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I have often been asked why I have takent the name "Aumdoc".  In the past I rarely answered that question considering it a very personal matter.  Now I feel the time has come to tell the story, for those interested.

It was given to me by a patient of mine and has taken me years to slowly grow into it, and I'm still growing!  I consider it a nick-name and spirit-name.  Of course we all are called by various names throughout our life.  My parental given name (much love to my deceased parents Herbert & Jolyn Clofine) is Richard J. Clofine.  Till my dying day I will always include my medical degree because I am so proud to be an Osteopathic Physician... Richard J. Clofine, D.O.  Since retiring from medical practice I have retired my board certification degrees from my name and no longer use A.C.O.O.G. (20 years board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology) and A.B.I.H.M. (10 years board certified in Integrative & Holistic Medicine); though I will always be "Dr. Clofine".  And we all have multiple other "names"... my grandson Marley calls me 'Pop-pop' or 'Aumpop', my kids call me dad, I have 2 blood 'brothers' and many spirit 'brothers', I won't go into the endearing names my sweetheart Sara calls me (he say's with a slightly embarrassed tint to the face)... I'm sure you get the idea. 


In 1992 I was a young physician who was practicing Obstetrics & Gynecology, in a small group practice, since 1989.  I cared for the pregnancy of a really lovely young couple who were so thrilled to be having their first child.  They sought me out because of my affinity for Natural and Family Centered Childbirth and my knowledge and open mindedness toward alternative lifestyles.  They knew I would do everything possible to allow for a delivery, in the hospital, with as little intervention as possible (i.e. no IV unless indicated, intermittent fetal monitoring with ambulation throughout labor, no drugs or episiotomy, pushing and delivery in whatever position worked best for them).  We were very aligned in our thinking and they were a joy to care for.

Their pregnancy was entirely normal, and joyful!  She went into labor 1 week past her due date and stayed at home until she was in a good active labor.  She progressed well and dealt with the contractions with empowered surrender.  Everything was great, she and the baby looked good from all indications.  She began pushing when fully dilated and made progress well.

The practice of Obstetrics (assisting in the delivery of babies) is usually very routine, interspersed with occasional moments of terror (and sometimes true tragedy).  This is nature's way.  After pushing for about an hour the baby started to show some signs of stress on the fetal monitor.  Suddenly she began to have a very heavy bloody show (much more than normal) with more signs of fetal distress on the monitor. The baby was in a position looking to the side instead of looking down (with the mother on her back).  The situation became frightening enough (without going into more detail here) that I started to consider performing a Cesarean Section delivery, explaining to the parents the whole time what was happening.

There were about 20 minutes that were very scary during which time (as I was calling for assistance in case a Cesarean was necessary) we took the usual steps to try and alleviate things.  We administered oxygen to the mother, started an IV, had her move into multiple positions to try to shift the baby to relieve the distress and facilitate delivery.  She continued to push very effectively and I used gentle digital manipulation to the baby's head, through the vagina, to encourage the baby to rotate to a more favorable position.


I first learned how to chant AUM (i.e. OM) when I took my first yoga class at age 15 (1967) from GRACE STERN.  My childhood was spent in a baby boomer neighborhood in Havertown, PA (western suburbs of Philadelphia).  Grace was the mother of friends who lived up the street and was always known to be a little "wacky" by the other parents on the block.  She was an Italian women who converted to Jewdiasm to marry Sid and was always very artsy with a dance studio in the basement of her home.  She really went 'off the deep end' (at least according to my father) when she converted her dance studio to a hatha yoga studio.  Of course this made it all the more appealing to me, the fact that my father didn't like what she was doing (chuckle).

This introduction to eastern philosophy had a major impact on my life, like so many others at that time.  I continued to practice various forms of yoga throughout my life and they all chanted AUM!  I liked chanting a lot and have spent he last 4.5 decades doing so, in one form or another.  I chanted AUM as a daily practice throughout much of my life, and still do.  Chanting, for me, is very centering and calming and I always found it helpful in dealing with the stress of life.  I chanted it internally and voiced it out loud.

In times of stress I would unconsciously return to it.  I would internally repeat the divine mantra during meetings, in surgery, at deliveries and at many times of stress and of beauty.  So it was not unusual for me to naturally and effortlessly go there.


As I sat at the foot of her bed, assisting her during these terrifying moments, my returning to AUM was natural to me.  It became so intense during her pushing that I very softly started to unconsciously voice it out loud.  I am not sure the nurses even noticed (after all Dr. Clofine was a little 'different' then the other doctors) but I subsequently found out that this mother did notice.

Suddenly the baby rotated to a face down (occiput anterior) position, I could feel it occur with my fingertips.  The baby descended rapidly and delivered easily but with a gush of blood.  The baby screamed, the parents screamed, I think I probably screamed a little too!!!  The baby was fine with good apgar scores and was able to be immediately place right onto the mothers belly, as we always wanted it to be.   All was fine, whew!!!

The Cesarean Section Team (anesthesiologist and nurses) rolled their eyes and put away the room they had just set up.  I was glad they were there cause I came very close to using them.  When the placenta delivered I could see evidence of a small 'Placental Abruption' (early separation from the womb wall) which was the cause of the bleeding and possibly the cause of the fetal distress.  The small Placental Abruption was confirmed by the pathology report that I requested be performed.

THE NEXT MORNING I made my hospital rounds as usual, visiting all the patients I was caring for in the hospital.  As was my routine after a delivery, I sat on the side of her bed holding the newborn and described to her in detail what had happened at her delivery the night before, as I understood it.  Giving her plenty of time to ask any questions she had and be clear on the events that took place.

WHILE I WAS TALKING TO HER, she got a very far away look in her eyes clearly not being present with our conversation.  She was even looking off into the distance with her eyes slightly out of focus.  I touched her arm gently and asked "What's up?".  She turned to me and looked me directly in the eyes with full presence and intent and said, "You were Auming during the delivery.  I heard it.  You are the Aumdoctor... You are Aumdoc!"

And that part of the conversation ended.  We went on to other things and she was discharged from the hospital later that day nursing her newborn well.  Subsequently they moved out of state and we lost touch.

HER COMMENTS STAYED WITH ME FOR MANY YEARS.  It was right at that time (1992) when I was starting my online adventures and also my serious study of cross-cultural shamanism.  I was on several email lists that became very important to me because they served as the community that I did not have around me in the flesh (Thank You VPL and Leri).  I started using Aumdoc as my online persona and it felt right and good. 

My study of shamanism included reading the worlds literature on the subject (very sparse compared to what is available today).  I also started to work  with some individuals with similar interests (Ed Anderson being one of the first). During the mid 1990's I started to take some courses on core shamanism (Foundation for Shamanic Studies with Dana Robinson being the first) and Peruvian Shamanism with Don Oscar Miro Quesada and Alberto Villoldo.  During these workshops we were sometimes asked to use a name other then our given name, and when that time came it was clear to me that Aumdoc was correct for me.

I has taken several decades to start to grow into Aumdoc as part of my day to day life.  And I plan to continue to cultivate the garden of my life so there is fertile ground for it to grow stronger with deep roots.


Aumdoc  3~

(Rick Clofine, D.O.)





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