East West School of Herbology Seminar 2013

Estimated read time... 3 minutes

I have been to the Californian Redwoods and back!  It is time to tell folks about my experience at my most wonderful herb school’s annual seminar (intensive!)

Seminar ran from April 26 through May 3 this year, thus I took an early morning flight from LaGuardia Airport and arrived in San Jose, CA early afternoon on the 26th.  I was so excited, I could barely contain myself!  I might have gotten two hours of sleep on the plane, if that!  When you arrive at Seminar, you check in and are told where you are staying.  So down to my room I go, dump all of my stuff and run back to talk to people (I thought Seminar was going to be a week-long party with classes in between – boy was I wrong!)  We all had dinner, the opening ceremony and got to talk to more people.

When everyone was talking and saying hello to each other (thank goodness for those name tags we had to wear), I saw my mentor and we gave each other a big hug.  I just adore my mentor, he is amazing.  I got to meet my teacher, the founder of the school, Michael Tierra too.  What a moment that was!  After all I’ve been through, it was so wonderful to be meeting these two men who have greatly influenced my life.  I met some wonderful people, who I hope to be connected with and talking to for many years to come.

Although it was my first Seminar, I was invited to move into the second level for a variety of reasons.  I was honored and terrified that I wouldn’t know enough.  The very first class we had was also on abdominal diagnosis, and it was an all day class run by Holly Guzman.  It was a wonderful class!  We had very informative classes from Roy Upton on the GMP regulations, and Christopher Hobbs on inflammation.  We had several Materia Medica (herb) classes, all of which were great, although I wish we could have covered more material in the 3 hours we had!  We had a great class with Michael Tierra on the Five Stagnations (Cold, Blood, Qi, Fluid, Food) where we learned about mu and shu (front and back) point diagnosis and different methods of moxibustion!  My favorite with the moxibustion was the direct method – where you put little carefully rolled cones of loose moxa directly on the skin and light it!  It is intense, I thought it felt amazing.  We had a “starting your herbal practice” class with Susan Kramer, lots of great practical information and advice; and a fantastic case study class with Susan as well.  The case study class is where you bring in a client’s information (anonymously), and you work on their intake to figure out what is going on with them (aka assessment, strategy, recommendations.)  This helped me a great deal, as I tend to over-think and second guess myself when working on intakes and case breakdown/assessment.  Susan is able to penetrate to the heart of the matter quickly, as do all of our wonderful teachers, they truly are wonderful role models and inspiration to all of us EW students!   Mornings were filled with Qi Gong and the Four Purifications, we had plenty of nourishing food (so much so that I didn’t have to snack during classes!)

I experienced not a bout of homesickness like I usually do, but a bout of husband-sickness.  I missed my husband so much, I could barely stand it at one point.  It was quite the rude awakening knowing that I felt I couldn’t function without my rock.  I felt like I’d been torn in two the first part of the week, it was very difficult.  Add to that the very intense social atmosphere, limited alone time (which is so needed and valued as an introvert) and you have quite the combination!  While I did not implode, I did feel quite lonely amongst all of my peers and teachers.  It was a great learning experience in that I’ve forgotten how to be by myself without distractions, like I used to be BH (before husband.)  There was a time when I’d basically turn my phone off for days on end, do my thing, and not talk to anyone (except my cat.)  I’m constantly connected and talking to my husband, my family, friends, teachers, etc.  It was a great lesson in self-sufficiency, independence, self-security, and also the power of silence in our day-to-day lives for reconnecting with our true selves.

Below is my very favorite poem, from the moment I arrived at Seminar this basically sums up how I felt.