On Community Acupuncture and D.I.T.*

 

Last week I signed a five-year lease for a ground floor clinic space in downtown Guelph, and my POCA micro-loan application was approved. Guelph Community Acupuncture will be opening in late January. It’s kind of a big deal. Amidst the fatigue and the lists of things to do and the moments of overwhelm, I’m really happy.

It’s a good time reflect on why I’m not a lot more freaked out than I am. When someone asks (it does occur to me to wonder if I’d hear this so often if I was a guy) “You’re doing this all on your own??” I have a mixed response. Yes, this is a sole proprietorship (for now) and yes, absolutely, this is a silly amount work for one person. But no, I’m not doing this on my own.

I’ve been re-reading a recent blog post about collective leadership, and about social capital, I’ve been thinking about my favourite Vandana Shiva quotation (when asked, at a talk in Kelowna B.C., how to effect sweeping change when funding is scarce or non-existent): “The alternative to money is relationships of caring and giving.”

Yes, this clinic’s going to be starting up with some pretty thin margins, and yes, legally, I am solely responsible. But then I think about my burly next-door neighbor with a truck who happily helped me retrieve multiple recliners last month, on his days off. I think about someone I barely know messaging me on FB saying Sorry, they don’t have a recliner to offer, but they’d love for their grandma’s vintage 1950s velour couch to be in a space with really great energy, so I can have it for the clinic if I like. I think of the new friend from the poetry slam who spent several days last week taking me to every thrift store in Guelph andhelping me make decisions, I think of how many folks have expressed sincere enthusiasm about helping with set-up in January (and I think that they know that I amgoing to be calling them) I think about how when I post a query on the POCA forums I can pretty much count on reading some thoughtful answers within 24 hours, I’m thinking about the new friend who did his bookkeeping training specifically because “The Left needs help with money” and is stoked to trade ongoing accounting support for acupuncture treatment, I’m thinking about the other healers in town who have taken such good care of me since I moved here, I’m thinking about this partner of mine who floors me regularly with his generousity and care and gift for making me laugh til my guts ache, I’m thinking about the warm post-group-acupuncture-glow at my place one evening after I’d taken the needles out and folks were softly smiling (not unlike stoners) in my kitchen and someone uttered a heartfelt “Fuck yeah, community healing” and everyone giggled.

In terms of social capital, I reckon that Guelph Community Acupuncture is doing pretty well thus far, and has very quickly become larger than me. So, in some very important ways, I am not doing this alone.

Now that POCA’s granted me a start-up loan, I’m feeling the support stepping up a notch or five. I’ve been deeply moved by the level of excitement from POCA people about this loan being approved. Thanks for being so stoked on GCA, and thanks for the vote of confidence.

Stay tuned for further updates next month. I’ll be hitting the ground running in early January.

 

*Doin It Together 😉

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.

Responses

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  1. Guelph! Named after the House of Welf! I think you and the clinic will do great there! And I look forward to reading how you grow in the years to come!

  2. Lisa, I always enjoy your blog posts and I’m so psyched for you & Guelph’s new clinic! New beginnings are always so thrilling. I’m gonna go put a new pin on my POCA wall map right now!

  3. Back when we were in all those endless meetings, trying to put POCA together, this is the moment that Cris and I kept talking about: when POCA would be able to give its first microloan to help start up a clinic in a place that didn’t have community acupuncture — and how we’d get to put regular updates on the blog. Thanks to everybody who made it happen: Lisa B., her community in Guelph, the heroes of the Finance Circle, and all the POCA membership. Look at that beautiful cooperation.

  4. Also, I’m glad the world didn’t end, because I’m really looking forward to those updates.

  5. hooray! thank you for applying for the loan and giving us all the chance to share in your process, Lisa. So happy for you and your community! So happy to hear you are already neck deep into the stretching/expanding energy (internal as well as external), humble magic, and boundary dissolving love of CA. 🙂

  6. I wanted to pull a favorite part of this post to highlight, because that’s what I usually do; but I couldn’t, because it’s all my favorite (DIT! Vandana Shiva! Velour couches! Burly neighbors! Lefties with bookkeeping skillz!) This just makes me so happy. Fuck yeah.