Bozeman, Montana

Up before the Sun, when Light breaks

Sunrise over Bozeman
Sunrise over Bozeman

It’s been a while since I was up before the sun.  Hanzi left before dawn this morning for a video/photo shoot in Paradise Valley and between the tantalizing smell of coffee in the percolator and the endearing banging about, I’m definitely awake now.  The sun doesn’t rise for another hour.  So what better thing to do than settle back into my old habits for a morning?  My years in medical school brought new definition to the word “morning.”  I decided that any hour before four AM was still night time, and any time after 4 AM was most certainly morning.  This is how I rationalized spending my evenings in conversation over dinner with Hanzi (instead of with my books), and woke before sunrise several mornings a week to study.  I am a morning thinker.  So here I am again, up before the sun, putting my mind to work because that’s what I do best at this hour, before the rest of the world wakes.

I am well aware that it’s also been a while since I’ve sat down to write.  These past few months have been some of the hardest of my life due to my forced departure from doctoring (I’m lucky, I know it.)  I graduated in April, moved to Montana (as you’ll know), and settled into Bozeman, while also trying to settle into 2 jobs and good study habits as I prepared for boards.  The mountains and the rivers were sufficiently distracting, and so those last couple weeks before the board exams were tortuous as I scrambled to study all the material.  Four days ago I received a letter stating that I passed!!!  Thank the great goddess.  Yesterday, I signed a contract for a year of residency at Spring Integrative Health here in Bozeman.  Today (once the sun rises), I’ll mail off a license application to the state capitol in Helena!  I start life as a resident 5 days from now.

I’m not sure about the future of this little blog, at least for the next year or so.  I suspect I’ll write here and there, but most of my efforts will contractually be directed at and through the clinic hosting me as a resident.  I’ll likely link to them from here.

I hope my readers don’t feel too terribly abandoned.  I just wasn’t up to writing these past few months.  I was trying to escape the narcissism of blogging, while in the midst of a wholly narcissistic experience of settling into a place, trying to remember myself amid all the change, and also working to first, fill my head with information, and second, to let go of the stress of the exams in the weeks of waiting for results.  All that confusing emotion left me lacking for words.

When I signed a contract the other day, I mentioned to Alisun (Dr. Bonville), that she and the other lovely providers working at Spring have seen me at my worst.  My time away from doctoring was really difficult.  As much work as it is, I don’t ever want to have to remove myself from the challenges and experience of doctoring ever again, or at least for a long while.  Here I was, having spent nearly every hour of the past several years dedicated to study and practice of medicine and all of a sudden, I was removed from those patterns at graduation.  Yes, I got to (had to) study, but studying medicine for an exam and practicing it with patients everyday are entirely different experiences.  When I first started my clinical training, I wrote about how a glow was coming alive in me again.  I thought this light had been put out by leaving the mountains, lakes, and beautiful people of Northern California, and perhaps it was in part due to that, but the experience of doctoring patients as an intern cracked me open and let that light shine again.  I notice that light in my heart has dimmed, been shuttered, these past few months.  It is that light that makes me feel so connected to the energies around me, of both nature and of humans.  It’s what makes me feel very connected and grounded in my experience of being human, and in my interactions with others.  All the change that’s happened for me these past few months has been hard on that light, or on my ability to navigate the world as a connected and balanced human.  I am so looking forward to stoking that internal glow with the bellows of naturopathic practice!

Oh!  I could go on!  It’s still dark outside and the words are flowing from my finger tips again.  The coffee has percolated to my brain and all the little stories and thoughts I’ve held inside these past few months are ready to come trickling out.  It’s a creative and freeing thing for me, to write these journal-like posts and share my experiences with anyone who feels like knowing my brain and my life experience a little bit.  So, perhaps there’ll be more posts – likely coming in little spurts as I find time to sit and write – possibly happening mostly in those early mornings when my brain wakes before the sun and the only thing to do (besides fold laundry, a task never finished in this household) is open my laptop and set down the words.  The sky is getting a tiny bit lighter now, and I’m ready for breakfast.  Good morning, dear readers, and until next time – I am Yours in Health – Dr. Mack