Right side up or…

scenes from a reluctant blogger.

My sister died a few months ago at the age of 50.  She was my only sibling and had been living with an autoimmune disease for more than 20 years.  My relationship with her shaped me and my work in many positive ways over the years, and has been my source of inspiration as I go about the day-to-day journey of community acupuncture.  She never got to make the 5000 kilometer journey from Maine to visit my clinic, but I know she would have loved it.  Having lived in the trenches of medical care for so many years she was a veteran – cobbling together her health plan from private, state, and federal sources was a constant job.  So when I am working in my clinic serving so many people, from so many walks of life, I know she is proud of me.  My patients have been so loving and supportive during this time – like a large family all giving and receiving from one another.  

Life has given me little time to pause, with a busy clinic, two energetic children, and all the rest of life’s dirty dishes thrown in to the mix.  My clinic is where I can pause from it all, where I can dance in a blissful state of centeredness, where all is as it should be.  These thoughts led me to a memory of folk dancing, more than a decade ago now, in an old town hall famous for their weekly bean suppers.   

People often ask how it’s possible to be present enough to your patients when you are seeing 15 to 20 a shift.  The answer goes back to those dances…

What I remember most is the way we would change partners; one minute you would be embracing someone, gazing into their eyes, feeling this amazing connection, like they were a soul mate, and then in the next instant you would turn to embrace another the feeling repeating itself over and over again, coming and going, coming and going.  What I have noticed is that in addition to being an acu tech, a waiter, a cook, house cleaner, and ambiance provider, I am also a dancer. 

When you realize the power of those few precious moments of attention that you provide folks with, this attention becomes a powerful force of transformation for both you and your patient. — a cosmic dance of love an healing.  These moments feel more powerful than any 60-minute session I have ever provided.  In these brief dances I am assisting each person as they embark on their own healing journey, me and the other silent witnesses slumbering in their lazy-boys.  

Author: michael

<p>Michael began having visions of community acupuncture several years ago as he was sitting in an acupuncture class. The visions continued until he saw them come to life during his first visit to Working Class Acupuncture in Portland. He returned to Canada (his new country), inspired to take this movement into Canada, and construct his vision <a href="https://www.hemma.ca">hemma</a><a href="https://www.integratus.ca/" target="_blank"></a> in Victoria, BC, where he lives with his wife and two children. Michael is a true renaissance man, a teacher, carpenter, yoga instructor, farmer, acupuncturist, and flute player to name a few of his avocations. Although no doubt community acupuncture was the one true thing he has been searching for all along! </p>

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  1. beautiful stuff…

    glad to see you back on CAN, michael, and i am so sorry for your loss.

    i too find that i often feel that my clinic is a refuge for me, a place to collect and ground myself. even if i am in painor tired, as soon as i start “dancing”, the qi picks me up and i feel better. it’s pretty awesome.

  2. Just lovely.

    Thank you, Michael.  I love the folk dancing metaphor.  I have the same experience with CA – I always feel better after a shift – especially a busy shift.  To the degree that I sometimes worried I was being some kind of weird “energy vampire” – except for the evidence that everyone else was feeling better, too (and it’s not like just any crowd would do…)

  3. So beautiful, so true

    Michael I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, but glad for you to have a space to heal a bit along with the patients, and that you weren’t too reluctant to share this story.

    I think it’s so ironic you wrote about dancing in the clinic, because just yesterday I was thinking about that while working – how, when it’s busy, I seem to just flow around from one person to another in a way that feels direct and focused yet very soft and relaxed.  Pretty neat how it works like that.

    Justine Deutsch, Lic. Ac., Acupuncture Together