The vascular bundles are the most chemically rich part of the tree, most often used for medicine (such as slippery elm bark, cherry bark, willow bark, etc.) These plants defend themselves by being silicacious (rough bodied). They don't contain much medicinal value. Ferns reproduce by spores. When the fern fpores fall to the ground, they turn into a prothallus (sometimes called just a "thallus.") The prothallus is a sporophyte (where sex cells are made) that contains both the male sex cell (antheridia) and female sex cell (archegonium). Once the prothallus falls on the ground, the antheridia (male) swims over to fertilize the archegonium (female). Then, the prothallus grows small roots and starts becoming the new fern (gametophyte). 

SPERMATOPHYTA ("sperm" means "seed") are vascular seed-producing plants that are most of the plants that we know today. Next section! 

SPERMATOPHYTA plants are either angiospermae or gymnospermae. 

ANGIOSPERMAE ("angio" means "vessel," and "sperm" means "seed") are flowering plants that have seeds with ovaries. These comprise 90% of the roughly 250,000 species of plants on our planet. Angiospermae are either MONOCOTYLEDONS (when seeds open, one leaf emerges) or DICOTYLEDONS (when seeds open, two leaves emerge). (A "cotyledon" is the leaf that emerges from the seed.) Most plants are dicots, with 4-5 flowering parts, vascular bundles on the outside (well organized), and leaves with reticulate veins (think of your usual leaf). Monocots have 3 flowering parts, and less changeable. They have leaves with parallel veins and randomized vascular bundles (with no growth rings). These plants fall down easier, as they don't make heartwood. 90% of woody plants are dicots. 

GYMNOSPERMAE ("gymno" means "naked," and "sperm" means "seed") are wind-pollinated plants that include conifers, ephedra, and gingko. They have unisexual flowers (staminate/male-only or pistillate/female-only). These plants developed before insects came along to help pollinate flowers. Thus, they are wind pollinated. The ovule (female part) is not in an ovary; their ovules are exposed to the wind (like a pine cone). The wind will blow the pollen (male parts) around to meet and fertilie the ovules (female parts). These plants are either monoecious or dioecious. Monoecious plants have both male and female flowers on the same plant, such as corn and conifers. Dioecious plants have male plants and female plants, such as ephedra, gingko, and marijuana. 

Let me know if you have any questions about any of this phylogeny information! I am very new to phylogeny, and find it fascinating. Every person has a unique history (herstory) and story, and plants do as well! In class, I feel like it's story-time: I settle back into our comfy chairs and blankets as it's raining outside, sip steaming herbal tea, and listen to 7song tell dramatic true stories about plants and how they procreate and how our world and our medicine came to be. Love it. 

(photo of yucca from Taiwan) 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing



(my monthly Chinese letter) 
(fox and turtle photos from my teacher, 7song)


祝你們滿月快樂! :) 

時間過得真快。 我已經在這兒(ithaca, ny)快兩個月了!我們開學兩個禮拜了。 感覺又滿足, 又有一點overwhelmed(中文怎麼說?)我感覺像我們該學太多東西了!了解用藥草不只包跨了解藥草的用處, 也需要了解:
- 人體:結構,不同病
- 診所:怎麼問病人好問題,怎麼做好的治療師
- 植物:化學品質,怎麼種藥草, 怎麼在野外認識藥草, 怎麼採不同的草藥, 怎麼把植物變成藥
- 人體和草藥: 什麼琴狂改用什麼植物, 植物和身體殘生什麼反應

雖然我老師7song用草藥治療病人, 但他很注重西醫的看法和治療方式。我們在學很多西醫看人體和治療人體的方式, 但用草藥。 我最喜歡星期四。 我們每個星期四都在診所裡看病人。 我們看每個病人半小時。 大部分都在跟病人聊天。 7song老師的診斷方式就是問病人很多問題來了解他們的病況, 生活習慣, 等。聽完病人故事之後, 7song會給他們開藥: 藥酒, 草藥茶, 等。 

我給你們看看一些照片。。。我家附近的美妙奇景! 我終於完全搬進我的小木屋。有一天早上在我 家門口, 看到這隻烏龜。 小野狼們也是我的鄰居!有一隻媽媽野狼住在那兒, 陪著大的五隻小狼寶寶!最後一張照片是我在森林摘的野蘑菇。好好吃哦!

