The Untapped Potentials in “Community” Acupuncture—response to Lonny Jarrett

My dear friend and comrade Gene sent me a copy of an article in which, he said, "I think Lonny Jarrett gave community acupuncture a simultaneous fist bump, left handed compliment, and a call out (in the latest edition of California Journal of OM)."

The article is "Chinese Medicine in the 21st Century: Integral and Evolutionary Perspectives". Since it's not possible to link to the article online (though CAN members should check the forums, because you never know what you might find there), I'm quoting big chunks of text (in italics) in order to give this conversation some context. Gene noted that the article included some scolding of acupuncturists for allowing Chinese medicine to become a boutique indulgence for consumers who just want to feel better, but don't want to really change. Huh, I thought, that's interesting; and having read the article, it's very interesting, and also very problematic and very pertinent to our concerns. And I agree with Gene, it's a call out to us, if only in a footnote. So! Here I am. (More on that later.)

The article is essentially about the kind of people that Chinese medicine treats, and the kind of people who treat them. Lonny Jarrett announces that in the first paragraph when he writes,  From a certain perspective, the type of human being that we treat in the West didn't even exist when the classic texts were written. The typical practitioner and patient in the West today may be counted among the most fortunate group of people to have ever lived in terms of material wealth, freedom, and comfort. I think he's saying, basically, that there is a new kind of patient, one who really should have nothing to complain about, and yet complains endlessly. This is due to a cultural distortion that places excessive emphasis on the individual. The way to address this distortion is for the practitioner to recognize his own integrity as foundational to the practice of medicine, and then to use that integrity to inspire this new species of patient to stop whining and start saving the world. By means of integrity. I think. Here's where he brings us into the conversation:

In the context of a global world, and in the face of its challenges, what is the continued relevance of "one on one" medicine?  (Footnote: This discussion points to some interesting and, as yet, untapped potentials in "community" acupuncture.) What is the significance of helping an individual feel better when the human species is threatened with extinction?

Well, since you asked, that's something I've been wanting to talk about anyway.

I started the clinic that would become WCA at the end of an episode in my life that could probably best be described as a pretty comprehensive personal dis-integration. I've generally left this part out of descriptions of our beginnings, and don't worry, I'll spare you the details. Basically what happened was that as a result of moving to Oregon and going to acupuncture school, I discovered things like therapy and bodywork and yoga, things that were not previously part of my universe, and I did them. After I did them for a while, it became clear that I had constructed a lot of my personal reality on the building blocks of some major denial. I don't really know if it was the pressure introduced by the therapy or the bodywork or the yoga, or the stress of not being able to make a living doing acupuncture, or whether there's just a time limit on that kind of shoddy construction, but the denial eventually fell apart and so did I. And not in a minor way. I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't get out of bed, and then when I finally did, I realized I had to leave my public health job doing acupuncture with chronically homeless and addicted folks, because I couldn't take it anymore.  I realized I needed to work in a setting where there wasn't any chaos (as in, a clinic that didn't catch fire while I was working, and where nobody threw needles at each other). Also, I needed to make enough money to pay my student loans.  In general, I needed to be much, much kinder to myself. This wasn't an idealistic impulse, it was a practical one; if I wasn't kind to myself, I wasn't functional either. I was too hurt to be tough. The setting I needed to work in didn't exist, so I made it.

And so WCA was born out of my need to take care of myself. Interestingly enough, as I kept trying to take care of myself, and that kept working out better than NOT taking care of myself, it also became clear that taking care of myself was not actually separate from taking care of my neighbors. The only way to integrate myself as a working class person and an acupuncturist was to take care of working class patients. Well, duh. Like a lot of other things about the community acupuncture movement, it took an awfully long time to recognize the obvious. The only way for me to really manage my history was to live in a different kind of present, one that I had to create, and one which allowed me to be connected to my community instead of separated from it -- that was part of the healing.

I know that plenty of people out there don't believe in oppression, or think it's some completely abstract dimension of political correctness, and I'm not going to try to convince you, but I am going to say that looking at oppression helped me reconstruct and integrate myself in a way that was based on truth instead of denial. Society doesn't treat poor people or working class people well, or women and children, or immigrants or people with mental illness -- it's one thing to think about that abstractly in college, and it's another to admit what it means, concretely and without denial, in your own history and your family's history. I realized I had a choice: I could continue to treat myself the way society had taught me I deserved to be treated; I could perpetuate various subtle forms of violence against myself for the rest of my life, because that was familiar, or I could stop. I could refuse to be my own oppressor. Maybe I had no control over how society or any other person treated me, but I didn't have to participate.  That was just the negative part --  deciding that I won't hurt myself, no matter how subtly; the positive part was even more powerful. The bravest and most radical thing I could do was to take care of myself, to approach my own wellbeing like a serious project that deserved time and thought and attention and effort. Given who I was, where I came from, and what I'd experienced, that was practically an act of civil disobedience.

And every time I took care of a patient who was like me in some way -- a working class person, a woman, someone who had experienced violence or lost someone they loved, someone with chronic physical or mental illness in her family -- I was building a new world, a world in which people like me were valuable.

I have been wanting to write something like this ever since Michelle Fanslau put up this post after the CANference about how doing community acupuncture is a very gentle kind of activism. But I also find myself thinking about these themes as I'm working on the development of our cooperative, POCA. It's so technical, there's so much detail, it's so much time and trouble to set up a cooperative, that I catch myself thinking, oh God, is this worth it? What if this doesn't work out? And that's exactly the point. It IS a lot of time and trouble, and that's why nothing like it exists for us and our patients already. Creating it requires making a decision -- and making it over and over -- that we deserve that much time and thought and attention and effort from ourselves. We deserve something complex and well designed that really meets our collective needs. This is just as true of creating a clinic as it is of creating a cooperative. Acting like people like US deserve something like THAT requires real courage.

What is the significance of helping an individual feel better when the human species is threatened with extinction?

Sure, in the global scheme of things, my personal pain is insignificant. But for me to treat myself that way is to perpetuate the cycle of violence.  And  to treat people like me as if their physical and mental suffering deserved attention and care --  in other words, as if their bodies and minds really mattered -- is to rewrite the laws of the universe I live in. (Also, I have to say, I think this whole question possibly looks entirely different, and not so rhetorical, based on whether or not you've ever felt PERSONALLY threatened with extinction, and no, I'm not talking about global warming.)

I get the value of transforming your perspective beyond personal pain, I really do. But the problem with Lonny Jarrett's article is that it leaves community out of the picture. When he writes,

...the only compelling imperative for holistic medicine that makes sense from the biggest clinical perspective is the evolution of the individual not strictly for his or her own sake, but for the sake of emergence of higher cultural values

it DOESN'T make sense to me, because I can't separate the individuals I treat from the community that they belong to and I belong to. Contrasting the evolution of individuals withthe emergence of higher cultural values seems hopelessly abstract. How can you talk about individuals and values outside of the context of communities?

Apparently not coincidentally,  yesterday my friend Nora posted a link to an interview with a Detroit activist, Adrienne Maree Brown. The interview was very cool, so I followed another link to Adrienne Maree's blog, where, lo and behold, her most recent post addressed some of the same issues as Lonny Jarrett's article, but from a completely and illuminatingly different perspective. She wrote:

"I am starting to believe in wholeness, not as a future concept, but apresent one. I am starting to believe, after years of angst and anger and suffering that was both empathetic and experiential, that there is nothing wrong with the world. that in fact the world is miraculous:

mi·rac·u·lous/m??raky?l?s/Adjective
1. Occurring through divine or supernatural intervention.
2. Highly improbable and extraordinary and bringing very welcome consequences: “our miraculous escape”.

there are lots of things that are horrific, there are stories to carry, there are things that are unfair, violent, disgusting, unjustifiable. there is all of that, some of it close to my heart and some of it far.

but every single place I see suffering see days, I see better people,survivors, brilliant communities. i see and hear the rush as people tell the story of their suffering, once they learn to tell it. I see resilience within all of this suffering and oppression and experienced scarcity, transforming people from addictive individuality to sustainable communalism."

Isn't that beautiful? And yeah -- for some of us, helping an individual feel better is how we come to believe in wholeness. Because feeling better is, in itself, miraculous. That's the significance.

The individuals who recognize and value the principles of holistic medicine, and can afford it, are in a position at the forefront of culture to meet the challenges demanded by a global world head-on. And yet it is this very demographic that is stagnated by narcissism, postmodern pluralism, and is endlessly fascinated, entertained by, and trapped in, a self-centric process of consuming experience in the name of "healing".

So wait -- what about patients who recognize and value the principles of holistic medicine, but *can't* afford it? I guess they're not at the forefront of culture, ready to meet the challenges of the global world. Does that mean they're in the rear, the hindmost, at the tail end? Out in the alley? Where exactly are they in this discussion? Or are we back to the part about how the only people who REALLY value holistic medicine are the ones who can afford it? I'm confused. Either way, though, it sounds an awful lot like the people who really matter, the ones who might be able to save the world, are the ones with privilege, if only they would stop focusing on themselves the way this article keeps focusing on them.

One of our primary directives must be to break this cycle of self-indulgence. We as clinicians must become relatively less concerned with the patient's internal experience and relatively more concerned with the evolution of the patient's values and integrity as evidenced by his or her behavior...It's interesting to note that when we practitioners put our attention on a patient's highest potential and encourage it as a living possibility "right now", we often encounter an enormous degree of resistance from the patient. It becomes evident rather quickly that patients come to us for comfort and not to be held accountable to any higher potential...

It's hard to read that without wondering whether Lonny Jarrett likes or respects his patients. It doesn't sound like it. And it's hard not to notice the contrast between this article and this blog, or this one, or any of the others where community acupunks overflow with love for their jobs and their patients. I have to think that's somehow significant for the conversation about the kind of people that Chinese medicine treats, and the kind of people that treat them.

We in Chinese medicine pride ourselves on our holistic value system, but the truth is, we tend to ignore a patient's ethical development in favor of improved physical functioning and emotional "wellbeing". Materialism and narcissism are endemic in our culture, and are central forces at the root of the problems we face. Our willingness and ability to face these forces in our patients will reflect the degree to which we have taken them on in ourselves.

The word "holistic", when applied to medicine, implies that a patient moves from a relatively divided state to ever increasing states of integration and wholeness. The word "integral", as applied to the practice of medicine, signifies to me that a practitioner's own integrity is implicated in his ability to motivate a patient toward wholeness.

So that kind of sounds like it's all about the practitioner being amazing, and if he is amazing enough, he will inspire his patients to become amazing also. That is definitely different from my experience, in which what is principally amazing is how many of us keep getting out of bed when we have so many reasons not to. Seriously, that's amazing. Despite everything that has happened and keeps happening to us, we keep showing up, we keep going bravely out into the world, we keep making an effort to take care of ourselves and each other. Lots of us aren't what you might describe as whole, but we're here anyway. And that's why I love going to work.

Our integrity as practitioners has import beyond any technical prowess or academic knowledge we may possess...It seems to me that the minimal requirement for being a healer ought to be having come to a place in one's own life where no more time is being taken to overcome one's past and all attention and effort is placed on creating a more wholesome future.

Huh. It sounds like my past and Lonny Jarrett's were considerably different. Can I have his? Just to see what that's like?  Also, back to the issue of community. How can you "overcome" your past when people you care about are still living it? My clinic IS me overcoming my past, and also creating my future. I don't get how you separate those, or how you separate them from your community.

The article ends:

 The highest understanding of this medicine is practically demonstrated in the quality of one's relationships with others.  Hence we must strive toward a higher,  more evolutionarily mature expression for the profession as a whole, in a way that can elevate our patients and the culture at large...The emergence and evolution of spirit is the highest goal of medicine if it is to do more than heal the body and comfort the mind, which, at this point in history, is simply not enough.

To sum up: it sounds like for Lonny Jarrett, as for much of the acupuncture profession, relieving mental and physical pain, for actual people, is just too boring. But that isn't true for us. So it sounds like the untapped potential of community acupuncture for elevating the culture is going to have to remain untapped. Please leave us out of your evolution. It doesn't seem to have any room in it for our patients or our communities, and we're not going anywhere without them.

This story was posted on May 30 2011 by Lisafer.

Comments

  • May 30 2011 at 5:49 PM
    Nic writes:

    .

    Lots of us aren’t what you might describe as whole, but we’re here anyway. And that’s why I love going to work.

     

    Love it!

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  • May 30 2011 at 8:58 PM
    ETCA writes:

    Lonny and Andrew Cohen

    Lonny is a great guy (I studied with him and hung out a bit) and is really into his guru Andrew Cohen.  It would be difficult at this point for Lonny to separate his work in acupuncture and his spiritual work with Andrew Cohen—Lonny is an integrative type and the content of his course spans the gamut from 5E to TCM to pulses (he is a master of Chinese pulses via apprenticing with Leon Hammer).  

    Lonny is actively weaving his belief in evolutionary enlightenment with his work in acupuncture. This is very evident if you have spent some time looking over his second book (the big Red book).  The content of his course was very integrated with Andrew Cohen’s teachings five years ago. I can only imagine it is even more interwoven now.

    For the record I liked his course, he is a great teacher and a smart guy and I think he lives, breathes and eats Chinese  Medicine.  As a side note I believe he did have a happy childhood, more or less. 

    I will say in practical terms I picked up more useful technical skills working with Susan Johnson. However if you do want to challenge yourself in an evolutionary enlightenment kinda way Lonny can lead the way.

    My sense of him is that he definitely wants to focus on spiritual development over every day physical medicine in his own practice. 

    He also has a strong aversion to patchouli wearing hippies who cry when they hold a needle or ring a bell. 

     

     

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  • May 30 2011 at 9:35 PM
    Skip writes:

    What I read from his article

    Is his allegiance to his class background. 

