My patient, who is also an acupuncturist, inquires “can I check your pulse?” An essential diagnostic component of Chinese medicine. Her eyes are deep brown orbs, calm and clear.
I respond “Of course!” and extend my wrist. I have small wrists, like my mother.
She runs her wide fingers over the pulse, along the forearm. I feel a warm pulse of energy.
“Everything is good, balanced. Your heart is strong. But here,” she presses more firmly,”I identify sadness.”
Like most people in the West, I grew up thinking of sadness as merely a feeling, generally one to be avoided if possible. The Chinese model makes more sense in grief. Sadness courses through me like blood, weaves through my being, one of many red threads that knit me together. It lights up my Qi like a Christmas tree. I can smile and laugh and feel joy, but I’m still sad. To run away, choke this back this would be denying part of my core.
Sadness is. There is no escape, for any of us.
The good news is sadness also enriches. It makes me more grateful, more compassionate, more sensitive. And how can any of us embace the light if we deny the dark?