i wrote a few days ago about having my first acupuncture treatment and i believe i specifically said something like “it was good, but not life changing or anything.” well, i had my second treatment today and i can definitely say there was a moment, a moment after all the needles had been placed in all their various spots, a moment of complete and unexpected conversation/information/diagnosis from my acupuncturist about my heart (not my physical heart, but my spiritual heart, the essence of my heart) that nearly brought me to tears – right there on the table while I laid there on my back with tiny needles seemingly everywhere, and a heat lamp warming my toes. several hours later, after a foot rub from my sweet husband, and a tearful conversation, i’m still swirling around in it trying to digest all that i learned today. about my heart.
first i want to say that i have a deep respect for my acupuncturist. he treated john last summer over the course of several sessions (a shoulder injury) with simply amazing results. he is a soulful & gentle practitioner who has been patient and quite insightful. in one treatment he pretty much solved a digestive intolerance i’ve had for almost 2 years. i trust him and i like him. he’s my kind of person. with that said, the impact of what he said to me today sat deep within me and i don’t know if i will ever shake it. i certainly won’t ever forget it.
he explained that traditional chinese medicine diagnoses the nuances of our beings (quite different from western medicine). just as we gather information about old trees by studying and examining their circles and structure, he explained that a skilled acupuncturist can tell how many children a man has, for example, by the subtleties in his pulse or by looking at certain veins in his ear. as he told me more about the working of traditional chinese medicine, i became mesmerized and interested in the history of it, the sense & intuition of it. i never in a million years thought i would be the girl getting acupuncture, let alone believing in it. but i am that girl.
about halfway through the treatment he asked to see my tongue. now, i hesitated because if i’m being honest, i have a weird tongue. always have. i’ll just say it’s splotchy. i reluctantly showed him my tongue a couple of times, slightly embarrassed. he began to explain what my tongue revealed about me, most of it nutritional findings, which i expected. because i was in the mode of expecting more discussion about tangible things, like nutrition, temperature, etc., i was a bit taken by surprise when he said, “but what your tongue really reveals to me is the condition of your heart. i’m not talking about your heart as a machine that pumps blood, but i’m talking about your heart in the poetic sense. your soul. your essence. the markings of your tongue, specifically a very deep crack in the middle of your tongue (at the tip) tells me of your personal heartbreaks. it reveals to me your sorrows, your life traumas, and your losses. your life traumas are profound. i can see it clearly in your tongue.” he said it with such grace and compassion but also very matter-of-factly, just as any diagnosis sounds when it’s delivered. i was lying there with the understanding that acupuncture is indeed holistic, but this was more than i could handle at that moment. quite simply, i was stunned at the truth of it all. old, deep pains in my heart sank and flooded my senses all at once. i was holding back the tears and feeling emotionally overcome. he explained that this crack reveals one’s heartbreaks, but not the healing. the crack will always be there. it will never disappear. the healing is revealed in our energy we give to the world and what we then receive.
chinese medicine believes that every experience we have in our lives, every single one, leaves its mark on our physical form. in our finger nails, in our skin. in our eyes, in our tongues. i love and hate this idea all at once.
what shook me most about this moment is that it brought everything back up to the surface for me. with fear of sounding preachy, i’ve gone about my life, especially in the last few years, thinking and believing that i’ve successfully turned negative experiences (and lord knows mine are simple and nothing compared to most people in the world) into a life of goodness. of insights. of believing and of healing, only to be told i have been forever marked from traumatic experiences. and it will always be there. so, to have it come up today, in such a way that was both beautiful and undeniable all at once was hard for me.
when i left the acupuncturist today, i’ll be honest, i bawled my eyes out in the car. it’s been a long, long time since i’ve acknowledged my life’s darkness. it’s a vulnerable place to sit for a moment, isn’t it? i’m accustomed to quickly moving on to more positive moments.
if you can believe it, while i was inside a store, just after leaving the acupuncturist, a man came up to me and said “miss, miss, you might want to pull your skirt down.” i looked behind me and sure enough, my skirt was tucked into my cute hipster underwear! now, seriously! here i have just had this profound experience only to find myself, minutes later, walking around unknowingly with my skirt in my panties! i love how the world works.
as i continued home from my wacky day, i opened the mail to find a sweet postcard from a friend listing 6 reasons why she is grateful for me. it’s been a whirlwind, this day. but i was happy to end it with this postcard greeting me at the end of it, a foot rub from john, and a glass of red wine.
my heart is all good. it really, really is.