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  • May 30 2011 at 11:00 PM
    ellengrover writes:

    more love, i can hardly stand it. 

    hearing you speak about being much, much kinder to yourself reminds me of an entirely different kind of protection than what i was thinking of last week—the kind that inga muscio (who also addresses the kind of denial of oppression you’re talking about, in autobiography of a blue-eyed devil) encourages us all to start out with.  

    quoting (in pieces) her womanifesto in cunt:  a declaration of independence:

    “when you massage your friend because she’s PMSing hard, that’s self-protection.  

    when you dance, run, jump, buy yourself a birthday cake even though your birthday’s five months away, cavort, kiss all the girls you love to love, laugh, sing, shout, jump rope, ding-dong ditch the house of someone who gets on your nerves, swing, climb trees, pick your nose in public, daydream, eat with your fingers, break something on purpose, fart loud, skip and pin your friends to the ground and tickle them, that’s self-protection.  

    every time you look in the mirror and your heart races because you think ‘i’m so fucking rad,”  that’s self-protection.

    protect your self.”   

      So when you say 

    And so WCA was born out of my need to take care of myself. Interestingly enough, as I kept trying to take care of myself, and that kept working out better than NOT taking care of myself, it also became clear that taking care of myself was not actually separate from taking care of my neighbors. 

    clearly,

    when you build a kickass first-of-its kind clinic in a buttugly building in Cully and call it Working Class Acupuncture, home-birthing a revolution/unending lovefest, that’s self-protection.  and then some.   

    when you keep digging deep and insisting that dealing with all of the paperwork and details and lawyers and numbers that creating POCA involves is worth it, it’s also way bigger than self-protection.  I just want to thank you and EVERYONE who is working so hard right now to get that work done, SO MUCH.  I know I am not speaking for myself either when I say that.    

    And, now I don’t know who should be the one to go up against you in the jello-pit of my dreams.  So many options…  

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  • May 31 2011 at 2:03 AM
    tatyana writes:

    thank you for writing this blog

    Lisa - I resonate so much with your need to start WCA in order to take care of yourself. That was exactly the reason I needed, had to, start doing community acupuncture. I needed that stability of purpose and life and so I created it (with great help of WCA). I
    was (clearly) not going through the level of unravelling you are describing, but I was living in a tiny studio apartment with some very whacky neighbors, working 4 jobs, including a public health acupuncture job and struggling really hard to survive. Part of taking care of myslef was choosing to work with people whose stresses and
    struggles I share, so I would not have to hide from who I really was.

    Lonny Jarret’s article to me is just a bunch of abstract intellectual self-stroking. I could never presume that I have any abililty or any right to “elevate” anyone to a higher evolutionary anything. In fact, I would say, that my patients usually do a great job of elevating me to my higher potential, daily, just by showing up and trusting me with the priviledge of serving them. All I can do is provide a service by placing acupuncture needles and thereby hopefully helping relieve suffering. Chronic pain (for example) is hell and a person in hell cannot explore their “higher potential”, they can only think of how to get out of hell or how to cope with the suffering they are experiencing. Of course patients come to us for comfort - what the fuck is wrong with that? A couple of years before I started my community clinic, I subleased a private office form a (5E) acupuncturist. On one of my first days there, she said to me - “I am not interested in treating, say, elbow pain. I want to only work with people who want to experience profound spiritual transformation.” I replied : “Well, honey, go ahead and send that elbow pain person to me.” I think it *is* enough to comfort the body and mind, I just think we need to do a ton more of it and that is a job I would be happy to spend the rest of my life doing.

    ~tatyana

    Sarana Community Acupuncture

    Albany, CA

     

      1 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 9:24 AM
    ETCA writes:

    Losing sight of the goal

    Treating elbow pain and leading a patient to their higher purpose can be one in the same.  I don’t see that there are different treatments that alleviate pain or reconnect the patient to themselves.

    Lonny is aiming for something different, maybe.  But he is not neglecting physical pain to guide people on a spiritual path instead. 

    Is it classism to want to help patients step out of old painful conclusions and move forward?  I only ask because it happens with some patients whether you are coaching them verbally or not.   

      2 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 11:19 AM
    tatyana writes:

    ...

    It’s classism to assume that you know something better than your patients about spiritual evolution. In fact, I think it is not just classisim it is plain delusional thinking, fantasy.

    I would not presume that I have anything to do with leading anyone to their higher purpose - that part is none of my business and that’s where me and Lonny disagree.

    Sure, deep transformation can happen though acupuncture, I just would never dream to take credit for something like that.

    ~tatyana

    Sarana Community Acupuncture

    Albany, CA

     

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  • May 31 2011 at 11:24 AM
    Nic writes:

    the diff for me

    as someone who was trained in 5E the main differance b/t doing that in a BA setting and CA is trusting the patient.

    In school we were taught that the body is wise but that the patient is completely out of touch.  Its up to the acupuncturist to be the awesome, highly developed, guru (wo)man.  And guide the hopelessly out of touch patient back to the wisdom of the body.  And that can be helpful..

    The problem is the power dynamic.  The danger is that the acupuncturist becomes a self righteous dick.  Many 5E BA people avoid this but it remains a common stumbling point.

    In CA I have to trust the patient.  I trust them to pay what they can afford.  I trust that they know whats wrong .  I trust them to come back when they are ready.  I trust them to know what lifestyle changes they need to make.  I trust acupuncture to help them sort it all out.  I trust them to tell their friends and family about the clinic. 

    That builds a lively and thriving community and that feels a lot better to me.

      2 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 11:34 AM
    keithananda writes:

    radical simplicity

    listen with the heart

    put needles in with the hands

    life unfolds

     

      2 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 12:22 PM
    Spartacus writes:

    spiritual development…

    Before enlightenment? Chop wood and carry water.  After enlightenment? Chop wood and carry water.

      2 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 1:29 PM
    Guest writes:

    You GO GIRL!

    You GO GIRL!

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  • May 31 2011 at 2:27 PM
    rhayden writes:

    I think there is something

    I think there is something to be said for just having a quiet peaceful safe space for people to work out their stuff.  I’ve had all kinds of people tell me they had some breakthrough or deep insight or some amazing spiritual experience while they were in the chair or on the table.  And i hadn’t done anything beyond put the needles in and get out of the way.  And it doesn’t only happen on days when i’m feeling very grounded or on my spiritual practices - really it seems to have very little to do with me at all.  And i _love_ that about this clinic model.
    To borrow from an old Jewish saying: next to every needle there is an angel whispering “Heal! Heal!”.

      1 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 2:41 PM
    maceywebb writes:

    Losing sight of reality

    It is classism to assume that patients have to be drug kicking and screaming out of their pasts when what they really want is to make positive changes for themselves in their present, to benefit their futures, at a pace they can handle while taking care of everything else they’re in charge of in their own lives.  Why do you think that’s an appropriate attitude?  Do you think all of your patients are idiots?  Are they all spritually dead, or are you unwilling to continue to learn from them how spiritual it is to wake up out of pain find yourself with the sudden desire to complete a daily task you haven’t been able to complete in years.  You just anger me. 

      0 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 2:42 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    glad you asked that question Eric

    because I think it’s important to talk about. There’s a lot to say and I love everybody’s answers so far.

    Part of the classism that I see in the concept of “leading a patient to their higher purpose” is the assumption that you know enough about the place they live that you are qualified to guide them through that terrain. (Note: I don’t mean you, personally, Eric, I mean any acupuncturist you.) When the reality is, if you are including a wide enough spectrum of folks in your practice, it’s more likely that you will be treating any number of patients who inhabit lives that you might not be able to survive yourself, or at least not with the grace and fortitude (*kiss Ellen*) that they display on a regular basis. How can you presume to guide them when they are dealing with stuff that you, because of your relative privilege, really know nothing about?  You know nothing about it, you’re very lucky to know nothing about it, you’re not acknowledging either of those things, and you still see yourself in a position of knowledge and authority with respect to their lives. You think that whatever you know in the abstract is more meaningful and even more spiritual than their lived experiences. I agree with Tatyana, that’s not just classism, that’s delusion. But it’s also definitely classism because there’s an assumption that everybody’s life is enough like yours for you to be an authority, and that’s where you start erasing lots and lots of people.

    The reason I responded to this article at all is that it specifically brought up community acupuncture. One of the purposes of community acupuncture is to try NOT to erase lots and lots of people.  And one of the perks of practicing community acupuncture is getting to be around people who are doing a beautiful, amazing job of dealing with stuff that you pray you will never have to face yourself. When I think of the full spectrum of my patients, I can’t imagine implying that they really are so fortunate that they have nothing to complain about. I’m humbled by their courage and their strength and I know so many other community acupunks feel the same, that’s why we love this so much. So I’m really not happy with an article that spends a lot of time talking about how whiny, self-centered, and materialistic patients are, and then implies that all of this has something to do with community acupuncture. No, it doesn’t. Different worlds.

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  • May 31 2011 at 4:01 PM
    ETCA writes:

    acupuncture and spirit

    I think you are all assuming an awful lot—i.e. that viewing acupuncture as a tool to assist patients in achieving their higher destiny is mutually exclusive from using acupuncture to palliate symptoms or treat pain.  

     

     

    I think it is one of the strengths of acupuncture (at least historically) that the medicine never differentiated between the physical, mental and spiritual.  

     

    I am not here to defend Lonny (I haven’t talked to him in years)—he is very smart and a very caring practitioner who has his own site all about “Nourishing Destiny”.  

     

    If you want to argue with him that it is classist to assist patients in achieving their higher purpose (their Ming Men—that destiny that was imparted at conception—not Lonny’s picture of what they should be) or that aiming to use acupuncture for a purpose other than treating working class patients pain please go to his site.  There is lots of good conversation there, back and forth, and Lonny is active in the conversation.

     

    There is nothing wrong with assisting patients in reconnecting with their destiny.  I think it is incidental in the placement of a needle. I don’t think it requires talk therapy or coaching and certainly not me telling patients what their higher purpose is.

     

    In other words, I think we are all doing it, whether intentionally or not—at least that is my view of the mysterious effects of sticking needles into people.  

     

    “In the long run men hit only what they aim at.  Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high” Thoreau wrote that, I think it applies to this conversation. 

     

      1 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 4:40 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    OK, now I’m confused

    Eric, I wouldn’t argue that acupuncture might help somebody realize their destiny, or that realizing their destiny might happen at the same time they were being treated for symptoms or pain, or that we are all participating in that process whether we know it or not. I agree with Robert that this kind of thing happens all the time. I don’t have a problem with that and I don’t think anybody else here does either.

    What I have a problem with is what this article says. Such as (emphasis mine in bold):

    “We as clinicians must become relatively less concerned with the patient’s internal experience and relatively more concerned with the evolution of the patient’s values and integrity as evidenced by his or her behavior…We practitioners often want to be left alone to live our lives as we see fit, and so we collude with our patients by helping the most fortunate people who ever lived feel more comfortable and stay the same.”

    This followed by a discussion of how practitioners, simply by virtue of being practitioners, have the authority and the obligation to make judgments about patients’ values and integrity.

    I don’t see how that is incidental to the placement of a needle, unless you can explain to me (I’m not being sarcastic here) how, say, needling Heart 7 would help a patient’s values evolve, whereas needling Pc 7 is colluding with them in helping them stay the same. 

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  • May 31 2011 at 5:00 PM
    Demetra writes:

    Yes.

    Thank you, Tatyana. The article really disturbed me, and this clarifies exactly why.

     

    How authentic is any transformation that isn’t coming from within, anyway? And what more does a person really need to transform beyond a place to be supported? Our clinics offer that support by existing, and by being as unconditionally available as it’s possible to be and still be a sustainable business.  

     

    I am deeply wary of the motives of anyone who claims to know the spiritual direction others need. What I love most is that the work of community acupuncture allows me to offer support to anyone, at any point in their spiritual path, without judgement or even needing to know where they are. Because they’re showing up in my clinic, right? That’s enough for me. 

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  • May 31 2011 at 5:21 PM
    NancyS writes:

    Hubris

    I love the impact acupuncture has on my spirit.  And I appreciate that there is no distinction between body/mind/spirit in chinese medicine.   What I had a problem with in school (Tai Sophia) and now, reading LJ’s recent writing, is the idea that acupuncturists somehow have special dispensation to decide who is more evolved (or spiritually balanced) than who and who might need a little help in the values and ethics department.  Or, perhaps you could argue we don’t choose who needs help in this area but even focusing our attention on someones’ values and ethics is dangerous in my mind.  Why would we attend to these things if we were not going to evaluate them?  Who are we to do such an evaluation?

    The fact that needles can help one connect to their destiny does not, in my mind, mean that she who places the needle gets credit for said destiny-finding.  Or that those who get needles at all are especially evolved as compared to those who don’t.  Or that those who are wealthy and get needles are special, more ethical and have better vaules.

    Nancy 

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  • May 31 2011 at 5:49 PM
    ETCA writes:

    If we practice in a judgement free zone

    Then who are we to decide that a patient should be relieved of their pain?

    I don’t see my role as dictating specific change that must happen, but I am certainly needling with the intention of creating change. The patients who pay me to needle them are also expecting change, they are paying for something to happen (and hoping that something is beneficial to them, makes them feel better, etc).  

    If I thought I was only a technician relieving pain temporarily until their next ‘fix’ I think I would lose interest in the profession pretty fast.

    We are all change agents.  Lonny has a BA practice, so his style is certainly different and he has long verbal consultations.  But I think Lonny would tell you he is opening the space for patients to change, challenging them to change, but not changing the patient. That is why they pay him, or if they dislike that, transfer to other practitioners.

    I don’t see it invalidating Community Acupuncture at all.

    His contention that those who can afford acupuncture exist in an era of great abundance that has never existed before is certainly true if you consider that most of us and our patients are not solely focussed on survival (food, shelter, protection from predators).  You only need to go to a third world country or spin our clock back in time less than 200 years to be in an entirely different universe.

    How many cases of rickets, scurvy and other diseases of deprivation have you seen?  Hypothermia?  Heat Stroke?  Physical exhaustion from overwork (and I don’t mean triathlons)? It has never been the bulk of my practice (BA or what I am seeing now in CA).

    I think there is certainly space for CA to coexist with BA practices.  I know which type of practice is right for me, which is why I am here.

     

      1 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 6:26 PM
    NancyS writes:

    patient self-determination

    Prior to acu school, I was a social worker.  In my social work training, we spent a lot of time focusing on client (in acu world, patient) self-determination.  I see this as relevant because when a patient comes to me and asks for their pain to be relieved then we can have an agreement between us that this is what the treatments will address.  So, no, I don’t see any judgement in taking away pain that someone else has asked me to address.

