Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games opened on July 23, 2021. I become very emotional about the Olympic Games this year because, precisely at the last Olympic Game in 2016, I made a secret plea against “wisdom” at the time. See details in https://lungcancer.net/living/2020-olympics-refection
I always have doubts about political advocacy. I wonder if it’s useful? Will politicians listen to the patients’ concerns? Are there any consequences for the cancer patients? Meanwhile, I’m fascinated by political advocacy. For the first time, I did political advocacy with several patients to urge the provincial government to allow cancer patients and immunocompromised patients to have the 2nd dose vaccine before the four months interval. As a result, the government did change the policy. I’m ecstatic. Please see the article below: https://lungcancer.net/living/raise-patient-voices
I’m surprised to read this article that I wrote in 2019 and re-posted by lungcancer.net now. My friend, 裴皓, passed away one year before. I was closely following him then and had communicated with him several times after this interview. Religion in China used to be forbidden, but he was open about the effects of religion on his coping with lung cancer. He kept travelling to so many rural places until… He took numerous pictures as you will see in this blog. He left a deep impression on me. Please see https://lungcancer.net/living/living-self-portrait-ros1
I understand everybody is unique and lung cancer patients are not exceptional, but I refuse to let cancer drag me down. I learnt to laugh instead of depressed and fear, to move forward in spite of losing friends due to this horrible disease, to face the challenges with my head lifting high… At least for some lung cancer patients, we have a life, a better life, to live although we constantly fight for invisible battles. https://lungcancer.net/living/invisible-battles
I wrote my experience with the worst teacher I have ever met in the previous article , but at the same time, I had numerous excellent teachers that I thought about them often. Among them, Mrs. W, taught me Chinese literature when I was in middle school, and Mr. S taught me math when I was in high school and had lifetime influences on me.
Observation, Observation and Observation
Mrs. W taught me Chinese literature. One of the main parts of Chinese literature is to learn composition. When Mrs. W taught about composition, the first day, she talked a lot about Observation with my own eyes. It’s eye-opening for me.
I was 14 at the time, and before that, I was taught to thinking according to what the Chinese Communist Party and people around me wanted, and never thought by myself. I never observed anything through my own eyes. I believe that the majority of Chinese were like that at the time. Mrs. W also announced that she would give a large portion of the term mark based on our improvement for Observation.
It was such fun to take Mrs. W’s course and saw the world with my own eyes. Then, for the first time, I felt the freedom of writing anything I desired, and I remembered to tell myself that I could be a writer for the rest of my life. That was the first time I dreamed without a haze to be a writer. But, unfortunately, both my parents were scientists, and under the Chinese Communist Party, many good writers had miserable lives. So I was trained to be a scientist, and my dream to be a writer was soon shattered.
Although I didn’t become a writer, I learnt three attributes to be a good writer: 1) sensitivity to what happens around us, 2) having the guts to tell the truth to evoke people, 3) mastering the language. I have the first two attributes, but sadly, I’m not good at the languages, either Chinese or English.
I have written articles regularly since three years ago, have them reviewed and post on the Health Union (lungcancer.net) as a lung cancer patient advocate . From time to time, the articles resonated with patients and had a lot of comments as feedbacks. I saw first-hand the power of writers.
Asking smart questions
I went to one of the top three high schools in Beijing, China. Unlike the private schools here, the students passed the “incandescent” entrance exams in China, which was the prelude to the elite universities of my time. So naturally, the students in such high schools were expected top-notch.
Mr. S was my math teacher in high school. In the beginning, we were pretty arrogant, like “proud sons and daughters of heaven”. However, the arrogance was all gone within a short time, mainly because of Mr. S. I learned the most from Mr. S to “ask smart questions”.
In Canada, people often say there are no stupid questions, but that’s not true. To ask good questions requires a though understanding of the subjects, and you have to have your opinion further. The success of good research (or anything) lies in defining a good question, which is not easy. I learnt how to ask questions with Mrs. S, and “asking intelligent questions” has been my life-long quest.
I have been an engineering professor for 20 years, but thinking back, did I have such an impact on my students? The teachers from primary schools, middle schools, or high schools are not only teaching the students to read and do math but, more importantly, to build their characters. I like to quote from “TeacherGoal” from FB:
“Engineers make bridges. Artists kame paintings. Scientists make rockets. But teachers make them all.”
Today I was watching the FAQs on Spiritual Life & Love Relationship, LifeBook Online  given by Jon & Missy. One question that was caught my attention, is how to receive a compliment?
I don’t feel comfortable to receive compliment.
For what ever the reason, I feel nervous when people compliment me, not mentioning giving me gifts. I would either come up with reasons or excuses as if it’s not a big deal at all and it’s not worthy for me to receive compliment. At the same time, I think people will react the same if I compliment them. Ironically, sometimes I do need and deserve compliments, and if I don’t get it, I feel hurt. So, it causes me very uncomfortable in such a situation.
I learnt that it’s a discipline to learn how to receive compliment comfortably. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one with this problem. The answer is easy, just say “Thank you” sincerely.
Giving and receiving are both important!
From here, I realized that giving and receiving are the two side of the coin, and this is the enjoyment about them. I can’t give, but not receive. So from now on, I’ll be happily receiving the compliment and “Thank you”.
I attended the MindValley Summit from June 18 and 19. MindValley is an E-Commerce Platform that has courses about personal growth and self-improvement. “How to Forgive” is the most valuable course I’ve taken, and IT WORKS.
When I was a child, I didn’t know what was shy, or impossible or constrained, and I was a good kid. I had tremendous respect for teachers that everything they said must be correct.
I had one teacher, Mrs. Z, in my primary school. I didn’t know what I did, but I annoyed her. She kept me in the office after school every day for two months and constantly told me: I was arrogant, not obedient, complacency and spoiled. She needed to “retrofit” me to be a traditional and “good” student.
