So many of the lovely recent posts have inspired me to chime in with this one about how our clinics are havens for people to feel whatever it is they are feeling — happiness, pain, anxiety, grief, sadness…
You know how chief complaints come in waves?The week of shoulder pain patients followed by a cluster of interstitial cystitis interspersed with a smattering of insomnia or anxiety, etc. – just like the nasty virus that starts with a sore throat is going around, other disharmonies seem to show up as though they are “going around”.Here at BAP recently, we’ve gone through more tissue boxes than usual – and not from colds or allergies.Lately, it seems that lots of people are being moved to tears during their treatments, often breaking into full blown sobs as they process whatever is coming up for them while they let Ren 17 break open their hearts or grapple with the deep inner/outer maneuverings of ShaoYinShaoYang 3-6.
Having a clinic in a place like Berkeley, it’s not entirely uncommon for people to come right out and say that they are here today to work on their inability to feel connected to their wife or that their heart chakra feels blocked or that their vata/pitta disharmony is acting up.I know that there’s a general allergic reaction to what we often deem to be New Age talk within the community acupuncture world, but for some of us, that’s the true language we hear from our patients and that’s what we choose to hold for them – whatever it is that they are trusting us to hear.It doesn’t matter whether or not we understand the chakra system they are referring to or that we do or don’t know our way around Auryvedic medicine or that we are not there to be their psychotherapist.We are there to hold a space for them as they show up with whatever it is that brought them in.Sometimes, and this is one of the blessings of having people come regularly, they don’t know themselves what they are coming in for – they just know that acupuncture helps ‘reset’ them and that their bodies will know what to do with the needles.But perhaps most importantly, they have come to trust that we will know what to do once they report their motive for showing up that day and that they are safe in the arms of our chairs and within the gaze of their compatriots.
At least once each day, I try to find a moment to stand in the middle of the treatment room and take stock of how incredibly honored I am to witness the healing and the vulnerability and the risk taking and the courage, and, especially recently, the tears of our patients. That they know our clinics are a safe space for them to peel away the layers and let the rawness show through is truly a sign that we have created something of value here.Of course, we love it when they celebrate their joys and newfound freedom from pain, but it’s also through their tears that we truly know we have accomplished something with our work.
I am honored to be a part of this with you all.Thank you for your continued inspiration.