2020 Taught me a Thing or Two

2020 Taught me a Thing or Two

2020 is the year of the Metal Rat. I’m a metal rat. I clearly remember thinking, “This is MY year.” And then the world shut down.

As the year closes, I’ve been reflecting not just on how the practice has changed, what I’ve learned, and how it’s changed me. 2020 was a balls-to-the-wall year. A year on steroids with MSG on top.

I learned I am, to the core, a teacher. On February 5th, I compiled everything shared from Wuhan on the successful herbal management of Covid19. I presented it on Facebook live for an hour. 

I learned that I can adapt quickly: The city’s abrupt closing was shocking to us all. It wouldn’t be for a couple of weeks that we confirmed that we are an essential business. I made a conscious decision not to be frozen. 

We wasted no time contacting patients, pivoting to telehealth, creating contactless pick-ups, and then re-fitting the offices with plexiglass, new flooring, deep cleaning, new chairs, PPE, disposable everything, screening, PPP, and other grant applications.

Nearly every single process in the office changed. Every day we learn more. As I say now- we are a machine of rules. You know what? We don’t get any pushback. Patients are grateful we are so meticulous. 

I learned I can lead: I own 2 businesses. Navigating a business in COVID-land is like the news cycle. Relentless. I could never have accomplished any of this without my extraordinary team- the acupuncturists and the admin staff. Their willingness to adapt quickly made every decision easier. 

Everyone reading this who owns a business or is an entrepreneur knows it’s lonely up here. But every decision I made would impact everyone around me. So, we made decisions together. I wanted to hear everyone’s voice. Information was unfolding in real-time. It still is. Every choice was made through the lens of safety: At the top of the mountain was the safety of my staff. If we were as safe as possible, then so would you.

My team- my fishes- are stellar humans. 

Beata, Nicole, Bec and Julie. And my admin- Zia, Geeta and Olivia. 

I also shared everything I learned with the acupuncture community at large. Locally and nationally. Everyone shared. A global community of practitioners emerged to share and learn together. We all want to do our best. Facebook may be the devil, but none of us could have connected so meaningfully during COVID without it. 

I learned to stand up for what’s right: I mean- out loud, in the practice. And then June came, and George Floyd was murdered. There were riots and curfews. We had nearly daily meetings. To check in-, are we safe? How are we feeling? It was a lot to unpack, and we felt close and aligned. Most pressing was, how can we help? How can our little practice be most impactful? In times past, we’d offer free community acupuncture for trauma relief. But that was off the table now.

I was true to our core values: Health. I thought about Black and BIPOC maternal health. I decided I would donate 100% of June’s Full Script Proceeds to the Maternity Wellness Coalition. In July, I focused on the Philadelphia home birth fund, to help pay for Black women to have safe home births. I was successful in raising just shy $1000!

We have never been racist. But now, we make sure we are anti-racist. We. Will. Not. Tolerate—racism at Six Fishes. 

I learned I don’t give a shit:  In the nearly four decades that I have practiced, I have worked to avoid all politics in the office. Now- with democracy and the constitution at stake, this was off the table. I put Biden signs in the window. I made our offices pick up spots for posters for anyone who wanted them. Listen- we are an inclusive office. We welcome and treat each person with dignity. Diversity and differences are a joy. This even includes people who may have voted differently than we did. But this year- I wasn’t quiet. If this offended someone to the extent that they didn’t want to return, I’m happy to steer them to a more comfortable practice for them. 

I learned to imagine and create:  The necessity of limiting my personal acupuncture practice has opened doors to new ways to heal and teach. The practitioners and I are collaborating on deeper and more meaningful telehealth experiences: 

In 2021, we’ll be unrolling guided meditations to unblock energy and free emotional blocks.  Needles aren’t the only way we move qi!  Using sound and guided visualization, we’ll empower you to heal- body, mind and spirit. 

We’re creating comprehensive fertility coaching with herbs and nutrition. It’ll help you and your partner optimize your health even if you can’t make it in for acupuncture. We’re focusing on your kids with a Little Fishes Pediatric Wellness program. We want to support your children’s physical health, and their emotional well-being. Every child (and grown-up) is unique! We’ll create wellness strategies specific to them. 

If you’ve read all the way to here. Thank you.

Every single day, everyone at Six Fishes is grateful for the gift of helping you. We wish you good health, and we look forward to seeing you in real life or online.