By: Kristin Sandoval
Preceding my elective experience I was asked to write down a couple of learning goals to expound upon after as a reflective assessment of my experience. I approached this task as if it were a typical medical student requirement in that I chose topics that were of interest, but could also be researched and analyzed from an evidence-based or scientific approach. I thought to myself that the spiritual component of this elective would hold the least value because, while I am a spiritual person, I do not believe in the institution of a specific religion. Upon reflection of my experiences over the last two weeks, I think I would be doing myself and this elective a disservice were I to ignore the unexpected and profoundly significant impact that the spiritual care component had on my experience. Therefore, I discarded my initial intention in order to focus on the essential purpose of the integrative health medicine elective. Which is, in my opinion, to gain awareness of a more comprehensive approach for the purpose of broadening the scope of how medicine is applied and contextualized.
I have written a poem that I wrote, which helped me process my spiritual care experience:
Do you see me naked and alone standing behind my wall of white and words?
I want to reach through my wall and touch you but I’m afraid.
I’m afraid you’ll pull away or take my hand and I won’t know what to say.
I am stepping into your world and I want to share your space,
If only for a moment.
I remove all the layers I am wearing,
And leave behind all of the things I carry with me.
As I do this, I realize that the weight of everything I have piled onto myself is immense.
The catharsis of letting each layer fall away, feeling my spirit lighten, is expressed by the tears I shed.
I have stripped myself of my excuses and my reasons not to feel.
I am naked vulnerable and alone,
But now I am present.
As I stand there exposed I am receptive and aware of my senses.
Opening my mind, my heart, and my spirit.
Now I am no longer alone.
The energy in the space we share feels like the raw wind across my skin alighting Sensations both welcoming and uncomfortable.
At times it feels like a mother’s touch, intimate and comforting;
And at other times like a harsh gale,
Abrasive and overwhelming.
And like the wind, I accept its presence, feel it, and interact with it.
It flows around me,
But it is not within me.
As soon as I step out of your space the wind dies down.
I can remember all of the sensations and I can hold onto how the wind made me feel,
But I don’t have to take that energy with me.
Again I stand naked,
But now it feels different
Because I am no longer afraid of my vulnerability.
I can stand alone without feeling alone.
I can be what you need for a moment in time without sacrifice.