On January 6th, I started the spring semester of my Therapeutic Herbalism program. One of my courses entitled SOPHIA – School of Philosophy and Healing in Action is an “intensive course … which teaches students to be more self-aware, to develop life skills, and to become adept at navigating personal and professional challenges” (muih.edu). The purpose of the class is to help us develop the mindset of a healing practitioner and to develop a more positive way of thinking and being.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I registered for the course. I have been working solely online so far and I was really nervous to attend class. Since I got lost doing a dry run on the Saturday before, my daughter rode with me for Tuesday’s class. She sat and did her homework while I attended class which was only an hour. We did Qi Gong (more on this later) which I had never done before. To be honest when we started out, I was thinking to myself, “this is some bullshit”. By the end of class, I was energized, elated, and hooked!
On Thursday, we had an “opening ceremony” (which was changed from Tuesday due to scheduling conflicts). My daughter attended with me since family and friends were invited. The instructors Stacy and Jefferson came in and introduced themselves and explained a bit about the class itself. They talked about how ancient cultures sat around a circle and used a speaking stone to talk. The one who holds the stone, is the one who gets to speak. They also said listening is a gift that the listener gives. I was just beginning to start my “this is bullshit” train of thought, when we got into our introductions.
The instructors asked us to give an introduction of who we were, where we were from, and what led us to the program. I was intrigued with the introductions of those who spoke before me. There are some VERY interesting people in my class! When there was a pause, I thought to myself “let me get this over with”. I planned to do a quick, “Hi, I’m Charlena, this is why I’m here”, but as I started talking the floodgates opened up and I told ALL my business. I told them why I don’t like my work anymore, about my dad’s illness and death, about my brother’s suicide, my own depression, and why I wanted to make changes in my life. I barely got through it without sobbing, but the group was SO, incredibly supportive!
After I spoke, others told their heartfelt stories as well. My daughter said “I started the crying and others continued”. It got so bad, a box of tissues was passed around the room. I felt instantly connected to the room full of previous strangers and for once, felt like I belonged. After people told their stories, family members and friends were invited to speak. Many people got up and said how touched they were with the stories. One guy commented that even though each story was different, they were all similar.
We were all led to the same place by different reasons, circumstances, wants, or needs. One lady stated “It’s what my soul wants” and I think we all agreed that even though this program seemed way left of what we all might consider normal, it’s something we were drawn to. We concluded that intense session with an hour of Qi Gong, which was awesome!
In the car on the way home, I felt exhausted and elated at the same time. There was so much I learned over those three hours about myself and about life. Here are a few:
You are never too old to start something new. One woman in the class named Jan said she was receiving acupuncture and thought to herself “in another lifetime I would like to do this”. Then she said “why wait for another lifetime, why not now?” One of the acupuncture practitioners/instructors stopped in and said he began his program at age 60! To hear that was instant inspiration for me!
A bad experience can lead to a positive outcome/result. There were many of us who lost someone, got sick, or had some other negative experience. The good thing was that the negative experience changed our way of living and thinking and caused us to make changes which in turn led us to the program and each other.
It’s ok to follow a dream that other people may think is weird. I think we all get stuck in the “supposed to be” box and don’t think it’s ok to veer too far away from the “norm”. We have to realize though that each one of us is unique with our own unique dreams and life desires. One of the gentlemen in my class (and he really is a gentleman) worked on nuclear submarines but is now in the Acupuncture program!
We are all more alike than we think. Everyone has tragedies, problems, self-esteem issues, has to work, deal with family etc. You name it and there are thousands of people who have the same issues, challenges, wants, needs.
It’s ok. Forgive yourself, forgive others, and find a way to move forward.
Yes Siree….that was one heavy, emotionally charged class. Usually I’m thinking and daydreaming after the first half an hour of any class, but I have been fully aware and attentive in each session I have attended so far. I am SO grateful that I am fortunate enough to experience every minute of it!
Hi, welcome to my humble abode! I’m Charlena, wife, mother of two, pet mommy, full-time worker, sporadic crafter, former floral designer, trial and error gardener, future chicken owner, and wanna be farmer. I have a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Herbalism. In between my disjointed, seemingly unrelated posts, I hope to share some of what I’ve learned. Thanks for stopping by!