Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.
– Ovid, Roman poet
The New Year started out with a bang work-wise. I found out I was going on a five-city business trip within a two-week span and more projects poured in on top of the projects I was already working on. I woke up early Sunday morning with a panic attack, wondering how I was going to meet my deadlines before I board my plane Friday night. Three weeks after returning from the holidays, I’m a train wreck.
My neck pain has flared. Sitting in a chair for hours has produced sharp pain in my lower back and my sciatica has resurfaced. I’m currently sporting braces on both arms for carpal tunnel syndrome. Yes, a train wreck. I’m thankfully not pulling all-nighters because frankly I can’t stay up like I used to (and shouldn’t have back then, in my younger and more vulnerable years). But the downside is that I simply don’t have enough time to finish what I need to get done.
I had it on my to-do list to call my acupuncturist before my red-eye flight. But I couldn’t carve out the time, I argued with myself. I’m glad the sensible part of me won. Late this afternoon, I went in and, lying on the table in a heated room, with soft music soothing my downtrodden soul, I was at rest and gathering strength.
I first saw Portia Lee, my acupuncturist, last April. I’d always wanted to try acupuncture for various aches and pains, particularly my sciatica. But last April I was suffering from insomnia. I could not sleep no matter what I did – warm baths, power down from electronics (maybe I tried that once) an hour before going to bed, reading, deep breathing. Nothing worked. It got to the point where I was terrified of going to bed because I knew it was going to be another night of tossing and turning, and then unbelievable exhaustion the following day. After talking with a few friends and relatives, I discovered that this is symptom of the changes. The insomnia went on for a few weeks before I succumbed to going to my nurse practitioner.
Did I want to do a trial and error with sleeping pills or anti-anxiety pills? She suggested the latter because anxiety often creates insomnia. I just want to sleep, I demanded. We tried sleeping pills. That lasted two nights. They made me groggy and exhausted. There was really no difference between the problem and the cure. So I decided to try acupuncture, and I ventured to Portia’s practice, Traditional Ways Healing Center (6931 Stockton Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530, 799.8788, firstname.lastname@example.org), after looking her up on the Internet.
I’ve never had such a thorough examination and discussion of my physical, emotional and mental well-being. It was eye-opening for me to talk about things that were impacting my body. I was in her office for three hours. I fell asleep on the table. Who wouldn’t when you have a lavender eye pillow, a comfortable pad and pillow, incense and soft music setting the mood, and a just-so warm room? All my troubles were outside that door. I left with some bottles of herbs and roots, and as I was walking out, I noticed the lack of pain in my left leg. It was a lightness that occurs when a pain you’ve accepted and lived with all these years has been suddenly lifted. I was able to sleep immediately with valerian, though I actually haven’t used it for several months now. I’ve had a couple of acupuncture tune-ups since then, mostly when my stress levels have risen – like now.
I still have to make it to the end of the week, intact and with as much work done as I can possibly do. My body has been energized by acupuncture. I just have to be kind to my body to keep going. And take a deep breath. You can only do what you can do. The world won’t collapse over a missed deadline.
Someone once said, “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.” As I tackle the next deadline, I do so with a more balanced body. Now to nurture that peace in my head.