Your Body, Your Garden
I grew up the son of a landscaper. I would go out to work with my dad during summer vacations; I would dress up like him for career day at school. Until 5th grade, I knew I wanted to be a landscaper. It was around that time that I was diagnosed with progressive scoliosis and the following year of doctor interactions and surgery shifted my focus to health science. However, every summer, I would go home and tend the soil and plants.
While I was working in the biotech field in San Diego, the cloud was lifted, and my two
worlds came together in learning about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). My interest in TCM as a practice of medicine was first sparked by my girlfriend at the time (now my beautiful wife!). It was in the first book I read, Between Heaven and Earth by Beinfield and Korngold, that everything came together. In the third chapter, entitled “Philosophy in the East: The Doctor as Gardner,” the authors discussed the Eastern view of humans as a part (or microcosm) of the world and universe we lived in (the macrocosm). It began the discussion of how the elements in which a gardener contends with in the garden (heat, cold, wind, dryness, dampness), are the same elements that need to be balanced within the body. It spoke of the bodies irrigation system (the meridian or channel system) and how maintaining proper flow through this system ensures even distribution and nourishment. And as the gardener needs to properly fertilize, so do we need to eat proper foods to give us the right nutrients to survive.
Finding my way into this field of health and medicine that is based in the observable interactions of nature bridged the honor I had in wanting to follow in my father’s footsteps and the desire I have had to help others. Being built on a philosophy that we are not separate from, but a smaller part of a whole, not only shows the importance of seeing and treating a person as an interconnected whole within the medicine, but also stands to remind us of our connection with each other, and the love and respect each of us should be afforded.