Working alongside her mother in an integrative mind-body-spirit practice, Christina Bjergo, MAcOM 2005, LAc, combines acupuncture, shiatsu bodywork, sound healing and dreaming techniques in treating her patients. She also keeps busy teaching qi gong classes, and she's written a book, The Tao of Tarot. We interviewed her about her life and practice.
Tell me about your educational background.
I hold a B.A. in International Affairs and B.S. in Biological Sciences from Oregon State University, a M.A. in Environmental Management from Boston University, and a M.A. in Oriental Medicine from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
Where do you practice? Do you have any specialties?
In my private practice, Wild Iris Acupuncture and Asian Wellness, I enjoy working on a broad range of mind-body-spirit issues and use a combination of acupuncture, shiatsu bodywork, sound healing and external qigong dreaming techniques. I teach clients and students Sacred Serpent Spiral Qigong to help them develop their intuitive dreaming skills, be more authentic and act upon the meanings of their dreams. My mom, Liz Bolza, and I work together and teach regular qigong classes in the local area. With the release of my book, The Tao of Tarot, in late February I will be teaching more qigong dreaming workshops around the US and abroad. I am currently scheduling book signing around the world. Additional information and a schedule of classes and events can be found on the websites wildirisasianwellness.com.
In my spare time I continue to write. I am currently looking for a publisher for a children’s book I wrote for my daughter Alie many years ago entitled Dreamtime Angels. I am also in the early stages of writing the next book, Dreams of Enlightenment: the Dharma of Mindfulness Meditation and Qigong Dreaming.
Where are you from?
Though I grew up mostly in southern California (with a year in Australia and France during my formative years) I have lived in the Northwest for most of the last 20 years and call it home. I have a home with my husband and two children in Vancouver, WA.
What do you enjoy most about treating patients?
Here are my top four:
One: Empowering clients and students so they can take an active role in their own health and well being.
Two: Watching others develop a greater awareness of their bodies and connection to themselves through treatment sessions and qigong movement meditation.
Three: Teaching others about life force energy and how it relates to their body-mind-spirit. Sometimes this can be quite a reality shift. It’s great to see others become motivated to learn more about our medicine.
Four: The joy that results when people reach their wellness goals and improve the quality of their lives.
What do you think it takes to be a successful acupuncturist?
To be successful in the practice one needs to synthesize the training received and apply the work in a way that is heartfelt, rewarding and authentic. Self care is also important for long term work-life balance and success.
What experiences influenced you to choose this career?
I was an officer in the Coast Guard and had a sequence of dream experiences that prompted me to redirect my professional life and learn more about energy work for my own healing. I was also fascinated with the mind-body connection and wanted to better understand the nuances of energy healing. This led me to attend an open house at OCOM. Learning about the recent research and all the benefits of Chinese medicine that day I had an Aha moment and intuitively knew I wanted to become an acupuncturist.
While I was applying to different Oriental Medicine schools I was told in a dream that it was important that I follow the crane, that I needed to follow the crane. OCOM had teacher certification in Soaring Crane Qigong at the time so I took this dream as validation that OCOM was the right school program for me. Dreams have always guided me, through their insightfulness and healing potential increased significantly when I began practicing Sacred Serpent Spiral Qigong. Dreams ultimately led me to teach and write about qigong dreaming and the production of The Tao of Tarot. I feel such gratitude to have such a fulfilling career and life.
Can you think of someone who over a short period of time significantly influenced your life?
I didn’t see my maternal grandmother very much when she was alive as she lived in Australia. However, even as a young child when she came to visit I was struck by her strength and the aura of grace that surrounded her. She did a lot of social work and was known to have helped support the Australian Aborigines culture. Her peaceful demeanor and positive contributions to the world continue to inspire me.
Tell us about your new book. What is it about? What inspired you to write a book?
The whole book thing developed through a natural unfolding of synchronistic events and therefore was quite an easy process. Dreams intuitively led “the way” and guiding me on details such as where I would travel to research the book and who would publish it. Parts I and II of the book are a more analytical perspective of Taoism as it relates to the symbolism of the tarot. (The tarot having been influenced by eastern culture and reflecting the wisdom of body oriented practices like qigong). Part III is a summary of my personal dream odyssey over a ten year period and the many benefits received and virtues acquired by following the soul’s dreaming and doing qigong. Since dreams are universal this exploration of Asian symbolism from my own dreaming can help others unlock the secrets of their own dreams.
My goal is that the book will inspire others to pay attention to their dreams and honor their own internal guidance system. I hope it will also bring awareness to the many benefits of qigong and TCM.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to watch and read British mysteries. My parents were big mystery buffs and we often watched Agatha Christie movies, etc. together when I was young. My daughter enjoys mysteries as well so Sunday night OPB has become quite a tradition for us. Dream analysis is in many ways very similar to mystery sleuthing. Dreams like clues guide us and help us evolve. They are the soul’s way of directing us. When we pay attention to them they can lead us to greater health, happiness and spiritual enlightenment. I have found that interpreting the symbols of dreams and heeding their guidance offers so many rewards.
Other interests of mine include travel, reading, enjoying the outdoors, learning about other cultures and spending time with family and friends.
Tell me one thing that people don't know about you.
I love to body surf (though preferably down south where the waters are warmer).