Well, I’m not Steve Jobs, and I don’t think my speech will go viral after I die. Nevertheless, my speech was well-received, and hopefully I’ll do better next time, if there is a next time. I have never done this before, and was of course very nervous. I tried to get out of this for a few months, but the pressure on me to do it was too much, and I caved in. How to write a good speech? Always throw in some humor…
Granted, it was a small class. It was the culmination of 3 years of training for new homeopaths from the American Medical College of Homeopathy. I knew them, and they knew me from mentoring them the prior year . Rather then have someone outside the school speak, they wanted me to do this. I know it’s nice to be wanted, but just the same….I felt I didn’t need this pressure on me. I never took speech class in high school for a reason.
So what to say? Always good to borrow from others who say smart things. I took some appropriate quotes, Ian Watson, Swami Vivekananda, and Vishen Lakhiani applied them to the present time. Start off with some humor, that way they at least like you from the start. Talk about the past, the present, and the future…..put yourself into it, make it personal.
Throw in an inspirational video on homeopathy in the beginning, and then I was fortunate to end with a video I had filmed earlier of Dr. Sankaran giving some advice to the class…. a big surprise for everyone.
So here it is, black and white. Some of the humor is only for someone knowing homeopathy and it’s a bit dry without the pauses and inflections that bring it alive.
Commencement Speech April 29, 2012 to the Graduating Class from the American Medical College of Homeopathy, Phoenix, Arizona.
A patient that went to see a homeopath, and his chief complaint was constipation. I’m just so irregular, he said. At best, I have a bowel movement once every 3 days, and even then it takes a huge an effort. He had tried all kinds of laxatives, fiber supplements, enemas, but nothing seemed to make him regular.
The homeopath took his case, asked multiple questions about his stool, about the “huge effort”, the straining, the urging, the feeling in the urging and the whole experience of being constipated. He asked about childhood traumas, vaccinations, and family history going back 3 generations. It turned out that the constipation was the norm for him, and all of his extended family.
The homeopathy prescribed a remedy, and asked him to return in a month.
In the follow-up, the patient said it a rather disappointed tone, that now he had daily bowel movements. In fact he went like clockwork now.
The homeopath, thrilled with his seemingly correct prescription, asked why he seemed so down and glum.
The patient replied that now he has a bowel movement every day without fail. In fact, he goes at the same time every day, 5:30 a.m.
So what’s the problem? Isn’t that great? Asked the homeopath.
Not really, I don’t wake up until 8 a.m.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was sitting in your place. So I thought back on what my homeopathic training here has done for me, and how have I used it, and how I got to be here.
The classes here are always a mix. We had 3 MD’s in our class, which is a little rare, massage therapist, chiropractor, pharmacist, nurses, etc.
Preparing to speak to you reminded me of when I applied to this school and the personal interview with Todd Rowe. He said “there is a lot of information to learn, do you think you can handle it” or something like that. And in my cocky way, I said “I’ve memorized a lot of information before. I’ve passed every test I ever took, and I have had a lot of them….I’m a doctor. I passed every test I have ever taken to get this far, and so I can pass every test for this.”
Well, I had no idea how much random information I was about to cram into my head. Medicine had made sense to me. It was straightforward. How the heart beats, the blood flows thru it in a logical way, the valves close in a logical way. The nerves work in a logical and systematic way from the brain to the body and back…..etc.
This homeopathy was making no sense. I asked myself “when and how am I ever going to apply these hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of random facts about hundreds of remedies that I can’t even pronounce? I felt like I was back in High School whining: why do I need to learn calculus, I’m never going to use it? My mind seemed overwhelmed with descriptions like this: This remedy is hot, and it craves Ice Tea with honey, and has your left 3rd toe hurt from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. during a full moon if it is a month that starts with the letter J (January, June or July), but only during a leap year, and only one that ends in the number 8.
Well I soon found out after graduation why I needed to memorize these random facts: it’s call the CHC EXAM. For those of you who don’t know what this is it stands for the Council for Homeopathy Certification. This organization’s mission is to create a unified profession of highly trained and certified homeopathic practitioners. The exam is not easy. I suggest you take it as soon as possible. I think the best chance you have of passing is tomorrow…. the knowledge of some of these facts seems to drain from your brain at a steady rate.
All joking aside, the more of those facts you learned the easier your life will be. I envy the knowledge and experience of my mentors, who seem to be able to quote random remedy descriptions verbatim. Thanks to Sankaran I have another way, or another tool to perceive the remedy in some difficult cases. But to tell the truth, I use any and all methods to arrive at a correct prescription for a patient. The point is, you need to get the remedy, and to cure the patient. And you need to do it more often than not, a lot more often. In my opinion this should not be a trial and error approach. If homeopathy is to have any chance of a future in the U.S. we need to show that it can cure illness. You are graduating from a premier school. Most of you will be making a career out of homeopathy to some extent. Remember that you need to keep learning, or as Todd says….keep your sense of wonder, so that you keep learning, and perfecting your skills.
Let me read you a quote:
I am sad to confess that our general level of practice is still quite poor. In my estimate- and I may be wrong and I do hope I am wrong- in the whole of India among the hundreds of thousands of homeopaths, we may not have even a hundred persons who can be called excellent homeopaths. It is perhaps the greatness of the system that even our average and mediocre practitioners are able to achieve some kind of good results which keeps up the name and prestige of Homeopathy. But if we are to really advance the science, we should avoid irrelevant talk, useless show and disastrous fratricidal in-fighting and start working silently, sincerely, steadily and scientifically. We shall then relieve and cure many cases and thus demonstrate to the public unequivocally that Homeopathy is indeed the real system of cure. This will involve hard work, proper methods of keeping records, proper methods of application, etc., for which we could prepare ourselves.
