Dreams and the Clinic
My dreams are filled with hungry ghosts, sharp toothed demons. Bitter disappointments, terrifying futures. Blasts of color, swirls of sound. Godivas and cowboys, gurus and goofballs.
Remarkable poetry that will be unremembered. My dreams are my own.
Patients no longer come and populate my dreams. Sure, there are a few who pop in, usually the ones who now live in the land of dream and memory, the ones who have shrugged this mortal coil. But the burping, farting, snoring, stinky-footed mass of the rest of them, they have become too populous, to ordinary to become dreamworthy.
I no longer dream of points and channels, of what would be the best combination for so-and-so.
I just do acupuncture, pretty much the same points, over, and over, and over. And it’s ordinary. The clinic is an ordinary place, where ordinary people come with their ordinary problems and get some ordinary acupuncture.
Pain is the amniotic fluid of community acupuncture. All the pain is so enormous that it has become ordinary. As ordinary as air. I move through, it and it moves through me without a second thought. Inhale, exhale, next chair, move balance, do it again. I don’t fear the pain, am not afraid it will rub off on me. The pain will not contaminate my ‘delicate energetic balance’ (what pretentious bullshit). It’s just there, ordinary, unremarkable, everywhere, like air. The pain filled are not pariah, lepers to be shunned. They are my neighbors, my friends. Now, more that ever, I am my brothers keeper.
The clinic is like the grocery store. I see the same people there, we say our same polite hellos. The clinic is as ordinary as the movies. Strangers, sitting together in a dimly lit space. Turn off your cell phone, don’t talk too much, and keep it at a whisper. Relax and enjoy the show. Have your own dream.
Beautiful post, Ed. We’ve come a helluva distance from back in the day at OCOM. Rock on, brother.
Damn! Nice post. I think I’m not outta the woods of fearing the pain at times. Mostly, though. And, I think i see where you’re going with that. Another way I think about normalcy and dreams in the clinic is that the interactions have become normal enough that there’s actually space for a kind of my own dreaming right there. I don’t mean I’m spaced out or not present. Hopefully the opposite. I just know i now get these weird little lightening flash daydreams when I’m needling and that usually link a particular acupuncture point with a particular point in my life – say stomach 40 and Island Beach Sate Park in NJ. Kidney 3 and Lake Myvatn in Iceland. Liver 3 and my grandfather’s kohlrabi.
Gorgeous. Thank you.
Wow, I really love this. Thank you for putting it so well.
This is just right for me today. When it’s all just ordinary and so am I, the clinic just becomes right and balanced and comfortable for everyone. Especially me and then everyone and then me, and on it goes.