More about Catherine...
I was raised in a small New England town. My family trekked to the Unitarian Universalist church on the common every Sunday with a love for singing, an intellectual fervor for ethics, and a solid commitment that there are many paths to the Divine. For college, I attended Skidmore, a liberal arts school focused on the interconnectedness of all things, searching for the similarities in distinct fields. My undergraduate and first masters degrees are in studio art; as a kinesthetic learner and tactile-oriented person, constructive creativity fit me well. But in the final year of college I found Chinese language, Eastern philosophy, and martial arts training, which all pulled at me in unexpected ways.
I found Chinese Medicine by happy accident. A good friend walked me into the Philadelphia-area studio of the Daoist Priest Chang-Shin Jih, a martial arts and Feng Shui master. I studied with him and his wife Donna Price for over 2 years. Simultaneously, I was learning about Re-evaluation Counseling, an international liberation movement based in deep listening. Through these two practices I began unwinding the homophobic, sex and body-shaming messages of my youth, and was introduced to anti-racism work and social justice around money and class.
Before I left Philadelphia, I met with a psychic about abandoning my career path as a professor of art. She told me I was surrounded by thin, silver, falling objects pilling up by the thousands without harming me - the spirits were calling them 'needles,' but they were not like any needle she'd ever seen. She told me if I ever found 'those needles,' I would have found my Destiny.
I ended up enrolling at the Asian Institute of Medical Studies in Tucson AZ because I wanted to understand more about about Feng Shui and Qigong, which share the same foundation as Chinese Medicine. That program incorporated year-long studies in Medical Qigong (healing others), self-cultivation Qigong, Tuina, Japanese acupuncture, and Worsley 5 Element theory. Covering the breadth of CM in general rather than focusing heavily in TCM / CCM / 5 Element was unique; the school also had a strong relationship with Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine program, and the ‘defining principles' of his program are a good basis for how I still think about medicine.
One of the school's trustees was Zen Priest Johndennis Govert; he confirmed my mastery of Feng Shui in 2004. I began teaching weekly Qigong classes that same year before finishing my Master of Acupuncture degree. In 2008 I started taking workshops with Li Jun Feng; he confirmed my mastery of Qigong in 2012 when he asked why I did not believe my own students, who'd started calling me Master in 2010 ("Did you not train them well enough to see?" he asked). I have also taken many workshops with Jeffrey Yuen, taught at two acupuncture schools in the USA, and designed accredited programs in Gynecology and Medical Qigong.
My first book was released in 2019: Gender and Sexuality in Chinese Medicine is an empowering and gender fluid/non-binary take on all aspects of sexuality, relationships, and the emotional consequences of oppression. After a 6+ year healing journey following the birth of my daughter (epigenetic tendencies got flipped), this year I restarted teaching weekly Qigong classes. I am also pursuing a Doctor of Acupuncture in Integrative Medicine through Five Branches University, focused on 'bridging the gap' between eastern and western thinking in healthcare.
Qigong remains my foundational root in this field, and I simply cannot practice or consider CM theory without somatically experiencing the energetic pathways. This influence is evidenced in my teaching, my treatments, my writing, and in how I live my every day life. But every time I open a package of acupuncture needles, I remember my psychic's words, and I am always grateful to have found my Destiny.
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