Learning Chinese Medicine in Ireland.

I love to study Chinese medicine. I love Ireland. Combine the two = dreams come true!

Years ago I learned one of my favorite teachers regularly teaches in Ireland.  At the time attending seemed impossible.  I had a lot of great reasons proving to myself that it was never going to happen (too much time away, too expensive, kids in college, and a favorite told to me once from another teacher ‘you have plenty to learn here in America’).

Life isn’t always easy, and through the last few years I feel like I was given the gift of realizing not to take any time for granted.  So last fall, in a moment of following my heart, I signed up for the class in spring of 2023.  I decided to change my story and figure out a way to get to Ireland.  Appropriately, we were going to be studying about how the stories we tell can affect our lives, for illness or for healing (or for traveling to Ireland after years of longing…but I digress).   I am happy to say, I figured out how to get there, and it was everything I had hoped for.

During the trip I jotted down notes, and photos, to share with all of you.

Day 1: It really is so green.

Long day (and night) of travel has myself and my travel companions arriving in Dublin in the early morning. It always amazes me how time changes

Long flights get me thinking of time travel, how you gain or lose time when traveling.  In this case, we ‘lost’ 7 hours, which I am definitely feeling.  But, the excitement of having a day in Dublin, taking in amazing sites and being surrounded by kind people and beautiful scenery (it really is very green), with some good tea helped us to power through.  Went to the hotel early and collapsed (after having some Guinness of course).  Class begins tomorrow!

Day 2: Trying to absorb as much as possible.

We are staying just outside of Dublin, in a little village called Dalkey.  It is picturesque, full of pubs and shops, and right on the ocean.  After taking some time this morning to explore the local area, (including the ’40 foot’ – a swim spot on the ocean…and no, I didn’t go in, even though I am from MN it looked too cold for me!) and having some tea (why is it so much better here?), I settled into the first lecture of the class:  The Stories We Tell for Healing and Illness.  Amazing.  Feeling full of gratitude for this experience.  Learned how to use the Chinese medicine theory of 5 Elements to move through the stories of our life.  Where does the stories you tell usually end?  Overthinking?  Grief?  Fear?  Anger?  Joy?  Where do you want them to end?  (I may dedicate another whole post just to this topic!).

Day 3: Narratives

All day lecture today, learning about narratives and their impact on healing or illness.  Do you approach life with the hero’s journey:  seeing challenges as something to overcome?  Or, do you tend towards the saintly journey:  demonstrating acceptance for all things and working with what you have been given? How may this impact you, your history, and how you see the world?  How may it impact how you heal?

We learned about the lost art of getting to really know someone and to be known, especially in medicine, and how when we can truly understand someone, we can uncover better tools as providers to help healing.


Day 4:  Acupuncture channels:  surviving to living

Todays lecture was a much deeper dive into these topics.  What is the theme of the stories we most commonly tell?

  • Uncertainty?
  • Anxiety?
  • Suspense?
  • Not much feeling at all?
  • Humor?
  • Outpouring of Love?

Can you change the ‘theme’?     How does this indicate what may be going on with the different acupuncture channels in the body?   How can it indicate how we, as providers, may more deeply understand our patient’s illness, and find new paths to help them heal?   We learned the importance in being able to alter a story – we can’t resolve a condition from the same mindset that created it and need to learn how to alter our mindset before our lives and our illness will change.

The content gets very complicated, too much to share in a quick blog post, but it is beautiful, and useful, and I can already feel this is going to help me and help others.

Day 5:  Letting it all sink in.

Class is completed, my mind is full, and I have one more glorious day of sightseeing this beautiful area before heading home tomorrow.  So grateful for this time and for all the teachings, and so excited to bring it back home to everyone!

Cheers! Julie