University (Learning Point Newsletter)
Written by: Gabrielle Olko
The following covers some of what you all have already read, but written in an enhanced light, as well as entailing new aspects of my journey. I was asked by Yo San University (my college) to write an article for their online newsletter. Thank you Yo San! What an honor.
My journey that I am currently on has guided me to look inward to discover how my path in life has led me to where I am. Sometimes we do not understand why certain challenges approach us along the way; but I believe they happen to us for a reason to lead us to where we are meant to be. It has taken me a while to understand the importance of being in the moment. I have found the importance is to not wish my life away or into the future and to remind myself each and everyday to embrace the journey I am in and on right in this very moment.
That fall, I was a brand new student at Yo San University beginning to pursue what, at the time, I believed was just a masters degree and license in acupuncture. What I have learned four years later is that the journey at this school is much more than just receiving a new profession, but that it is a voyage inward and outward to discovering our own self, body, mind and soul. I have created relationships with fellow students, teachers, supervisors, masters, and employees that I will treasure throughout my lifetime. There have been challenges that have arisen along the way, and times that I have wanted to fight against what I have been working hard towards, as well as moments where school has seemed to be on the bottom of my list in life. But what I have noticed is that along the way I am always drawn back in to the energetic and beautiful safe haven I like to call school.
During the ten days before returning to the hospital, I made acupuncture appointments at my school with Dr. Wing as well as appointments at the Tao of Wellness with Dr. Maoshing Ni. Dr. Wing was one of my teachers at Yo San as well as an incredible practitioner there, whom I had never actually scheduled an appointment with yet until then. When I went in for a treatment with him, I felt a spiritual bond to him and his healing, which I have realized served and is still serving a purpose, and was brought to me exactly at that time for a reason. Before my first treatment with him that day, as soon as I walked into the University, I felt a new love and safety there, like I had never felt before. I had no idea that students at school had started a fundraiser for me in the bookstore to assist me on my journey. I stopped in my tracks, in tears, when I saw what they had done; not because of the money but because of all the support, love and healing energy that was being sent my way from my Yo San family. Even new students at the school and patients whom I had never met were reaching out to me. I suddenly realized, as I mentioned earlier, that sometimes the greatest love is directly in front of us and around us all along, and we tend to be avidly searching ahead and in the future, that we forget to embrace the moment and where we are. I realized the feelings along the way of comparing myself to other students or wishing away my time at Yo San, so that I could graduate and work already, is what was causing me to lose the shining beauty of the greatest lesson in life of accepting and loving exactly where I am.
The accident happened midway through the fall semester of my fourth year, so I ended up having to drop out of the "official" classes I was taking that semester in school and drop into learning about my own body and health. This experience has opened my mind to healing and acupuncture as well as the human body, in an even greater sense than I have ever known. This has been the most challenging yet most meaningful "elective" course I have taken in my life. Suddenly what I had been learning at school all along, was now unfolding in a new light. Right before this occurrence happened I was extremely busy cramming and studying to take the pre-clinical exam, so that this spring I could have began my internship in the clinic at Yo San University. I did not end up taking the exam, but what I have realized is, that the universe has brought to me something else first, which is the importance of looking inward and healing, loving and protecting myself before reaching out to and healing others.
On November 13th, I re-entered back into the public hospital to begin my biopsy process. I kept going back and forth as to if it was even necessary for me to go through this process at all. I realize now that although perhaps it was not necessary, as no decision is set in stone and everyone has a different aspect of why they are drawn to undergoing certain things for a reason, I feel as though choosing to undergo this challenge for myself has given me many meaningful lessons about life, one of which is appreciating the small things in life that we tend to take for granted each day and feeling grateful for the time we have here on earth and how precious each moment is for us. I awoke from the biopsy with half of my head bald, and 43 metal staples holding my scalp together. What I truly woke up to had nothing to do with the baldness or staples at all, but was the joy I felt of being alive. I felt awakened by the presence of my breath coming in and flowing out and felt a smile spread over my face and into my body filling me with gratitude, vibration, energy and love connecting to the universe, myself and the people in my life.
After coming home from the hospital the second time, I succumbed my body completely into acupuncture and chinese medicine to help speed up and assist my recovery from the biopsy, the immense amount of medication still in my system, as well my broken shoulder (which they had told me it would take me at least six months to be able to reach my hand up to the sky). I started undergoing treatments with another amazing acupuncturist and tuina specialist who is also a teacher at Yo San University, Dr. Benny Lin. Dr. Lin has been giving me incredible treatments. Within one month I was able to reach my arm up to the stars. I also continued my treatments with Dr. Wing and Dr. Mao. The energy at Benny Lin's office, as well as at Yo San University Clinic and the Tao of Wellness put me at complete ease and created within me a feeling of being calm, relaxed and nurtured. As the New Year rolled in, so did my healing and I began to feel inspired to open new doorways of light into my life. One of my New Years resolutions was to begin to take singing lessons. The vocal vibration led to an even greater healing arising within my being. I started to become grateful for the little friend within my brain. One morning I awoke with the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" in my mind, and I felt drawn to sing this at Yo San University's Chinese New Years celebration as a surprise, in front of my father the student body, teachers, Mao and Dao Shing Ni, as well guests from the outside to thank and give back some of the immense amount of love and healing that has been sent my way.
|Dr. Dao & Mao Shing Ni (in the background)|
I could already feel and still feel the power of this Chinese New Years 2014 Year of the Horse. Dr. Mao explained at the celebration that starting on January 31st the year of the horse began which this year also has presented the elements of wood and fire. He spoke of the year of the Horse is 2014 symbolizing momentum and movement. He explained the importance of having a clear purpose and well-defined direction in our endeavor because then the momentum of the year will carry us the distance. We can accomplish much this year. He also explained how containing our impulsiveness is important otherwise many confrontations and challenges will stand in the way. It is important for us to learn to ride and steer our horse so that we do not end up out of control and lose too much as a result. The fact that it is already April and the momentum and movement of this year has already begun leads me to understand more deeply how present the horse is this year.
Since the New Years Celebration I have underwent one follow up MRI to check on my tumor. A fear that began to arise for me when undergoing this MRI was the idea "It must be gone!" or the fear "what if it has grown?" After viewing the results which showed that it was exactly the same and there has been nothing different. I have begun to look inward and realize that the most important thing is to continue what I have been working on of, accepting myself exactly where I am and embracing and loving who I am in this current moment. I felt that it was important to continue to be healthy, heal myself and explore my body in a beautiful way, but to remember to accept and love myself and that where I am and what I am doing in this moment are extraordinary and important. I smile and feel at peace when I remember the story of the woman who swam with the dolphins and connected with nature and the moment and forgot and let go of what was creating her negative emotions and dis-ease. Today I feel healthy, and happy and excited to continue on my path of healing myself and healing others, as well as embracing the little friend that has been given to me in my brain. I am consistently learning and practicing how to relax and quiet my mind and open my heart. My journey throughout my life, at Yo San as well as throughout this experience has lead me on the true path of healing.