My goal for the last few months of this educational journey was to stay in the moment and enjoy the ride. I promised myself that I would get outside more, share what I have learned along the way, and truly prioritize joy. Last week I attended a local garden walk, led by a Naprapathic Doctor who has lived and studied with traditional healers throughout Central America. She pointed out goose foot, marigold, milkweed, rosemary, lemon balm, perilla (Shiso), creeping Charlie, amaranth, purslane and a few other botanicals. The garden walk was educational, anecdotal, and a lot of fun despite the rainy weather. This meetup was a nice reminder of how much I have improved in identifying plants. Learning plant medicine has been a challenging but fascinating journey.
Left to right: Amaranth (Callaloo); Resident Egret at Lake Janse, Perilla (Shiso)
I was walking past the pond on campus and saw a beautiful egret enjoying the views. During the winter the great egret can fly as far south as Central America, and during the summer can be found around marshes and other bodies of water throughout Illinois. Just like the egret, I spent a few moments of contemplation at the pond. The past few weeks have been eventful, reflective and emotional, as I am moving into my new apartment, submitting final paperwork, and saying goodbye to both patients and professors. To my contemporaries, I urge you that as we graduate into professionals, we must remember why we have chosen alternative health care careers. We must consider what makes us unique as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners. To us, all symptoms are important and share a valuable piece of the story in what our bodies are telling us. As TCM practitioners, we treat the individual and not the disease.
One of my favorite roles thus far is that we have had the opportunity to guide patients in reconnecting with their own bodies, and even help them become excited about their own health and healing journeys. I’ve enjoyed blogging, and I hope that you have read something along the way that encouraged or inspired you into action. I would like to conclude with a quote from the Tao Te Ching:
“The Master observes the world, but trusts his inner vision. He allows things to come and go. His heart is as open as the sky.”*
I hope that we all can learn to trust our inner vision a little more each day.
*Source: Tzu, Lao. 1996. Tao Te Ching. Translated by Arthur Waley. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature.