I am pleased to share that people are trickling back into the clinic, receiving acupuncture in a safe environment, leaving feeling more relaxed, with less pain, and perhaps more hope and energy to dive back into our collective planetary journey – making sense of this ever changing world, grieving the losses and injustices and collaborating with each other, with resilient hope and energy on ways to make it a healthier, happier, and equitable place for all living beings.
On a recent Thursday, I held a one person vigil for a few hours across the street from Husky Stadium at UW, giving a few hundred bicyclists and pedestrians something to think about. Why am I writing about this and how is it relevant to acupuncture? Quite simply – we are all connected. Individual health is related to collective health.
If we choose to prioritize enforcement and punishment, paying police officers salaries in excess of $300,000 per year, while defunding social programs, education, health care, and related community investments, the violence and divisions in our society will only worsen.
In the wake of the brutal police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, public officials in many places, including Seattle, acknowledging widespread public outcry over police violence and racial profiling (the City of Seattle is still operating under a 2012 federal consent decree by the U.S. Justice Department for its historic pattern of police violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), quickly made sweeping promises for reform. But already, we are witnessing a predictable resistance to actually implementing these changes, with many Seattle Councilmembers already backpedaling on promises to defund the Seattle police by 50%.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Social activism doesn’t always look a certain way. Some of us have more privilege and certainly our comfort zones are all different. But perhaps we can all work at expanding our comfort zones, recognizing that BIPOC people have been fighting this fight for centuries, and suffer the health consequences that come from having to struggle and fight harder simply to survive, with sleep deprivation being an often unnoticed, but significant health impact.
It’s important to remind white people again and again, that silence equals complicity. There are many ways that we put up this defense that prevents us from stepping outside our bubble of comfort. When confronted with undeniable racial injustice in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Arbery and all the thousands of Blacks killed by police, we may retreat into habitual mind states that resist engaging. We wrestle with our conscience. Perhaps we feel some guilt as white people, feeling that we are somehow responsible for the choices and policies of our ancestors, but not knowing what to do. Race and social justice work feels incredibly complex and overwhelming at times, but running away from this complexity isn’t the answer. It only keeps us stuck in our cages of comfort, prisoners of our privilege, but not free in a truly connected sense with all life.
It all comes back to balance, being mindful of our own energy, neither guilt tripping ourselves for sometimes taking a break to restore and renew our own sense of joy and connection, nor underestimating our potential to be agents of change in a unique way suited to our own position and capabilities in society. On that note, I’ll leave you with just this much to reflect on, invite any questions or concerns you may have (including an open invitation to come in for acupuncture), and share a bit of healing imagery from a recent inter-species meeting I attended. It wasn’t on Zoom either: