Saturday, February 27, 2010

The masks we all wear

We all wear masks. We have to, otherwise we would lay our emotions bare to everybody, friend and foe alike, and leave no defences to hide behind. In trying to help another person, as I do as an acupuncturist, I have to know who that person is. So I must not buy the mask. I can accept that it must be there as a necessary protection in any first encounter between two people, and that it can only be laid aside gradually. Thus each meeting with our patient is an opportunity to peel away a little layer of this mask to allow the real person to emerge.

We can only offer the right treatment if we know who we are treating.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A political lesson on the Wood element

Television has just given me some excellent examples of the Wood element in action, and appropriately all to do with the issue of Gordon Brown's anger. I felt different forms of anger rolling over me from the screen as people discussed Andrew Rawnsley's book. First there was Peter Mandelson, with his cold, cutting, Metal anger, slicing knife-like through a journalist's questions, then we had John Prescott, his in-your-face Wood anger bursting across the room at us, and then Rawnsley himself, rocked out of his calm good humour by a day of onslaught, showing a more Fire-like anger, but with strong tinges of Wood within it. Finally, there strode Gordon Brown across the screen, his emotions tightly dammed up inside him, only to be released in an outflow of Water-type anger in the House of Commons. This was indeed nature raw in tooth and claw.

What this reinforced for me was the fact that when we are angry we cannot hear what anybody else is saying and just want to lash out, like children having a tantrum. To anybody watching it could appear amusing to see people losing control in this way, but I would have been frightened if I had been in the room with any of them. An emotion out of control like that is frightening, because the person expressing the emotion is out of control.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I read a lovely article by the writer, Jane Gardam, in the Observer a few days ago, about finding some poems by poets associated with what I think may be her home town, Sandwich in Kent, and posting poems around the town. "Late one night we set out with ladders and lanterns (poetry should be subversive)", she says", looking for lamp-posts. But there were none suitable and we went instead the next morning around the shops, offering poems for their windows... It was a great success. A doctor's surgery was delighted with a poem... The dogfood shop was besieged for copies of (another poem)...The children who go to the ice-lolly shop in the afternoons liked Spike Milligan's "Things that go 'bump' in the night" so much that we let them keep it till Christmas... A young man - all in black gear - came down Paradise Row, stopped outside the house with a sonnet by (local lad) Christopher Marlowe.... on the door and recited it aloud all through."

Isn't that lovely? And just what poems and literature and art should be for. A sharing of beautiful thoughts and beautiful vision amongst as many people as possible. I asked my son, Nick, who composes music, whether he could not think of ways of posting up little snippets of music on tiny loudspeakers around the streets so that as we walk we move from music to music as we pass below a lamp-post. An idle, but a lovely thought.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Building bridges across the divide

We five element acupuncturists sometimes think of ourselves as a tight-knit little group living in a bubble all our own, but there is a strong case for making what we do more accessible to practitioners from other acupuncture disciplines. I have been thinking about this all week, because I need to present a proposal for a seminar to a European acupuncture association, and what came clearly to mind to me was that what I wanted to talk about were those aspects of my practice which could be incorporated into the protocols of other disciplines. As I see it, this is to build a bridge across an artificial divide. And I like that thought.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beware of public morality

Two events today struck me with their incongruity. On the one hand, I was sent an email with graphic photos of what is happening to Falun Gong practitioners in China today, on the other, there were all these television pundits moralizing about Tiger Woods, as though his indiscretions were a personal insult. I find it sad that it apparently makes good copy to act as though journalists are the trustees of public morality when in fact they are just being prurient, whilst out there, in the real world, people are dying in their thousands of torture, disease, famine and earthquake. Oh what a sad, sad, topsy-turvy world it could seem we live in.

On a brighter note, I end the day with happy thoughts of some patients who came for consultation to me and I now hear are doing very nicely. How lovely that a few gentle insertions of the needle can achieve such transformation. Am I not blessed to have found this calling?