Newsletter Archive

Ask The Face

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
Patrician McCarthy, founder, The Mien Shiang Institute

Patrician McCarthy, founder, The Mien Shiang Institute

For news of the heart, ask the face, suggests a wise West African proverb.   heart-face-wordpress-031   In the season of Fire, the season of love, we suggest that you ask your heart what makes you happy. When you know that, your face will reflect your heart's happiness.    

Year of the Earth Rat

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

This Earth Rat year is a fixed Water year, making travel especially interesting and challenging, yet the Earth influence will ground many of us in our pursuits and aspirations. The Mien Shiang Institute moves ahead from last year’s excitement into a new period of growth, travel, and expanding opportunities.

A New Year With A New Look

With the New Year The Mien Shiang Institute has put on a new face. I’m thrilled with the bold and beautiful of our website Whether you’re applying Mien Shiang to your medical practice, corporate productivity, or personal life, I think you’ll find it easier to locate the information you need.

In our Learning Corner I will continue to add columns relating to Mien Shiang, the Five Elements and general Taoist theory. That’s where we will continue to archive the Question and Answer column, and articles about us from other sources.

Maybe my favorite new addition is in The Book section where you can peruse the Table of Contents, see a sampling of the full-color book insert, or read an entire downloadable chapter. I chose the chapter on the ‘Nose’ because wherever I go everyone has something to say about their noses! All three excerpts will show you what a beautifully produced book this is. I am honored to have Dutton as my publisher, and proud of their design and presentation of my work.

Looking Back

Excitement, Surprises, and Travel

The year of the Fire (Water) Pig was, as expected, laden with excitement and big, exhilarating promises (the Fire) and – in some cases – the sudden extinguishing of expectations, leaving promises and commitments unfulfilled (the Water). Every year presents its own unique challenges. When we recognize those challenges and anticipate them, it makes it easier for us to recover – or, even better, to avoid some of those pitfalls. It’s the challenges that often teach us the best lessons. Knowing what to expect from the conflicts of Fire and Water last year helped keep me on track for the countless fun and thought provoking radio, TV and print interviews following the release of The Face Reader. (see the website for some of the media events of the last few months).

Water likes to travel, simply enjoying the journey for the journey’s sake. The year took me across four continents to lead workshops, promote my book, and meet wonderful new people.

Putting Mien Shiang to Work

My corporate workshops were a delight as always. I conducted workshops for people who leave me breathless with their creative insights, daring approaches and abounding enthusiasm to change the ‘face of work.’ Some of the year’s highlights include:

The unrivaled, brilliant Ivy Ross with her Disney Store Children’s Place adventurers Tara Poseley, Sonia Coleman and Becky Mick who are always willing to push it just a little bit more

David Kuehler and his fabulous Procter & Gamble Clay Street gang always give me a platform to try something new and insightful.

Mattel’s outstanding Lynde Hartman and Peter Helenek brought me stage center in their remarkable Design Xchange extravaganza (I felt like the rock star of face reading when so many designers signed up for the workshop that we had to add two more presentations to the schedule!)

Lisa McKnight, VP of Creative & Marketing Communications at Mattel is serious in motivating those teams to communicate. She, with the great help of Kristina Faulk, brought The Face Reader (me!) in to their Day of Play to foster communication in yet another innovative way.

Working with such amazing people to improve communication, productivity, and the creative flow in their work has been invigorating. It has been a privilege to help these innovators infuse new concepts and practices into their operations.

The Always Expanding MSI

A few brilliant spirits in Tucson, Arizona have made it possible for me to think of Tucson as more than just a great-escape:

My deep appreciation and respect goes to Rubin R. Naiman, Ph.D. a sleep and dream specialist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona’s Program in Integrative Medicine, directed by Dr. Andrew Weil. (His book, Healing Night, is invaluable. Buy it!)
Linda Joy Stone, L.Ac. and Alex Holland, M.Ac., L.Ac. president of Asian Institute of Medical Studies, are incredible gifts – to me and to the planet.

Theo Kipnis has helped focus my institute’s message and communicate it through a revitalized web site design. I look forward to using this improved approach to show people how Mien Shiang can improve their workplaces, relationships, and health.

Look for some interesting, near-future connections between these complementary medicine pioneers and innovators, and The Mien Shiang Institute.

