I don’t eat fried chicken but I work at a place for fried chicken. The food will always be “Good.” “Amazing.” I say “You’ll love it” to people. Because they will love it. I tried the fried chicken once and it was amazing, and then I had diarrhea and migraines for days. I had to get to acupuncture pronto to help my gut. That, ginger root, and exercise helped it get totally better. And I will still sell both of those things to people touting their goodness for the right reasons.
Granted bar food is so easy to sell. “You’re here for the delicious bar food, right? Do you like grease? Spice? Drinks and beer cheese fries? Doing something totally indulgent? Sweet. Welcome and let me help you get you set up.”
I want to make selling acupuncture this easy. People walking into my clinic knowing what they wanna get, looking forward to the final product, and money is already on the table.
~ ~ ~
Since March I took this job at Crisp Restaurant + Bar in Shaw neighborhood of DC, a fast-changing part of D.C., with a lot of cute neighborhood digs.
The restaurant, on 1st and Rhode Island, best known for their hot chicken, a fried specialty, and classic southern-cooked sides such as mac n cheese (super cheesy), collard greens, french fries, banana pudding, and the famous craft cocktail like an Old Fashioned…
Though this chicken joint is ‘not me’ – it IS me.
As an acupuncturist I have been thinking the thoughts of WHO AM I if I eat gluten, or love cheesy mac n cheese, drink soda when I eat out, or have a few bottomless mimosas too many like these other customers are doing.
Where others drop their money on a six pack or some fried chicken, I will drop any amount of money on the right dairy-free milk, the right sugar-free kimchi, or the right gluten-free granola. Definitely I am a bit of a holistic fanatic. If it’s natural and botanical, spiritual or transformational, high vibrating, food, supplements, or access to higher knowledge, I will pay top dollar. For example I will spend the extra $4 on a juice with juiced parsley in it because I know parsley helps eliminate mercury and free radical levels from the system.
Of course being well versed in the realms of healing, using holistic methods of healing (acupuncture, nutrition, rest, water, breathing exercises, chakra meditations, natural herbs or supplements, journaling, yoga what have you) is my job and I should invest in these things. It’s good to have high health standards so I can teach my patients. I coach people to solve their health concerns sustainably and holistically, helping to move their chi based on how cultivated I am in the cultivation and movement of my own chi.
I had a lot of fears going into a new service job (never mind that I had worked on a coffee bus on Hawaii). What would people think of me as a healer/health conscious person? Would I look less like an acupuncturist? Would I get ostracized or bullied by people at work for being ‘too holistic’? Would I fall back into some old habits (drinking, smoking, not sleeping enough, not exercising enough, whatever) that would negatively impact or compromise my health in some way? Would I pick up some bad friendships or bad vibes dealing with people or would I get along with everyone? And the bigger question for my career, how would I be in bigger and bigger environments around more and more people and still maintain healing presence and a sense of vitality to be able to heal? I ask these questions for myself and for many other practitioners of healing arts or who feel a calling to take holistic measures in their lives but also have to be out in the world interacting with many different businesses, working otherwise for yourself and paying all the bills.
I have been able to make this experience work for me despite my past experiences in bars, in the nightlife lifestyle, which is bringing up past times I was bullied (really!) for having food intolerances or wanting to go to bed early, dealing with bad vibes, and getting myself into trouble. I had shut myself off and distanced myself a lot from what represented to me these oppositional forces. I’ve adopted that I just need to be in the moment with my experience. (Isn’t that always the answer?)
I can now love and accept the irony here. Doing something I want to do that is the opposite of what people expect is part of a soul expansion I am doing- something my soul needs to explore and learn from and grow from for reasons that are mysterious. (This is in fact the hallmark sign of soul work).
And I’ll close with a story that I feel is related, learning not to take yourself too seriously making life out to be so linear or absolute…that healing is neither linear or absolute:
In the car on the way home from a retreat with my acupuncture class, I told a friend a bit too preemptively, and a bit too boldly (I was a little grumpy at the time) that she, a recovering alcoholic going to meeting Alcoholics Anonymous, would one day find herself years from now able to have a drink without calling herself or labeling herself an alcoholic, or feeling the pain or guilt at any trajectory of relapse. I was being a bit of a devil’s advocate.
Of course she got really mad at me because AA was her life, her support, and her community at that point in her recovery. Duh, it was upsetting to her when so much of her life and her transition was tied to this 12-Step program (which is really an amazing resource for people struggling with addictions). I felt bad after I said it, it was not my place to say, and even in my grumpy state, it was coming from a good intention. At the time I had just finished reading Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ and he made this exact point about an alcoholic in recovery.
I know it sounds kinda mean and maybe crazy, especially to people who have struggled with addiction (which, if we lived in our 20s, we all probably have). Definitely we can all agree any addiction is a brain disease (an escape, seeking comfort from the outside, seeking to change your state to avoid old unidentified patterns of pain) that takes a lot of time to heal, undoing karma with people interpersonally and reworking the structure of your life.
I wanted to leave with this above idea anyway, that there will come a day when we don’t need to identify with what we’ve been handed and the wounds we were meant to bear, the labels we have had to carry – we need the story and we need to move beyond the story. Ultimately.
And that would be freeing. Imagine how liberating that would be, if we aren’t these realities, we have already overcome what we ‘thought’ we were without even trying. We realize we didn’t need those things to be sane anyway, everything is wrote, and we can trust ourselves exactly for who we are for now anyway.
How often do we take for granted how much we have changed that would make an outcome totally different if we truly saw ourselves for who we are Today?
It’s important to continuously let go of the past, identifying with it, letting it define who we are. We can’t let just anything in our life DEFINE us. These things of ‘WHO AM I’ of where I eat, where I work, what I do, who I connect with are not ME – IDENTIFIED. Doing that will limit where our soul needs to experience everything.
I was moved that what I felt was called for was to be a server, and I smile to myself when I think of the term ‘server.’ It’s about being humble and getting your work done and being there for people.
I decided I would trust this idea that kept repeatedly entering my mind (even before my friend who owns the place offered that I come in). I realized I like the service industry a lot. I like the people I interact with. I like the community and the camaraderie and doing business with people. The people I work with at Crisp feel like family, and each of us has our important role which feels very grounding.
I want to sell acupuncture and create community and family. I want to make holistic healthcare as accessible and wonderful as rich greasy food is to the American diet. I am learning about creating the consistency and proper nourishment for everyday people and how to serve up exactly what they want every day. Like a cold beer that could actually be good for you. 🙂