(By Paolo Propato, LAc) Uncertainty has been the global theme of 2020. The virus, the economy, the election, the school year, the climate… they have affected all of us. Typically with an intro like that, an article about a meditation technique or the benefits of acupuncture on stress should follow. Most of you know by now that acupuncture is beneficial for stress and our community meditation classes still exist online. So, instead I’d like to write about what you teach me everyday.
Patients come into our clinic worried about their jobs, kids, and the issues mentioned above. No matter what preoccupies them, they all keep moving forward, finding ways to make it work. Whether they have autoimmune disease, sciatica, depression, anxiety, you name it, they all find ways to keep moving ahead. Despite what is going on physically or mentally, they make an effort to be grounded and more balanced. Many become innovators and begin to change their lives, doing things they never thought they could do with their diets, bodies and minds. Some of these changes are very small and some drastic but all are done in the spirit of adaptability-- responding to what life is asking of them at this point. These patients remind me of a story my wife once told me.
One night we were speaking about our son going back to school, and she paused mid-sentence as her eyes filled with tears. I sat watching in silence giving her space to process whatever was coming to her mind. “Growing up in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, there was a period that was really bad. We had run into a shelter during school when we heard the sound of planes bombing from above. We waited in long lines for milk and basic necessities."
"One day I was playing and my father was watching the news. To me it was background noise that was just more war, but that day there was a report of a young couple getting married.”
She saw that the townspeople had done their best to get items together for the festivities. The reporter interviewed the young couple as the destroyed town sat in complete rubble around them, asking, “Why get married right now, with all that is going on?” The bride replied with a smile, “Why not?”
That small report was all Leyla needed. Hope was restored and she knew that they could and would pull through, and everything would be ok.
The people we get to treat everyday are so diverse, with various political and religious backgrounds, various professions and personalities. They come lay on the table and talk about their ailments, families, jobs, dreams. So many of the patients speak about their troubles but also their concern for others, creative solutions, and overall adaptability. It’s a gift that lets me look past the medical conditions and see good people.
One day the sun and a cave began to have a conversation. The sun had trouble understanding what “dark” meant and the cave didn’t understand what “light” was, so they decided to change places. The cave went up to the sun and said, “Ah, I see, this is wonderful. Now come down and see where I live.” The sun went down to the cave and said, “I don’t see any difference.”
How can we see our own light? I don’t know, but I can try to tell you about yours.