The Dirty Little Secret. . .

photo credit SheCat

Life is messy. It rarely works right, and most things you try will go wrong the first time. Learning something new is frustrating, and skills take time to develop. People will disappoint you–repeatedly. Sadness is a part of existence, and happy times will not last forever.

Ok, go out and enjoy life!

No? Ok, then let’s say a little more. I am a self-help junkie. I have been about self-improvement since I was little. Somehow, I missed the memo that says people don’t start out perfect at anything. I got discouraged and quit when I did not show instant talent for music, sports, and the world of fashion. I avoided things that I didn’t immediately master, and missed out on a lot of fun and useful skills and experiences. 

The books I read were very linear. Their format: 

  • This is how horrible my life used to be.
  • I tried XYZ Strategy.
  • After a short amount of work, things got better.
  • Now I’m a millionaire/in amazing health/smarter than you, etc.

I read these books as completely factual accounts of the author’s struggles. It never occurred to me that no one falls once, gets up, and walks on with nary another problem. So I would try XYZ Strategy, and when it didn’t work, I felt that I had failed.

As I grow (relentlessly) older, I have hit snags. I believe marriage is for life, so when I hit walls in my relationship with my husband, I had to roll up my sleeves and learn to get along with another human being. When my health would not improve with my quick-fix changes, I had to begin a slow process of changing everything–how I thought, what I ate, my activities, and my expectations. 

Finally, I realized the truth that some people are blessed to see in their youth: life is hard, but well worth it. All those points in that first paragraph are true. There are a lot of things that will hurt you, disappoint you, and make you cry in the average life. 

But there are also daily miracles of shining suns, arching rainbows, babies’ cries, and making slow but steady progress on your own goals. People will disappoint you, but they will also surprise you, touch you, and humble you with their love, devotion, and kindness. A soothing touch, a small gift, a small but heroic deed. 

You may not succeed at everything, but the things you struggle with will yield a sweet sense of accomplishment when you do conquer them, and will build resilience when you do not.

Accept that most things in life take work. In an interview with Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.comBrene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, talks about the importance of struggle in becoming a hopeful person:
Yes. I’ve seen again and again that hope is a function of struggle. People of high levels of hopefulness are very often people with deep experiences of adversity. Yet we see people doing things we admire and think, “I could never do that.” But most of us haven’t seen all the falls and scrapes and bruises it takes to get there.”

No one told me how the bitter times in life make us who we are, and give us the ability to appreciate the sweet things. Never despair in your struggles–they may just open your mind and heart to something wonderful!


A Typical Acupuncture Treatment

Here is a quick description of a typical acupuncture treatment in my office. Each acupuncturist has their own style and way of doing a treatment, but for those who are curious, this post will give you some thoughts on how a treatment goes.

For a first visit, I have you fill out paperwork, then come sit in our treatment room. I ask a stream of questions, including:

  • How is your energy level?
  • Do you sleep well? How much sleep do you usually get each night?
  • What is your stress level and what stresses you?
  • Do you feel you have a normal appetite for food?
  • What is your digestion like–do you have problems with bloating, constipation or diarrhea, stomach pain, acid reflux, etc.?
  • For women, what are your periods like?
  • Do you catch cold easily or have allergies?
  • Do you get hot or cold more easily?
  • Are you thirsty a lot?

. . .and others. Once we gather information from the questions, and whatever you share (and don’t worry, lots of people start their sentences “I don’t know if this sounds crazy, but I have. . .”), you’ll hop (or climb slowly) onto the treatment table. I’ll ask you if you’re worried about the needles; if so, I’ll do one or two right then so you can see they are nothing to be worried about. As I tell people, I’m a complete wimp. If it hurt to get acupuncture, I would never have gotten my second treatment, let alone decided to do acupuncture for my living.

Photo credit sgarbe84
Once you are relaxed on the treatment table (and my treatment table is cushy and comfortable) I will check your pulse and look at your tongue. These diagnostic indicators give a lot of information about how all your body’s systems work together. Then I’ll do the acupuncture. Once I’ve put the tiny sterile needles on different points, you rest in the treatment room while I write up lifestyle recommendations specific to your condition. I check on you once during your first visit, to be sure you remain comfortable. Most people prefer to relax without interruption after the first visit.
After I remove the itty-bitty needles, you will get up and change back into your clothes. Then I come back into the room and we discuss the treatment I recommend and your lifestyle recommendations. You will usually feel very relaxed and typically will sleep well that night. The positive effects may only last a day or so after the first visit, but after each visit the effect lasts longer.
If you have any questions about an acupuncture treatment, please feel free to write your question in the comments, or email me at greenacuclinic(at)