    We evaluate all the time.  But what do we evaluate?  I see a big difference between evaulating the nature of someone’s pain (or depression or whatever they come to my clinic for) and evaluating and purporting to treat someone’s ethical integrity or vaules.  Is there really no difference for you?   

    Nancy

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  • May 31 2011 at 7:51 PM
    melissa writes:

    arrrggghhhh!!

    “His contention that those who can afford acupuncture exist in an era of
    great abundance that has never existed before is certainly true if you
    consider that most of us and our patients are not solely focussed on
    survival
    (food, shelter, protection from predators).  You only need to
    go to a third world country or spin our clock back in time less than 200
    years to be in an entirely different universe.How many cases of
    rickets, scurvy and other diseases of deprivation have you seen?
    Hypothermia?  Heat Stroke?  Physical exhaustion from overwork (and I
    don’t mean triathlons)?”

    this is a very revealing statement about how privilege can make us blind to what is all around us, resulting in a profession completely unaware of its overt neglect. and this is the main problem i have with this article and the prevailing attitudes that go with it! people coming from a place of privilege often only see with those eyes and fail to see and treat with equal respect! the vast majority of people that are not in that privileged group. it doesn’t invalidate CA, it’s the exact reason it exists.

    and the above statement is very different from my experience, and i will reiterate Lisa: i would say this is NOT “most certainly true” at all.

    many of my patients and i, as well,  may “exist in an era of great abundance” but that doesn’t mean many of us are actually benefitting from it, ie. actually enjoying the aboundance. in fact, we actually ARE focused mostly on basic survival: food, shelter, protection from predators (of a different sort, perhaps). focused on the actual day to day, making it through pain and disease, stress and worry, financial and food insecurity, the whole bit. much of it as a result of disenfranchisement, poverty and the lack of interest or concern on the part of those enjoying the abundance.

    and yes, i have seen actual physical exhaustion as the result of overwork, and basic deprivation—many, many times in many forms. not to the extent that it could be, and is even worse in many parts of the world. but it’s right here, in many parts of our own communites. you do not need to look to the past or far-off lands to find people needing basic care, care that acupuncturists can and should be giving them, without judging them for it, imho.

    removing the judgemental use of the word “fix” in the following statement, i am absolutely honored to know that i am “only a technician relieving pain temporarily until their next ‘fix’” because what we know is that whether that relief lasts an hour, a day or a week and gradually lasts longer over time, it is LIFE CHANGING medicine. and is received with profound gratitude and reciprocal respect. just by making space for it to happen, as others have so eloquently described.

    the other attitude that prevails in this privileged acu world view that makes me want to scream: i did not get into this profession for me to be entertained and kept interested by my patients (how rude to make that their job, i think), and i feel it’s obnoxious to put myself in the role of “challenging them to change”—yuck, how condescending! and, not incidentally, what turns many, many people off to acupuncture! i got into this profession—of medicine—to relieve suffering and to be of service to what patients want and need. 

    i love the way Tatyana said it: 

    “In fact, I would say, that my patients usually do a great job of
    elevating me to my higher potential, daily, just by showing up and
    trusting me with the priviledge of serving them.”

    Melissa

    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

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  • May 31 2011 at 8:18 PM
    david villanueva writes:

    I agree with you, Melissa.

    “His contention that those who can afford acupuncture exist in an era of great abundance that has never existed before is certainly true if you consider that most of us and our patients are not solely focussed on survival. “

    This is not my experience here. The area I practice in (East Bay, CA) has been hard hit by unemployment/layoffs the last few years. Quite a few of my patients have missed treatments because they needed to spend the money on basic survival. And there are many other areas in the U.S. going through something similar. This is not exactly the time of plenty for many people.

      0 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 9:28 PM
    ETCA writes:

    Listen

    I came out of college in debt (because I worked my way through and paid for it myself) and was eating expired foods from that little store on the edge of town that sold food in dented cans or with expired sell by dates.

    When I was a little kid, I ate government food that was labelled creatively “USDA Butter - Not For Resale”.  I graduated from Head Start, which is not a program for exceptionally privileged children.

    I never starved, I never developed scurvy or rickets, and I certainly was not pampered.

    If you think Americans as a whole, and certainly those paying for acupuncture even on a sliding scale are not privileged, you probably have not been to a third world country where people are actually struggling to survive.  

    Many of the diseases that we face have their origins in the realm of internal causes of disease, not external causes of disease.  That is Lonny’s point, one that my experience leads me to believe is a true one.  

    If that is the case, the psycho-spiritual realm is becoming more important in the West than the physical realm.  Good thing acupuncture addresses it all without discrimination.

     

     

      0 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 9:42 PM
    CPMike writes:

    I believe the spiritual

    I believe the spiritual aspect alluded to is real, but it’s not up to the acupunk
    to inflict his or her personal development (which I see as the real-world result of spiritual
    development) on someone for all the reasons you
    guys have stated above. First do no harm…that goes for the physical
    but the emotional and mental are easily overlooked. How does directly or indirectly pointing
    out “underdeveloped” areas in personal/spiritual development not result
    in injury (i.e. guilt, shame, disappointment, etc.)? All these possible
    harms do not equal a fair exchange for not having back pain at the end
    of the treatment.

    L.J. talks of the development of the practitioner as key to causing change. Mmm…no. The idea is like upgrading yourself from a 2-cent steel needle to the 11-cent Seirin and beyond. Both tools result in the same: a rebooted body that
    hopefully works better. And that’s why the needles are passive: they
    can’t actively change the body. THAT IS NOT THEIR JOB. They hold the
    places where change can happen, either at 2 cents or 11 cents or the acu-lasers worth hundreds (thousands?) of dollars. Plenty of CAN blogs have mentioned this.

    So to those inclined to speak like Lonnie Jarrett here is one of my favorite responses  to those who proclaim knowledge:

    Those who consider themselves religious [or spiritual] and yet do not
    keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their
    religion is worthless. James 1:26

    Not all people on a spiritual path deserve this response but many do. I believe in the end that the change L.J. wants cannot be achieved through promotion like he has done in this article. It has to be worked via attraction. And right now it seems he has attracted a very specific group of people, forgetting how small that specific group of people is compared to the rest of population that really just needs to feel normal long enough to continue the struggle.

     

    Love is the province of the brave.

    —TV On the Radio

      1 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 10:17 PM
    melissa writes:

    eric

    my reply was not directed at you personally or at your personal financial circumstances, so no need to prove your own bonafides. obviously you’ve chosen to practice CA and are in service to your community and cheers to that, my friend, truly. it was directed at the article written by LJ and the apparent lens from which it looks at patients, and your assessment that most of us or our patients are not struggling.

    obviously privilege is relative, and is a continuum and is different from wherever you happen to exist on it. my point is that it’s not an excuse for pretending we know another’s circumstance or need or real level of suffering outside the time they scrape together the money to come in for acupuncture. i suspect the longer you have created access in your practice for more and more patients that are in real need, the more you will come to vehemently defend them also.

    But i will respectfully continue to call out the ways this statement is more often used as a weapon than as a gift: “Many of the diseases that we face have their origins in the realm of internal causes of disease, not external causes of disease.” I agree that it’s a good thing actual acupuncture addresses without descrimination. I just wish the profession would take responsibility for doing the same: also focus on some of the external causes of disease and disenfranchisement and lack of care, rather than blame the patient by calling it their own causal condition.
     

    Melissa

    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

      0 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 10:40 PM
    tatyana writes:

    Oh, I don’t know…

    “Many of the diseases that we face have their origins in the realm of
    internal causes of disease, not external causes of disease.”

    I would venture to say (for example) that when I treat a welder whose arm hurts from too much repetitive strain, that’s pretty clearly externally caused by the difficult physical work this welder has to do and I have no reason to treat it as anyting else. If acupuncture helps her arm hurt less, she might get a better night’s
    sleep, get more work done and not get bummed out about being in pain. What other effects that welder gets out of her treatment, is not my concern, although I could guess what those effects might be and I am sure she’ll notice them just fine.

    ~tatyana

    Sarana Community Acupuncture

    Albany, CA

     

      0 likes
  • May 31 2011 at 11:30 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    good points

    and Mike, I love your needle-upgrading analogy. I don’t mind being a 2-cent SpringTen in a box with a thousand other SpringTens.

    I’d like to get back to a question Nancy raised above:

    “I see a big difference between evaulating the nature of someone’s pain
    (or depression or whatever they come to my clinic for) and evaluating
    and purporting to treat someone’s ethical integrity or vaules.  Is there
    really no difference for you?”

    The thing is, I think the basic point of LJ’s article is that there IS a difference, and in fact, evaluating the patient’s ethical integrity and values, as opposed to the patient’s pain, is the practitioner’s JOB, if the planet is to be saved and all.

    And, speaking of spirituality, another thing that made me cranky about this article is that LJ assumes that the main objections to evaluating patients’ ethical development are going to come from New Age relativists:

    “this premise (of the inner tradition) challenges the New Age ethos of a relative morality where nothing is recognized as higher than the individual’s ‘unique truth’.”

    Lots of us, patients and practitioners, have spiritual practices/communities/traditions where we definitely recognize things other than individuals’ unique truths. (In my particular tradition, for instance, the idea of “individual truth” is probably on some official list of heresies somewhere. Relativism, I wish!) Patients are not blank slates. Plenty of them would be totally offended at the idea that their acupuncturist thought that their ethical/spiritual development was his concern—because they already have a rabbi or a minister or an imam or a priest or a spiritual elder, thank you very much, and if they wanted to deal with their spirituality, that’s where they’d go.  

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  • June 1 2011 at 7:10 AM
    Spartacus writes:

    200 years? Third world country?

    You know what, where I live (our nation’s capital), you can go down the street from Congress and be in an entirely different universe.  People here die of exposure/hypothermia in the winter, and they die from the heat in the summer (do you hear ads on tv or the radio for community centers that have a/c in the summer where you live? I do.  Do you remember the super hot summer in Chicago a few years back where hundreds of older people died in their un-airconditioned homes from the heat? I do.) You don’t need to go anywhere to see these things, they are all right here.  There are vast and dramatic differences in quality of life right here in this country.  Just because you don’t see them does not mean they are not there. 

    Last night I signed my lease and got the key to my new clinic.  My fiance and I went there so he could see it for the first time and we could check things out and be excited.  He opened the back door and we found human waste on the ground.  It was a good reminder of the hidden struggles taking place here in the good old rich, priveleged, USA.  One world happening in the view from the front door, an entirely different one from the back.  

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 7:50 AM
    GAMB writes:

    Plus, we are not this demographic:

    (Emphasis and parentheses mine)
    “The individuals who recognize and value the principles of holistic medicine (love), and CAN AFFORD IT, ...And yet it is THIS very DEMOGRAPHIC that is stagnated by narcissism, postmodern pluralism, and is endlessly fascinated, entertained by, and trapped in a self-centric process of consuming experience in the name of ‘healing’ (hate).”
    Maybe LJ is disgruntled because he’s been hanging out with the wrong crowd. I’m happy to confess that “we have friends in low places.”  Retired preachers, servers, small business owners, nurses, secretaries, local gov. employees, techs, former hedge fund managers and real estate investors, and more. It’s a plethora of pluralism. It’s the majority. It’s the root. It’s where social change will happen. So, I say come on down and join us LJ. You’ll find it much more gratifying.
    (Hey Jess - Am I the first to quote Garth Brooks on CAN?)

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 8:35 AM
    ETCA writes:

    Deprivation in DC…

    No doubt there are people starving in America, there are homeless families and individuals, there are people who are neither upper class, middle class, or working class.

    Our clinics are catering to a large group, but not everyone. Lisa admit this much in her book.  How do you design a clinic that provides a living wage without relying on government funding or charity?  You treat those who can afford to pay at a rate they can afford to pay.

    Someone who cannot afford to eat is not going to be paying you for acupuncture.  If they are you should tell them that food is more important than needles.  Is that a value judgement or a fact or both?

    I am in no way contending that suffering does not exist in the United States, or that there is no death from cold or hot weather.  I have treated patients for overwork and repetetive injuries, however fewer of my patients work in physically demanding jobs and more work in mentally stressful jobs where they are mostly sitting at a desk.  That is the truth, not a judgement.

    The community that comes for acupuncture is in no way suffering the deprivations due to climate and pestilence that are widespread in the third world.  There really is no comparison.  Diseases such as malaria and cholera that are the leading cause of death in the third world don’t exist in our country.  

    Meanwhile we have a population that is popping anti-depressents constantly.  Internal causes of disease vs external.      

     

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 8:37 AM
    Jessica Feltz writes:

    Yes.

    Would you like a prize?  *opens drawers…turns-out pockets*  I still have some old CAN tattoos…

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 12:13 PM
    FrankGrill writes:

    Demonstrating Higher Value

    Some practitioner try to achieve their highest human potential by endless practicing of yoga/qigong/martial arts/meditation, etc., the more esoteric the better.  Some of them are capable of seemingly superhuman feats and most of them are vaguely intimidating.  That’s one way to go.  Other practitoners achieve their potential by deciding to stop supplicating to the state and corporate powers for legitamacy.  Some decide to stop begging for a place at the table and build their own damn table and invite anyone who’s willing to participate to join in.  Some create meaningful jobs for themselves and their colleagues and provide a valuable resource for their community.  They share information and encouragement freely.  They encourage a DIY ethic, and empower people who never dreamed they could own their own business to do it and succeed.  These seem to me to be exactly the kind of values that people need right now, not some abstract notions of virtue.  Self-reliance, cooperation, community, responsibility, we demonstrate those everday.  And by the way, people do pick up on it, without being lectured to about it.  I really don’t know what other higher values there are to aspire to.

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 12:37 PM
    patricialott writes:

    *LIKE*

    “These seem to me to be exactly the kind of values that people need right now, not some abstract notions of virtue.” 

