From Paige Berling-MacKenzie, Vancouver, B.C.
From a very young age, I’ve been a little bit different from those around me, whether it’s the way I dress, the way I eat, the way I care for myself, or the things I believe in. I’ve always migrated towards things that are earth-based, natural, and spiritual. Again, and again, I’ve been called to practices of holistic healing. It was challenging as a child trying to fit in with my classmates and find community where there wasn’t one for me. But no matter how much I’ve tried (in my younger years) to conform, I never could shake it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that this is what makes me, me. These passions, this approach to health and healing, this lifestyle … it’s all my essence. This is the perspective I have now as I write this, but it’s not been an easy journey to arrive at this acceptance.
After highschool, I was very unsure of what I wanted my future to look like academically and career-wise, and so I took a gap year and went traveling. On this three-month trip, I traveled through Thailand, India and Nepal and was exposed to not only entirely different cultures and belief systems, but entirely new ways of understanding the body and the mind. Seeds were planted on this trip that have been sprouting for many years. Seeds of yoga, meditation, and a knowing of an inherent healing capability within me. Returning home from this trip was much harder for me than anything I had experienced while away. Even more-so than before, upon this return I found that I didn’t belong in the circles I was part of. Traveling had somehow exponentiated my lack of belongingness. This is really where I found refuge in the practice of yoga, and began to find home within myself.
Unluckily, this time traveling did not provide any further clarity on my path forward academically. Despite this lack of clarity, I enrolled to study Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Calgary. This was inspired in part by the exposure to new and different cultures I had experienced while abroad, but it was largely rooted in pressures I felt from society and my family. At the time, I didn’t know what other options existed other than university, I didn’t understand the validity of diploma programs, and I certainly didn’t understand how important it was to really listen within, to harness my intuition, and to step into my future from a place of passion.
After my second year of university, I still did not have clarity on my path forward, and still felt the immense pressure from society and external sources. This caused me to add on a second degree and a minor to my academic career to ensure I would have options upon graduation. I applied for a degree in International Relations with a thematic focus on Political International Economy and a geographic focus on Asia and the South Pacific, and a minor in Religious Studies. Not only did this add on more accreditation, but also an additional two years to my time studying at the University of Calgary.
After my third year of university, I took another gap year. This time I traveled solo to Southeast Asia. I flew into the Philippines, and country, by country, over nine months I made my way to Sri Lanka. I loved the change from learning hypothetically from textbooks, to hands on experience in the rich diversity of cultures. I faced many hardships on this journey, and again really had found refuge in my yoga practice thus resulting in my decision to take my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher training. I spent the last 3 months of my time abroad studying and training in Dharamshala, India where I completed my intensive Yoga Teacher Training and stayed for an additional two months with an internship.
This training and experience truly changed everything for me. Not only did it further demonstrate how ill-suited my educational path was for me, but it highlighted my passions. It opened this world of anatomy, of spirituality, and the inner workings of the mind. It revealed to me what I was most passionate about: the holistic approach to wellbeing that empowers us to harness our own ability to heal. Since this training, I have been teaching yoga full time. With the pandemic I have created an online yoga studio to support my path with teaching yoga. This has also resulted in my branching out to create wellness programs that go beyond the asana (posture). Teaching this ancient practice has filled my heart and soul like nothing else before. Admittedly, it made finishing university immensely difficult, but it also provided me with the tools and inner-support I needed in order to do so.
Unfortunately, in November 2019 (in my last year of university) I found myself deeply depressed. Due to university and forcing myself to pursue such a long educational path that was truly not in-line with me, I found myself in a dreadful state. It was a long time coming, but I finally sought out help from my family, my friends, and a variety of healthcare practitioners, and somehow, I graduated with both degrees and the minor in the spring of 2020. Shortly after my graduation, and despite the pandemic, I came off my anti-depressants. I took the time to do the deep healing that I needed, to re-evaluate myself, my life and my choices. I faced the demons that resulted from shutting down my intuition and from not listening to my truth. I finally began to work through all that had taken my life-essence and began to bring myself back to life. I did this from a place of deep listening, deep self-reverence, and deep trust.
This experience has really shown me how health and wellbeing are not things you can deal with superficially. It has demonstrated to me that deep healing really comes from looking into every corner of your life to understand where there is healing that needs to be done. It has pointed me in the direction of what is truly important to me. It has sparked a journey of healing that has gone far beyond my depression and into dealing with chronic pelvic pain, hormone imbalance, and past trauma, both from more allopathic and homeopathic approaches. Ultimately, this healing journey has been a restoration of my whole, healthy self. It has taught me the importance of listening inward and really trusting in this. Ultimately, it has shown me how to truly advocate for myself, my needs and my wellbeing, and to boldly accept and harness who I am at my core.
At the time of writing this, I have been out of school for just over one year and it has been the longest, most transformational year of my life. I’ve moved to a new city, I’ve peeled off the layers of my identity that were not me, I’ve shed the heaviness of expectations (societies and my own), and I have really stepped into a new, blossoming me – for the first time in my life. I’ve finally accepted the truth that has been here all along. I’m seeing the fruition of the seeds that have been planted along the way. It is from this place that I have found the clarity of what I want my future to look like: healing – for myself, and others.
The Homeopathy and Health Sciences Diploma from the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine is the culmination of what I want to learn, what I desire to pursue, and who I want to be. I love teaching yoga, but I want to add more to this. A career in Homeopathy is the perfect complement to, and expansion of, what I have already established. This diploma would equip me with the knowledge, experience and confidence to help facilitate healing in mind, body and heart. In my search of educational paths available to pursue, the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine has fallen so organically into my lap, and it is such a relief to finally find my calling. I am grateful for the amount of university education I currently have and the knowledge I’ve gained through my past studies, but I know there is more for me. It is time for me to follow my dreams.