Stirring My Cauldron-Part Two

In my last post, I discussed my change of heart over the past year about defining myself as an "energy healer." I've come to learn that, like it or not, I cannot separate myself into an alternate category when it comes to labeling what I do in my office every day. Acupuncture and energetic exchanges go hand in hand...and if they don't, well, it probably means that I am not doing my job right. Last year, I wrote a blog called "I'm not Asian" that prompted a lot of response. It was about the preconceived notions that people hold toward acupuncturists, and what you should and shouldn't expect when you come into my office. Here is an excerpt:

On a last note, please don't come in thinking that I am some chanting, mystical tree-hugger. I'm about as far from that as you can get. With all due respect to practitioners who prefer to engage in more esoteric styles of acupuncture, you will not hear any chanting from me in my office. I am not psychic. When you come in I will make a diagnosis based on questions and observation, not from reading your tea leaves or palms. There will no sacrificing of virgins in my office (even if I could find one these days), no bloody rituals or worshipping of goats. I promise this is not what I was trained for.

Obviously, this was meant to be tongue-in-cheek...but I also wanted to express my frustrations at all of the misconceptions that people hold about acupuncture. I can't tell you how many times I have had to reassure prospective patients that nothing "weird" is going to happen in my office. Those who are acupuncture first-timers always seem to be convinced that they will be thrust into some alternate universe when they walk through my door. It isn't until they meet me and settle in that they realize this isn't the case.

In my efforts to promote acupuncture as a viable healthcare option, I've spent a good amount of time downplaying the energetic piece. And now, I am realizing that I've discounted a huge component of what we do. We work with energy, and it isn't "weird" or "kooky." If you think for a moment that you aren't working with energy every single day, you are deluding yourself. You may not be as attuned to it as you could be, but that's just because you are not paying attention. Every time you have felt slightly sick after an unpleasant encounter...every time you've had a boost of spirit after a momentary flirtation...whenever you have felt completely drained after listening to the office jackass...you have been experiencing the transition of energy flow.

A few weeks ago, I purchased some smudging materials, on a whim. Smudging is the process of using smoke (usually sage) to clean the energy in a room. Traditionally, it is done with the smudging materials lit in an abalone shell. I purchased the sage and the shell, and brought it back to my office...where I had to fight the impulse to keep it hidden away. I couldn't help but wonder if my more traditional, conservation patients would ask about it.

Then I realized: let them ask. The truth is, smudging really works. You can feel the lightness in the air immediately after doing it. Even the most practical patients can tell the difference. Energy exists, I work with it every day, and I'm not going to hide that from my patients for the sake of making acupuncture seem more "legitimate".

All this being said, there are certain things that you can do to protect your energy, and to clear the energy around you. I tell my patients to practice forming mental barriers around themselves. Picture whatever you want-a shower of light, a bubble, a ball-anything that can guard you against the outside world. Visualize this barrier as a protective shield, separating you from the energies around you. Practice using it before interactions with people that normally drain you, and you will really see a difference.

I also suggest regular smudging to clear out any stuck, negative energy in the home or workspace. Purchase some sage and walk to every corner of the room, allowing the smoke to rise into every corner. When you are finished, open the windows if you can. Light brings in clear, clean energy. Plants do as well, so keep as many of them around as you can.

And of course, regular acupuncture will also help to keep your energy up and flowing smoothly!