Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fear of success

Alternative medicine as a profession seems to me to be fraught with insecure people. There are so many modalities that make so many claims, and there have always been charlatans, like in all professions. It can be hard to discern who may be authentic and well trained, and who may be really good at sounding like they know what they’re talking about. Sometimes the people who put themselves forward as leaders in the profession seem to be the most defensive and insecure of them all, even when they know what they’re talking about. They’ve invested so much, and it’s difficult to be an expert in something that is largely dismissed as being nonsense.

I was first drawn to holistic medicine because of a deeply affirming experience that validated my inner wisdom and my strength to make conscious choices to change. The new sense of self respect and the belief in my own completeness that I found was such a sweet relief from my internal suffering, that I wanted to learn how to help others find this in themselves, too.

But, going to school to study Chinese Medicine did not teach me that. Some of my most experienced teachers used their knowledge like a cudgel. They described Chinese Medicine practitioners as being either spiritual masters or complete frauds, and as a student, I knew I wasn’t in the spiritual master category. So that left… hmmm…. This was probably a technique to get us to study really hard, but it left no space for going through the learning process with dignity. Until I became a spiritual master, I would be shit according to this world view. And the beauty of wholeness and the simplicity of health that drew me to this field was absent from this world. And Chinese medicine for me became corrupted by a few egoists. Just another place to feel incomplete and inadequate. So sad for us all, and so unnecessary.

Insecure people with a bit of knowledge can be real tyrants. I want to grow my knowledge, but I am afraid that if I do what it takes to do that seriously, I may become one of those tyrants.

I’m trying to re-discover the truth and beauty that inspired me so many years ago so that I can find the right path again. These days I study to take my California acupuncture exam, and I face this great resistance to the material, and the rigor it demands. Maybe wanting to fall in love with it again is just another avoidance technique. I am a skilled procrastinator. But, if I’m going to work towards a goal, I want it to be a goal that I believe in. I really do want to become a healer, meaning someone who helps people find their own wholeness and helps evoke their healing power. I feel this most strongly when a loved one is in pain. I want to do real healing work with great results.

Still, I’m resistant to learning to be great at my profession because I don’t want to become an ass hole. I want to deepen and expand my skills without being one of the practitioners who is blinded by their own greatness and begins thinking that they, the practitioner, are doing the healing. Am I strong enough to handle being great at what I do?

I wonder how the few people who manage to be great at something and to keep themselves and their role in perspective do it?

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