Last Wednesday, March 18th was one year since we
opened our clinic. We celebrated by giving free acupuncture treatments all
morning and hosting a small social gathering in the evening. We treated 22
people and had a wonderful time celebrating with a lively group of clients,
friends and supporters attending the party and contributing their festive
We taped a sheet of paper on the wall, put out art supplies
and collage materials, and asked the folks attending the party create a
collective birthday card for the clinic. Pam baked a delicious
poppy seed cake and one of our clients brought his guitar and played beautifully.
A huge bouquet of flowers was sent by a fellow acupuncturist with a busy
private-room practice. The whole day felt like a holiday.
On the same day Pam and I got interviewed for the newsletter
of Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment – a local non-profit that does
business trainings for low-income women and helps them start small businesses. I
had gone through their course a few years ago, before I ever heard of community
acupuncture. Their volunteer, a young woman who had recently moved from San
Diego, was excited when I offered her a free
treatment. She took a long blissful acu-nap in a recliner, and when she woke up,
we did the interview. It was meaningful to sit and talk to someone about our
journey with the clinic in a formal manner on this day. I think I was able to
articulate the larger vision of community acupuncture as a tool for
transforming health care and people’s lives. I realized that I hold unspeakable
gratitude in my heart to my teachers and founders of the Community Acupuncture
movement and Community Acupuncture Network. I also feel deep appreciation for
the harmonious partnership that we created and the vision we are manifesting. Our
clinic is currently seeing about 70+ patients per week and we are increasing
our hours next month. We just added a new recliner to the treatment space,
giving us a total of 9 treatment spots. We have a great crew of 8 volunteers
whose duties include front desk help, housekeeping and flyering, and whose help
we value tremendously. We are often getting new clients who have been referred to
us by multiple people in the community (who do not necessarily know each other).
We are booked to offer free acupuncture at two local health fairs in our
neighborhood in the next couple of months. Most importantly, I now love what I
do for a living and I can’t stop telling everyone about it, and it never feels
like I am selling something.
During the party, one of my long-time acupuncture clients
asked me – are you happy with your first year? Do you have any regrets? All I
could say was: We are very happy, we are doing exactly what we want to do and
we are on track with our vision. Onward!