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Compassion in an Age of Trauma

by Michelle Marcotte HHP MSTOM L.Ac.

Compassion in an Age of Trauma, MARCOTTE ACUPUNCTURE $40-60 sliding scale in El Cajon, La Mesa. Santee, Lakeside, san diego

Compassion in an Age of Trauma

I want you to know you are not alone. Most of us are scared and tired and trying to figure out how we're going to make it financially, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I want you to know your stress and pain and fear is a normal and rational response to the times we are living in. And it's important to know, the reason we feel them is our brains know we may be in danger and they are trying to help us first, survive. The survival instinct within our bodies, which come from this earth, and the many centuries we have lived here, are so meticulously honed they are automatically triggered when our bodies/brains believe we are in possible danger. It's a sub and unconscious reaction. And it exists to protect us. It is exhibited in the SNS, sympathetic nervous system response. And, balancing out this response by activating the PNS, the parasympathetic nervous system, is the very first thing that happens in an acupuncture treatment. 

It is why your mind begins to calm, your muscles relax and your stomach begins to gently rumble. It is why you need to go the bathroom before and after a treatment! Your body and your brain know it is time to rest, rejuvenate and heal. Many of the stresses and tensions we carry in our minds, hearts, and bodies, if we've carried them for a long time, or our stresses and burdens have become especially acute, turn into diseases. Sometimes even diseases of despair. In this stressful age that we are living through, together, if we want to not only get through but transform and rejuvenate our lives, communities, country and planet we need to learn how to develop equanimity, which is the ability to stay centered, calm and rational in the midst of a storm. It is learning, cultivating and practicing the art of balance. And balance is what we're creating in an acupuncture treatment and treatment plan. In fact, balance is the foundational essence of Chinese Medicine not just within ourselves but with the natural world. Chinese Medicine teaches us how to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and the earth in a foundation of understanding that we are one with the universe, as much of the earth as of spirit, and here to learn how to live in harmony and healthy connection with both, at the same time, just as we are...

All of us are doing the best we can. We are all suffering in our own ways. And so are our bodies. One significant practice that helps build equanimity is practicing compassion for ourselves and our bodies, especially when we are in pain. The next time you feel pain whether it is physical or emotional, instead of judging it or quickly trying to get rid of it- acknowledge it. Be with it. Thank your body or your feeling for telling you it needs your attention and possibly your help. Then practice compassion for that body part or emotion. In time, with practice you may even learn what the pain is trying to tell/teach you. You can also practice this with others. When you are confronted with their pain, and you feel your SNS beginning to trigger, stop. Take a few deep breaths. And instead of reacting, listen. And if you are able, and it is a situation where you are safe, try to understand. This is how we begin to learn to cooperate with ourselves and each other, by cultivating compassion. It is what will help us not only build equanimity, but a foundation of cooperation that will help us create the healthier, compassionate and more balanced world most of us want to live in.

Wishing you love, compassion and healthy balance,