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 1:27 PM
    Whitsitt writes:

    immanence first

    Never trust a guy who talks about spiritual elevation as higher/elevated/moving upwards in the hierarchy.  I hope he makes it to the eye at the top of the pyramid, and looks out to see clearly all the blood running down the sides of that fucker, the bodies of the folks at the bottom crushed in pain.  I’m certainly not trying to lead any of my people to the top of that hell.

    I’m sick to death of folks focusing all their desire for change on pulling spirit out of the whatever it is that they seem so disgusted by.  High fives all around for anyone who spends their time helping to embody more love right here in the physical world, relieve the suffering of us everyday folks.  There is no path, there is only a field we can dance in.

    Mega high-fives to fellow CANners for showing the joy and ease and struggle of embodied integrity.  I mean, it’s not that I practice the way I do because I don’t care about spiritual evolution, or saving the world, or helping people fulfil their destiny… it’s just that I really disagree with LJ about how to do that.

    An old acid head once told me that what often happens when folks rocket into higher consciousness is that rather than transcending all the usual “lower” games, they start playing them at a cosmic level.  LJ seems like a dude who is applying upper class values to spirituality, even as he is disgusted by those same values in his patients.  Go deeper, man!

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 1:39 PM
    melissa writes:

    veering off track

    ok, so maybe most of Eric’s patients and obviously Lonny’s and most of the ones so far targeted by the more esoteric focus of the acupuncture profession have internal causes. have at it.i honeslty do hope most of these folks will wake up to the reality of the world around them, we may all benefit.

    but, eric,  it feels like you keep wanting to make it an argument over who’s the most poor rather than who takes responsibility for how these self-indulgent, elitist viewpoints couched in “spiritual evolution” can be offensive and affect the profession by alienating people, leaving most of them out and subtly or not so subtly blaming them for the causes of their sickness (or lack of jobs).

     

     

     

    Melissa

    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 1:50 PM
    GAMB writes:

    Just knowing is enough.

    Thanks.

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 4:21 PM
    ETCA writes:

    There is room for LJ’s and CA

    What I have already written is that there is room in our profession for more than one view of the world.  Lonny has many patients (due to his books, his teaching, and referrals from satisfied patients)—he has also had patients run away from his practice. 

    He has worked to advance the profession of acupuncture, done a whole lot of scholarship, and is—as I also said, more than open to conversing with you or anyone else who wishes to debate his ideas.

    His teachings regarding the need for practitioners to cultivate virtue are grounded in the classics of chinese medicine.  If you are interested it is all in his books.

    He is not my guru, I don’t want or need to model my practice after him, but I certainly respect him—how many other American practitioners have done as much scholarship and dedicated their careers to advancing the profession?

    He is not some dissasociated talking head who does not have a functioning acupuncture practice, his ideas certainly have substance, even if you disagree with him.   

    If nothing else, Lonny is thought provoking, which I think is a good thing. 

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 6:47 PM
    Roppy writes:

    what KimDC said
     

    what KimDC said

     

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 10:36 PM
    Nora writes:

    sure, there’s room

    but when someone *footnotes* “community acupuncture” and refers to its potential, rather patronizingly, as “untapped”; and when what they mean by “untapped” is not “ye gads we need more Community Acupuncture clinics everywhere, stat!” but implicitly something that is fundamentally different than what Community Acupuncture generally think of themselves as trying to do…well, you don’t know CAN punks if you think we’re not going to call someone out on that. 

    Also, no offense Eric - I do appreciate your willingness to play Devil’s Advocate here, it’s a tough crowd - but “advancing the profession” is one of those phrases that’s come to mean bupkes to me.  

      0 likes
  • June 1 2011 at 11:24 PM
    Pauline writes:

    Don’t get me started on Lonny

    I haven’t read the article and I’m not going to because I don’t
    need to develop high blood pressure, and the quotes in the blog are
    enough to set me off.

    I took a 2-year course from him 6 years ago and I was shocked and
    dismayed . First of all, he DOES talk about his patients with true
    disdain. I found that quite offensive. There were people who came in
    from other participants’ practices for demos, and he almost always
    talked about them with disdain after they left. It’s like he wants to do
    the work, but he doesn’t like the people who come.

    “everybody wants to feel better, but nobody wants to change”, he says.

    And WHY? I’ll tell you why. His whole course was a front to
    proseletyze his  Andrew Cohen cult. He had all the
    hallmarks of a cult member—the pressured speech, the disdain for
    anyone who isn’t a follower, narrow-minded fundamentalism in  his
    approach, and clearly speaking a party line. He’s angry because his patients don’t buy in. He was angry and
    disdainful of the course participants who didn’t buy in. (Many of them
    had gone to the trouble of travelling quite a way.) I was one who didn’t
    and often challenged him—sometimes, I’ll admit a little rudely, or
    maybe just very bluntly. The first three weekends he talked about
    nothing but Cohen’s line.Some people left the course at that point
    because they had much better things to do.

    Cohen has been very influenced by Ken Wilbur and his system of
    thinking about people and cultures heirarchically. This is a shameful
    example of all that the world sees as ugly about American culture.
    People who think heirarchically( like Cohen, Lonny and Wilbur ) are at
    the top of the ladder, people who think in terms of everyone being equal
    are significantly lower down,(which is why he hates hippies and anyone
    who things all beings are created equal) and, god forbid you live in a
    tribal culture like the Middle East , you hardly deserve to exist. They
    consider the move up the ladder as part of spiritual evolution.

    Lonny sees it as part of his “calling” to get his patients more
    highly “evolved”. Many of them aren’t interested, they want to be accepted
    as they are. He admits that 40% of his new pts. don’t stay. He thinks
    that’s normal. If you talk to a few punks in the area where he
    practices, as I have, they will tell you they often are picking up the
    pieces of the people he sees.

    The whole thing pissed me off so much I refused, and still refuse to pay him for the course. Which pisses him off no end.

    He had the audacity to put this Cohen/Wilber shit in his red book as a
    chapter on “memes” as he calls this evolutionary thing, and to call it
    part of Chinese medicine.

    I could go on for a much longer rant, but I won’t. Suffice it to say
    that for someone who espoused enlightenment, who thinks he’s enlightened
    and believes that this involves the destruction of the ego, I’ve rarely
    met anyone as egotistical.

    Believe me he has NOTHING of value to offer to CA.

    Feh!

    Pauline

    Pauline

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 10:12 AM
    River Jordan writes:

    Respect for patients…

    means that practitioners need to keep their spiritual beliefs to themselves. It means being humble like water, always seeking the lowest place, not assuming a place of knowledge above others. Community acupuncture - and life - has taught me this, though the lesson is still very much in process.

    Today, I saw a man standing outside my door looking at my clinic information. His skin color was as black as the night, dreads below his waist, saggy pants, thin, tall, and a bit emaciated, and possessing a very very far-away look. I thought, maybe he is Jesus, just in from 40 days in the desert, but I avoided any discussion of where he had been, or where he might be going. 

    “Would you like to try acupuncture?” Something told me he had no money, so we quickly got past that. Friday’s a Free Day for new patients, I told him, you are just a few days early.

    It took him a good 10 minutes to get about half way through the first page of my very brief intake form when I suggested that he didn’t have to fill everything out…just the signature on the consent form. He quietly and slowly mumbled something about being into energy healing and even wanting to go to acupuncture school. I smiled, but deducing that there was no actual question in his comment, I did not venture into voicing my beliefs and opinions.

    As I ushered him to a chair and asked him if he had eaten, he again mumbled that he had “maybe” had a piece of bread in the morning. He had no socks, wore his shoes like slippers, and there was a lot of mother earth between his toes. As I tapped the first of 5 needles into him, his eyes closed, and moments later, I left him in peace.

    He was a fellow human being, asking nothing from me, and I having the freedom and means to offer some small acu-refuge for a short while.  I rejoice in the simplicity of our interaction, knowing it will serve as a model for all my patient interactions in the future.  He was just another human - like me - with suffering, pain, a distinct sadness in his eyes, and a uniquely private experience of the spiritual realm - perhaps articulated in one of countless traditions, or not. 

    He napped with the needles in for a few hours and when he arose, the glow in his face was brighter. Upon departing, he held his closed fist to his heart and smiled as I expressed my happiness that he was able to stop in. Thank you, whoever you are, for being my teacher.

    Communichi Acupuncture Clinic, Seattle

    http://www.communichi.org

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 11:09 AM
    ETCA writes:

    Advancing the profession

    To me includes the scholarship and time he has spent writing two very good books about acupuncture.  

    It isn’t a throw away line.

    Have you read his books?  I sense a lot of people want to throw out the baby with the bathwater because of this one article.   

    You can take some ideas that improve your practice, and leave others behind.  Isn’t that what we all do?  

    I would find it hard to believe that any practitioner could review LJ’s work as a whole and find nothing of value in it.  

     

      1 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 11:36 AM
    MMDobson writes:

    Eric,First of all, I am not

    Eric,

    First of all, I am not qualified to speak for anyone but myself.

    If this were a general purpose acupuncture website and not a CA website forum, you would be absolutely correct.  However, this is a CA forum, and almost all of us are CA practitioners interested mostly in refining our CA principles and making acupuncture work for more people.  The ones that aren’t CA are at least interested in it as an alternative to whatever they are doing.

    You have obviously found ways to integrate Jarret’s work with your own, and that’s great.  But surely you must see that most of what he believes, teaches and writes about is at odds with the concepts of CA?  He is speaking to and about a very exclusive group of practitioners and patients, while we are looking to be as inclusive as possible.  The math just doesn’t work.  It’s so fundamentally different as to be in a different universe.

    No one (I think) is finding fault with his work FOR HIM AND PEOPLE LIKE HIM.  However, the fact that he included CA in his article (and the reference was incorrect in essence) made it open season for CAN to address.  That’s our prerogative here. 

    “Advancing the profession” is another kettle of fish, separate from the article and its refutation in Lisa’s blog.   It has been addressed many many (MANY) times in CAN forums and blogs.  If you have missed them you should search for the term and see why the term “advancing the profession” is so objectionable to punks here.

    MM 

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 12:49 PM
    melissa writes:

    to avoid the skinny box

    my reply to the “advancing the profession” schtick is at the bottom

     

    Melissa

    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 1:16 PM
    melissa writes:

    thank you

    for sharing this, Jordan, and for who you are being in this world, for sharing acupuncture, for opening your heart, for helping to express the grace that is this path. *sniff*

    Melissa

    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 1:21 PM
    melissa writes:

    advancing the profession

    Hmm, sure, room for all, and kudos to LJ for some of his work, (although I vehemently disagree with most of it). And I know I am biased, but it’s just that I have a new standard for what “advancing the profession” looks like, accomplished by a couple of people i know:

    conceiving, and directly working in for 8 years, the single largest acupuncture clinic in the history of this country, now treating over 600 actual patients per week—breaking all known records in what is possible in using acupuncture as tangible health care
    employing 6 punks plus other staff with real living wage jobs with benefits—at times at great personal financial risk
    traveling tirelessly around the country to share, practically for free, the model they know works with other un- and under-employed punks. writing several books on how to do it; mostly giving them away
    gathering and inspiring a dedicated group thousands of acupuncturists to work for a new standard in care-giving and self-created job security
    introducing the radical idea that the acupuncture practice should be guided by what is needed and wanted by patients, not the other way around
    constantly giving credit for their spiritual advancement to their patients and comrades, not the other way around
    speaking truth to power over and over and inspiring others to do so—and weathering the backlash! including derision, intimidation and actual threats
    starting, maintaining and building an organization to support the birth of over 200 independent clinics, treating hundreds of thousands of people all around the country per year—making it possible for punks to practice their calling. encouraging full sharing, and utter transparency of methods, theories, and techniques, at no cost.
    actually caring (DEEPLY!) that other punks don’t have jobs—and doing something about it
    actually caring (DEEPLY!) that students are being ripped off and put into indentured servitude to their student loans—and doing something about it
    actually caring that “the profession” seems to only want to advance the financial security of a tiny, privileged few people by ramming through the FPD at the clear opposition of most of the licensed punks, and in the face of no research to prove it will create jobs—and doing something about it
    conceiving of and spending another few years of their lives building a completely new, inclusive, sustainable, tungsten-sized co-op organization to support the growth of accessible acupuncture so it will be available healthcare and employment to millions more people
    scholarly study of the works of  the truly selfless historical acupuncture figures like Sun Si Miao, Denmai, and Miriam Lee; as well as works by Yunus, St Francis, LeGuin, and many philosophers and writers advocating peace and social justice  
    being willing to hang out with people outside a narrowly defined set of values, forever redefining how you can show up and be an acupuncturist and still be yourself and treat the people you love just by making space and respecting them
    showing their love all the time: of each other, of acupuncture, their patients, their employees, their friends, their comrades and a whole lot of people they don’t even know yet.

    They will cringe and be embarrassed even reading this about themselves, making them even more worthy of the admiration.

    Yeah, that’s what I call some advancing, people.

    Melissa

    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 1:22 PM
    Nic writes:

    5E syndrome

    Hey eric,  i understand what you are saying.  you know LJ, have learned from him, taken what you could and left the rest.  Thats legit.  That is what we all do.  

    Also-  there are some clear diferences in what works in BA and what works in CA.  Not only technique wise but also how to think about acupuncture and what we are doing.  

    eventhough i was doing straigh CA it took me awhile to let go of my “hybrid” treatments/ thinking and really catch on to how CA works.  

    I think it can be harder for us 5E people to make that transition becasue 5E is really good at BA.  Better than alot of the TCM folks.  It really caters to the expectation of the BA class of patients-  all the exotic, mystic, evolutionary, spritual stuff. 

    some of that 5E BA stuff is pretty sexy AND there is an awful lot of it that has to go to get big numbers in CA imho.

    im not going to pretend that i know what you need to do or that i know anything about your practice.  just sharing my own experience in case it might help you or another 5E’r.  here are some threads that helped me out.  (i think these are the ones)

     

    http://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/node/5327

    http://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/node/5334

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 1:41 PM
    ETCA writes:

    his books

    While his first book has relatively more philosophy, the majority of the second book is technical and probably the best resource in English about five element acupuncture (as taught by JR Worsley).

    It is a technical book written for acupuncturists, so I have to disagree that most of what he teaches and writes about is contrary to CA.  His underlying philosophy?  Perhaps.  But most of his work is in furthering the technical knowlege of our art (by volume). 

