Showing Up

Like at least one other CAN member, we are experiencing a bit of a slow down here at CommuniChi also. April we had 378 appointments – an all time high for us in 15 months of being open. May we were down to 300. This month, we are on pace for 250 to 300.

It would be easy to follow the conditioned mind that can only accept life when it is following “MY plan”, but as someone mentioned, running on the hampster wheel, trying to figure out “what's wrong” is a pretty cramped headspace to be in. I prefer to simply show up to life and keep looking at what is right and putting all my energy there.

250 or 300 people a month is fantastic when I look at where we were at a year ago, and where I was at two years ago….serving a mere few dozen patients a week able to afford $65 per treatment. The money was a little better before, but the satisfaction and life quality is much higher now. I have no doubts that the entire equation (money and QOL) will look better and better as a community acupuncturist as the clinic continues to grow.

Ebb and flow is part of nature. Unlimited growth is another modern industrial myth that will soon be painfully debunked in the aftermath of peak oil. If we – as holistic practitioners can't understand this – how can we help patients find a healthy attitude towards dealing with their pain and suffering? By ignoring this truth, and only wanting the bright side of the Yin Yang circle, we run the risk of subtly taking on the aura of Master Healer (as in “fix me up doc”).

Sure, it's important to share these deeper principles with sensitivity and tact. You might only share them explicitly with a handful of patients. But internally, we need to constantly guard our mind from shouldering the oppressive yoke of playing super-doctor.

Patients come and go, strategies for business success are a dime a dozen. Wealth is the karmic result of having an open heart, being generous with our time and resources, and being engaged in serving others. Our current success (or lack) is solely our own responsibility. So rather than wallowing in disappointment about what we don't have right now, create the causes for peace and freedom in the future.

Granted, these ideas aren't provable via science, but we can infer their validity via logical analysis and eventually develop faith in them. Or not…it's up to you.

I had a very “difficult” patient today. Mild Shen disturbance. Complains that the treatments are no good in a particularly abrasive tone of voice (but keeps coming back). Engages me in meaningless and seemingly endless chatter when I'd rather be helping people but it is slow and he is the person suffering in front of me. Why did I choose this profession if not to help people like him?

As I write the above paragraph, another patient walks in bearing almost the same karmic gifts for me – “where's my favorite practitioner?” meaning Serena – and he means it. He practically throws his dirty socks at me as he removes his shoes. Wow, this is fantastic, I am really purifying some negative karma today! Better to experience the bitter sting now than to be reborn as a scorpion.

So it goes – ups and downs of life, business and practice. How we respond inwardly determines our happiness and “success”, now and in the future. Tomorrow is a new day.

river Jordan
Author: river Jordan

After graduating from the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in 1997, I had a hobby practice for a few years before moving to Northern India to study Buddhism. During this time, I volunteered in a local clinic, giving acupuncture to Tibetan refugees and Indian nationals. <p> Returning to the U.S. in 2002, I started a typical insurance based acupuncture practice catering to the upper middle class. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, I volunteered with <a href="" target="_blank">Acupuncturists Without Borders</a>, using community style acupuncture to treat trauma victims in a natural disaster setting. </p> Inspired by the power and efficacy of acupuncture in a post-disaster setting, I began to contemplate issues of socioeconomic class. What could be done to make acupuncture accessible to everyone and still provider a livable wage for an acupuncturist? After attending WCA's first conference in October of 2006, I had found the answer to that question. In January 2007, together with my partner Serena Sundaram, we founded <a href="" target="_blank">Communichi</a>, Seattle's first dedicated community acupuncture clinic. <p> As a Buddhist, I believe that healing begins in the mind. As the positive qualities of wisdom and compassion are cultivated in the mind of a practitioner, this...

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  1. Is this dirty socks day?

      Somebody left his dirty socks  on the floor next to a recliner.  I had to put them into a sack with a sign on them, hoping to attract the owner within the next few days.

    Business has been slow here, too.  Many regulars are out of town.  Today my first patient never appeared.  I called her home, trying to find out if something had happened, if she’d been caught in a traffic jam, or if she had forgotten.  Later I found her and she told me that she had waited for me a full five minutes! and then left, assuming that something had happened to ME!  I had arrived two minutes late (by my watch), having run into more than my share of red lights and slow traffic.

     Yesterday I spent my time sewing little armrest covers for the recliner, using my leftover pink broadcloth from our wedding reception 3 years ago. I made enough for all three of my recliners in the clinic, plus enough for four more which I plan to have in my Escondido clinic.  I was ironing and folding them, and feeling like an expectant mother preparing the layette for the baby.  My baby: my second clinic.  Ah, this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my time, while the schedule is so quiet.  I also find that I have extra time to spend with my patients.  Half of this time comes in the form of glowing reports about what acupuncture is doing for them.  They said that they’ve wanted to tell me that before, but I’ve always been so busy with a full schedule before.

    So okay, maybe the revenue slows down a bit for now.  Maybe I need the down time.  And I couldn’t help thinking, as I turned the iron off, that in a little while I’m going to be busier than ever, so it’s good to prepare for those times now.  You too!

  2. Jordan. I love you. Great

    Jordan. I love you. Great post. All of it is very helpful: your math, your sense of humor, your principles, your vision, but mostly the way you show up to life (and your clinic). Somehow, I appreciate this one in particular as another man.

  3. TIME

    No, not the magazine, but “Life, life, life”, as Thoreau said. This is the most precious thing of all. Indeed Lumiel, this is the silver lining in “slow” days…there’s always plenty to be done…and sometimes what needs to be done is to do thing…as in, “don’t just do something, sit there”…i.e. remembering to breathe and feel connected to this precious existence. What is it? This life thing. Feel the mystery, the empty unknown which is complete fullness.


    May all beings be peaceful and happy.