For some odd months, before July, I had been stranded out at sea in my own little boat. A powerful storm had picked me up and dropped me out there and all I could do was wait for the next big wave to carry me to shore. The soft continuous ebb and flow of the water can be mesmerizing and/or excruciating. What’s the point of paddling my little oars or turning on my little motor aimed in a certain direction when I know a stronger current will come and bring me wherever it wants to. Images of the land with it’s straight lines and direct paths comfort me in those times. Oh to be on it, to feel safe, to clearly see that road ahead…
Powerful storms are the climactic result of different atmospheric pressure coming together in time. The underlying forces cannot always be seen before hand, but they brew and then they are experienced. This is nature and the scheme of everyday life. Storms after-effects can change the scene before your very eyes leaving a whole new landscape in which to navigate from. Sometimes, we just don’t know – so we have to let, until we do, and see the new picture.
In Five Element Acupuncture, there are series of Spirit points (acupuncture points on the body which have a strong effect on the Spirit) named, “Windows of the Sky”. Window of the Sky means what it implies- A glimpse into the Universe. The Heavens. A place where there is a grand design unknown to us. A dark sea of simple yet complex genius.
Laying on the floor of the small boat fully aware of myself, ready for a powerful current to come and sweep me away and out of this foggy part of the sea. I felt ambivalent yet hopeful. Implanted in my head was my original idea/plan of how things have looked and will be. But after the storm, the previous mental map didn’t look right to me, it was almost useless.
A glimpse through our atmospheric layers of the sky into the deep worlds around us is profound. How can one be lost, waiting, stuck or directionless when fixed in space. Such a revelation cannot be understood through thought alone. This is a quite experience which opens the soul, the seed of our emotions, up to whatever it needs to hear, see or understand. With this comes an inspired current. If someone is not prepared for this, they can easily drown. The glimpse brings us insight into the vast space of potentiality in ourselves, a little bit of where we could be going… when a patients ready, it will give them support and clarity in life struggles. What we receive from these points aren’t always what we expect or want.
The practitioners timing and patients strength and willingness to see beyond present perspectives and ideas is what’s important for this glimpse to be effective. Otherwise, using the points can actually be detrimental for a patient. A extreme metaphoric example my teacher used for explaining how using the Window of the Sky points can have a negative effect on someone who isn’t ready- is of a jail bird. If someone is in jail for several years, enough so that they found comfort in their life in prison and then someone opened the cell, through them out of jail to be free and on there own. With everything different, even though they are “free”, it can be very hard psychologically and emotionally to take it all in and even begin to function in the new society. That’s detrimental. Of course, acupuncture’s effects are far more subtle than that.
In the real world I was laying on the comfy table at my Acupuncturist, Konnie’s, clinic room. Staring at the ceiling, I took a deep breath. After catching Konnie up briefly on my latest navigation’s through my life, love, pain, inspirations, struggles and progressions (that usually covers it) – I prepped myself for the needling to come. The feeling of Qi being manipulated in the body is probably the strangest sensation akin to pain that I’ve experienced. We are conditioned to fear “pain” so I always take a few deep anticipatory breaths before the actual needling occurs. It’s never bad, but always a unique feeling. She took my pulses, needled a single point, took my pulses again and then went on to needle a second point… on my neck. I knew what what point she was going for. It’s not my job as a student to mix being a patient with learning at the same time- but I can’t help it! Clearly I was about to receive my first Window of the Sky point and frankly, I was honored and excited! The timing was right, I felt good but needed help – I was ready to see beyond that place in time, to find a way to get my dinky boat out of the foggy sea.
The needle went in (didn’t feel that part.) the Qi was reached and their was a mild sensation in the area and down my neck. In that immediate moment, my eyes saw a funky liquidification of the air in my direct line of vision. Imagine looking at a fixed area and it turns to wavvy jelly/ water. It was a brief disfiguration of matter and basically was trippy although quite subtle. In the next moment my heart filled with love. I just felt love. Funny thing is, I didn’t even tell my acupuncturist about those two occurances…it felt too personal at the time, or something.
