Class 26 commenced this past Saturday. In a very reverent and tearjearking ceremony, they joined their instructors and supervisors as graduates and  fellow practitioners.  It may seem needless to say this, but I feel it’s worthy of being written down for everyone to see: we here at Academy for Five Element Acupuncture are very, very proud of Class 26.

The audience was full of  the friends, family, and patients of the students; a true representation of the large community that supports our graduates and the work they have done and will do.  In addition,  a large contingent of the Academy’s faculty members, some travelling from as far away as Maine and California, were in the audience. While honoring the future and the potential of the graduating class, we also honored our past, the faculty and their decades’ worth of experience and mentorship. The two are, after all,  inextricably linked, because the graduates will be continuing the work of their elders.  As our President Emeritus, Dorit Reznek, reminded the graduates, regardless of the fact that they are no longer physically in school, they will always be a part of the Academy. She reminded them to never be too proud or too afraid to call on their teachers for guidance. They, we, will always be there to guide and support the next generation of practitioners.

During the ceremony, there was much talk of the countless hours of studying, classes, treatment planning, and needling that comprised the Masters program. We celebrate the work and effort the students put in. But the true celebration was the personal transformation of each student in the class, illustrated in the way they invoked the spirit of specific points to help commemorate the moment. They know this medicine. Their journeys have helped them embody it and become a part of the legacy. Accomplishing that task takes more than memorization.

And their class has left its own legacy at the Academy.  I speak of the practical jokes; the uncontrollable laughter on test days;  and the tremendous amounts of indulgent food that mysteriously appeared in the student lounge every week. I’ve learned from them that you can show reverence through laughter, and that the best way to hold something together is through love and true grit (maybe a little spit thrown in, too, it doesn’t always have to be pretty). It has been beautiful and humbling to watch them walk this path.

While the graduates ponder their next steps, I know a few of them are nervous about leaving the nest. It’s important to remember that these moments of transition equal moments of growth and potential. And so to Class 26, to Hamid, Teresa, Charlene, Gigi, Michael, Debby, Lea, Mindy, Lauren, Jennifer, Beth, Kassy, and Tanner,  I remind you that that growth and potential will be awesome even if it’s frightening, too.

There have been a lot of quotations invoked over the past several days, but I would like to add my own. In many ways, you’ve already answered this question, but I hope you keep it with you on the days when you’re feeling less inspired:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver

Good luck, Class 26!