I am a fan of instant gratification. As much as acupuncture is about balance, and gentle, healing change-I want what I want, and I want it now. I don't like to wait. And I like my change dramatic and objective. I want measurable, distinct results, and I want them yesterday.
This really doesn't jibe well with what I do. Acupuncture can be a slow and gentle process. This annoys me. I want my patients to walk out of my room feeling completely blown away. And, honestly? Generally, they do. It is actually rare that a patient doesn't notice an immediate change. This, of course, feeds my need for the cycle to continue. Although I know it is self-defeating behavior, I get angry with myself if every patient doesn't leave here noticing a very significant improvement right away.
When I was in school for hypnotherapy, we spent some time talking about what results we should expect. My instructor said that change isn't always immediate; sometimes people would come in for a session and then notice things shifting weeks or months down the line. That statement annoyed the crap out of me. So, if I went to a hypnotherapist for weight loss, and went on a diet two years later, the hypnotist should still get the credit? It sounded like self-serving bullshit to me. That would mean that any positive change, at any point in time, would mean that the hypnosis session was a success. To me, it seemed like the equivalent of treating a patient for back pain, not seeing any results, and taking credit four years later when the pain finally resolved. How could you praise the acupuncture when so many factors might be involved?
All of the negative feelings I had about this discussion really boiled down to one thing: my aversion to waiting. I don't want to wait to see change after getting treated, and I don't want my patients to wait, either. To me, the longer the amount of time after a session that you see results, the higher the probability that other factors were at work. I had always viewed hypnotherapy as something that either worked right away, or didn't work at all. Then an experience in class changed my mind.
So let me preface this experience with this: I am addicted to sushi. I don't mean that I just enjoy eating it a lot; I really believe that I have an addiction. I eat it so much that the slightest cramp or tingling sends me running to WebMD to check for symptoms of mercury poisoning. I literally eat it 5-7 times a week. There must be something in the fish that my body needs, because I feel out of sorts if I don't have it at least 5 times a week. I will eat it every day, and I will do it happily, and I will spend lots of money doing so. This is how bad it is: one day I went to my favorite sushi place and ordered a few makimono rolls. I found a large, hard, pink, flesh-colored object that looked like a fetus in one of my rolls. As disgusting as that was, I still had sushi for dinner the next day.
Yes, sushi is good for you, but all that raw fish can't be healthy consumed in such vast amounts. So one day in hypnosis class, I asked the instructor to cure me of my addiction. She gave me a quick session of hypnosis, suggesting that it no longer had the hold over me that it once had. And right after class, I ordered sushi for dinner.
Today, I got sushi for lunch. As I sit here eating it, it just occurred to me: this is the first time I have had it in a month. What the hell? I thought back on the past few weeks, and realized that I had almost forgotten it existed. I even remember going to the grocery store next door to my office, where I usually get my lunch fix of sushi...every day. Over the past few weeks, I've looked at the sushi, debated for a moment, and thought to myself, "Eh, I'll just have something else." It was so subtle that I forgot that I was forgetting, if that makes sense.
I guess this is yet another lesson: have some patience, dammit!