Threading the Needle.

This afternoon I had my very first acupuncture treatment. Not exactly what I anticipated, but definitely a satisfying experience. Upon my arrival and after just a few minutes of waiting, Debbie (my acupuncturist) came out to greet me and we went into a small treatment room. At a small desk, we chatted for the better part of an hour and a half. Debbie listened intently while I unraveled the happenings of my life. Occasionally she peppered my narrative with insightful observations, none of which seemed forced or too directing. She asked about my daily habits, body functions, likes/dislikes, my hobbies and such. Debbie agreed that my choice to come for acupuncture was favorably timed and thought that I would most definitely benefit from the process.

Photo Cred: www.acaom.edu
Then she did something I was not expecting - she listened to my pulse. I extended my arms onto the desk and Debbie placed a hand on each of my wrists. Using all her fingers save her thumbs, she listened. Every now and again I would feel one or two fingers give a little more pressure than the others. There were moments when she would ask me a question like, "Do you eat quickly?" Um, yep. Guilty as charged. Then she'd continue to listen and maybe ask another question a couple minutes later: "Do you have allergies; are you allergic to cats?" Spot on again. Kitties make me sneeze. And then, "Are you feet and hands usually cold?" Yes, they totally are! My feet are constantly blocks of ice. It was both strange and super cool. How the heck could she tell that from my friggin' pulse? Was there something to this ancient art? I'm thinking yes, most definitely there is. She then asked to see my tongue, after which she asked if I ate meat. I explained that I did, but not as much anymore. Debbie noted that my tongue was on the pale side and suggested that I eat some red meat. In Chinese traditional medicine, blood is the foundation of everything. It's not just this liquid made up of red and white cells, but it is the way by which nutrients and energy is transported throughout the body. Not only is blood responsible for life, but it is also integral to mental and emotional health. Red meat was a great way to "build blood." I made a mental note to stop and pick up some meat on my way home. This was definitely going to go over well with Big Red.

After the listening, she explained that this first treatment would be one that worked to clear my body. I would by face down on the table (a massage bench with one of those awesome face cradles where if you're not careful and too relaxed, you're liable to drool) and she would apply the needles in my back. She left the room, I undressed from the waist up, got on the table and under the cozy blankets. When she returned, I asked, my voice probably muffled thanks to the lovely face cradle, if the needles would hurt. Debbie assured me they would not and I probably wouldn't feel much. Sure enough, it didn't hurt a bit. She tapped in around 10-12 needles and then left me to relax in the dark with some soothing ocean sounds. She checked on me once after what I guess was 10 minutes and then came back after another 10 - ish minutes to remove the needles.

After I was dressed again, she explained that I may or may not feel anything right away, and to take note of what I did happen to feel in the next few days. I will be returning next Saturday for round two and it would be helpful to her if I could be able to relay whatever I noticed over the week. We shook hands, I thanked her and stepped out into the frosty January afternoon sun.

As I made my way home, I felt calm. Very, very calm. Often I have to remind myself to allow my shoulders to relax; seems as though they're always trying to creep up towards my ears. They weren't though; they were relaxed on their own. After stopping at the store for a couple of small prime cuts of fillet (yummo!), I began to chew over one of the recurrent themes of what came out this afternoon with Debbie: I'm constantly living in a state of limbo. Waiting for something to happen and not wanting to make a decision until the thing happens, whatever the thing happens to be: baby, weight loss, finished remodeling project, etc. Lots of waiting. Part of what I hope to accomplish through acupuncture and my own self-direction is to live more in the here and now.

There is a second bedroom in our house we don't use. It eventually will become our kid/kids' room, but right now it's just a catch-all. What if, instead of waiting for a baby to happen to make a decision about the look of the room, I just began doing something with it? It's not like my aesthetics are so wild that whatever I did to the room couldn't easily someday be transformed into a nursery. As it exists now, it's a constant reminder of what I'm waiting for - what hasn't happened. Inside the room is also a second wing back chair I was planning on converting into a rocker/glider. I started working on it this summer and then abandoned it when, at the time, the possibility of motherhood abandoned me. Screw it. I'm just going to finish the chair as a chair.

I also decided that Big Red and I need to go somewhere great this summer. A trip. A destination. Something that requires more than an overnight bag. I don't know where - maybe Germany? Even if it isn't somewhere far, far away, I like the idea of working towards that kind of a goal.

While I was on the table, blissfully removed from all stressors of life, I felt my own mind unfolding and saying to me: You will be okay. Somehow, whatever may come to pass, whether I will it to or not, I will be alright. And maybe this is just a toe-dip into something new, but it felt good.

Really, really good.

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