One year ago, at the age of thirty-eight, I reached a crossroads. I had been studying and practicing in the holistic field for close to two decades in the areas of stress management, meditation, and holistic lifestyle counseling (herbs, wellness, natural health, among others). While successful on the level of professional reputation and expertise, doing work with corporations and hospitals as well with individuals, I felt that I had hit a ceiling in terms of how I could reach people, and whom I could reach. I had begun a degree program in naturopathic medicine through Clayton College of Natural Health (CCNH) in 2000, but knew that although the information would be invaluable, the degree would only allow me to reach people through private practice, which meant that my services would essentially be out of reach for all but those with higher incomes.
Something I had discovered about myself over the years is that I worked best with folks from middle to lower income brackets, who found the information I offered enabled them to overcome illness and see that vibrant health was within their means. I found that these were the people that needed the information and personal power around their health the most. In the field of holistic medicine, even though working with the wealthy is one of the only ways for an holistic practitioner to make a living, those who I got through to most effectively were people who couldn’t afford to pay for the classes, workshops, and sessions I offered. I did more and more sessions and classes with people at little or no charge, and as my lifestyle got slimmer, my knowledge of my calling got stronger.
My breakthrough came in the form of the realization that I needed to bring holistic medicine into the forum of public health, and that in order to do that I had to go back to school to finish my B.A. and continue on to graduate school in the field of either Public Health or Social Work. I had no money, no assets, no idea how I could possibly pull it off, but I began looking around at state universities and applied to SU*NY Albany knowing that their Psychology program for undergraduates was excellent, and that their MSW and MPH programs were two of the best in the country.
I was accepted, applied for financial aid, and in July of 2004 I arrived in Albany with $900 to my name, not knowing a single soul. The obstacles I faced in the first few months were tremendous. Unable to stay in dorm housing, and ineligible for graduate housing, I stayed in a small motel for the first four months until I could find an affordable apartment. There was also a mix up with my NY state residency status, and my state funding and lower tuition privileges were withheld while I launched an intense multi-leveled appeal, which I eventually won. I was far away from friends, family, and anything familiar, my funds were incredibly low, often in the negative, and my work and course load left me no time to socialize, which actually worked out well, as it took me several months of intense time and focus to find again, after a twenty year absence, the groove of studying and taking exams, writing papers, and reading hundreds of pages of text a week. And in spite of, or maybe because of, all of the opposition, I grew stronger, more focused, and thrived. Even with all that I faced, with the full course load with SU*NY, the part time course work with Clayton College, and a part time job, I received a 4.0 grade point average that first semester. I have no doubt that I will continue to succeed during the rest of my time here at the University at Albany, and that both the discipline I’ve learned and the content of my education will enable me to help change our world into a place where health care is affordable and creates vibrant health.
I believe that health and healing are heading in two directions. One is toward more natural, affordable ways of healing for widespread, chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, obesity, and heart disease. The other is that, as a culture, we are moving away from one on one doctor-patient sessions, and toward group teachings and more preventative medicine. Both of these bring the responsibility for an individual’s health back into their own hands, a very powerful, effective place for it to be. I plan to bring natural health information to people through educational workshops and classes (I have a great affinity for teaching), articles, my internet web-log (started two years ago, it receives 600 hits a week, and is a forum for health, healing, and creativity), and move into a larger, more group oriented scale, through public health organizations. My specialty is taking holistic principles and explaining them in ways that are easy for people to understand and put into practice in their lives. In me, the public will have an educator, practitioner, and advocate who will help them navigate both mainstream medicine and holistic medicine.
Katherine Turner has been studying and practicing in the holistic field for eighteen years, bringing great energy to the thousands of people who come to her for her expertise. She is a graduate of The International School For Energy Healing and Feng Shui and is certified in Healix Energywork, Feng Shui, Reflexology, and Reiki. She is an eight-year practicing Feng Shui Consultant and Healix/Reiki Energyworker and Reflexologist. She has seen private clients for both personal and business consultations, and has led hundreds of meditation and stress management sessions for corporations and individual groups, positively impacting the functioning of scores of organizations from the ground up.
She has brought her knowledge, energy and commitment to workshops and classes, practiced and consulted at hospitals, holistic centers, civic and professional organizations, homes, and businesses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, including The American Cancer Society, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, the NY State Child Care Council, The Valley Hospital of NJ, Arden Hill Hospital and Horton Hospital of NY and over ninety locations for Curves for Women fitness clubs.
She has been profiled and featured in numerous publications in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. She is currently a Naturopathic Medicine Degree candidate with Clayton College Of Natural Health, will receive her B.A. in Psychology in Fall 2005, and will begin graduate school in the Spring of 2006.
. . . After that initial big burst of No Moooooooooooore what I see is that I am going on that old blogger adventure: The Break. It may be weeks, it may be months, I have no freakin idea except that I am going to do it til I stop spending my waking moments obsessing about what to post and how to shift it and should it be funny and what if it's not funny and I'm too depressed to post and my posts are boring and do I have to post and oh please god may I just get my life and head and heart into some semblence of Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . .
So, I am off to reclaim my Ahhhhhhhh . . . And as I have eight people coming over in less than an hour to sit and meditate and talk and Be, I'd say there is a dang fine chance that my Ahhhhh and I will be snuggling very soon . . .
And in the meantime, there's two years worth of blog posts - several hundred of them - just waiting for your purusal in the DG archives . . . feel free to roam them at will til I get back . . . :)
After a day spent feeling as if I'd made a terrible mistake, I've taken down the post from yesterday. I'm grateful that I put it up, though, as from it I've had some helpful awarenesses about who I am, to others and to myself.
