Image of LingDao & author by Christina Craft

Chinese Medicine, Learning & Magic

What Qi is, really

Dana Leigh Lyons
8 min readOct 24, 2021


Nelson, British Columbia, Chinese Medicine, small town quirks, home. Excerpt from a book in progress.

“Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
‘This could be Heaven or this could be Hell.’
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say…”

—The Eagles, “Hotel California”

In deciding where to do my next round of formal education, I barely researched the schools themselves. Previously, academia rather than set and setting were paramount. This time, I was seeking not just knowledge, but home.

I wanted to live in a place where I felt most alive and awed—one with snow-capped peaks, flowing water, and abundant green. One that would be a respite from the the indomitably hot, sunny places I kept choosing—Egypt, Thailand, and the like. I loved those homes dearly but, in my aversion to heat, suffered through them.

I could go anywhere. Why not pick my geographic ideal? Having visited beautiful, vibrant British Columbia as a teen, I knew it was a match.

My brief previous trips had been to Victoria, the provincial capital on Vancouver Island off the coast. I applied to one college there and another in Nelson, a small town tucked deep in BC’s interior. I’d never been to Nelson—a quirky, mountainous, hard-to-get-to spot beside one of the province’s largest lakes (104 kilometres long, 3 to 5 kilometres in width). The town had a population of 10,000 or so, along with a small, well-established Chinese Medicine college. Meanwhile, the Victoria college was brand-new, centrally located and full of youthful potential.

I was accepted to both, and the choice was intriguing: City or country? Coast or mountainous interior? Cutting edge or classical?

Really, there was no question. My intuition called for the latter. My heart pulled toward tiny, eccentric, hidden-away Nelson—a place I’d never been and would move to sight unseen. It also led me to the five-year doctor program at the town’s Chinese Medicine Academy. Without knowing…



Dana Leigh Lyons

Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Writer, Medium Top Writer in Poetry, Health, Travel, LGBTQ.