2 days ago I had the honor of working with a woman who shared a brief experience that really touched me. With her permission, I wanted to put it out there into the world. Because it is something I’ve heard before in various ways from many people, but for whatever reason… this time it really connected with something. During the Autumn season, the time of the Metal Element, many difficult experiences and questions arise. We are asked to let go of what is no longer serving us to make room for the new. This can vary quite a bit… for some its grieving the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship.
Sometimes we are asked to let go of financial resources or change careers. Maybe we need to let go of something of material value. Perhaps it is related to our health. In many cases, there is a storyline (or many story-lines) that we have programmed ourselves to run over and over again in our heads. These stories are usually based on something that happened in our past or a hypothetical future, but they have no basis in the reality happening before our eyes in the present moment. But they certainly do color the way we perceive and then react to our everyday life.
Kari (pseudonym) has just begun receiving five element acupuncture in my practice. She had been in multiple car-accidents, two of which very close together in proximity back in 1993. As you can probably guess, she has had to deal with a considerable amount of physical pain. And when talking to her for the very first time, what struck me the most was how palpable the pain was on the level of her mind and spirit. But as we sat together in the entrance-way of a mutual acquaintance, and she was telling me her story… beyond the pain and the tears, was an extraordinary woman. This was someone obviously kind-hearted, strong in spirit, and a power to change and heal that could inspire. And the lingering question in my mind was… so what are you holding onto?
When she then came to see me in my office for the first time, I sent her home with this question as a bit of “homework”. When you wake up in the morning… check in with your body, your mind, your spirit… and then ask some version of this question – “am I holding anything today?” , “what can I let go of?” , “what am I holding onto?”. She said to me at first nothing was coming up, which is perfectly fine, great, and very normal. Upon further inquiry she shared with me wanting to let go of simply being “someone with a back-problem.” That this was all she saw herself as… a woman with a back problem. All her beauty, all her strength, all her wit and humor, all her passion, all her innate wisdom… nowhere to be found. Interestingly enough, the Metal Element also has a lot to do with self-worth and acknowledgment, a look at our own value and purpose.
Unfortunately, what Kari shared is all too common. We have become a society that is disempowered when it comes to our health. It is so easy to create an identity for ourselves based on our syndromes, disease, whatever is “wrong” with us. Admittedly, there’s a strong part of me that is about to get on my soapbox and point fingers at allopathic medicine, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc. I’ll choose not to. I will choose to just do what I can to educate and empower one person at a time to take their whole-health back into their hands.
For Kari, part of her journey toward greater health and healing (I believe), will be to really SEE herself… to really experience herself in ALL of her glory. The potential within her unleashed so that her spirit can shine and radiate within herself and on those that come into contact with her. The anger and frustration being held onto won’t have a place to perch and simmer. To be replaced by compassion, forgiveness, and light. Instead of simply a woman with a back problem, there can be an awakening and acceptance… no, EMBRACE… of a strong, beautiful, and free body/mind/spirit, fueled by inspiration and passion.
Of course there is no way to know what this will look like, how will it unfold. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, is that when you’re working with holistic medicine, an authentic healing process is organic and cannot be dictated. This is not about fixing Kari’s back, but energetically reminding Kari of her full potential. My job at the end of the day is to help put the five-element cycle of energy back into balance. If the patient and I have done that in our hour together, then their own innate healing processes are guaranteed to kick into gear and we then see how it manifests. So there is no pressure on her as a patient or expectations of me as practitioner… because we are just going to do it. I’ve seen it happen enough times to know that it is within us all. It is nothing short of magical to be a small part of it and watch it unravel.