Growing up my Italian grandfather always impressed upon me that education was paramount to life. He likely had this notion because of his schooling being cut short when he was needed to work at his family’s olive orchards in Italy to support his mother and younger siblings. Regardless of this obstacle, you would never think otherwise, as my grandfather was constantly found reading, spoke of many topics, and was bi-lingual, having taught himself English when he came to this country. My grandfather was a man of great pride, apparent in every aspect of his life particularly his fruitful summer garden, meticulous organization, and in the way in which he cared for his family. I was his first grand daughter and from the sounds of it, the one who softened his intense at times nature. He was my second father and chauffeured me to and from school and extra-curriculars from the time I started elementary school thru high school. He and my grandmother were at every band concert, every dance performance, and every milestone of my young life. Next to my parents, he was one of the dearest constants in my life. Early on, he led by example and would sit and read next to me while I was completing my homework in the wooden desk he purchased for me and kept at his home. I remember how organized my desk was, just like his! In retrospect, it was in those quiet moments with him that my love of learning was ignited. Over the past year and a half, I immersed myself in the Doctoral program of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at Pacific College of Health and Sciences and was quickly brought back to the joy and passion that I have for learning.
With the support of my family and the understanding from current patients, I was able to pull back from some daily responsibilities and fully give myself permission to expand and strengthen my point of view and evolve as a practitioner and a person. Staying true to myself and passions, I took a very deep dive into the mechanisms of action of both acupuncture and Pilates as an integrative treatment strategy for musculoskeletal conditions, the pharmacology of Chinese herbal medicine to treat infectious diseases, current public health struggles that could improve greatly with the integration of acupuncture, and the functional approach to lab testing using nutraceuticals, herbs, and acupuncture in treatment. As I sit here on the eve of my coursework completion, I feel transported back in time sitting next to my grandfather while doing my homework, fully supported without hearing any words. Funny how it feels totally familiar- a mere small shadow in my grandfather’s huge presence. This time however, pride is now radiating from every pore in my body, his unrelenting pride is now mine. As I close out the day, my prayer tonight is that my boys get to experience this feeling in their lives someday.
Blog postings by Natalie Maddox Rougie, DOM, AP owner of Palm Wellness in Tampa, FL.