Alisa Laska and Elizabeth Wexler

Alisa Laska
Healing Begins
Photography Collage

The smell of moxa

wooden birds move above me

healing has begun

By Elizabeth Wexler
Inspiration Piece

“Why don’t you try opening your hands?” my acupuncturist asks gently, and only as she says this I realize that my fists are clenched, my knuckles white.  She’s standing at the foot of the massage table, looking down at my feet, needle in hand. It’s an automatic response, expecting the needles to hurt. I have a love-hate relationship with those things; when they don’t hurt, I of course worry that acupuncture is not “working”.

I can make anything into a negative. She  can take anything and see the positive in it. It used to piss me off, quite honestly. Mostly because it smacked right up against all the false beliefs I had about myself.  Now it’s comfortable, like your favorite slippers. I feel safe knowing that no matter what I bring into her, it’s going to be accepted.  Beyond that, even…she has gone with me to some of my darkest, most shameful places, and lit a tiny candle in them, showing me the treasures there.  She called my anxiety “clever vigilance”. She took the thing I’ve wrapped the most in shame all my life and offered it back to me, swaddled in a soft blanket of acceptance.  She shows up empty, and that emptiness has often acted as a refuge for my ever-cracking-open heart.

The weird thing is that in the larger scheme of our partnership, as she calls it, the moment of pain is a really tiny dot on a big piece of paper. A grain of salt in the ocean of healing. For the first few years, after I rambled on for a while, she’d tell me in advance what the name of the points were.  Much of the time, just from hearing the name of the point, the treatment was done. Yeah, I’m sure there was Qi that needed to be moved, or unblocked, or whatever. But when I was struggling, and she said stuff like:

“this point is like the river at the foot of the mountain, from which the horse drinks before he begins to climb”,

I didn’t really even need the needle.  I could feel the shift in my body, in my mind…in my heart. I could feel the space that needed so badly to open just open a tiny bit, to continue to open over the course of the week or two weeks or month until I came back. Back to laying on my back on the table, watching the mobile overhead, the birds rotating around each other, always in perfect balance.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm | #

    I like this, and feel I learned from it.