Tough Times and slow days (The Sequel)

A week or two ago I shared with some friends that my practice was going through an abrupt slowdown. I was touched by how many of them offered thoughtful replies. One of the remarks that really hit home suggested that I was probably just “coasting” and possibly losing focus a little bit.

I also acknowledged current life stressors and that the universe was likely sensing my energetic unavailability and, perhaps with some cosmic compassion, just giving me a little rest time. Good to pay attention to these things – thanks universe!

But I didn’t just sit in an autumn leaf pile contemplating my belly button. Outside of work, I got to bed earlier, spent more time with my family. At the clinic, I shifted gears and began to investigate patient retention. I strategically called back people who had been to the clinic recently and asked for their feedback. Mostly, I talked to a lot of answering machines, but it was good practice communicating a sense of interest in people’s lives – inviting them to participate in what we have to offer without being pushy.

We did a Free day collecting food donations for local food banks in recognition of World Food Day. 32 people showed up for that last Friday, bringing a fresh new wave of energy into the clinic.

I updated the CommuniChi Facebook page.  And of course, I kept showing up at the clinic with a positive attitude, looking forward to treating everyone who walked in the door, silently inviting the phone to ring.

Today, I posted a blog. Without dismissing the wisdom of what my colleagues had suggested, I decided to put a positive spin on the whole episode – something that might be beneficial for patients (and encourage them to make appointments). So far already two of my esteemed colleagues have given me thumbs up for that little quickie

CommuniChi blog

I basically came to accept that, yes, the clinic is slow right now. Is that a problem? No. Perhaps I’m just imagining it (knock on particle board), but in that final moment of acceptance, a cosmic switch was turned. Two regulars walked in without appointments just as I started writing this piece, and things are showing signs of turning around.

One of the regulars and I joked as I put in the needles…

“Some people plant seeds, you plant needles”, she said.

“Maybe I should call myself Johnny Apple-needle.”

She laughed. “You run a bliss factory here. Is the oven on?”

“You’re bakin’ now sister.”

Happy autumn. May everyone’s harvests be golden.

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. The qotes at the end brought

    The qotes at the end brought a tear to my eye.  That’s what it’s all about!  I have read the thread on your struggles and it is great to see you put such an eloquent and positive spin on all of it.  As business owners of course we want to be busy. But I believe there are times when we are stressed or spread thin that we need to not be busy.  In the last 2 weeks we have had an unexpected drop off too.  Reading all of the replies to your original post and especially this one just re-reminds me to relax, regroup, and recoup.

  2. wife knowledge

    When ever I am slow, or slowing, and I come home and tell my wife, which I have many times over the years, she looks and me and say something like, “it’ll come back, it always does”.  She is right. It always does.