Over the past few months, I let everyone know I was letting go of my dispensing practice and I sold half my stock at cost price to local practitioners. Since then, I have come full circle, but I’m not the person I was when I first began this journey.
With new-found post-parenting freedom the options available are mammoth and we keep coming up with ideas, then better ideas. It feels a bit like climbing a spiral staircase; circuitous at times, but with every step the view expands, we see more, our world opens up wider. After spending so long being stable and sensible and consistent, it takes a while to open your world back up again! Each step along the way has involved visions and decisions that have transformed us and challenged us. What I have loved is the personal growth that has come from facing and embracing the idea of change.
First we were planning to move to Brisbane. For me this meant facing and conquering the fear of starting all over again as a new practitioner in a new place. How liberating to realise I was prepared to do this and felt capable! As soon as I overcame this hurdle inside my own heart and mind, life upped the ante.
My husband decided he really wanted to go live and work in Edinburgh for a year, before we moved interstate. Phew! Okay, I’m up for it! I was surprised to discover just how willing I was to leave everything behind and start a new adventure in an even bigger world with more unknowns.
Many, many hours of conversation later and we realised what we really wanted was to explore Australia. Thus, the idea of buying and living in a caravan was born. This idea was so exciting it trumped the overseas travel as option number one. The more deeply committed we became to this idea, the happier I became, and yet there was some sadness. With change, often comes loss. I felt sad about losing my clinic. I also realised I was going to have to let go of my stock, because it wouldn’t fit in a caravan!
To be honest, my dispensary has at times felt like an unwelcome weight in my life. I don’t always enjoy prescribing. I feel uncomfortable with supplements and modern naturopathic practise. Buried deep inside me is a shy wise woman herbalist with wicca leanings. I love science but sometimes I think I probably love magic even more. I love the magic of the power of belief. I love facilitating shifts in perspective and heightened self-awareness. I love spirituality and my psychic ability to interact with the aura and spirit. I’m not particularly interested in physical complaints unless the client wants help exploring mind-body connections. I love emotions, psychology, energy and spirituality.
Here’s what happened when I gave away half my stock for cost price:
While I would happily dump my meagre supplement stock with a mutter of ‘good riddance’ I found myself keeping little 25ml samples of each herb. I guess I couldn’t quite let go. I do love herbs, I just don’t want to dispense herbs the way I’m expected to as a naturopath. I’m such a rebel. I’m meant to be doing tests, attending seminars, keeping up with all the latest trials etc. But I can’t do it because it makes me feel miserable. I just want to be me, and thankfully I have built a business which lets me be me. Thanks to all of those wonderful people out there who ‘get me’ and enjoy the way I prefer to work, I have choices and I need to exercise them!
So there I was, pottering around making up little samples of each herb, wondering what on earth I was doing. Then I remembered years ago, I had researched and dabbled with drop dose (minute doses) of herbs. The results were powerful and at times unexpected. There seems to be an art to finding the right strength. Too dilute and you get intense reactions from the body, with the herbs functioning like homeopathic remedies. Maybe, I thought, it’s time to give it another go. I have always wanted to get to know herbs on an energetic level. What do specific herbs do to the aura and the psyche? And I didn’t want to read books about this, I wanted direct experience based on my own experiments and observations. By letting go of the bulk herbal approach, I could see how I was creating energy and space in my life to explore the energetics of herbs.
That was breakthrough number one.
Then the ladies came and cleared out half my stock. Breakthrough number two was the incredible sigh of relief I had afterwards. Finally I had some space on my shelves. No more mass looming over me. I realised how much I had succumbed to pressure from the naturopathic money machine…. we get most of our on-going education and support from suppliers who want us to buy their products and of course, bigger and more is better, supposedly. Right from the start I instinctively wanted to resist this but I didn’t. I’m a bit shy at times and I let myself get steered, shaped and guided by well-meaning people who were just trying to help me and make money. But what I really wanted, was to go slowly. I wanted to get to know each herb inside out, one at a time. I wanted to master each herb. I wanted to have a small collection and to prescribe one herb at a time to see for myself what it would do. Instead, I let myself get caught on a roller coaster ride that made me feel disconnected from the herbs I had fallen in love with during my studies.
With less on my shelves, I could almost feel my mind clearing. More isn’t always better. This year the word ‘simplicity’ has almost been like a mantra for me, and letting go of half my herbs was an ode to this.
Breakthrough number three came when I realised that letting go of the prescribing meant I really couldn’t call myself a naturopath anymore according to the terms I had negotiated with my governing body. For a while now I have been talking with the ANTA about quitting with them because my naturopathic practise has steadily been becoming more alternative. I was invited to continue on the basis that ‘my consults would only be considered naturopathic if I prescribed something.’ Which really makes me feel grumpy, I have to be honest. Is that really what modern naturopathy is all about?! Prescribing, dispensing, being a glorified chemist or pseudo-doctor? Apparently counselling doesn’t count for much and counselling is what I’m all about.
It was definitely time to cut ties. I called ANTA and spoke with a lovely lady who really validated my naturopathic approach but agreed that I was stepping outside the confines of conventional practice. Our solution was to remove me from the private health care rebates list and let my membership expire at the end of the year. I can still call myself a naturopath (I am determined to keep owning my identify as a naturopath and redefining for others what a naturopath can be) but I can no longer provide private health rebates. To keep my insurance, I will simply maintain my membership with the IICT who recognise, validate and support my psychic and spiritual practises.
Phew! What a ride!
So with my herbal drop doses re-birthed, my stock reduced and my affiliation with modern naturopathy effectively stripped, a shift happened.
My husband came to me and said “I just had a good idea. We can live downstairs and rent out upstairs. We wouldn’t bring in as much rental (which we were relying on to fund our nomadic lifestyle) but we could stay in the clinic and work for six months of every year, and travel the other half of the year.”
So now I get to keep my scrummy clinic and my beautiful Darwin-based practise with all the clients I love sooo much AND I get to travel and explore Australia! (In three month blocks, most likely)
If I want to, I can still keep stock. The wonderful thing is, I no longer feel attached to, or constrained by, an obligatory sense of who I should be as a naturopath. I have finally shed my skin, courtesy of all these crazy change-scenarios we have been exploring. It feels like a free makeover.
I have also noticed a change in the way I am prescribing when I do prescribe herbs in normal doses: I’m not giving ridiculously high discounts on everything.
So if you are a client, or a potential client, and you want modern mainstream naturopathy, go to someone else (see my referrals page), not me. If you are a client and you want herbs, I can still do this for you (ta dum!) but I will be charging you properly, I don’t do tests and I won’t be able to give you receipts for claiming with private health. And if you want to help me test my drop dose remedies, let me know!
Mind you, I wonder sometimes if this change-adventure is really over. Is this the final decision or will some grander scheme come to light?