I know that many of you serve family and friends, and some of you serve clients or patients in professional healthcare. When we think of our patients (and ourselves), let us remember that we are here to serve them with humility, and encourage them to grow in ways they may think impossible. We are here to serve the whole being — not some mechanical sum of the parts. We often get caught up in “fixing” our patients’ problem areas and neglect to see that our patient is actually on the verge of a transformation. We become myopic and see the symptom – not the Self. In them and in ourselves, we must look beyond the signs and symptoms that bring us to ask for help and see how it is actually our reaction to our pain that causes our greatest suffering. We see ourselves as needing fixing (a hurt shoulder, a broken heart, migraines, infertility, etc.), and we believe that if we were not to experience that symptom, our life would be much better.

Of course, as practitioners, it is our job to help alleviate the pain that brings our patients to our door, but we can do so much more. In our practice we use acupuncture and Chinese medicine to rectify the hormonal imbalances of infertility and to help alleviate the pain of migraines, but we are really treating the patient, not the disease. All of us (our patents and ourselves) are built for more than mere comfort, and we can be so much more than ‘free of disease.’ We are built to push the boundaries of compassion, love, innovation and beauty…and our entire being can be cultivated to push these boundaries. Part of this cultivation comes from learning to be with discomfort. It is easy to be mindful when times are good, and it builds wisdom when we practice this mindfulness in the face of true challenge. Let’s all commit to put in a little more time practicing being present in the face of discomfort, and let’s take just a little extra time to help our patients do the same.