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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Meaning of Life According to My Acupuncturist

Once upon a time I had a very nasty red, bumpy rash on my thighs and it itched like crazy. Normally I'm the type to generally suck it up when it comes to life's little illnesses or physical inconveniences, but this was not to be ignored. So, after a week of oatmeal baths and aloe vera rubs, I went to see a dermatologist. The doctor looked me over and promptly announced I was experiencing a reaction to antibiotics. When I informed said doctor that I hadn't been on antibiotics in at least ten years, he told me I must be mistaken because that rash was definitely the result of a reaction to antibiotics. Don't you just a love a good doctor who listens? He prescribed some pills and some creams and sent me on my way. I used all the stupid medicine and had no relief whatsoever. Finally, I went to see an acupuncturist who spent a lot of time asking me all kinds of questions about my life. To my surprise she pulled out a pamphlet that pictured a rash that looked exactly like mine. She then went on to educate me on the cycles we go through in life, and they are broken into four seasons: spring, summer, winter and fall. Now, our personal seasons don't necessarily coincide with the actual seasons, but rather reflect important points within our life. Spring is a time in your life when you are full of new ideas and new directions. It can be when you are buying a new house, or starting a business, or having a child. It can be as simple as beginning a new work out regime. It represents beginnings, newness. We all have many, many springs within our lifetime. Summer is the fullness of the new idea. It's when we bare the fruit of our new endeavor. Fall is a slowing down of the growth. It represents the coming of the end. Now, I know that sounds bad, but it's really not. It can mean we've reached our goals, it's time to for a well deserved rest. And then winter is a time for rest. It's a peaceful time when we are designed to restore and renew our energy. We need the quiet to settle and generate new directions. All of these seasons are essential and ongoing within ones lifetime. And, there are wonderful and difficult things that can happen in all the stages. The wonderful scripture: for all things there is a season, speaks of this exact concept. If we don't move through the stages as they natural begin and end, there can be physical repercussions. As it turns out, my rash was the result of my refusing to move through my Fall. At that time, I didn't even know I was in a Fall, but I had been dealing with some really hard things. I thought I was handling everything quite swimmingly, however, my rash was proof to the contrary. My sister had died about 6 weeks earlier, way too young of cancer. Also, at that time, it became very apparent that I had to close my store, which I had only just opened. It seems wrong somehow to even mention my store in the same sentence as my sister, because one represents a priceless human life and the other is just a business. But, for me it was more than that. It represented what I saw as a pinnacle of years of hard work and sacrifice, an arrival, my greatest work so far. And, it didn't just fail, it fail spectacularly. I lost all the money I had managed to save in 10 years of business. I lost my vision, and I lost my confidence. It was a devastating loss. And, well, loosing my sister, I guess I don't need to explain how heartbreaking that was. I moved through my Fall. I let go. I mourned. I rested. And I waited for something new.

I didn't want either of those things to be true, but they were true none the less. We all know deep within ourselves, all truth, but sometimes we just don't have the courage to look at it, really look at it. So, we play a game with mind, attempt to convince ourselves that we're just fine, handling everything. And then comes the rash, or the heart attack, or the failed marriage, or the break down.

So, take my wise tail of the angry red rash, and learn from it. If you're stuck, I'm here to stand with you. I will hold your hand as you face the truths of this life that you just don't want to face, and I promise you, Spring will come again.

I don't know why I wanted to tell you this story. Maybe because I'm sensing a long awaited Springtime. Maybe you're stuck and don't know it. Maybe you're in the thralls of Springtime or the fullness of summer and I want you to stand still and enjoy it. Wherever you are, embrace all that this time has to offer. For me, I feel change and possibility swirling all around me. Spring is in the air.

2 comments:

  1. Such inspirational words,Mary! I've had the "stress rash" on my hands and arms in the past. Couldn't believe it when the doctor told me it was stress and not an allergic reaction. Always thought I could handle anything. But I've learned that I'm not immune and that I, too need to slow down and take care of myself first and foremost. You've been quite a rock for me lately and I'm so grateful for your wonderful example, support and wisdom. You've helped me to find comfort and peace during some very stressful situations.
    I, too see wonderful "spring" possibilities in your near future. I can't wait to see what happens next for you! I'm here to help in any way that you need me. xoxo

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  2. Mary, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. Really, how unexpected and tragic for you. The loss of a store can feel like a loss of identity since we are so tied in to our businesses. Or so we think. Please know that many people are here to admire, support and be inspired by you - whatever you do. I hope you are enjoying your summer! Roselle McConnell

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