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Dearest Vanessa,


I'm writing this to you on a day before your residency orientation begins to remind you of why you chose this. You chose this so that one day you could be a friend in a healthy holistic lifestyle intentional community/wellness center/retreat center that will foster healing through relationships, therapy, medication adjustments, creativity, art, meditation, yoga, music, dance, gardening, yummy nutrition and conscious living. You envision people sharing their journeys together and processing their emotions in healing circles perhaps sitting around a bonfire under the stars at the sea, forest or an open meadow. You dream of healing that flourishes through drum circles and ecstatic dance. You imagine growing food together, cooking and sharing meals together. You have helped create a safe place where human patterns can be noticed together and where we can bring conscious awareness to these habits for our evolution and growth. Ultimately, you dream of a sacred space where we live in communion with the land. We both nurture nature and nature nurtures us. We walk joyfully with each other on this path.


There's the vision! Now the reality. You might be feeling exhausted, depressed, frustrated and I want you take a deep breathe, body sigh and let it all go. Offer it all up! Now let's remember! Here we go! Visualize and embody your beautiful moments at HEART sharing laughter and tears with your fellow medical student friends in the intentional community surrounded by the Redwoods. Feel the vibes in the meditation hut and the rhythm in the Dome at the Lama Foundation, spiritual intentional community near Taos, NM. Remember the honesty of "examined living" at Austen Riggs, therapeutic community in the Berkshires, and how El Camino provides, a pilgrimage community in Spain. Hear the resonance of the wind chime at The Abode, Sufi Eco-Village in Upstate NY and the speechless energy at the Sadhguru's Isha Yoga Center near Coimbatore, India. Remember how inspired you felt when you learned about San Patrignano in Italy and Maria Gugging Psychiatric Clinic/House of Artists in Austria.


I also want you to remember that this weekend in particular you received many inspiring messages! It began when you received a loving message through the mail on a technicolor cow card from a beautiful soul friend! She wrote, "May you have throughout intern year, colors, swirls, scents and all the senses to help feed your spirit. May you feed the spirits of others, your patients, friends and colleagues, as you do now! May you see a few cows, and possibly even a technicolor one! May you have and create a fecund, vibrant world!" How amazing!


You also made many new friends this weekend which speaks to how you can connect to others so well! One new friend shared that focus has been a huge life lesson for her. She encouraged you to remain committed and allow yourself to dive deeply into this path even when other interests like traveling are calling. Continue to cultivate interests that feed your soul and stay focused.


Another new friend shared the message of love for learning and knowledge. He mentioned that to learn herbalism, he uses his intuition and listens to plants for their own qualities, personality and lessons. Plants like patients have so much to teach us, continue to listen and learn. Although you may not agree with the side effects of medications and how medicines are prescribed, learn to speak to and listen to the medications. How do they want to be used and for what benefits? How will the patient receive them? Also, reflect upon how much you will learn and not so much by what you don't know. Learning takes time, practice, repetition and patience.


Some more picked up tidbits from friends along the way- Learn to let go of the result and pair effort with ease. Continue to be clear on your intentions. You intend to be present with patients, support your colleagues and learn about humanity, yourself, psychiatry and mental health. Do all of this with full involvement. Be the humble student that you are.


Sweet, compassionate, loving one, when you're feeling down, remember you are not this career nor the EMR. You are Divine Intelligence and remember that all of this is for your growth. Remember you are never alone, to reach out, make art, dance, do yoga, meditate and do nothing! Most importantly, remember Spirit/Creator/Divine Intelligence is always guiding you and has opened these doors for you. Continue to walk through them with courage and grace. Remember your vision of sunny, blue skys, butterflies, bees in the growing garden, leaves reaching for sunlight, the gentle breeze, and the excitement of voices finding union and resonance. Honor the shade of the tree and the shadows. All that feels dark is a calling to go within, grow and remember that all of it is part of an integrated life.


P.S. I'm grateful that we are taking this time to reflect and to be clear with our intentions.

I love you. I care about you. I am proud of you. You are more than enough. You are worthy. You are resilient. You got this!


P.S.S. Call on the sacred cow for it symbolizes patience, nourishment, abundance, possibility, calming, grounding and Mother Earth. "Trust that the mighty storm will pass and you'll be OK" and trust there is sun behind the clouds. Also! Feel and embrace the blessing that it is to be with people on their most difficult days, to simply be with them. You also have the opportunity to offer shifts to their health and guide them through healing. Not every patient will be ready for these shifts, a hello and a smile will be more than enough. Basically, what you and your fellow residents are doing is incredibly special even when you all might feel defeated. I wish the system would be different and we didn't have to prepare you for this storm or stress/fatigue management, but it is what is right now, it all is temporary and can be changed. You are doing you're best and if it isn't your best, it is all you have.


Your power is in acceptance and the prayer, "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”


With so much love,

Your friend,

Vanessa