Who Are You, Really?

The other day it suddenly occurred to me that I spend a great deal of time labeling myself, and hunting down reasons/excuses for my moods. If I am feeling especially chatty or energetic, I blame it on the coffee. If I'm more withdrawn and introspective, I will inevitably mention that I am "not myself." If I'm feeling particularly snappy, it's my hormones talking. I wouldn't consider myself a moody person, but even I have highs and lows, as we all do. And I began to ask myself: if we are constantly shifting and evolving, how do you define the real "you"? Is it you at your best? At your worst? In your most constant state?

There is an old Chinese proverb: "Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are." If this is the case, we are in our most authentic state when we are devoid of cares, worries, and responsibilities. In a way, then, acupuncture is like a wind, blowing away the clouds to reveal the sun. When you are in a state of blissful release, you are your truest self. You aren't clouded by what people want you to be, or by your own self-conceived labels. You simply are. And that is pretty freaking amazing.

The other day I was treating a patient, who said she felt "weird" when she got off the table. Concerned, I asked her what she meant. Was she dizzy? Nauseous?

No, she responded. She didn't feel sick. She felt...loose. Limp. And utterly unconcerned about all that was awaiting her later in the day. Her mind felt...oddly blank.

"Hmm," I asked, "Blank as in, you are having some sort of memory loss? Or blank as in, not stressed about anything at the moment?"

She considered this for a moment, and then smiled. "Yes! I guess that's what it is. I'm so used to being stressed out that it feels weird to not be. But now that I know what I'm feeling, I really like it!"