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kindness

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Remembering How To Be Human by Erin Telford.

June 5, 2013

Remembering How To Be Human

I had a glorious, profound experience this past weekend.  I flew to Oregon to surprise my amazing mama for Mother’s Day.  Since my visit was unexpected, she was already on schedule to volunteer at Occupy Medical in the center of downtown Eugene.  We decided that I would come with her and volunteer my acupuncture services.

This is a fantastic setup to provide free medical care and a myriad of services to the underserved population in Eugene.  They have doctors, nurses, fresh food, an herbalist, and even a person to cut your hair!  It was a gorgeous warm day and I had a nice little line-up of people to treat.

I have never worked with underserved populations.  Underserved by my definition are people who don’t get enough.  They don’t get enough food, they don’t get enough medical treatment, they don’t get enough comfort, warmth, nurturing, empathy or love.

My second patient of the day was a transsexual prostitute who was afraid to be homeless on the street because of her sexual identity.  She told me a lot of stories, most of which left me slightly stunned and sad.  I usually feel like I have some things to say when I’m working with patients.  Some pretty reasonable, helpful, relatable things to say.

I like to have a golden nugget here and there that someone can take away and feel uplifted by.  It might be ego-y but I feel good making other people feel good.  So when this fellow human says to me, I sell myself for money when I’m depressed, I’m stumped.

I felt kind of like a jerk.  I don’t have a pretty bow to put on this one.  I can’t say, “Yeah, we’ve all been there” and have a laugh because we haven’t.  I had nothing.  Nothing.  I started and stopped.  Silence.  Awkward?  A teeny bit.  But then we just looked at each other.

Okay, I thought.  Let’s just be here.  Because THIS is what is happening right now.  This is her reality.  I didn’t need to make it better or make it different.  My reality and her reality were crossing over and we were just being humans together.  So we just sat for a minute or two looking into each other’s eyes.  I’m saying I hear you, I understand you, that sucks and I love you in my mind.  I hope she felt that.  I think she did.

I treated a young woman who was kicking a speed addiction and was grieving three babies gone on Mother’s Day.  I treated a woman with a painful bunion who was craving more connection with her family of origin.  I treated a very sweet man who wanted to propose to me with a ring made of a pinecone and string.  All were in heavy transition with very loose foundations, all were very anxious, all really, really needed to tell their stories.

The Dalai Lama had just been in Eugene the day before and everyone was quoting him.  It was a bit surreal.  The major theme of his talk seemed to be around compassion, nurturing and the responsibility and power of the feminine.  We were putting these teachings into direct action on this day.

My mother is a registered nurse so she was camped out on the bus checking vital signs and taking care of wounds.  I’m in my own little section of an outdoor tent with just a few battered folding chairs and a metal table that we pulled off her deck and covered with a pretty cloth to use for a workspace.  There was no glamour.  No flannel sheets, no table warmer, no aromatherapy, no music.

It was still perfect and functional.  When you strip away all the bells and whistles, there is just the work.  You just give everything you have to give.  Nothing else is necessary.

Mother Theresa said that the problem of the world was that we have forgotten that we belong to each other.   We are humans.  We are all doing this together.  It makes no difference if I live in a 2 million dollar apartment on Park Avenue or I sleep on cement steps with my dog to protect me.

We will all take hits in this life.  You will never know by looking at someone what kind of trauma they have had to endure.  It does not matter.  We all deserve to give and receive each other’s kindness and utter humanity.

It’s easy to see other humans as annoying, frustrating obstacles.  They are in your way.  They aren’t giving you what you want.  They are frustrating, shady, slow, entitled, etc.

It’s a choice to remember that we are all made of the same stuff.  We all need warmth and touch and sweetness.  Be in it together-even with “strangers.”

Connect and serve.

photo_about

Erin Telford, MSTOM, L.Ac.

Radiant Heart Acupuncture PC
Licensed Acupuncturist | Certified Herbalist
radiantheartacupuncture.com | Phone: 646.266.4019
214 W. 29th Street, Suite 901 | NY, NY 10001

Follow Erin on Twitter!