Six-step for forgiveness
Step 1: Identify the person you want to forgive.
I chose Mrs. Z, whom I couldn’t forgive after these years.
Step 2: Choose a place and imagine you and Mrs. Z are there.
I chose her office. I still remember she was sitting at her table, sometimes sipped tea. I stood in front of her.
Step 3: Read your verdict for her like a judge.
“Mrs. Z, I was in the primary school you used to teach. You spent two months “retrofit” me because, as you said, I was arrogant, not obedient, complacency and spoiled. At the time, I didn’t know what I did to be not obedient and spoiled. I even didn’t understand what arrogant and complacency mean. I was only 11 years old. For two months, you bombarded me with these words every day.
After two months of “retrofit”, I was dramatized. I changed from that “go-get-it” girl to withdrawing, from actively participating in school activities to indifference. It changed my personality. More devastatedly, I lost trust in all teachers and kept distant from everybody. In my whole life, you were the only person that I hated and couldn’t forgive.”
Step 4: Release the emotion in whatever way you want for two minutes.
I can’t hit the pillow, throw dishes and shout. That’s not me. I closed my eyes, and tears were streaming down like “broken pears”. After one minute, I thought to finish the ordeal once for all; I have to react more dramatically. So, I said every word that I usually wouldn’t use at the last minute.
Step 5: Imagine you became Mrs. Z and put yourself in her shoes.
I pretended to be Mrs. Z and said: “I had a similar experience when I was your age. My school teacher criticized me for complacency and spoil and told my parents to discipline me. Mt teacher said, as it was, nobody wanted to marry me. Traditionally Chinese ways to educate girls were that girls should be obedient, modest and never aggressive. I honestly thought that after my “retrofit” you, you would be an obedient and modest girl. I felt I was doing a good deed for society.”
Step 6: Do you feel to forgive her? Can you hug her? If not, repeat it tomorrow.
My feeling is complicated. On the one hand, I wanted to convince and argue with Mrs. Z that she didn’t treat me fairly. On the other hand, I want to draw a “period” on this painful experience. I still remember what she looked like. I felt she didn’t look like the devil for one second, and a heavy stone seemed lifted from me.
I was not ready to hug Mrs. Z, but for the first time, I felt released.
I think this method from MindValley has worked. Step 5, to imagine me as the person I want to forgive, is a critical step for me.
I also noticed that teachers are so crucial and so privileged in building children characters. I wish all the teachers to cherish it.
We started “Lifebook Online ” one week ago with the topic of “Health & Fitness”. Very routine, I initially thought. However, when I listened to Jon talking in the video, it clicked in me and changed my opinion about health and fitness. Jon developed the Lifebook from his experience during the past 30 years.
I did OK in Health & Fitness categories or did I?
My Intra-Spect Assessment Report shows my score above the average, which is about right. I exercise regularly since I got lung cancer. It includes going to the gym (bicycling and walking for 1 hour and five days), PingShuaiGong (PSG, a Chinese soft martial art, twice per day for 30 minutes each and seven days per week) and meditation (15 minutes per day and seven days per week). I exercise, but I can’t say I enjoy it.
I’m a so-so eater. I have a healthy breakfast, like two eggs, one glass of soybean milk, one banana, one apple and one toast with peanut butter for 5 or 6 days per week since I got cancer. I usually don’t eat lunch. I have everything at dinner as an average person, like chicken, beef or fish. If I have the urge to have ice cream or cake, I go for it. We often have dinner outside or order food. I’m not fond of eating the vegetable.
It isn’t easy to be a disciplined eater for me. Also, I have a secret that when lung cancer patients die, most of them have weight loss badly from my observations. So I always told myself that you are lucky to keep the weight. Sometimes I used it as an excuse.
What changed me?
The first thing I learnt is that the twelve categories listed in the report are connected. Jon further explained how health and fitness are connected and affected to intellectual life, career, parenting. I just finished the Intra-Spect Assessment, and those 12 categories are what I strive for excellence. After deep think, I was convinced that health and fitness are as important as other categories.
The following fact that intrigued me was that since health and fitness are equally important as other categories, we have to spend time and energy working on it. It’s like a light shining on me. Indeed, I didn’t want to “waste” my time cooking and exercising in the past. They came second to me comparing to career, intelligence and parenting. But now I can’t afford to take the consequence, so I force to exercise and to keep the diet. The root that I don’t take seriously about health and fitness is because I don’t believe it as important as intelligence, career, parenting.
Wow, it’s eye-opening. I finally understand why I don’t take health and fitness seriously.
What actions did I take?
“Lifebook Online ” caused me to think a lot. It’s not anything I haven’t heard before, but this time, it’s like singing in my ears. I believed now health and fitness as important as other categories, so I should treat them as I treat career, intelligence and parenting.
I start to work on the diet. I decided every day I drink vegetable juice. I consciously spend more time in the kitchen to prepare supper. Also, I’m mindful about what we are going to eat. Amazingly, it’s enjoyable.
Next, on fitness, I walk in the park whenever I can. Due to the COVID-19, the gym is closed. I moved the Cubii under my desk so every day, I can exercise Cubii for 1.5 hours still working meanwhile, I keep my other exercise as usual.
The main difference is I feel meaningful and enjoyable keeping health and fitness. It’s no longer what I have to do but what I want to do.
What intrigued me is connecting health and fitness with all eleven categories on my Intro-Spect Assessment Report. Since health and fitness are equally important to each category, I need to spend time on them. It’s simple, but now, it’s enjoyable to keep my health and fitness due to this awareness.
We have started “Lifebook Online” for ten days now, and I have done the “Health & Fitness ” diligently. I hope it lasts long.