學校很忙。 我們一個禮拜上課三天, 有一天我們去診所, 然後別的時間我們三個小徒弟在幫7song老師整理教室, 種田, 做藥, 等等。大部分的時間, 我沒空給自己時間。 好不容易每天早上還繼續練瑜伽或是自發功,盡量吃好食物, 和冒險去探索和研究我附近的森林和朋友們。 我上個禮拜開始在附近教瑜伽。第一堂課只要一個學生!很好玩。 希望像在印度一樣, 每一堂課在多一個學生, 慢慢的長, 就好了。 上禮拜, 也交了新朋友。我在漸漸認識周圍的人和活動。我們五個女人(都是藥草同伴們)和一個男人鄰居都擠在一起在一部車。我們去contradance,傳統美國東北部的團舞---好好玩哦!!!我笑得嘴巴和不容;三天之後, 臉(怎麼說cheekbones are sore?) 都還是笑疼了! 哈哈, 好開心哦。 

我也愛晚上聽貓頭鷹和野狼的叫聲, 傍晚從老師家騎腳踏車下坡回我的家, 和烤火。 我們天氣還算是很冷。 我晚上睡在三個睡袋當中!白天還在穿毛衣!

我現在坐在小溪旁邊打字, 鳥兒叫聲在旁邊,松鼠在跳, 和鄰居們種蘑菇在小溪對面。整個天空都是灰灰的。 晚上應該會下雨。 

親朋好友們, 祝你們平安幸福開心!
love, 基玲

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing


Ayurvedic Doshas

There are as many different ways to treat people, as there as so many different ways to diagnose people. That's partially because we have 7.2 trillion people on this planet, and human cultures of treating and diagnosing disease go back thousands of years. With so many different people and different cultures, of course our bodies are all different. But, we can generalize our bodies and temperaments somewhat, into different body types, or constitutions. 

Ayurveda is traditional Indian medicine (from India). 7song likes to use the Ayurvedic way of generalizing human constitutions, known as the "doshas," to help with diagnosing and treating people. People rarely perfectly fit into a pre-boxed categorization of their personality or body type, but these generalizations are helpful for understanding and treating people and conditions. 

There are three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata people tend to have more air and fire energy. Pitta people have the most fire energy. Kapha people tend to be more Earthy and watery. Besides being purely vata, pitta, or kapha, we can also be a mix, such as vata-pitta, kapha-vata, etc. Some people are all three doshas together as well, but that's rare. 

We just talked about doshas in class last week with 7song, so most of the info here comes from that class, though I will try to put it into my own words. 7song greatly dramatized his explanation of the doshas, making it highly enjoyable to learn, and just a bit easier to understand. Most of the qualities of the doshas revolve around negative aspects, since having doshas means being out of balance. Thus is the human condition: being out of balance. And what is health? Homeostasis. Being in balance. What is healthcare? Helping to restore homeostasis, or balance. Yoga means "yuj," or yoke. Yoga is having control over homeostasis, being sovereign over my body-mind-spirit state of balance. 

We are born as a certain type of dosha, and we will live our lives and then die as that dosha. Our dosha is unchangeable (this information comes from 7song and I question this part about having unchanging doshas for life- but so far in my life, that has been the case. From observing my childhood friends, this holds true as well. But I think some would argue that we can change our body type. I wonder.) I like what 7song says about this, "Be the best dosha you can be." This basically means that if you are born as a pitta person, then rock out your pitta self, and be the best pitta you can be. Every shadow comes with a gift. Our tendencies toward imbalances also gift us with other tendencies that can balance out ourselves and our communities in other ways. So, be the best dosha you can be! Our goal is to become healthy in whatever dosha we are, not to strive towards something that we are not. 

Now, for the three main doshas... 