This was written over 30 years ago Dr P. Sankaran who died in 1979. He was the father of Rajan Sankaran.
Skip ahead to 2012, and the story is the same. It is no better now. Granted, there are a lot of great homeopaths, but it is the few that aren’t that the media and press love to compare to charlatans.
The wise practitioner:
No two homeopaths are alike. The practitioner who follows someone else’s doctrine has yet to find her own centre. Wisdom may come with experience, yet the most experienced practitioner is not always the wisest.
True wisdom comes from following your own path, wherever it may lead. To follow your own path is to follow the Tao, and each homeopath must do this in her own unique way.
Recognizing a wise homeopath is not always easy, yet she reveals herself in many ways.
She knows that she is still a student who learns from everyone, most especially from her patients. She has a certainty about what she is doing, even though what she does may change from one moment to the next. She has no quarrel with practitioners who work in a different way to herself. She stays humble and avoids making bold claims. She conveys to her patients a sense that all will be well, including those for whom her treatment seems to be of little help. She trusts the Tao and, in so doing, she trusts herself.
To paraphrase Vishen Lakhiani:
To get what you want it is easier if you are in the FLOW. When you are in the flow, in the groove, riding the wave, in the moment, focused….things come more easily and naturally. It is as if the universe is bending in your favor to make things happen for you.
And to be in the flow, you need 2 things: …. To have a Vision, and to be Happy, truly happy and at peace in the here and now.
I know all of you have a vision, or you wouldn’t be sitting here. Something brought you to homeopathy. Maybe it wasn’t a full vision at the time, but a developing dream or idea for yourself, and how you wanted to make a difference.
The second requirement to be in the flow is happiness. If you aren’t happy, then being in the flow will be a struggle for you. We need to be happy now, in the present time. Most of us are regretting something in the past, or worrying about something in the future. I don’t mean necessarily that we are jumping for joy, but we need to have a sense of peace, of inner joy, that in the present moment everything is OK, right now, at this moment. There are 2 things you need to be happy: the first is to make some contribution to something greater than yourself, to contribute to society, to others, for some common good. The other, is to contribute to, or grow yourself. Being stagnant or stuck, means being frustrated, bored and unhappy. We have to continue to learn and grow. That won’t be a problem here, every patient is a learning opportunity, and we need to continue to study, read, learn, and grow in our field.
There is no place for bad homeopathy, everyone needs to be awesome. The media are hypercritical of homeopathy and it is under scrutiny here, in Canada, and Europe. The rules for practice keep changing and 2012 needs to be a new beginning of homeopathy and energy medicine in general, because after the upcoming end of the world as we know it, (December 21, right? ) I think we are going to need it. You need to not just be good, you need to be great. And to be great you need to be in the FLOW.
Not too long ago I was a recent graduate, and I got a call from Mary saying that Todd Rowe was retiring his practice and was going to focus full-time on the teaching. He wanted to pass on some of his patients to various homeopaths, and would I be will to take a few. Of course I said yes, I needed to see some patients. So when I accepted the first patient and Mary asked if I wanted a copy of her records, I said yes, and she said “all 3 volumes?”
It was then that it hit me. What was I thinking? This is not a new patient; this person has been Todd Rowe’s patient for 15 years. How can I possibly help them? They are my mentor’s patient, what can I do?
The short of the story is that I accepted the case. I sat, I listened and I applied the truths I had been taught in this school and selected a different remedy, one that I noticed was not on the list of 50 remedies they had taken in the past 15 years. And, it turned out to be the similimum. I have had a couple more successes like that, and there are of course some I still struggle with.
How was I able to get her remedy?….I think it was because I was a graduate of this awesome school, and I was in the FLOW.
All of you are awesome and have a vision for your future. Carli, Mary, Nancy, Seema, Julie, Carolina, Maggie, Bridgette, Raffael, Cyndi and Martha are already seeing patients, or will be after today. Sophia in addition to starting her practice will be continuing her education with plans on applying to a Physician Assistant program. Michelle will be practicing as well as continuing her education to become a certified nutritionist to compliment her practice. This is great! Just remember that every patient presents an opportunity for you to be awesome. If you can’t get the answer, then ask your classmate, colleague, or a teacher for help. That will only make you more awesome, because your patients will see you care more about them, than your own ego, and if you are asked to help someone else, you should feel humbled that they picked you for some advice. And that makes you more awesome too just for helping.
2012 a year of change and large part of the world is in a downward trend. Just watch the news: wars, countries in riots, falling global economics, religious fanatics killing each other in the name of God, etc. but at the same time other people are becoming more conscious, more aware. There is always a balance, and one cannot exist without the other. Wisdom and ignorance, love and hate, dark and light…people who support homeopathy, and skeptics that demonize it.
A quote from Swami Vivekananda:
He was a 19th century traveling monk. originally from India he spoke throughout the west including Canada, China, England and the US, including a lecture at Harvard, His sole possessions were a kamandalu (water pot), staff, and his two favorite books—Bhagavad Gita and The Imitation of Christ
“if a man goes toward what is false, it is because he cannot get what is true. Therefore, the only method of correcting what is false is by supplying him what is true. Do this and let him compare, you give him the truth, step by step, and there your work is done”
All of you are, and need to be– awesome homeopaths that demonstrate the truth: that homeopathy is a form of energetic healing that is safe and effective, so that people will see this and understand the truth. Then there will be no more arguing, only a waiting list of people to see you.
In conclusion, I would like to say Congratulations to you, and best of luck in your future endeavors.