    He is also a master of the pulse.  I haven’t met any other practitioner who is as accomplished, and honestly I probably only learned 10% of what he could teach in the time I studied with him. 

    I bow to mastery when I see it.  That is probably because of my background in the martial arts.  Within the world of martial arts there are frequent philosophical differences and ego clashes.  But one still learns to respect mastery and learn from a master when you meet one.  That of course does not mean you need to take that which is not useful.

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 2:40 PM
    ETCA writes:

    I concur

    I am extremely grateful for the CA movement, which for me means I have the potential of continuing to practice acupuncture and helping others instead of finally giving up on a part-time practice supported by another job.  I would rather be a noodle cook than an executive chef. 

    However I am also grateful to my school (TAI) which is often maligned on this forum but provided me with my entry into the acupuncture world, and I am grateful to LJ (among many others) because their work has also furthered my knowlege and abilities which in turn I hope benefits my patients. 

    “The Buddha in every temple is to be revered.  Do not walk around talking loudly challenging others.  Seek where you yourself fall short.” 

    That quote is from Zen and the Ways, which is a compilation of material about the influence of zen in the martial arts.

    I don’t have much more to say here about LJ, if you are interested in debating him, he is available on his forum—I don’t frequent it but you can if you wish.  If you already know that you cannot learn from him, there is nothing to debate. 

    I have no idea why he wrote “community acupuncture” in that footnote, it could have just as well been omitted altogether without changing the context of his article.  Would it have produced the same response here without that footnote? 

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 3:01 PM
    Skip writes:

    Would it have produced the same response here without that footn

    No it wouldn’t and that’s the core of the issue that you are missing, Eric. He’s looking to define the profession in a subtle way, much like various others try. We don’t like it for reasons that we’ve expressed here, and we are vocal about not liking things like that. They don’t get to tell us what acupuncture is, and what it is good for-especially since they have no compassion in addressing the Human Condition. 

    Others have tried to do that too and in that sense LJ is just one of several other self-styled privileged Boomer Gurus (mainly white males though a couple women have joined them) who’ve failed-both in their trying to define us and in their trying to define the profession. And like the others, his impact on the profession is and will be ephemeral, quickly forgotten. It always it so with these people.

    That LJ pals around with Andrew “don’t call me Leonard” Cohen is beside the point for us.  With his article that we are talking about, LJ laid a stinking pile of crap on the profession. That we from CAN seem to be the only ones who are calling him on it, shows how pathetic our profession is. Hell I can imagine several “leaders” who think LJ is some kinda smart when the reality is he doesn’t have the depth to resist taking the spiritual aspects of our medicine out of contest of it’s compassionate core  Dumb dumb dumb. But that’s the kind of Republican-lite poo that so many in our profession love to eat.

    h/t Nora for Boomer Guru 

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 4:44 PM
    chaitime writes:

    .

    Andrew “don’t call me Leonard” Cohen

     

     

    hhahaha. thank you sir, you just made my day!

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 5:55 PM
    MMDobson writes:

    Thanks Skip

    You said it so much better than I could.

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 10:36 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    *emerging from extended cringe*

    Melissa, you are VERY sweet, but I don’t know that we have thought about anything we did in terms of advancing the profession. I mostly think in terms of stealing acupuncture back from the people who hijacked it and don’t seem to be doing much with it anyway. (Also, we totally sold our books, or mostly. It’s Andy who is giving his work away.)

    I just want to reiterate that this post and this discussion has nothing to do with Lonny Jarrett personally. And I don’t want to debate him on his website, I don’t care what he thinks about what I wrote. I care what WE think. And I love all of the comments on this post, so much. I love our redefinitions of virtue and spirituality.

    I have a general policy that if anybody in a position of leadership in the acupuncture profession, formal or informal, ever uses the words “community acupuncture”—especially in print—I respond immediately. I am pretty sure that if I didn’t do this, and if this community wasn’t as vigilant about its boundaries as it is, and if we weren’t collectively so vulgar, rude, and snarky, “community acupuncture” would long ago have ceased to mean anything at all. They—and Skip and Nora are right, they are often boomer gurus—would have taken everything of ours they could get their hands on and melted down our language and our ideals into something utterly unrecognizable. Then they would have put their own stamp on it, all in hopes of making something palatable and profitable. To some degree that will happen anyway, is already happening, and we can’t stop it, but what matters is that they don’t stop US. They don’t get to dilute our language or our intentions.

    Last night I was at work and I glanced at this thread and read Pauline’s post. I don’t know if LJ coined the phrase, “everybody wants to get better, but nobody wants to change”—because I’ve definitely heard it from other acupuncturists, repeatedly—but anyway, I started thinking about how those words might apply to some of the patients who were at the clinic last night as I was reading the thread:

    The guy who could barely walk because of his back pain—he was shot in the back 13 times by a gang member who mistook him for a rival gang member. The lovely couple in their late 60s who clean houses for a living, who are raising their 15 year old granddaughter, who are struggling with the reality that they can’t retire because their granddaughter is pregnant and they will soon be raising their great-grandchild too. The young mom who we are treating for migraines and back pain and exhaustion; her baby had a stroke at birth and now has a severe brain injury. Let’s see…

    “Everybody wants to be free from excruciating chronic pain, but nobody wants to rid their neighborhood of the scourge of gang violence” ?

    “Everybody wants to stop doing back-breaking work when they get old, but nobody wants to tackle the complexities of inter-generational poverty”?

    “Everybody wants to have more energy, but nobody wants to take care of a brain-injured infant”?

    Yeah.

    The way we think about what we do is what allows us to serve the patients we want to serve. Unless you are as serious about serving those patients as we are, you need to stay the fuck away from the words “community acupuncture”.

      0 likes
  • June 2 2011 at 10:38 PM
    suzzanne.lohr writes:

    hugs to you,

    hugs to you, jordan.

     

    Little Bird Community Acupuncture

    Washington, DC

    http://www.littlebirddc.com

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  • June 2 2011 at 11:44 PM
    wdoggett writes:

    this

    is so good.

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  • June 3 2011 at 12:25 AM
    wdoggett writes:

    As real as it gets

    I wholeheartedly concur with Tatyana’s earlier reply that it is
    plain delusional to assume that you know something better than your patients about their spiritual evolution. 

    The only thing that sets me apart from my patients is that I went
    to school so I could get the license to poke people legally.  I want
    nothing to do with a paradigm that sets me apart from or above the
    people I treat. We’re all just people for crying out loud, and if I can
    relieve a little human suffering…that is enough, and it is HUGE.

    Perhaps
    Lonny will one day evolve beyond all this hyper-intellectual spiritual
    materialism. Andrew Cohen’s running a freaking cult. You wanna gag? Go to his website and listen to people talk
    about their experience at his ‘Heaven on Earth’ retreat. Sorry, but it’s
    just not the real world.

    Or hell, just go to Tuscany and see for
    yourself…for a mere three or four thousand euros you too can: “Engage
    in a dynamic exploration of the evolutionary process at work in the
    self, in culture, and in the cosmos; Learn to awaken the creative
    impulse of the universe—the Authentic Self—within
    yourself and in others. Discover how to act from that always-free,
    always-forward-leaning consciousness . . . together with others.”

    Seriously. 

    Makes
    me think of the slogan from one of the last local mom and pop hardware
    stores here in Austin: “Together we can do it yourself.” (only they’ll fix your shit for 63 cents and send you on your way, not 4000 euros.

    To
    Eric: Lonny doesn’t say anything that even remotely invalidates
    community acupuncture. How could he even do that? No matter how ‘good’ a
    practitioner he is within the narrow paradigm that is his privileged
    world…he doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about when it comes
    to community acupuncture. His is just the sort of lofty thinking that seeks to keep
    acupuncture in the realm of the so called master practitioner where
    most acupuncturists cannot realistically earn a living, and most patients cannot access it - in more ways than one.

    Lisa
    is nailing it out of the park on this one, and all of her subsequent
    responses. Thank you Lisa. This is as real as it gets.

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 10:01 AM
    River Jordan writes:

    “everybody wants to get better, but nobody wants to change”

    I remember hearing this more drivel or less as a direct quote from one of the instructors at the now defunct NIAOM - can’t help to note the irony in that statement….empty values - defunct school.

    The instructor said something like if the patient doesn’t get better after 30 treatments or something, maybe it’s time for the practitioner to stop wasting their time and move on to others. Very sad example of our profession. I stood up and said “charity is a virtue”.

    Then, upon graduation, I remember smiling inwardly at the NCCAOM ethics statement that I signed my name to, which said something to the effect that it is important  to devote a portion of one’s practice to financial hardship cases - probably naively believing at the time that this concorded with my definition of “charity”....open-hearted kindness and compassion, not ever giving up on anyone…instead of marginalizing, discounting, etc. A few years later my naivete was evident when even the “charity” clause in the ethics statement got the ax.

    This is nothing less than class war - the attempt by the financial and power elites of this increasingly imbalanced corporate big bucks culture to redefine everything from spirituality to rules for inclusion in privileged society. I feel fortunate to be part of this community that refuses to buy into the greed and egotism that poses as leadership and higher planes of morality. Advancing the profession indeed.

     

     

    Communichi Acupuncture Clinic, Seattle

    http://www.communichi.org

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 2:30 PM
    David Lesseps writes:

    just a reminnder

    Jordan, 

    This is not a comment aimed directly at you.  You’ve been doing CA long enough that your quotation marks around the word “charity” indicate you understand this… but as a reminder to those new to the CA discussion—CA is not charity.

     

    David L f’ing Ac (my earned title)

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 9:47 PM
    Guest writes:

    LJ

    This is my first time posting on CA. I wanted to offer some of my experiences With LJ. I’ve just finished studying with him over the last two years. I have to say he has an incredible amount of compassion and integrity, far more then most of the people I have met.

    Reading these posts about his article I see quite plainly that Lonny’s views aren’t being represented clearly here. His views are being proposed by people who don’t fully understand them and then knocked down. Being an author he does put himself out and represent himself with his writings. However, we live in a modern world with very quick and efficient communications. Before Lisafer wrote her article it would have been very good to have emailed or called him to ask him about his article and what he meant. What he writes stands on it’s own but I can see that many of his ideas are being misrepresented here. I don’t think it’s purposeful misrepresenting, they are just not accurate. I guarantee that has Lisafer contacted Lonny, he would have gotten back to her quickly and the conversation that followed would have be very insight full and would have left Lisafer with a different view of Lonny’s writings and base philosophy.

    It’s very easy to attack Lonny and his article from a distance. I would invite you to please have a discussion with Lonny about what he wrote. Some of the people here will find that they do fundamentally disagree with Lonny. But I know that many of you will find that your assumptions about what he is saying don’t match what he truly stands for. The manor in which we communicate with each other matters. How we communicate with each other matters. The quality of that communication is very important in that it represents who we are as individuals, as a group (CA), as a profession (Acupuncturists) and as a larger community of people. I urge anyone here who would like to have a serious discussion about what Lonny is saying to please either invite him to come on to CA forum or to go to his site nouishingdestiny.com (ND). It’s free to join and you can ask him all the questions you want. He will respond in a very timely manor, with civility and respect. If you come on to ND you will also have the opportunity to meet some of his students and have a terrific conversation with a wide range of people. Cross dialogue like this is paramount for our profession to build better bridges within it and make a more equal and fair conversation for all.

    In partnership,

    Todd McCloskey

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 9:49 PM
    Guest writes:

    Partnership

    This is my first time posting on CA. I wanted to offer some of my experiences With LJ. I’ve just finished studying with him over the last two years. I have to say he has an incredible amount of compassion and integrity, far more then most of the people I have met.

    Reading these posts about his article I see quite plainly that Lonny’s views aren’t being represented clearly here. His views are being proposed by people who don’t fully understand them and then knocked down. Being an author he does put himself out and represent himself with his writings. However, we live in a modern world with very quick and efficient communications. Before Lisafer wrote her article it would have been very good to have emailed or called him to ask him about his article and what he meant. What he writes stands on it’s own but I can see that many of his ideas are being misrepresented here. I don’t think it’s purposeful misrepresenting, they are just not accurate. I guarantee that has Lisafer contacted Lonny, he would have gotten back to her quickly and the conversation that followed would have be very insight full and would have left Lisafer with a different view of Lonny’s writings and base philosophy.

    It’s very easy to attack Lonny and his article from a distance. I would invite you to please have a discussion with Lonny about what he wrote. Some of the people here will find that they do fundamentally disagree with Lonny. But I know that many of you will find that your assumptions about what he is saying don’t match what he truly stands for. The manor in which we communicate with each other matters. How we communicate with each other matters. The quality of that communication is very important in that it represents who we are as individuals, as a group (CA), as a profession (Acupuncturists) and as a larger community of people. I urge anyone here who would like to have a serious discussion about what Lonny is saying to please either invite him to come on to CA forum or to go to his site nouishingdestiny.com (ND). It’s free to join and you can ask him all the questions you want. He will respond in a very timely manor, with civility and respect. If you come on to ND you will also have the opportunity to meet some of his students and have a terrific conversation with a wide range of people. Cross dialogue like this is paramount for our profession to build better bridges within it and make a more equal and fair conversation for all.

    In partnership,

    Todd McCloskey

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 10:39 PM
    Pauline writes:

    Bravo to keeping the boundaries clear

    There are so many people out there willing to hijack what we’re doing and reform it in their own image. Yes, I agree with your policy of calling them out on it. Lisa. What we do is too important to let it get washed away, as it could be so easily. Like, Walmart sells “organic” food. You believe that? Pretty soon we’ll be looking at a host of “community-style” acupuncture clinics charging $55 a tx. That won’t hurt us, it’s just an insult to our message.

    Pauline

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 11:23 PM
    Guest writes:

    First do no harm..