I think of vata people as bird-like and airy. The wind blows around uncontrollably. Likewise, vata people tend towards uncontrollable, unpredicatable, and perhaps random or spontaneous activity and thought processes. Vata people may have sporadic diets. Snacking throughout the day is better for vata people, rather than eating large meals. Vata people are usually thin-framed, with high metabolism. It is best for vata people to eat more oily and nourishing foods, as they are more prone to having nutrient deficiences, dry skin, and general lack of grounding in body and mind. Vata peoples' thoughts are also more airy, having difficulty focusing on one thought, their thoughts are blown about like the wind. This also lends to greater creativity, though difficulty in pulling through with projects. 

I think of pitta people as flaming arrows. Passionate and directed, pitta people know where they are going, and their fiery qualities can manifest as strong emotions, easy anger, focused minds, need for control, and strong charisma. Pitta type bodies are in between the two extremes of vata-thin and kapha-large. Quoting the three little bears, "juuust right." Pitta people tend to have good metabolic fire, strong personalities, and great organization. Pitta people oftentimes push themselves too hard and forget to relax. If they get sick, then it is because they ignore their health issues until the last minutes. Pitta people can be intense, judgmental, critical, and with strong forward momentum. 

I think of kaphic people as cow-like: more slow, steady, Earthy, gentle, and strong. Kapha people tend to be the most compassionate of all the doshas. Their voices are deeper and bodies are larger, with tendencies towards obesity and over-eating. Kapha people enjoy indulgence, and their bodies tend toward sluggishness. Kapha people need to have good exercise and eat moderate quantities. Kaphic people tend to be more emotionally stable and content, but when off balance, can tend towards depression and desire to do nothing. It's good for kapha people to fast once in a while, bathe frequently (their bodies tend to be more oily), and be with community. Kapha people won't tip the status quo, but are steadfast, dependable, and somewhat predictable, enjoying regularity and comfort. 

... So, what's your dosha? :) 

Please provide me any feedback or questions on this essay: such as what qualities you are interested in comparing between the doshas, what I didn't address sufficiently, etc. I would like to learn more about how doshic understanding ties into clinical diagnoses and treatment- and am interested in your ideas and experiences. I am also interested in diverse means of diagnoses, having only been exposed to American, Chinese, Indian, and energetic diagnostics. If you have any further info, please do share. Thanks for reading! 

(about the photo: these are morel mushrooms that I found near my home in Ithaca, NY. They are delicious! They are all the same genus and species of mushrooms, but see how diverse they are! It is like us: we are all homo sapiens genus and species so we are all similar and basically the same thing... but also so individual and unique! May you honor your own unique nature and general dosha- and be the healthiest and best of yourself that you can be!) 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing


Earth Sky Yoga

Earth Sky Yoga 
Thursdays 10-11:30 AM 
at the Foundation of Light (397 Turkey Hill Road)
with Jiling (626-344-9140 / linjiling@gmail.com
(everyone welcome; beginner - intermediate Hatha yoga; $5 suggested donation)

Breathe deep, feel full. Empty bowl, surrender. Wild body, made of Earth. Flowing breath, remember. 
Earth below, Sky above. Welcome here, NOW. Root down, rise up! Between Earth and Sky, Center. 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing


in retrospect

I filled up my computer with photos, music, and more from constant travels. So, today I am finally cleaning out my computer: storing old stuff into my external hard-drive (I will need to buy a new one soon to back this one up, just in case). I looked through some old photos. (this hard-drive has my photos all the way from 2008, and even my photojournalist portfolio from 2006!), and I feel amazed that I am still alive in some ways. I have been through all kinds of crazy adventures, learned so many things, met so many people. Really, it's beyond words. Looking through these photos makes me wish I could look through the mental archives of my elders. I would love to look thru the memories of my grandparents, my parents, even my sister (she has traveled almost as much as I have, just in a completely different style). I would love to look through the mental archives of my teacher 7song, and all my elders: Tamarack, Lety, Bill, Lucy... Where have you been? WHO have you been? What events in your life sculpted you into who you are, today? What beauty, what pain? Share with me your stories of greatest joy, greatest humor. And then, all the mundane normalcy in between. All the days that blend together. Tell me about those too. 

