How to Have Goals and Zen

*Note Fun post please don’t take it too seriously!

Reading a great book (Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate) by Brad Warner. Hilarious, edgy stuff about real life and Zen. I like my Zen with a bit of profanity and a lot of real life, because all the happy go lucky Zen books that I read don’t speak to me about my life and my experiences.

“How can a Zen teacher, dedicated to a goalless practice, function in the business world where goals are essential?”
Don’t tell me you don’t have this problem, because I sure do.  How do I go around all day treating all these stress related problems.  Just wishing these people would wake up and let go without stressing out about my own clinic or my life? Am I being a hypocrite? I sure am. How can I practice that perfect balance of yin/yang without the emotions pulling me this way and that and run a clinic or treat patients? “But this is only a problem if you’re too caught up in words and images and too insistent on maintaining the fiction that all aspects of life must be consistent”
This is my favorite part, where he basically just says. “Hey you can’t!” This is real life, where you’re not consistent all the time. Trying to maintain that fiction will drive you crazy. It’s like that Malibu Barbie acupuncturist image that haven been mentioned before. I am just as real as anyone and my life is just as crazy. I am not that perfectly imbalance, perfectly fit, acupuncturist that never eats anything that causes phelgm (ahem sugar, chocolate, carbs, cheese, why do all the yummy stuff cause phelgm? 🙁 ).  We need to stop trying to be Malibu Barbie and Ken acupuncturists. Perfectly in balance, perfectly zen beings. 

“You can’t function in society if you don’t involve yourself in the fiction society accepts about time. But you do so with the understanding that you’re playing a game.”

This is the “Don’t take life too seriously part”.  Life is essentially like a video game.  And in video games we like challenges and obstacles, because they’re the fun part. A video games without challenges would be really boring.  Sadly to say I am no Malibu Barbie Acupuncturist. (I know I know I should be all positive and believe truly deeply in my heart that I am Malibu Barbie Acupuncturist and work on some Dream boards with heavily photoshopped images of me and patients). I have good and bad days at the clinic.  On good days, I feel like I am super woman and everyone is getting healed.  On the bad days, nothing works and I have no idea what I am doing. I don’t go home and cry my eyes out on the bad days anymore (or try not to), because it’s like dancing on the sunny days and crying on the raining days.  Big deal…it rained…the world’s not going to end. Life is all about ups and downs. Business, energy levels, etc. etc. The one Malibu Barbie acupuncturist superpower I wished I had is to never be sick. My yin and wei would be sooooooo AWESOME I’d never catch a wind invasion from all the pneumonia patients I am treating (and coughing on me!).   

“A lot of people imagine it’d be wonderful to escape from their everyday lives and run off to some kind of spiritual world where everything is okeydokey and they never have to worry about jobs and all the attendant hassles.”

You know… reality really sucks sometimes.  Because that’s what the schools sold to us.  These images of the Malibu Barbie acupuncturists. That’s who we were going to BE once we graduated! We were going to be these super healers, always in balance, never having to deal with stress (Stress! what stress?!! There is no stress for perfect beings).  If we just learned what do, some super top secret acupuncture style that is been passed down by japanese ninjas that taught it to a vietnamese master that taught an italian acupuncturist who taught it back to a Taiwanese master that you’re trying to learn from who can’t speak English. We’d all be fine. I mean that’s what the FPD does. It helps you to decipher the secrets of the chinese medicine universe.  If you just learn that, you’d have no job and money worries anymore.  

“Our day to day real human struggles are important…You can always improve on your situation. But you do so by facing it, not by running away. The brilliant thing is that doing what you do is how you realize your life and realize the universe. Your struggles are your true self. Weird huh?” 

You can be all zen and stuff and set goals. Because that’s reality. You need to set goals to survive as a business. Set goals, market to people, treat lots of people, have your office run in a mostly sane manner, pay taxes, pay yourself, etc. etc. By opening clinics we’re playing the business game, but we have a great frame. Affordable acupuncture, sliding scale, social business. Lisa and Skip have created this beautiful framework and systems for us to go out there and manifest our businesses into reality. And all those malibu barbie looking acupuncturists that are succeeding without marketing, setting business and financial goals, bookkeeping, reception, paying expenses, and all that? They’re just hiding it. 

Jade Fang
Author: Jade Fang

Opened Jade Community Acupuncture in July of 2009. Loving the CA experience. Love being a part of the community. It's my first time being in business by myself, so writing about the roller coaster ride it is being a first time businesswoman. Have some marketing experience, love to help people with their marketing. Really appreciate the community of support with CAN! Everyone's helped me so much!

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  1. .

    “I mean that’s what the FPD does. It helps you to decipher the secrets of
    the chinese medicine universe.  If you just learn that, you’d have no
    job and money worries anymore.”


    Its funny, i read this part ironically like this: if you just learn that, you’ll have NO JOB AND MONEY WORRIES


    nice post Jade.

  2. thanks

    as a newbie community acupuncturist, this a great reminder that it’s not about chasing the barbie acupuncturist dream.  thanks, jade.  and i’ll definitely be checking out that book too!

  3. speaking of zen…

    One of my favorite doom metal bands happens to reside here in Eugene.  They reformed this past year and put out a new album called “The Great Cessation.”  Apparently, this is a zen concept relating to the point at which you give up fighting against everything, or when you stop trying to maintain that fiction, as you put it.  So when I think of zen now, I think of this huge, fuzzed out, sludgy, power chord just crushing through all the bullshit so I can see what’s really happening.

    Or as another someone once paraphrased the three laws of thermodynamics: you have to play the game, you can’t stop playing the game, and you’re going to lose.

    The only perfectly balanced creatures are dead – the rest of us are constantly changing.