As Euclid and I informed you all, my uveitis has returned. This round has left me frustrated and fed up with my body. Why does something I take such good care of fail me? The return of uveitis coupled with some other more personal ailments led me down the slippery spiral of “Why me?”
For the first time, I noticed that every element of my life was suffering because of this mentality. My work was lagging. My creativity was low. My yoga was unsatisfying. My walks were empty. My cooking was bland. My relationship felt stressed. Even my cats were acting more unruly than usual.
Could this frustration with my own body be creating such malaise in my surrounding world?
One of my first Sunday’s at “yoga church” the instructor wrote: “Om Ritam Namah – My intentions and desires are supported by the universe.” on a tablet.
I found this short statement tremendously profound and after class scribbled it on a piece of paper for future reference. Om Ritam Namah. This would imply that if I truly desire and intend to take control of my body, the universe/world/God/whatever-you-call-it will support it.
After much contemplation I made a decision, no, I set an intention – I would heal. I had been doing a lot of research into natural healing in the months since the uveitis began. I read a lot of what I consider mindless dribble while looking for treatments that were natural, had some scientific backing and would complement yoga.
Acupuncture seemed to fit the bill pretty well – it was noninvasive, did not come with a host of terrible side effects, involved one-on-one work with a practitioner and many medical professionals, scientific papers, etc. have cited that, for reasons beyond their comprehension, it appears to have a positive effect on people.
Om Ritam Namah. My intentions and desires are supported by the universe. I intend and desire to take control of this frustration and these ailments. And so I made an appointment for 3 p.m. yesterday.
My palms were sweaty as I signed the consent form and sat in the waiting room. Anyone who knows me even a little bit is WELL aware that I am not a fan of needles. I had also made the dire mistake of telling people I was going. I was met with lukewarm or ice-cold responses. One friend went so far as to lecture to me that science fixes people, not Chinese medicine. Now go take more steroids.
I tried to let these statements go but it was hard. The negative opinions swirled in my brain during the consultation making it difficult to focus. At one point I started to cry and then immediately felt anger for being so weak. This was not going well.
After an exhaustive discussion the treatment began. The first needle went in. Not bad. Another poke, and another poke. I lost count around 10. Some needles hurt, others I didn’t even feel.
I expected the acupuncturist would stay with me during the first treatment. Instead she closed the curtains and left me with all these thoughts and monsters. Panicky and negative thoughts. Worries that this was all a lost cause and that I was, in fact, wasting money. The needles were hurting. Surely this would not fix my problems. The needles hurt more. I began worrying about work. I should be editing right now. The needles around my shoulder blades began to burn. Would the needles make me bleed? Were they clean? What if this sheet draped over them made them tear my skin?
I have no idea how much time was spent worrying but at some point a strange twitching deep in my abdomen put the worry to an abrupt halt. “What on earth was that?” I muttered out loud. Was something happening? I realized that worrying this much would likely hinder any positive progress.
I closed my eyes, breathed deeply and tried to relax. I visualized the blood flowing through veins and arteries, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the points where the needles were sticking. The blood moved from the needles to the brain and signaled the release of hormones and messages to my organs. All the bodily systems began to hum and work as one unit, moving towards a common cause – my intention. I began to visualize and focus on this intention.
Gradually the needles seemed to disappear. When my mind strayed a needle would burn. I drifted into peaceful warmth that was not quite sleep but definitely not awake.
After about 75 minutes the needles were removed and I stood in the dimly lit, pale green room and mulled over the experience. Maybe this was the entire point of acupuncture – to learn to shut out the noise and focus fully on an intention. Maybe it is this silence of the mind that lets the body heal. I surprised myself by returning to the front desk and scheduling a treatment plan. If it takes needles being poked into my flesh to learn to turn off my brain, I was game. At the least, it can teach me to create silence and stillness in my very noisy mind. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me to get better.