If any of you have been my patients you know that I love assigning letter-writing homework. There is something powerful in expressing yourself to some person or entity with the written word and then being able to look back and reflect on your thoughts and feelings at a later date.
In the first few weeks of my clinic internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, one of my supervisors, Dr. Wong, had us newbie interns write a letter to our future selves – our ND graduate selves. Sometimes it’s important to take a glance back to the start of our journey in order to fully appreciate how far we’ve come.
Throughout the past 12 months I’d noticed my training wheels fall off as I became more confident. I received positive feedback from patients – hearing them say that they felt comfortable in my presence or they felt better after being in my care. These things all helped to build confidence and groom me into being the doctor I want to be. So, remembering back to when things felt new and scary (but very exciting at the same time!), reminded me of all that can happen in 12 short months. It also helps to inspire me, proving to me that I have the power to continue to grow as a person and as a naturopathic doctor.
Here is my letter:
June 1, 2013
Dear Talia, ND Graduate,
How are you? I hope you are well.
Things don’t feel that comfortable for me right now. I have a lot of learning to do. I need to learn how to think on my feet. I have a lot of studying to do. And I know I have a ton of confidence to acquire. But, despite all of the things that I need to accomplish, things feel right; I feel that I am in the right place.
I want to get a taste of the confidence that I know you now have. I know that you don’t so much feel a sense of certainty but have learned to become more comfortable with the feeling of uncertainty and that you are learning to trust your intuition and to trust yourself.
I want to be able to, like you, learn to become comfortable with myself so that I can put aside my own baggage and hold space for my patients, creating a warm and inviting cocoon for them to relax in, where they can feel free to open up, explore their emotions and grow as people.
I want to be able to put aside my need to be liked, especially if it hinders my ability to treat my patients. I know that you and your patients aren’t buddies; you have a special relationship that involves helping them see the truth when it’s time for them to see it. Sometimes they may not like you for it; healing can be a scary process and sometimes there is a need for a scapegoat when it voices the words you’ve been ignoring for so long. I know, though, that when they are ready they come back to you and continue on their healing journey they will do so, with a renewed trust in your ability to help guide them, or simply accompany them, along it.
I want to feel comfortable marketing myself. I want to inspire people to embark on their paths to whole health. I want to empower and show people that I am proud of what I do. I want to help people feel motivated and energetic when it comes to making positive changes to their lives.
I hope that you feel healthy and balanced. I want you to feel a lot of abundance in your life, so that you have enough to give freely to others. I remember when we went to Guatemala, we experienced a combination of peace, contentment, inclusion, comradery and the fulfilling sense of being involved in something important, something that was greater than ourselves. I hope that you continue to experience those feelings. I hope you feel them often.
Sincerely, your friend and companion,
Talia, naturopathic intern