By: April Harrington
Someone recently asked me, when was the last time you did nothing? Not scrolling on socials, or thinking about your to do list, or listening to music -- just being. I couldn’t think of a single time. We live in a society where restlessness is encouraged. There is always something to be done, another task, another item to check off the endless to-do lists. Almost instinctively, we fill our time with all the things we should be doing. What if instead, we use our time to just be ourselves -- leaning into those moments of nothingness to focus inward. Allowing ourselves to listen to what our minds and bodies truly need.
The first time I had acupuncture, I felt uncomfortable. Not because of the needles, but because I was just… laying there. What was I supposed to do? I could feel my phone across the room, begging for me to exchange my time for a few TikToks or a scroll through my instagram feed. Eventually I let my racing thoughts fade away, pulling my focus back every time I was distracted by a wandering thought. I stopped worrying about all the things I needed to do and just let myself melt into the table. I could feel the energy beneath my skin, initially invigorating and eventually luling me into a deep restorative and meditative rest. It took a while to learn to focus my brain on breathing, after years of forcing it to stay sharp and absorb information around the clock. Soon my breath became the only movement in my mind and body, letting go of more worries with every exhale and bringing intention with every inhale.
After the needles were pulled, I brought my attention back to my physical body. Slowly bringing movement back to my muscles, starting with my toes, then ankles, and moving up my body until I opened my eyes and I was ready to head back into the world. After all, the basis of meditation is mindfulness. Being acutely aware of each feeling in my body helps me to understand how I move throughout the day. Eventually, and through practice, I have been able to cultivate this same feeling of mindfulness in times of stress, pressure and difficulty.
2020 brought a new level to an all consuming state of mind. Looking back at the year I am so grateful to have had acupuncture be a space where I can go to truly relax and recover. What brings patients to acupuncture is usually a physical issue but what’s so unique is that the 6,000 year old tradition offers a restorative healing beyond physical relief. Acupuncture gives us a peaceful and safe space to be still and focus our mind to what’s really important -- ourselves. This balance allows the qi, or energy flow, in our body to stabilize and ease our physical pain beyond the science of what's happening beneath the skin's surface. So while everyone should be getting acupuncture for their physical body, I encourage everyone to look at acupuncture differently this year. We all need recovery and restoration and what a beautiful opportunity we have to look inward and focus our minds on what we, individually, need to move forward.
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