}

Community Acupuncture is a Social Business

Hello Everybody, as you probably know, since punklings have been pestered everybody we can, we are knee deep the Membership Drive. We  are currently down about $1700 from what we raised last May, but we've raised $11,185 s far, so that is really nothing to sneeze at. Thank you everybody for your involvement, Hopefully we can get closer to the amounts raised last May.

In honor of the membership drive, Pam Chang of Sarana Community Acupuncture write a really lovely piece. Reading it made me really grateful for the tangible ways in which we do not have to do this alone, and thank goodness. I hope you enjoy it!

 

"Community Acupuncture is a Social Business”

When I first heard this phrase, it was explained to me that social businesses value building “social capital” --reputation and goodwill-- more than they value accumulating money profits. Of course, we have to earn enough to pay the rent and salaries, and utilities and supplies, etc, but once the bills are paid, what matters most is growing roots into our community and providing a valued service.

Ten years into working at and co-managing Sarana Community Acupuncture, I find myself surrounded by social dividends.

Years ago, I don’t remember where, I heard that humans evolved to interact best in small communities, villages of several hundred people at most, where everyone pretty much knew everyone else, by reputation, if not more closely. By contrast, I live in an urban area among hundreds of thousands of people but I have interactions with very few. In my pre-acupuncture life when I worked at an architecture firm, I mostly interacted with my dozen-or-so co-workers, plus, at most, another couple dozen friends, relatives, and acquaintances who I might keep up with regularly on evenings and weekends. Later, as a self-employed freelancer, I could go days without conversing with anyone between 9am and 5pm unless I took a walk to the copy store or corner grocery. I don’t think my situation was unusual. I don’t think I felt isolated, but in retrospect, I see my prior professional life as socially impoverished.

Now, as a community acupuncturist three days per week, I regularly interact face-to-face with a couple hundred people each week. Although my circle of fellow-employees is less than a handful, I also see a rotating array of 20-30 volunteers who work the front desk and do laundry, housekeeping, bookkeeping, and plant care. Most of them are stellar people: idealistic, competent, responsible, wanting to give of themselves to support their community clinic. Their backgrounds are widely diverse: black, white, American-born, immigrant, Asian, Latino, teachers, students, parents, retirees, an engineer, a real estate agent, a translator, artists, musicians, actors. They expand my world and make my life easier.

The biggest enlargement of my social sphere are my clients, the 50-60 people who each week, in five-or-less minutes per session, month after month, year after year, share their lives with me. Admittedly, not all of these acquaintances pan out. Some people disappear. Some become burdensome and I’ve had to learn how to limit the attention I give them. But I’ve gained much from my clients, above and beyond the already-powerful experience of treating them and witnessing the progression of their lives. I’ve heard anecdotes -- learned about Doug’s parrot who, wanting to hide, would respond to “Where’s Birdie?” with “Birdie’s not here!”. I’ve had a client connect me to a cellist who lives near me -- now we play Friday evening early-music regularly. I’ve acquired catch-phrases that clients originated: “dinosaur points” for points near the lower brain; “that’s why we travel in herds” for the wisdom of more heads being better than one; “you can only treat one patient at a time” for a reminder to slow down and not get flustered.  I’ve traded books with clients, reading suggestions, horrible puns, fruits and vegetables, plant cuttings, jams and honey, recipes, artwork, and many, many expressions of gratitude. I’ve come to know people, many whose life experiences are vastly different from my own. I’ve come to respect how much I cannot know of the struggles people face.

Community Acupuncture is a social business. It’s been said that our society is forgetting how to be civil. Letters to Dear Abby and Miss Manners gripe of people who text through dinner dates, who don’t say thanks, who engage in road rage and display varying degrees of rudeness, selfishness, and obliviousness to their fellow beings. Community Acupuncture offers all of us --clients, punks, volunteers-- an opportunity to practice being social without the burden of much conversation. It may be just a bunch of people sleeping in recliners, but it is also a place for us to be together, to acknowledge human suffering, and to value ourselves and each other for whatever we bring to maintaining a calm shared space. Community Acupuncture demonstrates the pleasure to be had in simple, caring, well-defined social interactions. In a world that can be seen as full of fear, uncertainty, stress, anxiety, and polarity, Community Acupuncture helps re-weave the social fabric.


Pamela O. Chang
Sarana Community Acupuncture,
http://www.saranaca.org
April 2018


 

This story was posted on May 22 2018 by teatree.
Tags: No tags are attributed to this article.