I ate dinner tonight sitting on my doorstep overlooking the forest, crows cawing overhead (a "murder" of crows!), and I cawed back to them, laughing as they flew back to circle over my head, over my cabin, over the trees, a murder of crows, a bundle of mysteries, about as mysterious, sacred, and beautiful as anything I could ever imagine flying through the lives of all the people I love, and all the strangers and acquaintances I meet, all the plants and stones and trees too... There's an old tree next to where the farmer's market takes place every Saturday. I asked my neighbor Wade how old he thought the tree was. "Well," he replied, "probably 300 years old or so..." I imagine what this forest looked like 300 years ago, before white colonists came in, with Native Americans running through the landscape, old growth forests, no farmer's market, no cars, no computers... I imagine lush forests teeming with animals and diverse plant life...

I delight in the sound of the crows in the nearby trees, the wind blowing through the leaves. My eyes widen into owl eye vision, taking in all the forest, soft green young leaves blowing gently on the trees, dead brown leaves softly trembling on the ground from the wind whistling through my grove. I named my forest that I am living in (Noah's land)- I named this forest "Ling Lin," (靈林) which translates as "Spirit Forest." After a full day of work and over a week of daily work, I start to zone out on the fluttering green and brown leaves, until a sharp crow call brings me back into the present moment. I think of all the moments fleeting and flying, how quickly time flies by, how the days seem to blur together... 

One day, I will look back on photos from this spring to summer time in my cold little sweet and sacred cabin with all the frog songs, owl hoots, coyote scat, and crow calls, and I will miss it. I will think back to my time with Nishaan and 7song and all the other students, clients, and local friends turned into family, and I will smile, and I will reminesce, and I will have so many stories for all my future students of all ages and friends of all backgrounds, but no words or photos or videos can ever fully recapture the preciousness of this very really present moment: back to sitting in the woods alone yet surrounded by and woven completely into Life. 

Precious Life. I hope to live it so fully, and learn so much, and be filled to the brim with good Medicine to share, and share, and share--- and receive again, in full, and share and be filled, and share and be filled... 

The tadpoles grow larger everyday. I watch them swimming around during class break, admiring the swish of their tails, the roundness of their bellies. I wonder what they eat. 

The dandelions have already gone to seed. I like to blow their fluff around and make wishes that I trust will come true, as much as I am willing to work hard to make them happen. 

The garlic mustards are still in flower, and in seed, and young garlic mustards have already sprung up around the first garlic mustard plants of spring, now entering into summer already! Soon, they will take over the whole garden, if I don't eat them all, first! 

Today, I watched an orange newt come lazily crawling out from under the dry soil of my unwatered garden bed. He/she sauntered over to another hole in the earth, and then eased him/herself back into the Earth again. I wonder where he/she lives. 

The moon is getting fuller again. I enjoy watching her through the trees every night. My window is perfectly positioned to catch her glow as I fall asleep at night. 

In the mornings, I revel when I see the glow of the sun, and jump out of bed, twisting and dancing. When it is cold and my breath blows white frost into the air, I curl deeper into my pile of three sleeping bags, making loud "ahhh's" into the soft echos of my little hut, delighted to be sleeping alone again, yet also missing the warmth of another human body cuddled into my own. 

I love biking into and out of the forest, Dragon (my bike)'s wheels jumping up with every protruding root from the Earth, making my breath jump into the throat, and forcing a smile that turns into a laugh up from my unbalanced feet into my open mouth, a loud "HA!" that makes the squirrels jump down out of their warm nests in surprise. 

Beautiful Life. 
Precious, precious. 

I look back onto Taiwan photos and that world feels so surreal and far away. I have already seen Efan and Shulin who I saw in Taiwan. Soon, I will see Amie again, and Larry too- here in the USA. Worlds falling apart, and coming together again. I keep reminding myself, "I carry Taiwan and my 2.5 years of Asia travels with me. It's across the globe, but it's here inside of me too. I carry this with me." Teaching yoga and practicing Thai massage after so long of no practice after wrist surgery, I question my confidence, my practices, my knowing. I know nothing. The more I learn, the more I understand just how little I really know. The more I desire to learn. The less I feel I know. Empty bowl, full bowl. Full moon, new moon. 