Looking Ahead

I am looking at the Elements of Earth and Water in this year of the Rat to guide my travels and teachings. Because Earth is over Water, I’ll need to be extra vigilant in keeping my foundations solid, and my energies moving forward. These are a few examples of the myriad ways I will be incorporating Mien Shiang into our every day lives:

New York will be my destination to celebrate the publication of The Face Reader in soft cover at the end of March. I will be doing two small workshops and private readings.

Chiang Mai, Thailand and Australia are possibilities for early - mid April. The Face Reader was published in Australia in June and it’s time to say hello to this exceedingly friendly population of face reading fans.
In April I will be speaking to the 5th Annual Southeast Area Executive Women’s Retreat hosted by KPMG outside Atlanta, Ga.
Santa Monica will be the setting for a Medical Mien Shiang Diagnostic intensive in May

Finding Your Creative and Spiritual Path is a favorite workshop. This year it will be offered twice, on both coasts. Check the website for those details.

In the autumn I will return to Tuscany, Italy to the beautiful little hill town of San Quirico d’Orcia to do a workshop / retreat on Intimate Relationships.

The generosity of the unbelievable women of the Belizean Grove will be shown in many ways, including hosting book parties and classes. Those details will be available within the next couple weeks in a separate email and on the website.

For now, I will be calling on the Rat’s charming business acumen to guide me through the many adventures I will have this year, and I encourage you all to do the same. Happy New Year. As always, I look forward to receiving your questions and stories.

Better Communication through Mien Shiang

Friday, February 1st, 2008

One of the original purposes for a Mien Shiang Institute eNewsletter was to answer questions that come up with regularity from a wide spectrum of students, clients and friends. A familiar question popped up last week while I was in Belize with my beautiful new ‘sisters’ of the Belizean Grove.

Could Mien Shiang be 'manipulative'?

Earlier in the day I had given a quick lesson on the Three Zones of the Face. This is a great way to determine at first glance whether someone makes decisions based on thoughtful analyses, or based on what makes sense to them especially in terms of saving either time or money, or based on their emotions and instincts. (click here to learn more about the Three Zones of the Face in the Articles section of our website) “Are you ever concerned that by teaching face reading, you are teaching people to be manipulative?” asked one of the women who had been especially interested in face reading.

That’s an excellent question and concern and I always appreciate the opportunity to have this discussion. One reason I teach Mien Shiang is to give people a better understanding of themselves and of others. From there we can achieve clearer and deeper communication in all of our relationships.

Understand what people feel and think

If you can look at a person and know right away whether his or her decisions are led primarily by feelings or by thoughts, you can consider that person's needs more completely. People will hear your point of view more fully if you appeal to their natural instincts. When talking with a 'feeling' person, it would be unproductive and frustrating (for both of you) to make your point with analytical approaches. Conversely, if you can determine at first glance that someone is ‘in their head’ most of the time and needs facts and figures, you will understand that they will not appreciate nor even comprehend your emphases on emotions and instincts.

If you are a ‘thinking’ person it is tempting to communicate with everyone else in the same way. But you will have deeper, richer, truer relationships if you can tailor your communications to suit each and every person so that they grasp your exact meaning and objective.

Good intentions create better communication

When your intention is to foster better communication and relationships, you are not manipulative. Of course there are always a few who will use a great tool such as Mien Shiang to be just that. But we cannot let that stop us from sharing such a valuable resource. And remember, the better you get at face reading, the quicker you can spot those people!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008
I love it when one of my face reading students realize that the Principle of the Five Elements doesn’t just relate to their face, personality, behavior or even their environment and the seasons, but also to the Chinese Zodiac. And since this is the first week of the year 4706, I thought we could have some fun with learning how the year of the Earth Rat relates to those Five Elements. The Rat is a fixed Water Element and this year is an Earth Element year, so those born in the years of the Rat, and those who have Earth and Water Element traits and characteristics are promised an especially auspicious year ahead. The Rat is charming, social, prosperous, hard working, loyal, generous, and possesses great business acumen. Those traits will inspire all of us in the following year. On the other hand, because the Rat can be a bit crafty, self-centered and calculating with those outside his inner circle, we all must be particularly aware when we find ourselves being just a little too clever or manipulative. Even more influential this year is the characteristics of the Earth Rat. Earth Rats need security, order, and self-discipline to achieve their realistic goals. Good reminders for all of us to curb our impatience and frivolous ways. Not every year is an auspicious one for every animal sign. Some are good, some are challenging. This year the Rat’s pals the Dragon and Monkey who are in his Affinity Triangle share many of his good fortunes, and are particularly guided by the Rat’s affinity for success. The Horse, Tiger and Dog are in a Circle of Conflict with the Rat. It will seem to them that what is working so beautifully for the Rat has the opposite effect on them. If you are a Horse, Tiger or Dog just remember that this too shall pass. And that often some of our greater lessons in life come through adversity. A sense of humor will help too. The other zodiac animals, the Ox, Rabbit, Snake, Sheep, Rooster and Boar will have less dramatic years than the other six who are in either the Affinity Triangle or Circle of Conflict, for good or bad.