    Hi All,

    Sarah C from BAP here. So nice to be back on the site!  CAP’s blooming out all over the place and now the POCA!!! If this is not a major force of cultural revolution, I don’t know what is!  CA is the perfect forum to actively work with the creative impulse that Lonny and Andrew speak about.  Acupuncture is indeed the place where “being and becoming” intersect!  The cultural potential of as many people as possible getting a glimpse of true rest, painless movement, and themselves beyond their various debilitations is HUGE.  Treatment of the individual is not separate from treatment of community/culture/planet and as one unravels their own personal story of stagnation and deficiency, it is more likely that they will step outside themselves and see that they are indeed implicated to be the best that they can be here now for the sake of the whole. It is quite possible that the relief that we give patients will open up a door for the creative impulse to flow through but it is also possible that this creative impulse cares not for our relief or how we feel at all really! From my experience studying and getting treated by Lonny, this is what he is pointing at. Not to wait for this or that to be better before stepping up into bigger and better versions of ourselves and not to collude with patients by keeping them comfortable in their stagnant ways of living/indulging in their story, but to act from our highest perspective at all times.  It is of the utmost importance that we as practitioners are sincerely dedicated to being as free as possible from our own story so that we can see as clearly as possible our own potential and that of our clients and bring/encourage that to the table as much as possible.  I find CA to be a great place to practice this as there is just not time to go on and on about the story! I’ve been experimenting with “what’s good?” as an intake question. It sets the stage for positive movement instead of rehashing or giving more attention to what the problem is.  We have these magnificent tools of diagnosis and our own experience of living beyond our story to truly see this person sitting in front of us.  To see each person as a potential for evolution of culture is not far fetched and treating their elbow pain is not separate from this movement.  First, we must not do ourselves or each other harm and know that we are all in this together!  Thank you Lonny for brining such expansive wood quality and Lisa for your exquisite fire and to all y’all for your part.  Lets start to see this movement from “the center of the wheel” and not get caught up in the spin!  Lots of Love ~ Sarah

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  • June 4 2011 at 11:35 PM
    keithananda writes:

    did you really want to say “collude” ?

    defintiion of collude :/kəˈlud/ http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif [url=“http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/act"class=“pronlink” title=“Click to show spelled”>Show Spelled</a>[kuh-lood]<a class=“pronlink” title=“Click to show IPA”></a>

    –verb (used without object), -lud·ed, -lud·ing.

    1.

    to <a rel=“external”]act[/url] together through a secret understanding, especially with evil or harmful intent.

    2.

    to conspire in a fraud.

    another definition:

    col·lude  (khttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/schwa.gif-lhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/oomacr.gifdhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/prime.gif)

    intr.v.  col·lud·ed, col·lud·ing, col·ludes

    To act together secretly to achieve a fraudulent, illegal, or deceitful purpose; conspire.

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 11:39 PM
    keithananda writes:

    i disagree with your

    i disagree with your statement of an either / or scenario - stepping into a larger self vs. collusion in stagnant ways. 

      0 likes
  • June 4 2011 at 11:43 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    interesting

    Question for you, Sarah: do you believe that, as Lonny writes, “the vertical development of the practitioner is the most significant factor that makes possible a patient’s healing”?

      0 likes
  • June 5 2011 at 12:06 AM
    Lisafer writes:

    Todd, how about

    if you explain which of his ideas are being misrepresented here, and how? 

    Lonny wrote an article in which he addressed the future of the acupuncture profession. He footnoted CA in a cryptic way. He’s a writer. I’m a writer. This isn’t a regrettable misunderstanding between friends, this is writers tackling ideas; this is me doing my job and presumably, Lonny doing his. If I wrote an article about the future of the profession and included a cryptic footnote about the Nourishing Destiny community, I’d be ready and waiting for some blogger from that community to call me out publicly for what I wrote. Because that is what blogs are for. And if a whole lot of people really misunderstood what I was writing about, that means I as a writer have a problem, not that they should all individually be emailing me for clarity.

    If you click on the “about” tag on the ND site, you get this:

    These are the values the Nourishing Destiny site is founded upon. Please familiarize yourself with them.

    Chinese Medicine in an Evolutionary ContextThe intention of this site is to provide a forum for thoughtful and respectful discussion of any facet of Chinese medicine. There are some core values that are foundational for engaging with, and receiving, the teaching being given here. These are:

    ...

    #17 The vertical development of the practitioner is the most significant factor that makes possible a patient’s healing. 

     I wouldn’t join the discussions on a site that clearly warns me that the site is founded on values that I know I disagree with. As far as I can tell, the article I discussed above is essentially an expansion of core value #17. I don’t want to “engage with” or “receive” that teaching. I want to talk about why it’s problematical with respect to community acupuncture.  I get to do that, because I’m a writer and Lonny cited my work.  If you have a problem with that, it looks to me like we have a bunch of other fundamental disagreements.

      0 likes
  • June 5 2011 at 1:13 AM
    River Jordan writes:

    thanks David

    It’s good to be reminded of how CA is misunderstood as charity - in the mainstream (dysfunctional) way that charity is thought of - as something privileged folks do in their spare time, or on the side, or as a loss leader in order to bolster their marketing presence with a little Gandhification of their public image. I was thinking more of charity in the sense of reclaiming that word for what it must have originally meant - and perhaps still does for some - as being open hearted and altruistic, full time, not as a pretender. But it was clumsy. thanks for the reminder.

     

    Communichi Acupuncture Clinic, Seattle

    http://www.communichi.org

      0 likes
  • June 5 2011 at 1:49 AM
    Guest writes:

    Lisafer,I’m not going to

    Lisafer,I’m not going to do Lonny justice isn articulating this view. But I will say that what his is pointing to is entirely wholesome. Sarah Chase did a great job at giving the feeling of what Lonny is bringing into the conversation of acupuncture. Lisafer: If I wrote an article about the future of the profession and included a cryptic footnote about the Nourishing Destiny community, I’d be ready and waiting for some blogger from that community to call me out publicly for what I wrote. The only time Lonny refers to community acupuncture it is in the fourth and last footnote that simply says “This discussion points to some interesting and, as yet, untapped potentials in ‘community’ acupuncture.” This isn’t very cryptic. It’s fairly straight forward in saying that there’s a lot of untapped potential in working with groups of people. I can’t imagine why CA wouldn’t agree with that. The fact that he mentioned CA was after all the reason why you brought out his article and dug in.  It doesn’t seem like Lonny took a negative slant to CA at all. In fact I know for certain that he values VERY highly spiritual group work and what it can potentially accomplish. So I’m not sure why you used this footnote to set off digging into his work?”#17 The vertical development of the practitioner is the most significant factor that makes possible a patient’s healing.“Vertical development here can be seen as two fold, living up to what you know is right, in other words having integrity and being ready to constantly increase your level of integrity.This is a very important idea to get. You also brought this up at the end of you writing too. LJ: “Our integrity as practitioners has import beyond any technical prowess or academic knowledge we may possess…“What Lonny is expressing here is that our integrity as people is more important than our technical skill.In both of these cases what is being pointed to is having integrity is the most important dimension to being a practitioner.  What in this do you find very problematic? If we think about this in regard to our daily life we can easily see the answer. What’s most important characteristic you would like for your child’s teacher to have? Wouldn’t integrity be at the top of the list? We could argue if it was first or second but it would be at the top, right? A teacher with integrity would be fair, would mean what they say, would tell the truth and support the most wholesome and highest virtues they know. That sounds like the makings of a great teacher to me! This isn’t that any different for acupuncturists. LJ"It seems to me that the minimal requirement for being a healer ought to be having come to a place in one’s own life where no more time is being taken to overcome one’s past and all attention and effort is placed on creating a more wholesome future.“Lisafer: ” How can you “overcome” your past when people you care about are still living it? My clinic IS me overcoming my past, and also creating my future. I don’t get how you separate those, or how you separate them from your community.“It’s not about separating out anything, creating your future and “overcoming” your past are tied hand in hand. By overcoming our past, we are referring to not acting out in a negative way towards yourself or others because of something you experienced in the past. This is what he means by overcoming your past, which again is all very good. There’s nothing bad about relinquishing your right to hurt yourself or others no matter how hurt you were in the past. This is tied directly to creating a new and better future. If we are still creating the issues of our past traumas then our future is bleak. We all know female patients that keep generating abusive relationship after abusive relationship. Until she decide to not date abusive men she will recreate the trauma all over again by finding a man that will hurt her. Until the person decides to stop acting unconsciously from past karma they will recreate it in place of a future which is new and full of possibilities. This is where overcoming our past is paramount to creating a new and wide open future. Do you see where you could be off on what Lonny is speaking about? His vision is completely positive and compatible with CA. Can you envision a world were we all work hard to live up to the values we all know are true? As a group of people can we make a change in our culture so that we can create a new world where we are all striving to become better people? I’ve heard people here speak about the lack of integrity in our society. The fact of class warfare, of inequalities that hurt, maim and even kill those with less. What is the solution to that? Integrity, taking a stand for a principal that you know is true and worthy. Pushing ahead to help creates a better world for ourselves, our children and the entire planet. IF we can as individuals begin to strive to live up to our integrity, at the very least, refuse to hurt our selves and others because of the traumas of our life, then we can begin to change who we are. As we change who we are our culture changes. As our culture changes then we are able to support that change in ourselves and others. Lonny is speaking about the possibility of a culture where integrity is taken seriously and passionately. Where integrity (doing what is right) is higher than comfort. I can’t imagine anyone here saying that having your own slice of comfort is more important that treating other people with respect, dignity and value. If that’s what you believe then we do have a serious disagreement between us, an unresolvable one at that. But if you do agree that living up to the values you know and not hurting others because you were hurt is more important than trading that for your slice of comfort then we have common ground and we can go some where!Todd McCloskey

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  • June 5 2011 at 1:51 AM
    Guest writes:

    I formatted it with spaces!

    I formatted it with spaces! I’m not sure why it didn’t come out that way. I’m sorry if it makes it more difficult to read.

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  • June 5 2011 at 9:47 AM
    SarasotaCA writes:

    Todd~ What do mean by

    Todd~ What do mean by this? 

    “...if you do agree that living up to the values you know and not hurting others because you were hurt is more important than trading that for your slice of comfort then we have common ground and we can go some where!”

    Do you realize that Lisa is the cofounder of two clinics (and will soon open a third clinic) that give over 31,000 treatments in 2010? That’s almost 600 treatments per week. Go ahead, read it again. She’s also the cofounder of a professional community whose top 20% clinics (of the 102 that  responded to this survey) see an average of over 100 patients per week. Those 102 clinics gave over 350,000 treatments last year. 

    Given this patient volume, do you feel that you have the professional experience or context to presume to school this forum on class, culture, and the patient’s psychological comfort? I don’t believe you do and that puts us on decidedly different ground.

     

    Gene 

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  • June 5 2011 at 10:01 AM
    Nora writes:

    hey Todd, I have some questions

    I have so many questions about this “female” that “we all know” that is so powerfully “generating” relationship after relationship in which she is abused.  Why did you not say, for example, “we know so many male patients who are abusing their partners” or “we know so many men who have sexually abused their girlfriends’ kids” or something like that?  We know lots of women have been raped; they’re mostly not being raped by strangers; therefore we know lots of men who have raped.  Are all these men not our patients?  If not, why not?  Are they not telling us about the violence they’ve committed?  If not, why not?   Do you not agree that there might be *material* factors and other mitigating circumstances that can make it difficult for a woman to leave an abusive situation?  Can you name some of those?  Do you think it’s possible that you also have “narratives” about this generic female patient’s life that are keeping YOU from really seeing the details of individual patients’ lives?  What makes you think people are telling you everything?  What, in your view, makes someone—anyone, including yourself—a reliable witness, especially to another person’s life?

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  • June 5 2011 at 10:28 AM
    Pauline writes:

    Let’s be clear: We’re talking about a cult.

    Let’s be very clear about that. Some people experience the softer side of that, some a very hard side, including, according to ex-Cohen-cult members, physical and emotional abuse and financial extortion. Those are the facts. So. A member of that cult might be a very good acupuncturist, however if the party line is what dictates how he deals with his patients , and that practice is harmful in any way, it’s important to call it out for what it is.

    A lot of religious and political cult members are very dedicated and positive that what they are doing is going to better the world. When this happens between two people there is a psychiatric term for it called Folie a deux. In cults you could call it Folie a mille (thousand). COmmunity acupuncture isn’t group spiritual work. It’s people getting together to heal what ails them, and if that inspires them, as they heal, to feel like moving in some spiritual direction, that’s nice. NIce, I said. NOT de rigeur. NOT up to us to dictate, or even try to influence.

    LJ and Cohen’s definition of enlightenment, and decisions about who is enlightened—- oh never mind. Maybe that’s not the point. JUst keep your fucking religions to yourselves.

    What I noticed, taking his course, was that he was very attractive to young naive women, who had no spiritual practice, and were looking for one, and thought it was wonderful how Chinese medicine could also be a spiritual practice. He was particularly nice to young women who agreed with him.

    Pauline

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  • June 5 2011 at 10:50 AM
    Spartacus writes:

    Thank you.

    Pauline, I just want to thank you for pointing out the LJ/Cohen connection.  I have never as a student gotten into Jarrett’s books (I don’t believe in destiny, so really had no interest in reading about nourishing it) but I am very very glad to have had his involvement with Cohen brought to light.  I took at  look at Cohen’s website, and he has a blog entry about “the luckiest people to have ever been born” - which is basically the Jarrett article cited above minus the acupuncture component.  I find the whole thing pretty darn creepy and am glad to know about it!

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  • June 5 2011 at 11:26 AM
    Lisafer writes:

    teacher analogy

    I don’t have a problem with integrity. I have a problem with the idea that the practitioner’s integrity is the most important factor for the *patient’s* healing. To go back to your analogy, sure, I’m happy if my kid has a teacher who has a lot of integrity. But not for a minute do I think the teacher’s integrity has anything to do with my kid’s capacity to learn, potential for learning, etc. My kid’s abiility to learn can’t be given to him by a good teacher or taken away by a bad one, because it belongs to him. 

    And you know how they say the person who learns the most in any class is the teacher? My integrity principally benefits me, not my patients. Their integrity benefits them. To some degree integrity is contagious and we enjoy sharing it, being in proximity to it, etc.  But I get as much healing out of our interaction as they do.

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  • June 5 2011 at 9:13 PM
    Pauline writes:

    They do tend to parrot each other.

