Day 40 - I'm Naming my Health Clinic Tongue to Anus
I'm writing this on day three with no coffee, and when I pulled into the parking lot for the acupuncture clinic, I had to drive around to find a spot, sweating because all of a sudden it was summer in Santa Cruz. I saw a place and turned in, but a man in the adjacent spot was sitting in his car with his door open. He was smoking. I said fuck in a loud voice and he pulled the door shut with his foot.
I got out of my car and told him I was sorry for swearing in a loud voice. I told him about the coffee thing. “I know what you mean,” he said. “I’ve been lightening up on the smoking recently and it’s so hard.”
“I hate everyone,” I said.
“Then I’m nobody special,” he said.
I assured him my feelings for him were special. “You just made my day,” he said, and we smiled at each other, two addicts trying to make it through a sunny Santa Cruz morning.
When you get acupuncture, in addition to having your pulses read, the practitioner looks at your tongue. It makes so much sense. The state of the tongue reveals the state of your digestive system. This is why when I make a health clinic for adopted people it’s going to be called Tongue to Anus. The doctors are going to focus on digestion. They are going to be aware that every time they prescribe an antibiotic or an antidepressant they are doing damage to organs that then, via the Vagus nerve, tell the brain we are in trouble.
I, for example, have a “puffy” tongue. My tongue is a mirror into my guts, and my guts are clearly telling my brain that everything is not okay in Anne Land. Hence the anxiety. Hence the poop issues. The acupuncturist can tell from looking at my tongue that my body is not getting the nutrients it needs from the food I am ingesting. I am a machinery in need of a tune-up. In Chinese Medicine, a puffy tongue means there is too much “fluid” in the body and not enough “earth.” When I continually have soft-serve poops, I am losing “earth” energy. I need to be more grounded. The acupuncturist works on my stomach and spleen meridians to encourage this grounding energy, to encourage epic turds.
Here is some information about how to read your own tongue. My favorite piece of advice on the page is this; Be kind to your tongue and to yourself. It's very common for people to feel embarrassed about their tongues, but there's no need to be hard on yourself. This is just a "printout" of the current state of your body, and being kind to and accepting of what you see on your tongue is a way to practice kindness and acceptance of your whole body and everything it does for you. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17879/how-to-read-your-tongue-for-3-key-signs-of-health.html
Now you'll never be bored. There's always your tongue to look at and analyze.
When I had the acupuncture session, the needles hurt.. I felt like a snail without a shell. I kept jumping when he put in a new needle. “You are different without coffee,” he said. “More sensitive. Your pulse was different, too. Steadier.” I felt different. I was also crying—but not with any effort. It was like my eyes were leaking. I felt as if he were unzipping me, that pressure I’d been carrying around inside of me was being released with each needle.
After the session, my eyes felt clearer, more balanced. The difference was noticeable. I was deeply calm but still sad. Two famous people had committed suicide this week and those deaths were on my mind, the fact that life is hard and we put on our faces and we do our work, but sometimes momentum and habit aren’t enough, and we fall.
Cutting out coffee is letting me feel more. It’s one reason I drank it—to feel speedier but not necessarily to feel more. Drinking coffee is like going on a speed date with life. When you are in the state of deeply feeling almost anything can bring you to tears. It’s like that scene in American Beauty where the young man is talking about how gorgeous a piece of trash can be. If you look at anything carefully enough, even disaster, even war, there is beauty. But it’s the kind of beauty that rips your heart out, and it’s hard to maintain a job you don’t really love or a marriage that doesn’t feed you when you are suddenly feeling things in a way you’d been speeding through life to avoid, when your heart is flopping around all over the place, feeling, feeling, feeling.
This is Velveteen Rabbit stuff. It’s not about appearances so much as it is about love. Focusing on appearances can make you feel safe. Love is not safe. I'm calling my clinic Tongue to Anus because we are politing ourselves to death in the medical community. Please put on this paper gown. I'm not going to touch you. I'll just look. The body is so messy. We need to look at our shit, not at intake forms.
Stick out your tongue.
See you tomorrow.