This blog has been an amazing experience and I thank you all for an incredible ride. This is my last post, or at the very least, the last one for a long time.
There isn't anything traumatic or earth-shattering occuring for me, just an acknowledgment that I want to set down the writing of dramatic stories of my life and focus on living a more peaceful life.
I wish you all the best. It has been an honor hearing your stories . . .
Instead of giving you intellectual factoids, I am going to tell you a story to illustrate today's psychological mental munchies.
I was driving home from a long day of classes. I felt tired, crabby. As I pulled out onto the road towards home, I saw a car with its hood up, hazard lights blinking. Cars were going around it, but the going was slow as they had to wait til the other direction was clear. It was a Volvo and it flashed through my head how great cell phones were, not to mention roadside assistance. But as I drove up alongside the car I saw that it was a really old and beat up Volvo and something made me slow down and ask the middle aged woman in the driver's seat, "Are you okay? Is someone coming to help you?"
"No. I've got my battery charger going, but it doesn't seem to be working. I think it's going to take a while."
"You didn't call anyone?"
"Can I help in any way?"
"No, I don't think so. It's just going to take 15 or 20 minutes for the charger to work."
I looked behind me at the line of cars.
"I'm going to just pull over. We should probably at least just get your car out of the middle of the road."
I pull over. Get out.
"Okay," I say to her, "Just put the car in neutral and I'll push it up that grassy part so that someone doesn't come up and plow into the back of you."
"Push? You can't push. You'll hurt yourself," she said
(This is SEXISM, which is when a prejudgment of someone's sex leads a person to assign negative traits to them such as "females are weak, mewling girlie-poos".)
"No, I won't. I'm very strong," I said.
"No, I don't want you to hurt yourself. This is a very heavy car, believe me."
"I'm a weightlifter. This isn't an issue. Just put the car in neutral and cut the wheel to the right."
"I don't know."
"Your other alternative is to stay here in the middle of the road. You sure you don't want to try and see if I can? I won't get hurt, but even if I did, I wouldn't hold you responsible."
She put the car in neutral and I rocked the car until I got some force going and then I gave a mighty shove and the car started moving forward at a nice clip. Then for some reason she straightened the wheel back up as if she were just pulling over to the side of the road rather than out of it completely.
"No, no!" I yelled, "Keep it going!" But the car was stopped and we were now facing an uphill slant. i may be macho, but I ain't on roids.
At that moment, a Self-Deludedly Entitled Old White Man pulled his white trash party panel van over and immediately took over, attempting to solve the problem without first asking what the problem was, or even if we needed his help.
(This is a man lost inside of his MALE GENDER ROLE and assuming that we are in STEREOTYPICAL FEMALE GENDER ROLES of helpless and clueless.)
"Have you checked the oil? When's the last time you had your alternator checked? Have you checked your fluid levels? Do you have a screwdriver in your car?"
"She just needs to recharge her battery and we are just trying to get her pushed off the road," I said, but he was on a roll. Five minutes later, after a sermon on best wear and tear techniques for tire mileage, a lecture on all of the possible things it might be if it wasn't simply a battery problem, I finally got him to move his sweat equity from his mouth into his muscles and we began pushing.
"Straighten the wheel!" we yelled.
As we pushed, he nudged himself over so that he was mashed against me. I moved away. He must have been about 65 years old, but I really couldn't tell because he had taken poor care of himself and reeked of hygenic negligence. He slid over some more, this time with what appeared to be an attempt at a rakish smile.
(This is called THE BETTER THAN AVERAGE EFFECT where everyone sees themselves as better than most others which is statistically impossible. This is also UNREALISTIC OPTIMISM which is where a person believes that things will turn out the way they'd prefer in spite of the facts. It is also called DIRTY OLD MANISM and JUST PLAIN NASTY.)
"Now cut it right! Hard right!"
The car slowed and stopped, still not quite off the road.
"What are you doing?" he yelled. And actually went around the car and scolded her. "If you cut the wheel to the right, we can't push as fast. What's wrong with you?"
"Blacks," he said to me and rolled his eyes.
(Do I even need to mention RACISM?)
"Well, we told her to cut the wheel right. I don't believe it's because she's a bit more melanin enriched than you or I."
Within two minutes, we had the car off the road and he took off like a shot, probably realizing that he was going to get neither nooky nor emotional support for his social retardation.
We two chicks gave her car a jump start from my car battery, I lent her my cell phone to call her husband, and then followed her up the road into a large shopping center parking lot where she was going to wait for her husband to come and help her figure out if the car was safe to drive the hour back home.
As she handed my cell phone back to me, she opened her arms wide and we hugged one another and she thanked me again and again.
"I had been sitting there for twenty minutes and not one person stopped before you did. Big guys in trucks were driving by and not a single one asked if I needed help."
(This is called THE BYSTANDER EFFECT where there are a lot of people around and everyone assumes that someone else is helping the person in need and so they don't offer.)
"I'm glad I could help," I said and we smiled.
(This is called ALTRUISM which is how we humans help one another survive this crazy place. Because god knows how often I have depended upon the kindness of strangers. And when Life gives me the opportunity to help and I can, I just have to or I get bonked down the evolutionary ladder a couple of pegs. Plus it feels good. Plus it gave me a story to blog about :)
If you are in the Albany, NY area and are looking for a weekly mental/physical/energetic/spiritual tune-up in community with others, Vibrant Living Classes begin next Wednesday, June 8th, 7:30-9 pm and will run every Wednesday night. Each class stands alone and can be attended either on an occassional or weekly basis. Click Here for details. Hope to see you there :)