Wednesday, October 17, 2012

in case you ever questioned the efficacy of acupuncture.

First, she needles my back. Face down, table warmer on, my face cradled in the head rest, neck releasing and relaxing. Despite the occasional noises and voices from the hallway, I'm able to focus on my breath and the soft Native American flute music and close my eyes as my body drifts off into the most delicious 20-minute nap I can ever remember. I sleep lightly and wake every now and then, wondering how it hasn't been 20 minutes yet -- it's as if time has stopped for me. For a delicious 2pm nap.

Flip over, sheets rearranged, she needles my front. Feet, legs, abdomen, hands, ear, forehead. Another 20-minute nap. Only this time, I've just had my delicious power nap and I'm wide awake. I decide to focus on my breath and the most amazing thing happens -- I go so far into my body, so deep into the nuanced sensations that come with each passing thought that I seem to leave the table, the room, the building. I'm suddenly deep within my body, feeling how one word creates a particular sensation and another creates something entirely different. I'm acutely aware of my balanced state -- the feeling of a calm, serene body of water at my heart space, evenly and peacefully lapping at the shores of my limbs and lips. I breathe into this, feeling and noticing, feeling and noticing. One stray thought pops into my head -- a tiny, nagging thought that would typically spiral me into a thought avalanche and bring about deep worry -- and I'm magically able to say hello to it, to feel the separateness of me and it, to breathe again until I can stand tall in my peaceful heart space waters. And just like that, as I loosen my grip and remember my breath and feel the worry float away, I'm able to control my mood, my present. I feel powerful. I want to laugh. Take that, anxiety. Take that, panic. For this is the exact way to counteract it, this is my method of rising above it, of knowing I am not it, it is not me. Imagine.

Within a few seconds another unsavory thought wades over, and I'm amazed at my ability to instantly notice my body's reaction, to feel my energy slide south into my gut, knotting and twisting ever so slightly. I remind my cells of that feeling of the peaceful, still waters and after a few seconds of breathing, all is well again up in my heart space. Had I not been lying on a warm table in a dark quiet room, I'd probably not notice any of this. In fact, up until recently, I'd never notice, ever.

This feels monumental to me.

And so I continue, breathing and feeling and noticing, over and over again, wide awake, until the 20 minutes are up and my deep body meditation is over. The needles come out and I'm reminded to take my time getting up, and my groggy, messy-haired, makeup-smudged reflection in the mirror smiles back, reveling in the small miracle that's just occurred in this tiny little acupuncture room in the back of a gynecologist's office building.

Me and these needles, man. We've got something good.


  1. This is gorgeous. I've only had one acupuncture experience and I think I let my nerves get the best of me (being told no cheese for 4 weeks can do that to a girl:)). But I am keen to try again, and if I can get to this place, this beautiful place you speak of, I'll be addicted.

    1. Yes Rebecca -- I also stopped the dairy (and gluten!) and it was a sad day. But I would absolutely encourage you to try more :)


Have I ever told you how much I love your comments?