So now Faith, Hope and Love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (Corinthians 1:13)
Have you ever found yourself frozen?
In private practice in Chinese medicine (as in other medicine – I assume) this happens. A particularly difficult patient walks in, presenting with something you’ve never seen before. Or perhaps they are a challenge to deal with personally, challenging your every move and demanding special treatment. At times, particularly when other strains are involved, this produces a frozen state – you don’t know what to do, don’t know what to say. Mostly, you get through it.
The same thing happens as students, of course. Whether during testing, or practical courses (remember needling the first time?) or just during the normal decision making process that comes up frequently in school (should I take this elective? what do I want to do with my life?) – sometimes you get caught. Unable to determine direction.
This same thing has happened to me over the last couple of years, in both of the situations above, but also with regards to this site. In an effort to serve my community the best I can, but also in an ego-driven desire to be “something more” and relevant enough to be paid for my work here – I’ve forgotten my own voice and my own love. Sorry about that. But there’s a lesson, and an open door to a new world. So, there’s that.
For some of you out there, Chinese medicine may compel because of its practical aspects.
The ability to treat recalcitrant diseases, or to treat on a level that is less invasive, less toxic. Maybe you are one of those who was just looking for something to do after college, and this seemed fun and interesting. Or perhaps you are one of those community health crusaders, hoping to transform the contemporary medical landscape with low-cost, easily available medicine.
Or maybe you are like me – transfixed by the mystery and the Earth-bound beauty of what we do as practitioners. By the stimulating, multi-faceted life of study this profession invites us all into.
Maybe you are like me (and other multi-potentialites) unwilling to focus so intensely on one little sliver of the world that you become known the world over as the expert in THAT.
Maybe you have too many interests – delving into philosophy and technology and permaculture and cosmology and language and productivity and herbalism and acupuncture and patho-mechanisms and Pacific Northwestern geography.
If you are like me, you might find, like I did, that the world prefers you focus. Want to market a business? Pick a niche, they say. Want to learn to treat auto-immune disease using Chinese medicine? Well, then, build a practice that treats nothing else. I have been entranced by this view, the mastery-in-focus view, for many years. However, despite being entranced by the mastery-in-focus view, all my life I’ve been good at a little bit of everything. All my life I’ve gone from one passionate interest to another, and have been criticized for it.
Only today did I realize that I’ve had enough of that attitude.
It’s been killing my love for this medicine, it’s been killing my businesses, it’s been killing my personal life. Though the teachers in my life that I cherish most are masters at mastery, it’s the case that my path lies elsewhere.
Maybe you’re like me, and your path does, too. If so, I invite you in with open arms to this new Chinese Medicine Central. This place where we come to share how our diverse interests coincide to inform us as students, as practitioners, as people. This place where we are not afraid to confront our worries and fears head-on.
This place where we geek out about wise-use of technology, and music as healing, and the Shang han lun, and the best way to memorize Chinese herbs, and the magic of sensory perception, and the deep spiritual nature of being a healer, and the real cha-ching focus of being in business, and raising goats, and seeing the five elements in film and everything between, before, outside and beyond.
My love for Chinese medicine springs forth eternal – and that love breaks down all obstacles. May it be so for you, too.
About Eric Grey
Hi - I'm the founder of this site and the primary master of all functions here. When I'm not writing, you can find me reaching out to the Chinese Medicine community across the web and in my own backyard. I currently teach Chinese herbs at my alma mater, the National College of Natural Medicine. Additionally, I'm the founder of Watershed Wellness, a thriving local clinic in Southeast Portland in Oregon. No matter where I'm working, you'll find my focus on the Classical approach to Chinese medicine laced throughout everything I do.