Friday, January 20, 2017

Being incurably curious

I have just passed a lovely sign on the outside of the Wellcome Collection in the Marylebone Road here in London.  Appropriately for its name and for what the Wellcome Collection does, which is focused on medicine and helping the ill, it says in bold letters “Welcome to the Incurably Curious”.  On the bus ride back home I decided that it would be good to adopt this as my own catchphrase, but with a slight modification.  I would amend it slightly to read “Welcome to the Curably Curious”, in honour of my calling as an acupuncturist, because it is our curiosity, in five element terms, which, far from “killing the cat” as the saying goes, helps us to cure.

And curiosity is what we need, an infinite dose of it throughout every minute of our working lives to help us understand our patients better and through this understanding restore them to good health.

I have always been incurably curious, from childhood onwards, staring unashamedly at people to try and fathom what makes them tick and how they relate to others.  I think people have always at some level puzzled me, challenging my Small Intestine to understand what is going on in another person at every new encounter.  I suppose it was therefore only natural that I would eventually gravitate towards a calling which feeds my desire to explore the intricacies of human relationships, however late in my life this was, for I only started practising acupuncture in my mid-40’s, exactly at the midpoint of my life when viewed from my present standpoint.  I am a living example of the dictum that it is never too late to change the direction of one’s life, and that it is often only by passing through the dark days that light begins to shine through.

For I came across acupuncture, or as I like to think somewhat fancifully, acupuncture found me, at a crossroads in my life, with the early part of my adult life, that of being wife and mother, almost behind me, and the next part hidden behind what seemed to me to be an impenetrable fog.  So the moment when I encountered acupuncture for the first time surprised me with its rightness;  it opened a door wide on to a completely new vision of life which has fascinated me, occupied me and preoccupied me ever since.

As a coda to this blog, I have just read the following passage in a book by Barney Norris called Five Rivers meet on a Wooded Plain (a lovely title in itself). This seems to me to describe very acutely what intrigues me so much about encountering other people:

“So I love watching the way another person holds themselves when they are alone and thinking.  Their actions and postures are windows into the vast and secret worlds below the surface of the day around me, the lives of others.” 

I love the thought of those “vast and secret worlds” which surround me.


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