Chinese Astrology and the Five Elements

Saturday, December 1st, 2007
Knowing your zodiac animal is a fun way to plan for the year ahead. How, then, can we determine which animal we are? The chart below outlines every year from 1936 through 2019, and shows which animals represent what years. Chinese New Year begins on a different day each year, falling somewhere between mid-January and mid-February. If you are born in those weeks, consult a Chinese Astrological Chart available on numerous websites to determine which animal represents you.
+Rat 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
-Ox 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
+Tiger 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
-Rabbit 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
+Dragon 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
-Snake 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
+Horse 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
-Sheep 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
+Monkey 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
-Rooster 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017
+Dog 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
-Boar 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019
This chart has animals and years presented in five different colors to correspond to each of the Five Elements:
  • Green / Wood
  • Red / Fire
  • Yellow / Earth
  • White (Gray) / Metal
  • Blue / Water
In a glance you can see that all years in green are influenced by Wood Element, all years in red by Fire Element, and so on. The Rat, Ox and Boar in the first column of the chart are in blue meaning they are fixed Water Element animals. Fixed Wood animals are the Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon, and so on. Note that there are no fixed Earth Element animals in the Chinese Zodiac. The ancient Taoist philosophers believed that since humans all reside on the Earth we are all by nature already endowed with basic Earth Element traits. Let's do a little basic interpretation. We call this an Earth Rat year. Yet the Rat is a fixed Water animal sign. Those of you who know Mien Shiang and therefore the Taoist theory of the Five Elements know that Earth and Water have a challenging relationship because Earth controls Water, limiting its natural flow and exploration. That means that in this very successful year of the Rat, the challenges most of us will have in common will be that we might feel that we are stymied, or muddled - stuck in the mud if you will.

Monthly Wisdom

Thursday, November 1st, 2007
"Indigo is derived from blue but is more pleasing than blue; ice is formed out of water but is colder than water."

This Chinese proverb reminds us that the greatest gift a teacher can receive is the knowledge that his or her students have surpassed their teacher. I am always honored when my students continue to learn, and in turn, teach me something new.

The Many Faces of Mien Shiang

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Wherever I go people ask about my ‘other’ Mien Shiang events or teachings. To my medically-based students — especially those in Traditional Chinese, Oriental, and allopathic medicine — ‘other’ refers to my public and corporate workshops and seminars. To my corporate clients, the ‘other’ means the varied medical groups and specialties to which I offer seminars and presentations.

In the past few weeks, I had two unique and rewarding, ‘other’ experiences.

This month we’ll talk about how Mien Shiang made a difference at a corporate event at Mattel, Inc. and next month, how Dr. Andrew Weil’s University of Arizona Program of Integrative Medicine (PIM) case study presentations made an encouraging difference to me.

In early March, Mattel (parent to Barbie and Ken and a multitude of other toys many of us grew up with) hosted a Design Xchange. Over the last few years, I have done many workshops for Mattel, for their Platypus program and for individual design teams. This event was different. Three hundred multi-talented Mattel designers gathered for a day of creative, innervating workshops presented by outside artists, sociologists, and cutting-edge entrepreneurs brought in to help shake up and wake up the creative processes of the design teams.

Because nearly half the participants had signed up for the Mien Shiang workshop, the Design Xchange coordinator, the fabulous Lynde Hartman, suggested I do three intimate workshops rather than one large one. Well, we couldn’t call workshops with more than 70 people each spilling onto the floors intimate. It was, however, exciting.

