Interviewing at Med Schools with Ayurveda on the Mind

Sitting at the airport in Raleigh, NC waiting for another interviewee to arrive so we can share a cab into Durham, where we will interview at one of the top medical schools in the country. As I’m sitting here, I’m plowing through books and videos (as the Internet will allow) on the subject of Ayurveda, a system of medicine that runs parallel to modern Western medicine, with a few interesting intersections. Ayurveda is based on systems of energy — and already this sentence could be bothersome to many within medical schools — people who have dedicated decades of their life studying the extremely complex, detailed, systematically-validated, and highly specialized bodies of knowledge within modern medicine. I’m going to these interviews — and into medical school — asking for a place to learn what they have learned. To begin to learn an incredible amount of information over the next 4-8 years. And begin the challenging work of staying true to myself, my passions, my intellectual and personal curiosity, a balance of life, a priority of love, family, friendships and a sense of well-bring…. during what many describe as a very trying, energy-demanding period of study.

I’ve gone about finding mentors within the medical community who are completely competent in practicing western medicine, and also completely competent in other disciplines of healing — therapists, movement workers, meditation teachers, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, yogis and the most strong of all the warriors in my opinion, the many friends working daily in abstinence-based addiction and spiritual recovery. It is in these circles I find myself at home. And there are plenty of people nodding their heads, saying “yes, you can go on, study medicine, be a doctor, and keep your head screwed on straight in the process.” There are also camps that are seemingly opposed to modern Western medicine. That is — as a complementary medicine doctor told me at a yoga festival while hula-hooping — “until they really need a doctor.” So, I’m going to be living a life somewhere in between — between the large, marble corridors of modern medicine, and the love and flow of natural healing — and we’ll just see how this process unfolds over the next few years.

Honestly, my personal statement to get into medical schools was feeling a bit forced — it’s only been in the last few months that these kinks are unfolding, that a path forward is emerging. And this whole thing has been built on one leap after another of faith — leaving Utah, living at home, going to school, all of the expenses, the time and dedication, and walking forward even when I’ve felt blind and have reached out so many times again and again to mentors and friends saying “I don’t know where I’m going,” and they’ve basically said “you are here,” and that was sufficient. Right now as I type this, I feel waves of possibility built up behind lots of confusion, unsettling, fear, egoic walls, fear of what others will thing (too straight for natural healers, too hippie for med school). But it’s all just waves — in my quiet moments when I get to pull up to the head of the bed to meditate at night and draw deep and down, it really, really doesn’t matter. Over the last five years, I’ve just come to believe that a higher power, a great, loving power, is capable of doing what I can’t even imagine. So that’s the fuel. Whether the expression of my desire to draw close to that power is this kind of service or that is to some extent not to me. As my friend Clinton is telling me, you’ve got to do the things that sets your heart on fire, or slowly over time, it’ll burn less and less. Life needs life. Love needs love. You just have to have the faith and dig a little deeper, constantly be “telling on yourself,” getting open, realizing you were stuck, admitting your faults, embracing your talents, and finding the main stream and pulse of your own life. My brother was always saying to me “life is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” So, there we go. And Swetha, the heart flower of my life, has been often sage-like. As Clinton says, “a prophet is often not recognized in her home.” When I think I’m the prophet, things don’t seem to go so well! So, I’m blessed continually.

I’m not sure what I’m going to say tomorrow during my interview. If they ask, I will answer. I’m looking forward to meeting up with my fellow interviewee, and staying with current medical students. I have met a lot of really interesting, genuine people along the road of applying to medical school. I’m sure it will continue as I continue to stoke the fires. There’s no sense in hiding what is within my head and heart anyway — it’s going to come out in the wash one way or another.

At the airport in Raleight, NC

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