Comments

  • May 29 2018 at 10:30 PM
    swiggs writes:

    I just LOVE this so much! Thanks, Pam. You really express the intimacy we cultivate with people over the course of treatments. There’s just nothing like it and many boutiquers just don’t believe that in short time exchanges that much can happen. We see it every single day!

      2 likes
  • June 8 2018 at 11:23 AM
    TravisB writes:

    Thanks for this Pam.  Love it!

      1 likes

Add your 2 cents!

You must be logged in to comment on the blog.


Who Likes This:

  • Lisafer
  • sonyagregg
  • Bob W
  • Paxcow
  • melissabschwartz
  • susiefanslow
  • Roppy
  • urbanapuncture
  • TravisB
  • Lori
-- placeholder --

Who's been POCAing lately.

  • renata commented on the blog post '"Support for FPD Increasing"' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, October 15, 2018
  • crismonteiro commented on the blog post 'Part 2 in the Saga of WJIP/CA...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, October 12, 2018
  • monkeyacupunk commented on the blog post 'Part 2 in the Saga of WJIP/CA...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, October 12, 2018
  • monkeyacupunk commented on the blog post 'Highlighting a Really Neato POCA Tech Punkling Project' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, October 12, 2018
  • MichelleRivers commented on the blog post 'Part 2 in the Saga of WJIP/CA...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, October 10, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'Multi....' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, October 08, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'On Beginning, Again - for new and old punks. Part 1, Guest Post by Cait Cain' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, October 05, 2018
  • monkeyacupunk commented on the blog post 'On Beginning, Again - for new and old punks. Part 1, Guest Post by Cait Cain' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, October 04, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'On Beginning, Again - for new and old punks. Part 1, Guest Post by Cait Cain' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, October 04, 2018
  • monkeyacupunk commented on the blog post 'On Beginning, Again - for new and old punks. Part 1, Guest Post by Cait Cain' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, October 03, 2018
  • Justine commented on the blog post 'On Beginning, Again - for new and old punks. Part 1, Guest Post by Cait Cain' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, October 03, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'First Day of October Membership Drive!!! Woooo!!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, October 02, 2018
  • Spartacus commented on the blog post 'First Day of October Membership Drive!!! Woooo!!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, October 02, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'First Day of October Membership Drive!!! Woooo!!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, October 02, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'First Day of October Membership Drive!!! Woooo!!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, October 01, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, September 29, 2018
  • StaceyK commented on the blog post 'Open Letter to the Acupuncture Profession Regarding the Opiate Crisis' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, September 27, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, September 20, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'POCA Tech Is Accredited***' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, September 13, 2018
  • laura.berglund commented on the blog post 'Boots on the Ground: We Have a POCA Tech Grad at Our Clinic!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, September 11, 2018
  • Spartacus commented on the blog post 'POCA Tech Is Accredited***' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, September 10, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'POCAfest Gratitude: Guest Post from Maya of GCA' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, September 04, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, August 31, 2018
  • annye02 commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, August 31, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, August 31, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, August 31, 2018
  • annye02 commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, August 30, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, August 28, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, August 28, 2018
  • engerin commented on the blog post 'If You Can't Be a Good Example...' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, August 28, 2018
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'Thank You Again, from POCA Tech to FSPA' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, August 20, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'Thank You Again, from POCA Tech to FSPA' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, August 20, 2018
  • engerin commented on the blog post 'Boots on the Ground: We Have a POCA Tech Grad at Our Clinic!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, August 17, 2018
  • chico community acupuncture commented on the blog post 'POCA and the Commons: POCAfest Keynote 2018' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, August 15, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'Boots on the Ground: We Have a POCA Tech Grad at Our Clinic!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, August 14, 2018
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'Boots on the Ground: We Have a POCA Tech Grad at Our Clinic!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Sunday, August 12, 2018
  • oRen commented on the blog post 'Videos from Liberation Acupuncture in Portland, OR 2018' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, August 06, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'thanks, POCA! love, POCA Tech' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, August 02, 2018
  • Sarah M commented on the blog post 'POCA Tech's Cohort 2 Has Graduated!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, July 27, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, July 24, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, July 24, 2018
  • janisx commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, July 23, 2018
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, July 23, 2018
  • janisx commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, July 23, 2018
  • melissabschwartz commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Sunday, July 22, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, July 21, 2018
  • Spartacus commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, July 21, 2018
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, July 21, 2018
  • janisx commented on the blog post 'As Seen in O, the Oprah Magazine' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, July 21, 2018
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'POCA Tech's Cohort 2 Has Graduated!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, July 20, 2018