Boom. The session was over and back to being in the boat surrounded by now-choppy waters I went… what was next? How would I change from this little experience? Well, the following day – I was hyper sensitive. All heartfelt and raw, seeing the world through a rose colored lens which also showed a lot of shadows. The highlight of this day was when I broke down crying at my place of employment at the sight of ….ok its not worth explaining what because-it was merely a catalyst….but I found myself crouched next to the wall in the bathroom- crying, for maybe only a minute. Then laughed at my own reaction because of the bigger picture. Window of the Sky, eh?!
In the following weeks and months Ive been accepting the light and dark and allowing new ideas to take form. And Oh, they’ve taken form. Finding deeper connections to certain animals as they appear in my dreams and getting distracted with the Native American philosophies, spirit and culture. Continuing my studies of Nature & Taoism with a greater concentration in Buddhist psychology and meditative practices. Using iChing divination. Opening up to and seeing signs/synchronicitys that are are subtly screaming guidance at me (sometimes its freaky how obvious it is). Caring more for my physical existence more- by beginning to understand and enjoying nutrition and fitness in a new way. Really enjoying my work on becoming an “instrument” for the medicine I will practice.
Then I had a a series of somewhat uncomfortable yet interesting meetings with the faculty at my school which proved to be tipping points for me. I had to re-make a big decision. I’m proud that I’m confident and flexible enough to handle curve-balls gracefully by being able to see the big picture of what I needed to do in some critical, timely moments. My path is shifting and aiming me toward uncharted land, yet again.
The point is- perspectives can change in an instant but manifest piece by piece, until the new view is clear. As a student and patient I’ve learned that the Window of the Sky point can literally change a course of a life, as it is changing mine. There is always a solution and strong path for us. It’s not easy to get to a place of yielding acceptance of this but when you do – things fall into place. At least until the next big storm.
A Native American from North Dakota recently told me that my energy investment has not been wasted. Money is energy, time is energy, effort is energy, love is energy, dreams are energy, etc. etc… He told me that I’m closing one cycle of my life and opening up to a new one. That my actions are in harmony with these invisible cycles. He also knew it was nearing time for me to leave Seattle.
This is all somewhat vague, the details involve largely -finances and a personal evaluation of my schools structure. There are only 4 other 5 Element acupuncture schools in America. I’m lucky to have the freedom and be able to transfer into what I believe may be the best Five Element school in the country- The Institute of Taoist Education & Acupuncture in Louisville, CO. Currently, that process is underway, falling into place and moving very quickly – timing was perfect…if the decision was made any later it would of thrown things off more. I’m aiming to transfer in for September there but financially may not be able to pull it off under such short notice. We’ll see.. if not, then I’m taking a sabbatical. and I’ll make the best of it!
What I had to keep telling myself in the process was I am not breaking a commitment. I struggled with guilt over leaving my school and feeling like I was giving up on it/them. It’s somewhat of a shame, but it’s for the best. And the truth is, my personal goals and commitment is still intact- to learn, experience and become a five element acupuncturist. One of my tattoo’s is of the character “Te” on my arm. It is a symbol of my dedication to this path of Taoism and Five Element Acupuncture. It is the “Te” from the ancient text, “Tao Te Ching”. The Te stands for personal power. For lack of better English translation, it means Virtue (broad). It’s about listening within. It is a symbol of taking a step forward, with head over heart, that ten eyes can see no fault with. My decision come from a place of harmony, balance, a familiar internal conviction and with utmost respect and excitement for the learning and life adventure before me.
I hope to act as a positive bridge from one great Five Element Acupuncture school to another. My time at Wu Hsing Tao School is so appreciated, I’m so happy with what I’ve learned there – which is A LOT. Also really happy to know wonderful, beautiful people – my fellow classmates (and the interns!) who will eventually be my fellow colleagues and I’ll look forward to connecting with them again down the road in L.Ac – ville.
I was meant to come to Seattle and begin my studies and life here. Even if I do transfer into ITEA for September, I’ll be able to live out here one more year and fly into Colorado for classes before my clinical phase. This is great- I love it here and am not quite ready to move on.
I’ve got a lot to work on and work toward and am thankful of all the support my family and friends have been giving me with the decision I made. It’s funny actually most of them seem to prefer it- for me, and themselves! 😉
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. ~R.W.Emerson