Monday, February 16, 2009


"This one? Do you feel it?"

His hand hovers above the needle freshly planted in the base of my thumb.

"A little."

His fingers make a delicate adjustment and my arm jumps with feeling. Not a stab or a prick. More like a small electric shock, a leap of awareness.

"Yes, I feel it now."

Toby, my acupuncturist. He soothes me. His big ears and soft chin; his quiet, steady hands. His touch is comforting and dispassionate. He sinks every needle just where it should go. This is what it's like to be taken care of.

He asked me how I felt today. I told him I felt heavy, sad. He nodded and made a note in his chart. He treats me for the excess of water in my constitution, and my deficient stomach chi. He says it is normal for people with too much water to feel sad. I like thinking of it this way. It's just water pulling me all the time towards the ground. Drain the water and I'll be light again.

"Here?" He touches me lightly just where the bottom of my sternum dives down between my ribs. Holy. My face contorts to a sob like someone pulled shut the drawstring of a purse. "Ah," he says softly. He pulls his hand away. "Take a breath."

I take a breath. I talk to myself like I talk to the beginning yoga students in my Wednesday night class. Breath in: let the heart be lifted. The very tip of the needle feels like a flaming arrow hitting bullseye. I sob, out loud this time. He pulls back. Touches again with the pad of his fingertip. It feels so deep, this hole, a fontanelle above my heart.

I met with a long-time submissive client the other night. Dinner was alright, but back in the room the scene went south fast. I had tried beforehand to talk about limits, but you don't always know them til you reach them and when we hit a snag he snapped. It was so sudden. I had no moment to prepare. He frightened me. I put my hand over my face. He sat down at my feet again but by then I was crying. He took his shirt off and gave it to me. He put his head on my lap. I told him things I never meant to tell him. He said, "This will make us closer." I cried harder. He stayed with me till I was done and then he called me a taxi.

Closer. Maybe. Until you're bored with being close and then we won't be close any more and I won't care because we were never close. Sometimes it's hard to figure out who's making the rules. It feels like the money, at least, should make you think you're worth something to someone and sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. But these thoughts are attachment thoughts and attachment is the root of suffering. If you love a certain cup, drink from it as if it were already broken. I think that's how the koan goes. With every sip you will treasure the reunion with the thing that was lost.

Toby taps with his fintertip again, so soft, and he is putting his finger right into the red. My heart will not break. My heart is already broken. The hurt moves outward like the ripple of a rock dropped in a pond. He withdraws. "OK," he says. "Not today."

I am not a prisoner underground. I am a seed, sleeping in the earth under these soft, cold, February rains.


header97124 said...


What an outstanding blog. I was torn with wanted to love, cherish and protect your gentle heart from harm or to just honor the journey of self discovery you're on. Of course a traditional answer, or kenjo, won't work for someone as complex as you.

Even though koans refer to unanswerable questions, my one-handed (and dual handed) clap is always here to cheer you on!


PH said...

If you are a seed, you are beginning to open more than you know.

Be well, beautiful girl.

Anonymous said...

"My face contorts to a sob like someone pulled shut the drawstring of a purse" it's this kind of writing that made me read your stuff. which i found as your blog is linked to a good friend of a good friend. as you know, good friends are all too rare, so i often take there advice.

i described your insights to those of eudora welty. ah, just realized we're in the same town. small world. of course that doesn't matter as much of what you touch on is universal. it's in making it personal and detailed - the tangental leaps from acupuncture prick to someone acting like a prick (snapping is a prick action, uncalled for) - that reminds readers of the seemingly inconsequential that triggers floods of emotion, recollection, and those collections of koans.

Frank said...

The beginning of this feels like one of those Studio Ghibli cartoons (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke), where stuff is just left of reality, as if tugging on someone's earlobe might cure them of a fever. Then you throw this vague, yet specific turmoil into the middle of it all. Badass, as usual. Thanks for waking me up this morning.

Pamela ( said...

Take care, sweetie. Wish I could be there with a big fat hug. I'm enjoying California -- lots of friends I haven't seen in way too long. But I'll be glad to get back to solitude and work, actually, at least for a while. Much love, talk soon.

Selena Truth said...

What a beautiful writer you are. I read many of your posts. You have a real gift of description of sex work, and life, in its naked reality.

I will be linking this blog to mine,

Selena Truth

nyc escort said...

touching. and that seed if growing and growing. let me check back in a week to see what it has become.

boyvbar said...

I miss your posting-

Pamela said...

Where you at? Miss you, dear.

Freya said...

Grace, I have passed you an award, collect it here.