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What is your journey?

by May 24, 2019

Here I am halfway through the program and it is the summer of 2019. This trimester I am taking eight classes and four clinic shifts to keep up with my goal of graduation. The last few trimesters were just taking classes and doing observations; however, I now have to train my brain to not only be an intern, but at times function as a therapist to my patients. Each patient is coming in for pain or stress, but what is the cause of that condition?


There is one particular course that pops into my mind: developmental psychology. It is the scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life spans, including development and aging. The founder of Developmental Psychology is Jean Piaget. 

I remember thinking in my very first semester freshly out of high school, “Another psychology course, ugh!”  Yet as I sat there listening through the lectures, following my professor’s every move and progression of thought, I remember that I was so fascinated I never wanted a class to end. This was possibly because he was previously a theatre professor who looked to me like a summertime Santa Claus, and was dramatic in everything he said. He was dramatic in the way he moved in front of the class, and by his delivery, you could tell he was strongly committed to what he believed in. Each lecture was like a theatre show, pulling me through how he was so passionate about life, no matter how hard or easy it was, he had a zest for more. His saying, “Life is a stage and you are the director,” has never left my head.

I have kept this motto in my mind for a while, but then I forget that there are so many new characters coming into or leaving my life. Like any soap opera or the movies, there is a beginning, middle, and happy or sappy endings. However, the common thread my patients experience is that stress is usually the point of origin that at times leads to physical pain.

Several of my patients have very high levels of stress. As they sit and patiently wait for me to tell them of my findings through their tongue and pulse, they share their stressors from work, school, relationships, as a parent, or even being single. They have “tried everything” asking family and friends, or even reading up on the Zodiac, or even Chinese astrology. I empathize with them that life is a series of continuous of ups and downs, and that even though we have control of it at times, often times we don’t.

Society has established a format for how life “should be,” what paths we need to follow, and what we “should do.” In the end, we are our own director and make our own choices. Our parents were our assistant directors for a long time. But as we grow older, we should be making our own choices and understanding the consequences of our own making. As the director, we can say “cut” and redo, or redirect a particular scene.

Jean Piaget gave a foundation of the stages of life within the field of developmental psychology. Everyone can walk through the stages of life of what should be done at certain points; how one should be challenging or developing for the next chapter, and whether or not it’s “up to par” or not. We tend to ask questions or seek advice from other sources for verification. Yet it’s all up to each of us as to how we will interpret it. 

“The goal of this lifetime is to not let any aspects in your chart rule you ̶ you should be a valance of all. It will be something you are always working toward, but blaming a certain aspect of yourself on your chart, or blaming the chart for compatibility, is based on the “shadow” aspects of each position. Basically you will have tendencies to be a certain way, but you have the ability to be any way you truly want to be. Therefore, we should not use natal charts as any form of excuse to do–or not do–something.” -SG. 

Most of all, what does your heart truly believe, and what is it saying to you? We can magnify the situation and make it into our own hurricane, or seek the calm in the eye of the storm. Or, we can go with the wind and ride out the wave of life. Remember we are all unique. We have our own life paths to travel on. So coming in for some acupuncture points to Zen you out won’t hurt, but will help to make the journey just a bit easier.

: )

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About the Author

Rina Sem

Rina Sem

Rina Sem is a student at the Lombard, Illinois campus studying in the Master of Science-Oriental Medicine program. Though working in the medical field for 10 years, she is keeping the promise she made to her father to complete her master’s degree. Rina is a first-generation American of Cambodian heritage, and passionate about her studies in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.


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