Another busy month has passed at Academy for Five Element Acupuncture. We sent a new class of acupuncture practitioners out into the world at the beginning of September. In a ceremony full of late summer/early fall imagery, students, faculty, and family gathered to celebrate the joyous occasion.

While the students in Class 27 stood out for many reasons, I’d like to highlight the new tradition that they started for clinic classes.  At the retreat at the beginning of their clinical year, they chose the Earth point, “Abundant Splendor”  as their class name as a way of expressing the spirit of their class.  They chose it because it illustrated the ability to both give and receive support; and they used it as a guiding point throughout the hectic clinical year. As a result of their commitment to this principle of working together fairly and supporting each other’s efforts both in clinic and outside of clinic, their class was the fastest class to finish their clinical requirements. There are always a few interns who finish ahead of their colleagues, but Class 27 was the first where everyone finished ahead of schedule. They were able to do that because of their commitment to each other, and their embodiment of the essence of Abundant Splendor. To paraphrase their class representative in her Commencement speech, “You stood together, giving and receiving equally, all the while holding the center with integrity.” Congratulations everyone! You will be missed.

I am commemorating this now, publicly and after the fact, because September is an odd time for a Commencement ceremony. September brings about the change from late summer to fall. We’re moving into the end of the year and the transition between these two seasons usually has us feeling melancholy and nostalgic, not celebratory. But if we look at this time of year from the Five Element perspective, it makes perfect sense. Late summer represents the harvest, the cultivation of the growth of summer. The very air is heavy with abundance (particularly in Gainesville). Flowers have become fruit, and fruit and grains are being collected and tilled. It is a time to reap what one has sowed.  In this case, the graduates saw the hard work of the last three years bear fruit in the completion of their Master of Acupuncture degrees.

And as we pass into the early fall season, the air starts to cool and you can start to smell the slight tang of decay in the air. It’s a time of letting go, of honoring the past and looking ahead to the future. It is the season of the Metal element. The graduates don’t have an immense amount of time to reflect on their achievements. They’re busy studying for their NCCAOM exams and finding office space for their acupuncture practices. Even the faculty and administration  haven’t had long to reflect, as Class 29 arrived on Class 27’s coat tails for the beginning of their second year, and Class 28 began seeing their patients in the clinic. But a Commencement ceremony in September allowed all of us time to reflect and cultivate the joy of achievement. There was an immense amount of pride demonstrated through the tears and moments of speechlessness in the ceremony. And while we were letting go of one class, remembering them for all that they brought to the  AFEA community and family these last three years, the ceremony also allowed us to honor their legacy as we prepared to move forward into the fall.

I can’t think of a better time of year for a Commencement ceremony.

So, to Class 27, though you have scattered to your respective corners of the country, I would like to remind you one more time how proud we are of you. You are an inspiration to your fellow classmates and to the classes living in your wake. May you continue to flourish under the guiding influence of Abundant Splendor.