“No matter what flavor of medical evolution we take on—all of us are graduating bilingual. We are versed in both eastern and western medicine, we are the forerunners to communicate and utilize both languages—to bridge the gap and bring the medical integration of east and west to full fruition in our country.”
“We are graduating from a rigorous training, unique to California and Five Branches University, of a 32-hundred hour program. Did you know that we are not only graduating as Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners with expertise in Acupuncture, Herbology, Massage, Qi Gong, and Diet & Nutrition? We are also graduating as Primary Care Physicians. Again, We are the ones walking the line between both medicines. We are those who are filling the gap, to bridge all worlds, one by one.”
— Melinda Phoenix, 2016 Graduation Commencement Speech
Has anyone in here ever wanted to be a Hero? Has anyone in here ever wanted to meet a Hero?
Tom Hank’s says: “A hero is somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown”.
Well, look no further—for all of these class of 2016 graduates, are the heroes within our society—walking into the unknown.
I say the unknown because we are graduating in a pivotal time of history. Healthcare and politics are rapidly changing due to the needs and demands of the generations, young and old, surrounding us. There are not enough of us to keep up with the current demand for health and healing in our country. We are walking into the unknown, broken and transforming system, and all of us will create a new one, that works, together.
Some of us will graduate as clinicians, touching and healing the community one by one. Some of us will be researchers—propelling our medicine more deeply into scientific communities. Some of us will be investigators, digging into the ancient history and texts, to share with us the part of our medicine that is absolutely beyond our current capabilities of scientific testing.
Some of us will become educators—opening doors, empowering and expanding the minds of those around us. Others community builders—bridging gaps between colors, beliefs, and language.
Some of us Legislators and advocates—who will rise to unify and coordinate the voices of all, in our profession and our communities, writing and passing laws to aid in medical integration and accessibility.
No matter what flavor of medical evolution we take on—all of us are graduating bilingual. We are versed in both eastern and western medicine; we are the forerunners to communicate and utilize both languages—to bridge the gap and bring the medical integration of east and west to full fruition in our country.
We are not alternative, we are not folklore, we are not practicing magic (although sometimes it sure feels like it with the incredible health transformations we have witnessed). But no. We ARE integrative medicine.
Let’s take a moment to define what Integrative medicine means. Integration is defined as “ serving or intending to unify separate things.”. And the practice of integrative medicine is, according to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, “The field of health that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and professions to achieve optimal health and healing.”—With that said…
We are graduating from a rigorous training, unique to California and FBU, of a 32 hundred hour program. Did you know that we are not only graduating as Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners with expertise in Acupuncture, herbology, massage, Qi Gong, and diet and nutrition? We are also graduating as Primary Care Physicians. Again, We are the ones walking the line between both medicines. We are those who are filling the gap, to bridge all worlds, one by one.
So this is where we become heroes, treating the unknown: for all those with undiagnosed and unexplainable diseases, for those who think their only choice is to undergo surgery, for those who have been prescribed a lifetime use of pharmaceutical drugs, for those who have “tried everything” and nothing is working. We will be there. WE will be there. We will be there for those in our community, and for all of you here, present today.
This doesn’t mean that we won’t falter, in our path to heal and change the broken system. But, I’m sure you can all agree, adversity and failure are the greatest teachers of our time. As long as we learn something, get back up, and help each other move forward—we will succeed. We will succeed at changing lives, and the current medical system rhetoric, one by one.
I envision overflowing successes at every new turn of the way, for all of us here today. Not only because of the pure hearts and sharp minds that everyone here has, but also because most of us started this program in the year of the water dragon..which, in Chinese astrology, basically means we are the most powerful instrument of the zodiac.
According to Gregory Done, an astrology master-type, his words on the dragon:
“The symbol of the Dragon is a synthesis. If you look at depictions of the Chinese Dragon, you will see that it is a composite of every (zodiac) animal. According to tradition, it is said to have the whiskers of the Rat, the face and horns of the Ox, the claws and teeth of the Tiger, the belly of the Rabbit, the body of the Snake, the legs of the Horse, the goatee of the Goat, the wit (or brain) of the Monkey, the crest of the Rooster, the ears of the Dog, and the snout of the Pig.
The Dragon is the only animal of the 12 capable of flight, an important part of the symbol, and yet it is rarely depicted with wings, for its ability to fly is supernatural. It is the only supernatural animal in the group, and people question its existence.” I would like to think of us Water Dragons as these supernatural creatures, capable of harnessing all skills and virtues of the ethereal and earthy world. Giving us the power to take on and transform any obstacles in our way, constantly creating new paths in front of us. taking flight.
This speech wouldn’t be complete without paying a moment of homage to this particular group of students that I am graduating with, my water dragons. You have become my family, my network, the ones who I have trusted with all my fears, hopes, and dreams. You are the ones I have been able to call on in times of need…in any area of my life. You some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the honor of getting to know. Thank you, for sharing this journey with me
This moment here, us all at this graduation ceremony. This is actually our rite of passage—leading us into the most epic mind-Everest hike, the one we have been training for the last four years (not including the 2, or more, years of undergraduate work). Our boards. I know all of us are excited about that adventure, but it doesn’t stop there. No. That is the beginning for us, our real training comes with our licensing, reaching that top of everest—taking flight and propelling our medicine far beyond our predecessors, into future we can be proud to leave to our children and our grandchildren.
So here we are, standing before you today, taking an oath as medical professionals to uphold virtue in all aspects of our practice. We stand here before you today with inner power, expertise and vision to carve out and paint the unknown, with you. We do this with the heroes inside of our chests, with our spark of life that shines’ through our eyes, that in our medicine we call “Shen”. We are heroes, and we—will be there.
Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine
2016 Graduation Commencement Speech
Five Branches University, California, USA