    Now, I would like to suggest we’ve given this guy enough space, more infact than his due. Can we close this discussion?

    Pauline

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  • June 5 2011 at 10:13 PM
    NancyS writes:

    Reasonable objections

    Lonny said:

    This discussion points to some interesting and, as yet,untapped potential in “community” acupuncture.

    It seems perfectly fair to me that those of us who actually practice CA take the opportunity to respond to LJ’s mention of CA.  It is fair that we assess whether or not LJ’s declarations about how an acupuncturist should practice fit within the context of the model we have chosen.  It is fair to take his words, quote them, and then disagree with them.  You make it sound like LJ is a victim of some grave misunderstanding.  I do not think he is.  Many of us here vehemently reject the notions he so strongly puts forth in his article.  What is so wrong with that? 

    One of my biggest objections to his teaching is the following: 

    We as clinicians must become relatively less concerned with the patient’s internal experience and relatively more concerned with theevolutions of the patient’s values and integrity as evidenced by his or herbehavior.  I made this point in Nourishing Destiny when I emphasized the emergence of virtue as the highest hallmark of effective treatment in the “inner tradition.”  The “inner tradition” is less concerned with a patient’s personal experience of treatment and is more focused on the patient’s actual response to treatment as evidenced in its highest form by moral development and more wholesome choices.”

     

    I reject the above perspective because:I do not go to an acupuncturist to have myvalues and integrity assessed by my practitioner no do I intend to make this afocus of my work.  It is stunning to methat anyone would admit, much less advocate, such a stance.   I fail to see this as anything short ofhubris and arrogance. In fact, I see it as dangerous.  None of us should presume to know another’sheart. Patient Self-determination (this means that thepatient decides what is best for them in the therapeutic relationship, in thiscase the acupuncturist/patient relationship). I was not very articulate in my earlier comment about this.  I will try again.  It is my job to treat what the patient asks meto treat.  What LJ has written aboveseems like changing the game to me.  Whena patient comes to a practitioner for treatment of a condition, be it physical,emotional or spiritual, and the practitioner agrees to treat these things, averbal contract is created.    In mymind, our integrity as practitioners rests with honoring this contract. My experience at Tai Sophia (Todd—I’m the Nancy that was in your class) and my experience of LJ’s writings suggest that it’s okay to nod and smile as a patient asks for one thing but then, covertly,plan to address something entirely different, even without the partnership of the patient.  Unless a patient wants their spirit to be more fully evolved, I have no business seeking to make that so.  Sure, acupuncture affects the whole person.  And much good will come from it, some of which neither patient nor practitioner intends.  And some patients want spiritual development to be a part of their healing.  But it’s not my job to seek to change a person in ways they do not wish to change.In my mind, it is unethical to treat in this way unless said practitioner says, explicitly, “I am not primarily concerned with your personal experience (i.e. back pain, anxiety,etc.) and will not make treating these things my focus.  I will, instead, assess whether or not your behavioral choices are wholesome and determine whether or not your values and integrity are sound.  What you think about your integrity is immaterial except to the extent that you come to see things my way (I am specially trained for this).  I will treat your moral development and help you evolve spiritually.  But your back pain is just not that important to me, and it shouldn’t be a big concern to you either, even though you can’t feed your family until it feels better. Your values, on the other hand, need a lot of work.” 

    My guess is that most patients won’t appreciate this approach, at least not the patients I see everyday, myself included.  Then again, this is clear evidence of my poor values and lack of integrity as a practitioner.

    P.S. Todd—to change your formatting, click on input format and choose full HTML. 

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  • June 6 2011 at 12:32 AM
    Guest writes:

    I by no means have come on

    I by no means have come on to CA in order to pick a fight, be rude or as SarasotaCA said, to school anyone on integrity. I just see a misunderstanding. I hope to clear some of it up but certainly don’t think I’ll clear up the entire discussion. What I have read is a very instant and visceral attack on what people are interpreting, which isn’t accurate to my experiences with what Lonny is speaking to. I am very impressed with Lisa’s work with her clinic and wish her only the best. I want that to be known. What I would like to do is help bridge the gap between what people are assuming and what I have experienced.

    There’s a lot of heated language and discussion around a couple points. The central of which Nancy brought up (Hi Nancy!).

    “The “inner tradition” is less concerned with a patient’s personal experience of treatment and is more focused on the patient’s actual response to treatment as evidenced in its highest form by moral development and more wholesome choices.”

    As medical professionals yes we can help people feel better inside. And there’s nothing wrong with that in general, in fact that can be very good in many cases. As medical professionals we can help people overcome illness and injury. This too is very good. I’m not going to say anything against this at all. The inner tradition as Lonny puts it takes another step. It looks at the person and how they are living up to what they know is right and how they are not. In short this is moral and ethical development. In our day and age it is very important to take this in account. We are no longer simply suffering from wind, cold and other invasions. The vast majority of modern people can eat enough to live. And although there are people who don;t have electricity or enough food to eat in America, what we are speaking about here would not be their first priority. In fact acupuncture wouldn’t be their first priority. Across the world at large there are plenty of people where food is needed more then medicine. But here in America we don’t face that to the degree that many across the world do. I count my self lucky because of that.

    If our patient has enough to eat, and a place to live then we have to look higher, beyond survival and simply feeling better. We have to look at culture. First at what culture do we as practitioners represent. We each represent a set of ideas and values. Just by saying that I only will treat their shoulder pain as a practitioner you are representing a set of modern values. By saying that you will sit and cry with your patient’s or treat your patient’s as your friends is another set of cultural values. When we say that we don;t judge our patients we are representing a whole host of values and a specific culture. When we act these out in front of our patient’s we are building a culture of those values. This affects our patients.

    What Lonny is pointing to in his teachings is looking closely at our cultural values and ideals and take stock over what is truly good and helpful and what is detrimental. Then focus as much of your attention on the wholesome and positive aspects of your values that help move us forward and away from the values that hold us back and keep us stagnant. When we can begin to identify these forces in ourself then we can begin to see them in others. When we get to know what parts of us would rather just curl up, give up and eat a tube of ice-cream instead of going to work, or worse.. the part of us that doesn’t care, doesn’t want to quit smoking, doesn’t want to be apart of the world or is only in it for itself, we can see that part in others.
    When we get to know the part of us that only ever desires to live a beautiful heart felt life of ever new days being 100% dedicated to the whole, then we are better able to see that in others.

    What Nancy wrote sounds like Lonny is doing some bate and switch move with his patients or some other covert plan. If anything, Lonny is straight forward! He’s not privately scheming to get his patients. He is very forth coming and one of the most honest men I have met. When people go to see him they know what they are getting from day one. And he will say that most of his patients don;t want anything to do with living up to a higher value, or even the values they know. For those people he just treats them and they get better. But for those that are willing, he will strive to advocate for the best part of them to step forward in their life.  I have seen him do it in class and with patients, it is a highly compassionate stance.

    As practitioners we have privy to an outside view of our patients. We can see and diagnose things that they may not be aware of. Often we know a great deal more of medical knowledge then they do. When I see that a patient is contributing to the worsening of their illness. I have to speak up. I have to take a stand and advocate on behalf of that patient. It could be that they are not eating well, or have an unwholesome relationship to their thoughts, or not taking care of themselves. Whatever it is I need to bring it up. In many cases to the resistance of the very person who has hired me to help them! In cases like this we as practitioners need to have integrity and be able to see the push and pull of the patient’s inertia and unwillingness to do better for themselves and the part of them that only wants to do better.

    As we take a greater and greater level of responsibility in our lives this then translates to the culture at large. It translates to our clinic’s culture. Patient’s get to see and hear a person speak who is striving to live a life of integrity. With hope this culture can grow.

    It’s not about dictating to another person how they should live their life. It’s not crashing down with a religious fundamentalist hammer about right and wrong. But it is about standing up for a principal. It is about deciding to do one’s best for the service of the world. It is about getting outside of our own personal thoughts and desires and into acting from our highest values.

    In partnership

    Todd McCloskey

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  • June 6 2011 at 6:38 AM
    Spartacus writes:

    Explaining.

    Todd, you keep saying there is a “misunderstanding” and trying to explain to clear it up.  But what I think is going on here is not a misunderstanding.  You said something that I think is correct in a sense: about looking at culture.  Culture in this case being a set of shared values.  Jarrett is coming from one culture he believes to be appropriate.  CAN is coming from another.  Jarrett’s ideals are not misunderstood here. 

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  • June 6 2011 at 9:00 AM
    Pauline writes:

    Amen.

    Pauline

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  • June 6 2011 at 9:54 AM
    Nora writes:

    another Amen

    This: “Patient’s [sic] get to see and hear a person speak who is striving to live a life of integrity” is incredibly condescending.  How is that kind of attitude demonstrative of integrity? How do you know your patients aren’t striving to live a life of integrity, or indeed already living one/living according to their values?  Because they have back pain?!??  How do you know what they know, since as you admit you are observing them from “outsdide”?  I’m going to say this with all the integrity I can muster: give me a fucking break and get over yourself. 

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  • June 6 2011 at 4:41 PM
    Guest writes:

    There are misunderstandings

    There are misunderstandings and I’m pointing them out. For example What Nancy wrote

    “I am not primarily concerned with your personal experience (i.e. back pain, anxiety,etc.) and will not make treating these things my focus. ..  I will treat your moral development and help you evolve spiritually.  But your back pain is just not that important to me, and it shouldn’t be a big concern to you either, even though you can’t feed your family until it feels better. Your values, on the other hand, need a lot of work.”

    This isn’t what we are talking about at all. I would be taken back by any practitioner who said this to their patient. Over the last two years I have never heard anything remotely close to this coming from any of what Lonny as taught. So yes this is a misunderstanding. It makes sense that people could misunderstand anyone’s teachings. Especially when it hits home to our personal values.

    Assessing integrity does matter. I had two new patients today. One is a 64 y/o man with parkinson’s and arthritis in his knees, which he would like help with. He does exercises every day and only missed it for about 10 days after brain surgery. His exercises help his knees and leg strength.

    The second patient has significant digestive qi deficiency, depression and lost 14-16 pounds in the last 6 weeks (about 10% of his body weight, he can’t weigh more than 135 lbs at the moment). The problem is he doesn’t eat meals. He want me to help with his weight loss and low motivation and depression.  But he doesn’t eat. He has all the opportunities to eat, can afford food, but chooses not to eat. How am I going to help him gain weight if he doesn’t decide to eat? The first person is in pain, just had brain surgery and pushes through to do exercises for his knees which are in severe pain.

    The older man with knee pain is obviously exhibiting integrity. Simply said he knows what helps him and pursues it even though it hurts. The younger man has essentially hired me to help him gain weight. However, after a 10 minute conversation about how he needs to eat food while eat work I’m not convinced that he will. During that conversation he only told me how he doesn’t want to eat food during his 10-14 hour shift as a retail manager. To make matters worse he actually tells his sales reps to take their lunch break, but doesn’t want to take it for himself.

    I completely believe him that he is depressed and has low motivation, I believe that he has no appetite and know he has gone through more then his fair share of tragedy over the last few years and months . But I can’t wait and he can’t afford to wait till he feels like eating to eat, he can’t wait till he’s is over his depression. He needs to start to eat today, even if he doesn’t want to. Otherwise he will continue to hurt himself. This is a medical necessity.

    I do have compassion for his situation. I do want to help him the best that I can. But I can’t let his inner experience of not wanting to eat be the driving force in the treatment room. I have to pull on the best part of him, the part that wants to thrive and live a vibrant life, to make the choice to eat. It’s only a choice. No matter what his past experience is or his current interior experience he needs to choose to eat. When he know he should eat, which he does, when he comes to a health care practitioner and asks them to help him gain weight, which he did and then refuses to do the very thing that will help him I can safely assess that he is not living up to what he knows is right. He’s not living up to what he knows will help. Therefore his integrity become implicit in his treatment. When he begins to live up to what he knows is right, then we will see him begin to eat more and regularly. He will gain weight and feel better. His energy levels will improve and to a certain degree his mood will also improve.

    In this case his decision to not eat is the very issue at the center of a large part of what he wants help with. So yes we can assess in many cases, are our patient’s living up to what they know is right. In many cases when they are not doing that it does impact upon their health and well being. And in many of those cases it’s for issues that they are coming in for. So integrity is a part of health care. It’s an important part. But I’m not telling this young man he has no integrity and needs to follow my spiritual beliefs as many people on this forum have mistakenly written. Rather I am finding out from my patient what they know is right, what is occuring in their body from my diagnosis and presenting it to them. Then looking at how they can have an impact on their health. Once this is on the table then I’m only going to advocate for the part of them that wants to get better, not the part who refuses to change. Not the part that decided not eating is better then eating. It’s not easy and does but me on the spot at times. But this is compassion. Compassion enough to ask people to do the best that they can for themselves.

    Todd McCloskey

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  • June 6 2011 at 6:51 PM
    Guest writes:

    How about

    compassion enough to shut the fuck up and let the needles do their work?

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  • June 6 2011 at 7:17 PM
    Whitsitt writes:

    some thoughts on scale, strategy and tactics.

    If you are trying to achieve wide-spread, cultural change, I’d like to suggest that working on the level of individual acupuncture treatments is a poor choice of tactics.  It’s akin to pushing “green” consumerism as an antidote to the destruction of industrial civilization… you depend on too many people to adopt changes for the effects to scale up to the size of the problem.  As you mentioned, very few of the people that even want to get acupuncture are interested in this kind of work.  And we all know that very few people in the population at large are even getting acupuncture.  So… good for the folks that want to work on this level of change, but drops of piss in a very large bucket for making any sort of change in the culture at large.

    If you want to save the Earth, I’d recommend looking to depriving the rich of their material ability to continue stealing from the poor.

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  • June 6 2011 at 7:17 PM
    suzzanne.lohr writes:

    i’m sorry, but did you think this example was going to help?

    I have had enough of this priviledged white male “I know what you need” crap. (I am totaly assuming you are a white dude.  if not sorry, but you are acting like one and not in a good way.)  I have had it.  I have been diligently following this thread for days and it makes me feel sick to my stomach.

