by Teresa LeYung-Ryan

This is 1 of 4 of my blog posts entitled “Parkinson’s Disease, My Chinese Papa, and My practicing The Four Agreements”

Remembering the mistakes I made when I was my mom’s advocate 15 years ago is benefitting another loved one.

Honestly, I didn’t know that I would be enjoying my new part-time job as my father’s exercise coach, appointment escort, and advocate OR that I would be practicing The Four Agreements (from Don Miguel Ruiz’s timeless book).

Agreement #1 -  Be impeccable with my word

Wednesday evening while watching a Cantonese television program called Big Boys Club (the topic was about using a system to find meaningful relationships), my papa started expounding his philosophy.  I asked him to turn down the volume so that I could better hear him. He obliged.

All was copacetic until he said “You’d be happier if you get a Masters degree. People who go back to school get ahead in life.”

What the #%#*? (I didn’t say it). I could feel my pulse quickening though. “Ridiculous!” I sputtered.  I felt regret as soon as I heard the tone that went with the syllables. Then I said, “The most valuable lessons in life I learn from friends.”

Papa injected, “Mary’s brother is a doctor. He went to Harvard.”

What the #%#*? (I didn’t say it). What I did say was: “How wonderful for him. Okay, let’s say I did want to get a Masters degree. Many hours of school and studying. Who would be coming over here to help you exercise?”

There were two seconds of silence.  Then, with a smile and warm eyes he said, “The important thing is that you are happy doing what you are doing.”

Why didn’t I stay calm earlier? The word “ridiculous” floated between Papa and me.

I suppose I’ll have to practice Agreement #4 – “Always do my best”

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To listen to my reading of this blog post, please visit my  YouTube channel  or simply click on the following underscored text …  Part 1 of 4 “Parkinson’s Disease, My Chinese Papa, and My practicing The Four Agreements”

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Teresa LeYung-Ryan with her Love Made Of Heart totebag - photo by YBK








Author & Fanbase-Building Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out. Enjoy your writer’s journey.”

Teresa LeYung-Ryan is the author of:

·          Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (workbook);

·          Love Made of Heart: a Daughter Breaks Free from Her Violent Past as Her Mother Journeys through Mental Illness   (novel used in college classes, recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association, and archived at the San Francisco History Center);

·          “Talking to My Dead Mom” Monologues (the first monologue received an award from Redwood 10-Minute Play Contest and was staged at the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, CA);

·         Coach Teresa’s Blog (which attracts tens of thousands of writers) at  helps writers build their platforms before and after publication

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5 Responses to “Part 1 of 4 “Parkinson’s Disease, My Chinese Papa, and My practicing The Four Agreements””

  • Pat Phillips says:

    Dearest Teresa,
    Thank you for this wonderful post. It is so meaningful to me right now with all I’ve been going through with my elderly parents. I have had many regrets over things I wish I hand’t said during the time I’ve been caring for them. Your beautiful, and insightful blog is a gift. I’ll think of you each and every time I’m with them – well…..I think of you all the time anyway! I just haven’t had much extra time, as I’m sure you can understand.
    with love,

  • lynn scott says:

    very human piece. We all have spoken too fast to our elder ones. I like that papa didn’t rush you off to grad school once you reminded him of your steady presence. He’s a cagey guy! Miss seeing you but i will keep in touch with this blog. Lots of love and admiration. Lynn S

  • Dear Teresa,

    How wonderful to hear your thoughts. Parents can be so frustrating!It was very supportive to read about your conversation with your Dad and the honesty of your responses to him.

    My Mom just had a fall and will get the other hip done sometime next year. My first reaction was, “Oh no, not more time off from work!” But as you said, I took a deep breath, knew that I wanted to be there to take care of her, and said instead that I would come when ever she needed me. I am getting better at having faith that it will all work out. I want so much to do what I can for her to make her life easier.


    Marie Elena

  • Neva Dinwiddie says:


    I was very inspired to hear your thoughts and to know that you are supportive of your dad. More and more baby boomers are finding themselves in positions of taking care of elderly parents. I think the best thing to do is just to be there for them no matter what. After all, they deserve to have the best quality lives in their sunset years. And, I like it that you are your dad’s exercise coach. Not many of our elders get enough exercise. It is has even been stated that it is good to increase exercise because it can aid in increasing neutrons in the brain, leading to better clarity, and thus aiding to help to avoid the most dreaded disease Alzeimers. Keep up the good work.

    Love ,
    Neva Dinwiddie

  • Maria says:

    Hi Sis,
    When I WAS getting my master’s degree, I excitedly announced to Baba, “San Francisco Medical Center offered me a job– and I haven’t even graduated yet!”
    I was sooo proud of myself.
    Father: How much does it pay?
    Me: $15 an hour.
    Father: Your cousin makes $50 an hour…

    You could hear the pin (made in China) popping my happy balloon and watch it deflate slowly to the ground.

    I was in my 20′s so I probably responded with more than just “What the…”
    The Four Agreements are a life-long process.
    More power to you, Sis.
    Father is a lucky man to have you as his advocate.


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