Saturday, April 21, 2012

Clarity through the Tip of An Acupuncture Needle

It's been three months since my last post.  Aside from a lot of reading, meditating, and journaling, I have been tying up a lot of those loose ends I associate with a midlife crisis (yes, I'm only 37.  I've always been ahead of my time).  Here is a brief insight into that journey:
"If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search... I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor."~Nikola Tesla (1857 - 1943), New York Times, October 19, 1931
I can't explain my draw to acupuncture.  I am needle phobic and must close my eyes and look away whenever one comes near my skin.  Yet, I tried acupuncture because one of my close friends had gone when her hip began bothered her.  Unlike other ventures where I secretly conduct obsessive research, I made an appointment at the Holistic Medical Clinic so resolved that I would face my needle phobic fears. Poor Stephanie has to hear me babble nervously and stare at her like a stalker so I won't pay too much attention to the needle she is tapping into my forehead.  Despite my temporary discomfort the long-term benefits are amazing.  I walk away feeling focused, happier, in less pain, and resolved to release the toxic things in life (as in people not cookie dough ice cream). Acupuncture has been good to me.

Yet after a difficult change in my life last June, I left acupuncture at a time when I probably needed it most. Part of me wants to say it was a mistake because I probably would have had an easier time fixing all the broken pieces of my life.  I would have spent the last year going through my "haystack" with clarity and focused more on "theory and calculation." Unfortunately, I took the Edison route and swam in overwhelming emotions "examining straw after straw" until I found the object of my search--Me.  It entailed making bad friendships, almost losing a few good ones, and pulling back from a lot of projects that suddenly seemed too difficult to accomplish.  But I finished the search almost exactly a year after I began and I remember feeling so relieved by my discovery.   In the midst of this feel-good moment, I returned to acupuncture to resolve the last problem that remained--the toxic friends who were not fond of this newly discovered 'Me.'

Actually, that wasn't exactly the intent when I returned to acupuncture.  With help of several doctors, I had narrowed my back/shoulder/ hip pain to a problem in the ankle.  My original intent was to get that resolved along with a sudden case of lethargy and uncontrollable emotions.  My realization about these toxic friends didn't come until about month afterwards.  And in their defense 'toxic' is a bit harsh.  I am sure they have no idea the way they react to me.  In their mind, their stern glances and strong lectures for my own good.  Some are clearly threatened by my outgoing personality.  And others, usually the ones I care for the most, just won't allow themselves to believe that I do in fact have a special place for them in my heart.  Their insecurity creates a nasty dynamic that I must learn to accept.  I am almost certain their reaction is to something in their childhood, and though their behavior is immature, it's something I can't change.  That means I have two options: 1) Ban them from my life (probably not something I'm even capable of doing) or 2) Wait for them to leave (this has happened more than once).  Yet, I'm armed this time with the knowledge of my yearlong straw-by-straw search, my stronger sense of self, and a smidgen more compassion than before.  I remind myself every time Stephanie taps one of those needles into the bottom of my feet when someone leaves using that famous ex-(spouse, friend, girl/boyfriend) saying, "It's not you, it's me," they're probably right.

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