I brought along to the Design Xchange Henry Lee, a full-time student of Traditional Chinese Medicine, who works part-time for The Mien Shiang Institute. It was his first time to witness Mien Shiang used in any way other than as a diagnostic tool for Chinese Medicine. Henry was blown away as corporate employees and main stream designers clamored for information on how Mien Shiang could give them a more profound understanding of their true nature, as well as similar insights to their loved ones, friends, and especially in this case, their coworkers. When he saw how these creative people then began to apply this new knowledge and skill to become better artists, and to work more cohesively and productively with each other, he was excited and moved by their openness and by the power of this simple diagnostic tool – for mind and spirit, as well as body.

Henry’s experience at Mattel is similar to the one I have every time I teach or present a workshop or seminar.

  1. The Faces of Mien Shiang
  2. The Face Reader Book Released Today, April 12
  3. iVillage Update
  4. Ask the Face Reader

The Face Reader, published by Dutton, available April 12.

The Face Reader - is released today, April 12, 2007!

I’ve been waiting to say those words for quite some time. It’s here. In the stores. Online. In a big stack on my office floor.

It's time to celebrate! I’m sharing this exciting event with friends, colleagues, and students this evening at a cocktail party at one of my favorite places in Venice, California. It will be a lovely way to honor the so many who have been integral in encouraging and supporting me in writing The Face Reader. I can't wait to thank them.

Some extraordinary people who have made this dream a reality, will be in New York tonight, so I want to shout their praises now. None of it would have been possible without the vision and page by page input of my beautiful, inside and out, agent, Bonnie Solow.

Brian Tart, president and publisher of Dutton, is my gifted editor. Every comment, every suggestion was spot on and made the book better in every way. Neil Gordon has been exceptional and beyond any expectation. Best of all, both Brian and Neil are true believers, and huge supporters, of the good that Mien Shiang does.

And I’m grateful for Beth Parker, publicity manager at Dutton, who has been a great help and great fun.

Celebrity Face Off - iVillage

Last month I mentioned that an article was coming out on in the Entertainment section. It did come out and is still running through today. If you haven't seen it yet, give it a click — it's light and fun.

Lindsey Unterberger, who did the piece was a delight. But she didn't warn me about the un-fan mail I would get! Let me be the first to warn you -- do not take sides on any of these celebrity romances. There are many — many — out there who have serious stakes in celebrities' love lives. It's been fun, and enlightening.

Q & A - This Month’s Ask the Face Reader

Q: Dear Patrician: I just read the Celebrity Face Off profile. That was fun! I have a question: How does cosmetic surgery affect how you read someone? You mentioned Jennifer Aniston’s narrow nostrils, but I think she’s had a nose job. Do you have to see someone’s original nose, or does the nose they “choose” say more about a person than the nose they’re “given?”

A: Hello Erika. According to Taoist theory, the traits associated with the nose are ego, power, drive, and leadership. And it seems that every culture consciously or subconsciously regards people with larger noses to have those strong qualities. Those with smaller noses tend to be team players, or the quiet behind-the-scenes supporters. If you doubt this, take a look at the noses that belong to the powerful leaders in your own circles, and worldwide.

In Mien Shiang, more is more, so if you whittle away at the size of your nose, you are also whittling away the impact of your ego, power, drive and leadership abilities, to yourself and to others.

Most of us realize that when we change our appearance we often change our behavior. The more I understand the correlation of mind, body, spirit, and behavior, the more I see how profound these changes are. It’s equally important to remember how deeply others are affected by these changes. If you no longer look like a leader–with a good, strong nose that ‘”comes off the face”’– others will not respond positively to your leadership, even if they have in the past.

These changes can be positive or challenging, or a combination of both. That’s why I strongly recommend to those contemplating cosmetic surgery to think of all the changes ahead, not just the physical ones.

In answer to your last question: both noses say a lot. The nose you are born with tells us the gifts or challenges you came into the world with regarding ego, power, drive and leadership. The nose you shape yourself (or with a little help from a plastic surgeon), tell us that you may have just created some new and unique gifts and challenges that you may not know how to deal with, simply because they are new, and mostly because they are opposite to your true nature. Understanding, accepting, and embracing your true nature–with all its quirks, and gifts, and challenges–helps you to live your life to its fullest. Find ways to best prepare for and respond to those changes. Naturally, I think Mien Shiang is one of the many good ways to do this.

