I don’t know whether we live in increasingly polarized times, or if it just seems that way because of how we interact with news at this point in history. But election day always stresses me out, and apparently election day 18 months into a pandemic feels even harder than usual.
Having treated thousands of people over the last 11 years, I have definitely treated people who have opinions I profoundly disagree with. Probably also some people who I wouldn’t get along with in a different context. But it’s incredibly rare for me to dislike someone who comes in for community acupuncture. I generally get to encounter people in some of their realest moments—they arrive needing tangible help with a serious problem, and they usually leave feeling significantly better.
This job offers a steady reminder that 1) People don’t suck and 2) People are very interesting. So I was comforted to come to clinic today, and held the following thoughts close as I worked:
People usually relax deeply during acupuncture treatment. Being around relaxed people helps us to relax. As mammals, we take note of our surroundings, whether consciously or subconsciously. Our nervous systems take cues from other people to determine the relative safety of any situation.
So when you get treatment here, you directly support other people getting treatment here.
You’re helping them relax, which amplifies and deepens the effect of the acupuncture.
Even if you’d really dislike this person if you met them in a different context.
Somewhere in the world right now, maybe in Guelph, maybe somewhere else, people who would not like each other at all if they had a conversation are supporting each other’s healing by sleeping side by side in a community acupuncture clinic.
(Fewer polling stations and fewer election workers are making for long lineups today. If you’re voting, give yourself extra time and bring snacks.)