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A young lady had just begun menstruating, and was suffering from debilitating cramps. Unfortunately, massive doses of ibuprofen did nothing to relieve the distress, so she went to her acupuncturist, Dr. Lily Ming, to get relief.
Dr. Ming had her lie down on the table and proceeded to insert several needles in her belly and hand and ear. Then Dr. Ming did something our intrepid heroine was unfamiliar with: She light pounded on the nail of the young lady’s big toe with a silver hammer for a few minutes.
“Why are you doing that?” the young lady asked.
“It’s good for the uterus,” the doctor replied.
And sure enough, the young lady’s cramps dramatically decreased as the doctor thumped, and in the days to come they did not return.
After the session, as our young lady prepared to leave, the usually quiet and reserved Dr. Ming started up a conversation. Surprised, the young lady listened as the doctor made a series of revelations. By far the most surprising was Dr. Ming’s description of a traumatic event from her own childhood.
During the military occupation of her native Manchuria, a province of China, she was forced to witness Japanese soldiers torturing people she loved. Their primary act of atrocity was using hammers to drive bamboo shoots through their victims’ big toes.
The moral of the story you ask? (Okay, you didn’t ask, but I like to pretend you ask shit like that. ) Dr. Ming has accomplished the heroic feat of reversing the meaning of her most traumatic imprint. She has turned a symbol of pain into a symbol and tool for healing.
Dr. Ming is a power of example for me and challenges me to ask others and myself: what’s your excuse?