Erin Telford holds a Masters of Science degree from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City-a rigorous four-year program that included acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, Western disease diagnosis, and treatment of over 300 patients. She is a licensed acupuncturist, board certified herbalist and is trained in Constitutional Facial Acupuncture RenewalTM. She has a private practice at the Classical Wellness Center as well as a practice at Yin & Tonic Acupuncture, a clinic focused on women’s health and infertility.

Erin believes in the powerful healing dynamic between patient and practitioner and the body’s innate ability to move towards balance. She uses a blend of traditional Chinese Medicine and 5 Element techniques to gently bring patients into harmony within their body, mind and spirit. Erin believes her role as a practitioner is to nourish life and relieve suffering of the body as well as the heart.

 

Inspiration, Video

Kindness is The Only Way. Video.

May 25, 2013

Be kind. Now. Watch the video to hear an inspiring story about kindness that happened this morning and then go be kind 😉 Love you guys! xo jen

 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5NCdEpZEYE]

And So It Is, Forgiveness, Inspiration, Owning It!

How Kindness Works.

February 8, 2013

I got in a car accident the other night.

I was driving to teach my yoga class and just short of making it there I saw a car in front of me stopped. I stopped in time so as not to hit the car. The car in back of me however, slammed into me. The first word out of my mouth was Fuck and then my body shook.. My phone flew under the brake and the car got stuck in reverse and started rolling backward and tapped the car that had smashed into me and then a pretty woman cop was at my passenger window and mouthing something as she mimed a motion that probably said Roll down your window or Calm down. I shook harder. She came over to my side and got in (I must have gotten out at some point) and she got the car unstuck and moved it to the side of the road and the other drivers and I congregated on the curb. I was trying to call Equinox to tell them I had been in an accident and couldn’t get there to teach my yoga class but the guy cop was yelling at me to get off my phone and that he had been doing this too long or something like that. I couldn’t hear. I could hear but I couldn’t listen rather. I was gone. Somewhere else.

When she slammed into me maybe I died or maybe I floated away but when the cop said that no one was injured so he wouldn’t take a police report but that we had to get each other’s information I just nodded Uh-huh and shook. I was the only one panicking. And I kept saying I am sorry because we had all been in an accident and wasn’t that the polite thing to do? No one else said I am sorry so when I came home and told my husband I started to obsess that once again I had screwed up. I had opened my big mouth and because of being a people pleaser I was going to be at fault. I was going to jail. I was wrong. I messed up. Someone crashes into me and I apologize?

I haven’t been able to get out of bed for two days. I was depressed and my back hurt terribly from the impact. I was feeling sorry for myself and vulnerable and terrified to drive. Something this small rocked me so hard I thought. What exactly am I made of?

Why did I apologize? Apologizing denotes guilt. I was the only one that said I am sorry. I also noted that night the irony that I was the yoga teacher and the most freaked out. They were both so calm as if they’d had many car accidents and this was just another rung on the bedpost. The girl who hit me, her hood was smashed badly, and yet she seemed bored and un-phased. Me? I drifted into oblivion when she crashed into me and headed straight for my bed where I have yet to emerge.

It takes such little to shake me. My iPad gets lost or stolen (I will never know) and I have an accident and poof! I am bed-ridden, lost, scared of my shadow as well as the rain and the cars on the road and the idea of waking up in the morning, of being up with the lark.

While I was lying in bed yesterday and feeling this overwhelming sense of what’s it all for anyway? I posted on my Facebook the following question:

What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?

I don’t know why I asked it. I was in a foul people-hating mood. Maybe that is precisely why I asked it. Maybe I needed a reminder of kindness.

So I am laying in bed and the heat is blasting even though it wasn’t cold and I live in Southern California, and I am sweating and freezing and I start to cry reading the responses from my Tribe on Facebook.

Here’s one:

Nicole Markardt I was in a horrible car accident when I was 18. My back broke in 2 places, lying on a beach after the car rolled off of a bridge. A man ran through traffic… ran down rocks to the beach and back into traffic to flag down anyone that could call an ambulance ( pre cell phone). He gave me CPR. He even brought me flowers in the hospital. His name was Gabriel. Like the archangel. He cried when he saw I survived. I believe in the kindness of strangers.

