Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flow of Qi...

A couple of glasses of Tempranillo and Malbec transition me from my hectic Thursday in school to my pre-weekend happy hour with a dear friend. I enjoy and appreciate the conversations one can have with like-minded creative types, similar age, and comforting energy. It has been a busy week in the land of graduate school and not sure what it is, but sense I very well might be moving more energy into the positive realm than I think. Essentially enrolled in medical school and progressing my way through a fast track 3 year program that should in actuality take 5 or 6, I am content with my grades thus far, what information I am actually retaining, the ability to memorize so much and recite it back at the drop of a hat. CV 5 Shimen, Lung Channel of Hand Taiyin, Large Intestine 4 Hegu, Abductor Pollicis Longus, Posterior Interosseus Nerve (why can't they just call it the damn radial nerve?). My point is that I feel right... at the current moment at least.

Enjoying the candlelight and perhaps just too hip music in a Southeast bar in Portland with my friend, sipping wine I realized how quickly I am becoming more aware of all the possibilities in life and kicking myself for the past stagnation of not learning German quicker, painting more often or practicing piano as much as I want. The past couple of weeks have been different. There is something in the air. I am motivated, excited, and energetic. I am ok with being 34 and single, the dating, it has been a blessing in disguise... the freedom, the ability to move forward in life with the responsibility of only myself, the spontaneous encounters of passion and the endless paths that are still in front of me. While love and relationships are important, I contemplate what is this 'rush, need and personal validation' so many of us my age are needing to fulfill. It must be the Catholic school. Thanks Mom. We all have options. What an incredibly lucky thing to be able to say.

A lovely friend came into town last weekend, and even though he may not recognize he had done so, he really reignited a desire I have not shared with many to seek out. I want to learn how to fly. Pilot license and all. I put the pieces together and pondered why I have this hidden want. My Grandfather was a pilot in the Korean War, earned a purple heart, saved his crew and perished in action. One of my Uncles is a race car driver and with my background in Tour Management: that is driving van/trailers, having a soft spot for bus drivers and the crew, making things happen, and getting the best sleep of my life in a bunk on a bus, I suppose this travel/transportation bug is in my genes. So... Tour Manager, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Pilot... fill in the blank to what is next here. I can take some courses in Aviation in the summer perhaps when my other program is not so heavy, and think of it as a long-term goal as Asian Medicine is this main one right now. I do not fancy time lines or schedules, and school has made me follow them, but in the big scheme of things, you have to pursue these dreams even if completion does not occur. This degree I will be completing though.

My classmates and I are almost done with our first quarter of school. It is incredibly exciting and flew by fast. We are forced to make a decision on what bodywork modality we want to specialize in. Few exceptions are made to those who want to take both Shiatsu and Tuina. Taking both is highly discouraged for three-year students and I have decided to enroll in both. So can I juggle all of these aspirations both financially and mentally? Well I think the point in life is to just try, right?

One of the most important characteristics of Chinese Medicine is the integration of mind and body and the fluidity of Qi within. Qi is the vital substance that is stimulated upon needling in Acupuncture. We are born with a limited supply and are able to replenish this Qi throughout our daily lives. When an imbalance occurs whether being deficient or in excess, our body shows symptoms. This is the pathology of Asian Medicine. Yoga, meditation, sexual delight and passion, creativity, emotions, nourishment... are all examples of Qi building and the less stagnation, the better the flow and the easier balance can be achieved. I hope I am just not having a good week and that this transformation is truly occurring within. But one thing is for sure, something inside is moving right along... and methinks moving in the right direction. 

My, my, my, I'm so happy, I'm gonna join the band,
We are gonna dance and sing in celebration, We are in the promised land. 

(Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day)

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I spoke to someone today who has been a huge advocate towards my path in Oriental Medicine. She is a wise doctor and friend. While she was reminding me to keep my wits throughout school, we started sharing thoughts on how interested we have become in specific fields of medicine... she in Oncology and myself in Osteology for example. I have recently become obsessed with the show, 'Bones' (damn you netflix) which is about a forensic anthropologist and FBI agent who solve murders at the Jeffersonian in DC. I accept that this viewing is taking up quite a bit of my time that I should be dedicating to studying, but keep telling myself I am drawn to watch for a reason and it is educational to some extent. I love hearing the anatomical structures exemplified throughout the show such as 'medial humeral epicondyle' and 'distal interphalangeal joint' along with many other body parts that I am in the midst of memorizing and reciting for my living anatomy and other classes. I cannot seem to get over the desire to collect posters of muscular skeletal systems or x-rays and post them on my walls. Better yet, fantasize gathering x-rays from individuals... say an arm (or humerus) from one patient and a femur from another to form one complete skeleton... a skeleton of strangers.

I dislocated my thumb on tour in Germany a few years ago where my friend and client escorted me to a hospital in France where he acted as a translator, beautifully fluent in French that he is. I ended up taking home an x-ray of my hand and have it proudly hanging on my wall. I also had an x-ray in Austria of my knee taken which I sadly never confiscated. Man, that was a rough tour for my bones. What is it about looking inside the human body that I find so fascinating? I suppose it is always coincided with my interest in the unknown, although science is hardly that, considering it is based on evidence and we are actually discovering more and more each day.  I am not sure if it is next quarter or the Spring quarter, but our class will have the obvious requirement and privilege of learning the true anatomy and physiology of the human body by visiting a cadaver. I simply cannot wait for this date with the dead and will show great respect to that soul who dedicated their body to science. My Grandfather was in medical school in Europe to become a doctor when my Mother told me he was standing over the cadaver his first time and fainted. He went on to become a pharmacist and writer. I am certain this will not happen to me, but I am amused every time my Mother shares that story with me. I suppose the interest in medicine for me at this time is that science is something that cannot let me down, bore or otherwise disappoint me. It is irrefutably challenging, completely different and always fascinating.

While I do not know what else I might pursue when I receive my degree in this particular path, I hope I will have the option of taking out a bit more money in loans to satisfy my need for the obvious continued knowledge I am daydreaming about. Perhaps Astrophysicist/Acupuncturist/Anthropologist???  I will have to wait patiently, continue to palpate my radial styloid process along with my navicular or scaphoid bone, remember that Yangxi point : Large Intestine 5 is located in the anatomical snuffbox and realize I have enough information to keep my brain busy for the time being. There will always be time to learn and there is no end all...  just constant transformation. Damn you, yin yang theory.