The translation of my Handbook of Five Element Acupuncture into Chinese (see my blog, Meetings with remarkable people, of 16 June) is a moment of completion for me, as if my journey into five element acupuncture, started more than 25 years back, has now come full circle, very satisfyingly. All the fears I had for five element acupuncture as I closed my school some 4 years ago have, in a surprisingly different way from any that I could have imagined, proved groundless. Here now the door back to China, and with it to all those countless people who still look to China to guide them in their approach to traditional Chinese medicine, has re-opened itself to this beloved discipline of mine, and invited it back in. I feel that my work has indeed been accomplished.
But not quite yet fully! For I am invited to China once my book appears on Chinese bookshelves, and to prepare for this I feel, as a former linguist, proud of trying never to travel to a country without at least some slight knowledge of its language, that it would be discourteous of me not to learn at least the rudiments of Mandarin in order to be able to respond to what my Chinese hosts will be saying. I have always been surprised that I have delayed so long before immersing myself in the Chinese language which underpins all acupuncture in a very profound way, particularly as I am now translating Elisabeth Rochat de la Valléé’s Les 101 Notions-Clés de la Médecine Chinoise (101 Key Concepts). Perhaps it was simply a matter of never finding the time, for I tried to start several times, or because I was afraid (and still am) that my increasingly deficient hearing will not pick up the nuances of Chinese speech. But now I intend to make up for this strange omission if I can, and am about to enrol in an intensive Mandarin course. More of this anon!