October 11th, 2022

Today I graduated a patient. She had come for her first treatment in January, presenting with severe, debilitating migraines often lasting for days and for which she took strong, daily medication. She was in a state of perpetual worry, fearful of the future, obsessively overworking, constantly thinking, carrying severe childhood trauma, and drinking wine daily.

After the first treatment she felt utterly different, embraced the necessary dietary changes, and decided to throw away her medications. She didn’t have a migraine for months until—as most people do at least once—she stopped following the dietary advice, thinking that she could return to her old habits. The second migraine was the last, as she got the message and made the corrections. She also spontaneously decided on her own that she’d had her last glass of wine.

That could have been the end of that patient’s course of treatment but I felt we weren’t done quite yet. What struck me about her from the outset was the feeling that she was ready to run at any moment. She had a faint look about her like a rabbit that you catch sight of in your front yard. The rabbit nibbles the grass, but the ears are constantly twitching and turning, catching every shift in the landscape, ready to dash away from perceived or real danger every moment. I asked her about this sense that I had, and she told me the most extraordinary story about being an undocumented immigrant as a child and having to be ready to leave wherever she was at any moment until she became “legal” at the age of 18.

I put it to her that she might still believe she had to be ready to escape and that she still felt that at any moment she would receive a signal to run and hide, even in her important job, and that she had to prove her worthiness every day on the job in order to secure her place there. She looked perplexed and then agreed without doubt.

When she got on the table that day a few weeks ago, I needled into SP-4 to see if we could get her to reconnect heart and kidneys and create a sense of simply belonging everywhere and anywhere, to grant herself the right to her own footprints on earth, to own that her entire past was in fact her destiny.

As soon as the needle went in, she drew a sharp breath and went into a state of unmitigated panic. Her eyes opened wide in a terrified stare, her chest rose off the table and her breathing became shallow and suspended with her mouth open wide as if to silently scream. I assured her it was the energy of a lifetime of sheer panic emerging for release, and held her arm firmly, telling her it would subside soon as long as she didn’t resist the expression of the energy. With a tone of desperation, she gasped “What’s happening? What’s happening?” And again I assured her it was only the deposits of energy from years of panic being expressed and that it would soon pass. “Are you in danger now?” I asked. “No,” she said. “But your body is behaving as though you are. The energy is from long ago. Let it go. You are perfectly safe.” Slowly she calmed down. She asked what happened with a look of tremendous surprise. I explained that on a deep level she was holding the belief that she is in danger and must be ready to run. “Is it true that you are in danger and must be ready to run?” I asked. “No,” she said. “Well, that’s how you feel internally without realizing that you do believe it. Your panic on the table felt familiar, didn’t it?” “Yes, it did. I know that feeling very well.” “But you’re not living that life now.” “Right.“ “Say the words: I don’t need to be ready to run any more. I am a legal citizen of this country now.” She repeated it. “Say the words: I don’t need to earn my place in the world. Life is a gift and I simply am.” She repeated it.

What happened after that treatment was remarkable. Once she saw inside Chong Mai during the needling of SP-4, she was able to see how she had created an internal hell with the retention of the belief that she was unsafe. Her entire life changed after that day.

Today she came in and said she felt utterly free, that life is joyous, that she welcomed those 18 years of living in constant fear, ready to run, because it brought her to this state of being today. She said that her mind makes her chuckle—she can just observe her mind and its shenanigans and simply laugh. She said she sees and understands that the whole world is a creation of the mind. Nothing bothers her now and she said she’s ready for any challenge, that challenges are enlivening and opening and enriching and can be handled by simply being in them. She looked entirely at peace, not a trace of the previously embedded fear.

And so I graduated her. “From here, from this state of enlightenment, you can do anything, heal any illness, solve any problem just by being, just by observing your thoughts as you’ve learned to do so quickly. You’re welcome to come back any time, but you don’t need to.”

Then I asked myself, what kind of treatment should I give this person who is such a shining light and whose every wrist pulse is in perfect communication? Her beaming humanity and calm was so moving. I wished the world could visit and drink up the feeling in the room. To seal the moment, I did a Li Dong Yuan earth school treatment, not as a treatment but more as an acupuncture ritual (CV-12, ST-36, CV13, PC-6, CV-10, ST25). She left with the same feeling of absolute peace that she’d arrived in an hour earlier, just being in being.

I closed the door and experienced such immense gratitude for acupuncture. And for that patient. We work for the patient, but the patient is here for us, too.

Ann Cecil-Sterman
Oct. 11, 2022.

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1 thought on “Enlightenment and Acupuncture”

  1. I was introduced to your work last weekend by Burton Moomaw in a 2-day CE Seminar. It changed me forever. I will graduate in 2025 at age 67. There is no doubt that I am doing the right (very hard) thing. Thank you. V

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