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I have been struggling with the word, or rather the title, "healer."

I went into medicine to help heal people, make them feel better, and find their best health. Shortly after I began my work in primary care, I realized that wasn't exactly the method of healing I wanted. While I firmly believe there is a lot of good in Western medicine, and our overall extended life expectancy is thanks to advancements in modern medicine, it isn't the only form of healing. And I also know that I alone could never heal someone.

I am aware of the fact that there is so much that goes into a person's health and overall wellness. Much more than what a simple annual physical or a few monthly clinic visits could address. A person's relationships with their loved ones and their connections with their community impact their wellness. A person's relationship with food and knowledge of nutrition affects their health. A person's relationship with their body and how to care for it impacts their wellness. A person's epigenetics and environmental exposures influence what disease processes might be expressed in their lifetime. Environmental hazards, toxins, chronic stress, adverse childhood events, socioeconomic status, and more can change gene code expressions and influence what diseases may or may not be expressed. Much influences our health, and one simple fix or change is not the determining factor in our overall bodily health. It is the culmination of all of our life decisions and habits that funnels into our final equation of health. And increasingly, I am realizing that the inner journey has the most significant influence on the quality of our lives overall.

I know so many people who have worked hard to reach their goals and achieve what they believe they wanted, only to find themselves depressed or with the feeling that something is missing. And this depression is then compounded by the guilt for not feeling grateful when they have indeed gotten all the things they thought they wanted. There are also people who manifest chaos and disease into their lives merely because they ignore the voice inside them, their hearts asking them to listen bravely and follow their desires. I know people who work hard and do everything they think they should be doing, only to feel like something is still missing.

Only when we turn inward and let go of the outer voices trying to control our lives can we finally recognize what we truly want in life. It is this inner journey where we decide whether or not to pursue what we had previously only dreamed of. No matter how silly or crazy it may look to others. No matter the doubts or limiting beliefs that arise from our minds and egos. No matter the obstacles or challenges that come along the way. To walk bravely on this inner journey is the most beautiful and rewarding path we can choose.

And so, as we enter the new year, I am curious to see where healing takes me. I am grateful for the traditional context of healer that I carry from my past studies and current work, but I look forward to finding new ways of exploring healing through functional medicine, functional movement, and, most excitedly, through writing.

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