I wanted to believe in the kindness of people again. Someone used my iPad on Monday so it obviously wasn’t coming back. Someone crashed into me and whether it was an accident or not did not say I am sorry. So many crap things happening and if I keep looking I will keep finding them. 

We find what we look for.

I broke into my ex-boyfriend’s apartment once. I used a credit card to unlock his door and let myself in.

He forgave me eventually. We had a big fight and he called me crazy and told me to get out but, eventually, we made up and went on to have about 2 years of more of the same, minus the “breaking in” with the credit card.

I didn’t think of it as breaking in at the time. He’d never use keys to let himself in his own apartment. We would come back to his place and he would slide a credit card through the space between the doorjamb and the door and voila! The door would open. It made him proud how easy it would be to rob his place. 

I had never thought of it as breaking in until he said that. I simply thought I was being cute. How could it be breaking in when the credit card was the way we always got in the door? The credit car was the key!

Except I knew. I knew he would be upset. I knew he never wanted me to stop by un-announced or call him my “boyfriend” but I did it anyway. I had such an adrenaline rush as I was sliding that card through the crack in the door that my whole body shook  like it did in the accident but worse.

Find what you are looking for.

I knew I could possibly catch him cheating. He was in bed though when I slid the credit car through the door and walked in. Asleep. He jumped up when I crawled in next to him and called me crazy and said that I broke in and that I needed to get out.

Look for someone to disappoint you hard enough and they will.

On some level, I knew he would react exactly how he did, but, since there are always two of us (at least) I ignored Voice #1 and went instead with Voice #2 in hopes I would catch him fucking someone else or doing something awful and I could say Uh-huh! People suck. You let me down. I knew it! People will fail you. See?

But he was asleep and he kicked me out and eventually we made up and went on to have a disastrous coupe of years but I think back on how I really let him down. His rules may have stank and he may have been a jerk but who was I to let myself in when he never gave me that permission, no matter how cute I thought it would be?

I wanted to fail.

I wanted to prove that people suck. Even me.

Yesterday I laid in my bed and posted that question on Facebook because I needed a reminder of the good in the world.

That’s why I said I was sorry when I was in the middle of the accident sandwich. I wasn’t at fault but I thought it was the human thing to do. The kind thing to do.

I don’t know. I don’t know if kindness counts much in the legal system but I stand by why I said it. Not all people suck. Some do. Can I say that as a yoga teacher? ( I just did, so I guess so.)

I don’t suck. 

I am kind. 

And there is a lot of kindness around us. It moved me to read about the things people posted on my Facebook and it reminded me how all we have to do is hear about it, read about, witness it, and kindness will live inside us. We don’t even have to be the one the kindness is meant for specifically, and yet and still, it will live somewhere within us as if it was meant for us specifically. That’s how it works.

BTCLOGOfinal

How To, Inspiration

15 Rules To Live By. Debut Post on MindBodyGreen.

April 15, 2012

I am thrilled to now be a regular contributor to MindBodyGreen.

My first post went up yesterday which was titled 15 Rules To Live By.

My friend Karen Salmansohn made me this poster to go with the article.

Click here to read the full post on MindBodyGreen and as always, feel free to comment.

Each post will delve into one of my 15 rules.

1. Be Kind.
2. Have a sense of humor especially when it comes to YOU.
3. Write poems, even if only in your head.
4. Sing out loud, even if badly.
5. Dance, even with no rhythm.
6. If you don’t have anything nice to say… you know the deal.
7. Find things to be in awe of.
8. Be grateful for what you have right now.
9. Watch Modern Family, read Wayne Dyer, and end every complaint with “But I’m so blessed!”
10. Duh, do yoga.
11. Don’t worry. Everyone on Facebook seems like they have happier and funner lives. They don’t.
12. Tell someone you love that you love them. Right now.
13.Take more pictures.
14. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. No such thing.
15. Thank the Universe in advance.