     Seriously, did you just say that your patient has no integrity because he feels he can’t eat at work?  My head is exploding.  If I thought all day that one patient has more fucking integrity than another and therefore deserved more of my time and energy I would close my clinic and quit acupuncture all together.  And if you are implying that one deserves to get better over another then I am seriously questioning your integrity as a practitioner.

    When will people learn that WE DO NOT GET TO DECIDE WHO GETS BETTER OR WORSE in our clinics?  What we believe does not matter.  All I need to do when I show up for work is to have an open heart and do the best for the people who walk through my door. I do not judge.  I don’t have time! I do not think someone else deserves to get better faster than someone else, because they follow my directions.  Shit I don’t really believe that we should be giving many directions at all.  Gentle suggestions, sometimes.  But I am not here to run people’s lives.  I don’t want to.

    The reason that I love CA so much is that we are all here holding space for people who cannot do it for themselves.  For any reason.  No questions asked.  Our goal as a group is to help with the suffering of as many as we possibly can.  Plain and simple.  

    And finally, Todd.  Did you ever think why the guy can’t eat at work?  It sounds to me like is is anxious as hell.  Does acupuncture help with that?  HELL YEAH IT DOES.  Maybe once he stops being judged and told what to do and gets some damn needles in him he can open up within himself, calm down, and find a way to eat. 

     

    Little Bird Community Acupuncture

    Washington, DC

    http://www.littlebirddc.com

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  • June 6 2011 at 7:36 PM
    Skip writes:

    Todd

    At this point you are just being a troll. I know, I know: hard to believe with all that integrity and everything. But that’s all you are now. You are no longer advancing the conversation and it is safe to say that you haven’t convinced anyone. 

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  • June 6 2011 at 9:00 PM
    Guest writes:

    I’ve reasonably explained

    I’ve reasonably explained myself and won’t go into any more details about what I meant. I do want to say that I in no way said my younger patient had no integrity. I don’t think that at all.  I also don’t spend more or less time with people based on how they are conducting their lives. Nor do I want to run people’s lives. What I really want from this patient is for him to eat, not make life decisions for him. I do the best I can each time and spend as much time as I think is necessary for each patient.

    If anyone is interested in a conversation please feel free to email me and we can talk of the forum or over a call. It’s much easier that way.

    I wish you all well.

    Todd McCloskey

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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  • June 6 2011 at 11:37 PM
    whitney writes:

    Sheeeeesh!

    I have followed this, and stayed out until now, but this is too much.

    “Once this is on the table then I’m only going to advocate for the part
    of them that wants to get better, not the part who refuses to change.
    Not the part that decided not eating is better then eating. It’s not
    easy and does but me on the spot at times. But this is compassion.”

    Really? How is this compassion?  And how can you honestly expect this classist white male(sue me for assuming) drivel to clear up any of the “misunderstandings”?  The greatest frustration from reading these posts comes not from the fact that you or LJ or anyone else in the acu profession thinks this way.  I’m uncomfortably used to it.  The frustration comes on strong when you use the same classist, bla bla bla-ist arguments to explain to us humble community acu peeps why we just “misunderstood.” The hole gets dug deeper and deeper.  Just own up to it….if having a practice that is exclusionary and elitest feels good for you and for your patients rock on.  I hope all of you keep feeling better.

    But I do need to know,  how exactly do you only advocate for the part of someone who wants to get better while leaving the rest out?  Are there certain channels or points that should be avoided so as not to accidently treat the part of someone who is reluctant to change? If you are unwilling to advocate for and treat the aspects that people refuse to change you are a wuss of a practitioner and must not have seen acupuncture in action.

    Compassion is treating a lung cancer patient who still smokes. Compassion is treating a woman who just lost her baby after birth and then treating the 9 month pregnant woman who just sat down beside her.  Compassion is treating a suicidal patient every day no matter what they can pay. Compassion is treating an obese patient or an emaciated patient and NEVER even discussing food, or eating, or exercise.  Fulfillment comes from watching them all get better….some a little, some a lot.  Some even got better from things they didn’t want to change or thought couldn’t change. Compassion + Fulfillment= Integrity

    I am too busy being useful to focus any energy on evolving or elevating.

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 1:37 AM
    bapnyc writes:

    continuum..

    Hi all. My apologies for writing that post and then disappearing!  We just moved into a new space (one floor up and twice as big as the last space) and we don’t have internet yet so i am at the whim of sporatic appearance of bars from other networks.. We’ll see if it works this time.

    So anyway, Lisafer, you asked me if I thought the vertical evolution of the practitioner is the most important part of the patients healing::: I think the evolution of every being is the most important thing they can do for anyone and anything so yes, i do think it is of utmost importance. That said, days when i am in whatever trip i am in about me and my story… Chinese medicine still works! Thank goodness, because if it had everything to do with my evolution I would have no business treating anyone some days!   I am grateful to this practice for its innate intelligence no matter what my thing is. However, i do see that when can put aside whatever i am going through and give everything to the part that i know is untouched by anything in me and anything in anyone else, there is a certain space/energy/clarity/grounded excitement that seems to emerge in the treatment room. It is palpable and distinct and  I can see it with other practitioners here too.  i think in CA more than private practice, the energy we align with as the practitioner sets the backdrop for what the people being treated are simmering in while they sit there.  My network chiropractic friend calls it “entrainment”... the phenomenon where all dispersed energy starts to resonate/vibrate with the strongest one.  So in that case, yes, i do feel a deep responsibility to do my best keeping up spiritual development. There are six other practitioners here it is very clear when i pop in on someone elses shift whether they are on top of their game or not. Ooh i like that phrase “on top of their game”... it’s like ok, the game is there (the old play of the ego thinking this or that) but ultimately there is a consciousness in us that can choose to listen or not.  When we don’t listen to and act from the game, we are elevated, on top of, it.  Yes! and  can choose.. choose  choose…. this is true freedom.  To treat from this place is proving to really make a difference.  I am definitely not at this place of total choice all of the time or even half of the time,  but  I do thank Lonny for his steadfast encouragement to give everything to that place that is totally free and nothing to the rest of it (even if I have to fake it some days.) Our conditioning and that of our patients is so thick and i do see the wisdom in not giving much attention to it if we want to break out of stagnant patterns. 

       I will try to respond more quickly this time but holy smokes, this expansion is tough!  I see this move to a bigger space as a huge metaphor/milestone in giving everything to the creative impulse and nothing to the ego. If my ego had its druthers, I would have never taken the leap.  My fear is kicking and screaming and acting out all over the place while that part that is free, confident, and totally not personal…is just flying!   

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 1:39 AM
    bapnyc writes:

    continuum…

    yeay, it worked!

     this is Sarah C. from Brooklyn, by the way smile 

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 2:16 AM
    Skip writes:

    So I am seeing something, Sarah.

    One thing you say above is that when you feel really present, when you are at the top of your game, treatments go better. Or to use your words,

    “However, i do see that when can put aside whatever i am going through and give everything to the part that i know is untouched by anything in me and anything in anyone else, there is a certain space/energy/clarity/grounded excitement that seems to emerge in the treatment room. It is palpable and distinct and  I can see it with other practitioners here too.  i think in CA more than private practice, the energy we align with as the practitioner sets the backdrop for what the people being treated are simmering in while they sit there…  So in that case, yes, i do feel a deep responsibility to do my best keeping up spiritual development. “

     What you don’t say here though I think you mean to is that you don’t know if when you feel..aligned?...that you are being more effective in your treatments with your patients than if you are not feeling that way. You may feel good but you don’t know if your treatments are better than otherwise. And honestly it would be very hard, close to impossible, for you to say with certainty that your alignment affects the health of the patient. 

    Myself I think I know what you are saying. Definitely there are days when I feel more open. Those days I feel like I am doing great treatments, better than normal. But after 18 years, I know that correspondence, and I am aware of enough times when that correspondence is an illusion. I do amazing treatments when I am feeling closed down and crappy. And shitty treatments when I am open. Sometimes. And patients have great responses to shitty treatments and no response to amazing treatments, sometimes. There seems little correlation much less causation. 

    It would be interesting to scientifically track these states of feeling and see if they correlate with what the patient gets from the treatment.  But until that is done, then I and most people here see preaching that there is correlation is like selling snake oil. 

    Lonny Jarret is making that claim. A claim he cannot back up in any way. 

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 2:23 AM
    Guest writes:

    I agree 100%, he has an

    I agree 100%, he has an ENORMOUS EGO and a small narrow minded view of the world.

    His writing implies that he believes he is somehow more “advanced” than us ordinary mortals.
    What a joke.

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 7:30 AM
    Spartacus writes:

    Value judgments.

    Todd, it is unethical to treat your patients this way.  Placing a value judgment on someone suffering from an illness is highly unethical - and what you stated here runs counter to several aspects of medical ethics.  Please seek some mentoring from someone well-versed in medical ethics.  And please be aware that many, many people avoid seeking all kinds of treatment that they need because they fear value judgments like the ones you are placing on your patients.  You are contributing, with your attitude, to a culture of shame. 

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 11:46 AM
    Pauline writes:

    Oh Skip, you’re just so deluded.

    Wait—is that a flute I hear? Oh look—all the children are dancing off… I think I’m going to join them… that piper—he has so much integrity, I can just tell.

    Pauline

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 2:43 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    hey Pauline

    A lot of people agree with you re: Andrew Cohen. Check out this link:http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.com/

    I think it’s also worth reading Andrew Cohen’s rebuttal to the accusations:http://www.andrewcohen.org/blog/index.php?/blog/post/declaration-of-integrity/ 

    as well as his explanation of why he is controversial: http://www.andrewcohen.org/interview/controversial.asp

    not necessarily to hear his side of the story, but for purpose of seeing all the thematic similarities between how he defends his practices as a guru and how Lonny Jarrett’s article encourages acupuncturists to relate to their patients. I’ve been doing a bunch of reading over the past few days, and if I had read more about Andrew Cohen’s evolutionary and integral  perspectives, I probably would have written a different response to the CJOM article.

      1 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 3:31 PM
    Steven R writes:

    Grateful for Community Acupuncture…..

    Wow, great blog and great comments. I’m just grateful for CA / CAN (soon POCA?) as an alternative to the attitude that Jarrett, Felice Dunas,  et al. put out.

    I feel like I’m going through a ‘deprogramming’ from all the similar ‘if they valued their health enough, they’d pay… BS I imbued at a ritzy acu school in San Diego. I’m still pretty much an upper-middle class asshole but working on being a decent guy.  (I followed gurus and wanted to enlighten people, too! )

    He headlined for a couple years at the PCOM CEU circus. As has been said here, he clearly came across as a guy who, while immaculately schooled in at least someone’s translation of the Classics, came away with the idea that it’s all about making yourself into The Superior Man and uplifting everyone to their ‘spiritual destiny’; at least those willing and able to pay for their enlightment….

    What arrogance to think you have the right to view people this way, as if they had no truth or being of value for ‘simply getting out of bed’ as you said! But those are the people that are not even seen by these acu-guru types, I suspect, the ones that clean their offices or handle their luggage at the airport as they jet around from one high-profile acu conference to another.

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 5:16 PM
    tatyana writes:

    ooh, lisa

    do we smell “untapped potential - take 2”?

     

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 7:33 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    well…

    I heard a rumor that Lonny Jarrett was going to be responding to my response. I am waiting.

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 8:07 PM
    rhayden writes:

    in the meantime

    Lonny’s new CD is out.

    http://www.loveandrevolution.com/fr_home.cfm

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 8:57 PM
    Darlene writes:

    Yikes, 4 pages and 99 comments

    I’ve been waiting a VERY LONG TIME for the appropriate time to post this:

    http://www.yahoodrummers.com/davey/kliban/images/wyp_intellectual.jpg

      0 likes
  • June 7 2011 at 9:58 PM
    Whitsitt writes:

    funk?

    Ok, now I’m *really* offended.  As a monk of funk, I can’t reconcile Lonny’s b.s. with “all that is good is nasty,” and it troubles me to see him pushing this wackness as funky. I’m going to have to go listen to this boogie mix again just to get my head straight… http://cornwarning.com/tomcox/DJ_Nice_Rec_-_Boogieman_Vol_3.mp3

      0 likes
  • June 8 2011 at 12:37 AM
    Pauline writes:

    I’m curious.

    What would have been different?

    Pauline

      0 likes
  • June 8 2011 at 1:42 AM
    Lisafer writes:

    let’s wait a little longer

    There’s a lot to say.

      0 likes
  • June 8 2011 at 9:41 AM
    Pauline writes:

    I agree one could say a lot.

    But I have mixed feelings about LJ or any other cult member getting so much space. I’m guessing you’re expecting a response from the great man himself. I’m guessing he will have nothing new to say.And it will all be party line. You can’t really engage with a party line.

    He also belongs to a discussion group I’m pat of called Chinese herbal Academy. He just recommended his article there.The proselytyzing goes on. He wouldn’t call it that. He’d call it telling the truth and expressing his integrity.

    Yeah. Right.

    Pauline

      0 likes
  • June 8 2011 at 9:59 AM
    ETCA writes:

    Pauline does not like LJ

    We get it, why do you keep wanting to stop the conversation if others have things to say?

    You don’t need to continue reading if you don’t want to, but repeating the “lets stop this” isn’t stopping the conversation.

    Personally I am interested in reading what Lisa has to write that is yet unwritten.

    I studied with LJ, I did one weekend with Andrew Cohen, I didn’t get brainwashed and I haven’t continued working with either of them.  I don’t think it is necessary to be afraid of talking about them. 

    I’ll add that I did a weekend retreat at the Zen Mountain Monastery and I think that was a hell of a lot more intense and challenging than a weekend at the Cohen retreat (and the monastics who were there also found that work very challenging).

      0 likes
  • June 8 2011 at 10:25 AM
    Lisafer writes:

    how about this

    This thread is getting unwieldy—everytime I see that’s there’s another comment I groan and squint—so I’m going to close comments here. I have indeed heard that Lonny is planning a response, and you know, since he is a writer and I am a writer and this is a blog, if he responds I’ll post it. If he doesn’t respond pretty soon I’ll just post part deux anyway.

      0 likes

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