Women Who Rock–The Palace of Weariness

Today is the start of my new interview series, Women Who Rock
Following a passion isn’t always easy.  What makes it easier is knowing we aren’t walking the path alone.

Living in the Palace of Weariness
Five element acupuncture describes the Palace of Weariness as the point on the palm of the hand, between the third and fourth metacarpal bones in the proximal transverse crease, otherwise called the headline.  Nina Brugel knows the palace well.  She lived there long enough to redecorate.

Nina was tired.  Not just sort of tired.  She was the kind of tired that aches.  She couldn’t stop thinking, worrying, even when the day was done. She couldn’t sleep, and when she did, even that felt like work.  Raising three children can be a challenge, even with great kids like Nina’s, but when one of them is ill, stress takes on a whole new dimension.  She had a child in pain, and like most mothers, her child’s pain had become her own.

Acupuncture wasn’t entirely new to Nina.  Her husband found relief in the ancient healing tradition after a double hip replacement.  Five element acupuncture balances the different types of energy within the body–wood, fire, earth, metal, and  water, releasing blockages that keep it from flowing freely. Nina hoped acupuncture would help her relax and sleep, but she found so much more than peace –she found direction.

You don’t find passion, it finds you
Nina’s passion didn’t announce itself, it snuck up on her.  “I hadn’t really thought about (studying acupuncture),” she admitted. “Shani (her acupuncturist, a woman who rocks in her own right) planted the seed.  I’d ask her all of these questions about what she was doing, the points she was working with and how they effected the body, and after a while she said ‘you really ought to study this’.”  There was a program about 45 minutes away.  It would take 3 years of full-time classwork, 250 hours of clinical work, and then she’d have to pass the board exam.  But after doing so, she could help people just the way she herself had been helped.

Nina had been searching for her passion for a while.  During college she was sure she was the only one who didn’t know what they wanted.  Even after working in the Capitol, getting married, and having her children, the question still dogged her as she looked for what might come next.  Nothing seemed obvious.  Frustrated, she’d curse out Oprah when told to  “Find Your Passion!”,  as if it was packed in an unlabeled box in the garage, or in that kitchen drawer with all of the other random junk.

Until Nina admitted telling Oprah to take a leap, I didn’t think I could adore her more.

That which creates fear, can also create energy
Which is not to say Nina jumped into studying acupuncture right away. “I had lots of reasons why I couldn’t do it.” Starting with the fact that she didn’t know where Laurel, Maryland was.  “My first excuse was a silly one. Shani just said ‘next’.”

But there were larger impediments–time, money, and her desire to spend time with her youngest child, just going into middle school.  “I’d spent so much time with my oldest when she was sick.  Shouldn’t I be here for my youngest too? He would want me home.”

“Have you asked him?” Shani replied.

Not only was her youngest fine with his mother being gone in the afternoons when he got home, he was proud of her, ready to tell anyone and everyone the cool thing his mother was getting ready to do.  Her entire family was behind her.  The support has been invaluable.

“It was hard going back.  I could literally hear the gears turning in my head, creaking away.” And the challenges continued. “There were times when I thought, why am I doing this?”  Her husband is right there next to her, working to boost her spirits.  “My husband gets to bring out all of his sports analogies.  He likes to coach, he’s in his element.  And you know, when you’re sobbing and ready to give up, they actually work surprisingly well.”

Nina will finish her program and pass her boards (because I know she will) early next year, and join her mentor, Shani, in practice. She hopes that in helping others she can find meaning in what she went through with her child.  Seeing people respond to treatment keeps her moving forward.  “I can be tired and stiff when I get to the clinic, and wonder how I’m going to get through the day.  And when I leave, I actually have more energy.”

That’s what passion looks like–something that adds energy, even while you expend it.

Have you found your passion?  What brings you energy?  Tell me! I’d love to hear.  Even better, if you are, or know, a woman who rocks, tell your story! email me at mobyjoecafe.gmail.com

Learn more about Five Element Acupuncture and the Tai Sophia Institute

http://www.tai.edu/

http://www.5element.com.au/

http://www.yinyanghouse.com/theory/chinese/classical_five_element_acupuncture

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12 comments on “Women Who Rock–The Palace of Weariness

  1. howardgirls2003 says:

    I admit to being very ignorant about acupuncture. But, hearing a real person’s story makes me very curious about it. I can fully relate to Nina’s story, about not knowing what she wanted with her life and also about being hesitant to go after her dream once she uncovered it. What an inspiration!

  2. veronica lee says:

    Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  3. hiyacynthia says:

    Jeannine, I would like to comment more on the style of writing in this piece than the concepts of finding your passion. I have clearly found my passion is humor writing and intend to take a do-whatever-it-takes approach to making things happen to see it produce fruits. I was 42 before deciding to pursue my passion. You’re never too old and your children DO want to see you succeed and are far more understanding that you would think.

    Now, back to the writing style. I really like the “interview” style you used in this piece. Of course, I love to both tell and hear a good story, so that’s how this piece translated to me, as more of a story than an interview. I can’t say I care to read interviews in their traditional format very much. This is much more appealing to me.

    Comment on the content of the piece: My brother-in-law is a DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) and he did acupuncture on me. I never felt a thing from it, but some people get a lot of help and healing and that’s awesome. My chiropractor became a chiropractor because of being helped by chiropractic care. Isn’t that neat that you can find your passion because of being helped?

    Keep on writing, Jeannine. You are very talented! I assume that writing is your passion? Women who rock? Well, you do, of course!

    • Thanks Cindy! Writing is definitely my passion. I’m a novelist, also doing whatever it takes, so I’m a storyteller by nature. I think there is magic in the stories we tell ourselves and each other, which is why I write them that way. Acupuncture is a really important piece of the medical puzzle for me. I was actually led to it from my chiropractor 🙂 I guess I do whatever it takes to stay healthy too!

  4. I have heard a lot of really good things about accupuncture. Would love to try it on my shoulder but still a little iffy about it lol.
    New follower from MBC

    • The first time I had acupuncture was to treat a damaged shoulder ligament — a real problem for a violinist. I did rehab, chiropractic, you name it. Cortisone was next. I’d had it before and didn’t want it again. It was a hail mary pass, and in 2 treatments I was playing again. I became a total convert. Like many things, it works better for some than others, but I was grateful for the alternative.

    • hiyacynthia says:

      It doesn’t hurt, if anybody is afraid of that. I was more worried about twitching suddenly or hitting one and jamming it into the core of my being or something. It was fine, though. No discomfort really.

      • Cindy is right, it doesn’t hurt. It’s more the idea of it than anything else. I pass out when I get blood drawn, so I was concerned at first, but it’s been fine. I’ve even had needles in the Palace of Weariness myself! There are different types of acupuncture and some leave the needles in longer than others. What I like about 5 element is that the needles go in and out very quickly.

  5. Julie Farrar says:

    Those of us in our second act frequently find ourselves finding a new passion. Writing and travel have become mine because every minute it’s something new and their something that are wholly mine.

  6. Coleen Patrick says:

    I haven’t tried acupuncture, but it’s been recommended to me. I’m not afraid or skeptical, it just ends up at the bottom of the list.
    “That which creates fear, can also create energy”–this really speaks to me!
    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  7. […] move to Vermont so I can join Women Writing for Change. My friend Nina (if you haven’t seen her story on my blog, check it out, she’s an amazing woman) says that words are needles, which is so true.  They […]

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