Since this is just the tip of the iceberg, or nose so to speak, I’ll be writing more about plastic surgery and it’s effects from a Mien Shiang perspective in an article to be posted on my website in late summer.

Thank you for your question.

Until next month . . .

In the next few weeks I'll be in NY, Seattle, Vancouver, Montreal, Boston, Cincinnati, LA, Tucson, San Francisco... let me hear from you if you'll be there, too.

Introducing our Newsletter

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Over the years I have been fortunate to maintain on-going relationships with my Mien Shiang / Face Reading friends, former students, and workshop participants through the wonders of the Internet.

Recently, though, so many e-mails have been coming to me from across the country, and from Europe, Australia, New Zealand – even Turkey! It has become impossible for me to answer each one personally. So, I’m using this opportunity to launch the Mien Shiang Institute’s monthly E-Newsletter.

This will be an easy and fun way to answer the questions that many of you have in common; to let you know about upcoming seminars, workshops, and classes; and to keep you updated on the events connected with the release of the book... and more.

Besides a monthly Q & A we will also feature a monthly e-column where I will get to expound a little longer, and a bit deeper, on some of those same subjects.

The biggest question of late has been: When is the book being published?

I’m thrilled to say, The Face Reader, published by Dutton, will be available in stores April 12. Or it can pre-ordered now on

The Face Reader in the News

I’ve heard that doing publicity for a book can be daunting, but so far it’s been a great adventure. The magazine editors, writers, radio hosts, and dotcom people have been wonderfully enthusiastic about The Face Reader. In January, while in New York, I did my first live Sirius Satellite Radio interview with Wake Up With Cosmo!’s fabulous host, Taylor Strecker. She was a delight – fun, funny, and she has more energy than the sun!

Amy Gallo of Self Magazine did a great interview, and we will see the result of that in their June issue. Amy was warm, charming, and completely intrigued by Mien Shiang.

In April, will do a piece on celebrity face reading in their Entertainment section. Now, most of you know, I do not advocate reading faces from photographs. Those facial features have a way of moving all over the face, from photo to photo. I remember looking at a series of pictures that a friend had taken of the great Lyle Lovett. In one image his ears looked so high-set – way higher than his eyebrows! The next photo, from a different angle, showed them down lower, where I suspect they really do hang on his head.

But, for this piece I decided it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to have some fun and give’s Lindsey Unterberger mini-readings of the ten celebrities she submitted to me, and see what she comes up with. Since she’s looking at this from a ‘love-angle,’ and the celebrities she chose are all inter-related in one romantic way or another, it should be interesting.

As I find out when the other pieces will be published or aired, I’ll let you all know.

Q & A - This Month's Ask the Face Reader

Q: I loved the workshop you gave at our Design Xchange at Mattel, Inc. in Los Angeles last week. I learned a lot about myself. During a break, though, I heard you talking about lines on your face that can tell you if you’re on your life’s path. Could you tell me more?

A: Well, I loved the workshop at your Design Xchange, too. (In fact, see next month’s newsletter – I just have to say more about that wonderful experience.) The lines you heard me talking about are the Fa Ling lines. They are also called Purpose Lines, and they tell us if we know our creative and spiritual purpose in life; and, if so, are we living our lives accordingly.

Though some people begin to develop Fa Ling lines early in life, we hope to have them by the time we reach our early forties. Ideal Fa Ling lines begin alongside the top of our nostrils and flare gently downward, ending just before the corners of our mouth. The exact length, depth, and shape vary with each person, and with each side of the face. Like with all facial markings, they can appear on just one side of the face, or on both. If you have a Fa Ling line only on the left side of your face (the side of your face that reflects your inner thoughts and life, as well as your father’s influence) it means that you are aware of your creative and spiritual purpose in life, but you are not yet living according to those purposes.

If you have a Fa Ling line only on your right side (reflecting your outer behavior and thoughts, and your mother’s influence) it might mean that even though you are on your Full Life’s Path, you, or someone close to you, may not value the choices you have made. Maybe you live in a community, culture, or family that does not approve of who you are or how you lead your life. It often takes enormous courage to live your life according to your true beliefs. Gather your courage and make your life yours. You will benefit in mind, body and spirit.

Thank you for your question.

Until next month...

By the way, I’m looking for an interpreter for those Turkish emails!