Cycles upon cycles. 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing

herbal medicine clinic- notes

I want to share what I am learning in herbal classes and clinics, and create discussion around these topics, to further our understanding of healthcare and herbal medicine. Please message me with any feedback, questions, or thoughts that arise after reading this, and future posts! Thank you. 

My goal is to write something related to clinical, botanical, or medicinal knowledge/ learnings/ observations on a weekly basis. Below are some herbal medicine clinic notes from working with 7song at the Ithaca Free Clinic, and listening in classes with 7song at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. I am greatly enjoying my learning here, and excited to share with you, my larger community: 

How to be an Herbal Clinican... some initial notes:

- Start noticing and observing the patient as soon as they walk in. Note posture, general energy, small details in where they carry tension in their body, their eye contact when they say hello, quality of voice, what they address, etc. 
- Think fast and talk with a calm yet commanding voice. Establish rapport and give feeling of confidence. 
- Know how to gracefully cut people off in their stories. People will often talk for too long about their health-related (or even non-related) stories. As we have limited time with each patient, we must be judicious with our time management, and know what questions to selectively ask, and what stories to listen to. 
- "How can I help this person?" is the first question to ask, instead of "What herbs fit this situation?" 
- Ask, "What are your symptoms?" And then, we can explore what is the root cause of the symptoms (instead of treating the symptoms), and work towards rooting out the the root. Get specific. Is this an acute or chronic disease? 
- For patient compliance, keep the medicine simple: down to 2-3 medicines to take. 
- We're healthcare workers first, and herbalists second. As herbalists, we must know when to refer patients to other practitioners, and not be hard-headed about treating ONLY with herbs. Modern medicine lacks attention to individuality; herbal medicine offers other choices. Holistic medicine looks at the person as a whole being, and treats it as such. I enjoy seeing when people come to us because nothing else has worked... and herbal medicine is working, if only a little, sometimes a lot. I also saw this in the Chinese medicine clinic in Taiwan. I am sure that all clinics see this: Western medicine cannot successfully treat whatever disease/symptoms the person is undergoing so they try something different: "alternative"/ "traditional" medicines. And then, sometimes, in the best cases, it works. In other cases, it offers something new to try. This may give a feeling of hope. Or, this may give a feeling of further frustration/stress when it doesn't work. Either way, it's another choice.
- Herbal clinic work is first being a great listener and asking great questions, and secondly knowing how to treat with plant medicine, or refer to other practitioners. 
- Offer workable lifestyle change suggestions, such as dietary changes, exercise, and changing the living environment, if possible. These can contribute more to longterm relief than medicines. Preventative medicine, first!
- Patients sometimes come in not really understanding what's going on this their own bodies, or not understanding some elses' diagnoses of their symptoms. Know how to explain things in a simple and understandable manner, while understanding the complex language with big words, of western medicine. 
- Facial expressions, projecting emotions, and offering comfort or sympathy: be emotionally present for a patient, but don't belittle them with sad faces or sounds of "awww," as that may make the person feel like you don't know how to help them. Instead, keep a straight face, collect objective information, and offer helpful solutions. 
- Stress contributes a lot to health problems. Lack of sleep can trigger many problems as well. Deep breathing and relaxation can go a long ways toward general health (hooray, yoga!) 

(Photos: a nest I found in the woods near my home, and some young thistles' basal rosette. I offer this circular imagery. as it reminds me of the imagery of the spiral, or of the snake eating its own tail: the Circle of Life. I feel like this Circle imagery is a good representation of healthcare, and life in general. Life is a circle. We are born, we get sick, we die. And a lot happens in between the book-ends of life and death, but this is the basic circle. Good healthcare helps make this circle round and smooth, making life transitions smoother, and the bumps along the way more comfortable and manageable. And preventative medicine is like building a solid nest, a strong bodily foundation, from which to springboard strong healthy vibrant human beings!) 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing