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Breaking the Pots and Burning the Boats

破釜沉舟 literally means "breaking the pots and burning the boats", a metaphor for sheer determination to fight all the way to the end, by getting rid of all means of retreat.

This ancient saying refers to Xiang Yu, a fierce warrior from Chu State, who grew tired of his army commander, General Song Yi, sitting on his butt for 46 days, hoping for a safe moment to attack. Xiang Yu killed General Song and took over the commanding post. He brought the army across the Yellow River, and ordered his men, just before the big battle, to break all cooking pots and burn all the boats and camp gear. His soldiers fought like no other, as they knew there was nothing to fall back on.   

After nine brutal battles, the Chu army finally defeated the mighty Qin troops – an army several times its size. They left us an unforgettable legacy: when you 破釜沉舟 (Pò fǔ chén zhōu) you’ll boldly go ‘til the end without ever looking back.

I have never done anything nearly as courageous. But, I did break my own “iron rice bowl” early this year. I quit my federal government job after 22 years of public health service. I told everyone that I happily “retired” so nobody, especially my elderly parents and college kids, would NOT worry that I had neither paychecks nor retirement income (at least not for several years when I reach retirement age).

And YES, I did ponder several times if I should go back to a day job so I wouldn’t panic whenever I saw the 5-figure college tuition bills.

But the determination to redesign the second half of life is too strong to turn around, NOT NOW.

Going All In

One thing was different this time. Not only did I break the iron rice bowl, but I also burned all the bridges in my MIND that lead BACK to my comfort zone.

I tried in vain for many years to have a 9-5 salaried job and fulfill my mission on the side. This time, I WANT to go all in – all my heart and soul, all my time, all my undivided attention!What is this mission, this CALLING for a game changer in my life? 

A Calling I Couldn’t Ignore

For the past decade, I have been working on building a holistic center where caring for mind-body-spirit is seamlessly integrated.

I will find care providers to partner with and help them build this service model that is both scalable and impactful. I am so longing to leverage my skills in strategic thinking, health data science, and leadership, especially in leading innovative teams, to CREATE this new care model and make it SPREAD like WILDFIRE

I know, this takes what we call “天时地利人和 (“the right time, the right place and the right people”). But instead of waiting for the perfect time/place/people, I want to see whether we can take direct ACTION NOW.

Through our intention, we broadcast to the universe for the right people to gather. Through our joint efforts, we co-create a time and space for this concept of new medicine to grow. I have no doubt it is WE who create天时地利人和, not some miracles just falling upon us.

If you are reading this post, it means that we have crossed paths in some way or another, and I thank you for the opportunities to have served you!

Maybe this calling resonates deeply with you, too. If so, I look forward to reconnecting soon! It is high time to call for all kindred spirits to re-think and co-created a brand new way to care for ourselves and our fellow human beings.  

Love and light,


PS – Shawn and I have another surprise for you. Soon we'll open our flagship Meditation & Qigong Academy where we leverage the power of our online platform to share our ancient teachings with you.

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