The Comfort Trap

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on November 26th, 2013 | Comments Off on The Comfort Trap

 

 

The way we respond to discomfort is crucial to our well-being. Most of us spend our lives reacting to situations. We have created a culture of people who are asleep at the wheel, going through the motions, veering and swerving, crashing and burning when we notice we are only inches away from collision. A lot of us are on automatic. Of course, if we slow down and are present, most accidents are avoidable. And yes, accidents do happen and we always have a choice for how we respond. How many of us truly feel we have a choice? How many of us have excuses for why we are not where we want to be in life? A lot of people have fought me, adamantly protesting that they are indeed victims of circumstance and that they have no choice in how they react to their own life. Is it any wonder that people are unsatisfied and feeling trapped when they are committed to denying their power and choice? When I dig into their motivations for such a choice, the core seems to be about comfort. Oh comfort, you Trojan horse. You siren song.

 

I say we have turned comfort into a form of avoidance. And aren’t we such an avoidance culture? Spending so much time on our devices and less and less time in nature and each other and virtually no time in quiet solitude. And haven’t we created a reward-filled world where creature comforts are more abundant than intimate connection? A culture that caters to consumers on a day of thanksgiving by luring them away from their families to shop earlier and earlier for the deepest discounts on stuff. What is the impulse to shop so much? What is the impulse now to grab our phones at every red light? What is the impulse that triggers us to go for the bag of chips or third cookie over the carrot stick and hummus? Or to zone out in front of the boob tube or YouTube? How have we become such incredible escape artists?  And what is the cost? What kind of reward takes more from someone than it promises? A moment of comfort in exchange for a poor self-image, guilt, self-loathing, more emptiness, more mass, more health problems, more pain, less life time?

 

Discomfort, on the other hand, can be an opportunity to show up fully and find out just how powerful and courageous we truly are. Sometimes our discomfort is coming from our gut instincts. When we listen, are we choosing to respond from a place of wisdom or fear? How will our actions reinforce or rewrite our life’s story? Sometimes, our discomfort is in response to feelings we find unpleasant. This sort of discomfort is not in response to any real threat. Actually, the only thing that is threatened by us not giving into these feelings of discomfort are our egos. Our egos don’t ever want us to change and grow and expand. Avoiding such discomfort will not only stunt our growth, but it will perpetuate our story that the emotions and circumstance are way more powerful than we are. When comfort becomes a habit, we weaken our perception of ourselves. We stop believing in ourselves. The words, “I can’t” become an integral part of our dialogue. Life becomes a struggle and we tend to stagnate. We get further and further away from our tao-our destiny. In fact, many people that give in to comfort stop believing that they are a unique being with their own purpose. They fall prey to frustration and despondency.

 

So what is to be done? Well, comfort is to be enjoyed. But like Dorothy, from the Wizard of OZ, who lost her way in the poppy field, where she felt stunning relief from a tough journey, she could not stay there long. Dorothy, like all of us, have a path to follow. The longer we stay in our comfort zones, the more likely we shorten our journey. Don’t arrive at the end of your time here, looking down at so much path untrodden, all because you chose comfort over adventure, growth, challenge, uncertainty. Comfort is not where our strength is found. Creativity and ingenuity are born out of response to a challenge or limitation. Do yourself a service and set comfort down sometime when you feel compelled to indulge in something that you know is ultimately not good for you. Instead, take an action step from a place of courage that is in alignment with what you want to create for yourself, even if discomfort creeps in. See what rewards come out of the action you take. You are likely to surprise yourself.

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About Me

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on April 23rd, 2013 | Comments Off on About Me

Sarah Petty has a Masters in Acupuncture from the Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts. As an NCCAOM Diplomat of Acupuncture, she has achieved the highest level of certification in her field. She has served several hours of volunteer work for various communities such as drug rehabilitation and for 911 Healing & Remembrance. She also completed a hospital tour in Hefei, China at the An Hui Hospital for further study. She is currently a Research Acupuncturist at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic where she treats soldiers for headache and collects data for the Samueli Institute-the company conducting the study. Dedicated to reaching the highest level of excellency, Sarah is passionate and devoted to each client in their journey in health and personal growth.

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Please Sign This Petition!

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on February 8th, 2013 | Comments Off on Please Sign This Petition!

Help people on medicare receive acupuncture!

Click on the link above in bold text and make a difference by signing this petition. It will take less than a minute of your time and there are only a few days left. Medicare has never covered acupuncture and it is a major hurdle for treating the elderly. If you have a parent, grandparent, or older person whom you are close to they could be getting their treatment partially or fully covered by Medicare. The official White House petition to recognize acupuncturists as healthcare providers under the Social Security Act needs just over 8,000 signatures more in 3 days to reach 25,000! I realize this is a longshot, but you would really be making a difference. We’ve gotten 2,000 more votes since this morning, but many more are needed. Thanks again and feel free to repost.

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Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on February 1st, 2013 | Comments Off on Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Brene Brown, a researcher with a background in social work, shares her research on love, separation, shame, and vulnerability. Six years of research illuminates they key to connection and self-love. What do people talk about when asked about love and connection? What is standing in the way of our feeling truly loved, truly seen and understood, and truly accepted? Take 20 minutes to hear her talk.

Click on the link below.

Power of Vulnerability

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Gratitude

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on November 21st, 2012 | Comments Off on Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to reflect on what I am grateful for and invite you all to take five minutes in solitude to do the same. And not just for thanksgiving, but for everyday of your lives, if you are not already doing so.

Being in a space of gratitude creates ease in my body. I feel lighter and more full at the same time. Any fear I have seems to melt away as I reflect on the abundance of resources in my life. I feel a warmth in my chest, taking in how much love I have in my life, whether it come from family, friends, or from inside of me. My shoulders drop, and my breath expands, and I realize they are the good breaths. The breaths that uplift my spirit and reinvigorate my senses. The kind of breaths where thoughts disintegrate as my body remembers how alive I am with breath, blood and qi coursing through me giving me animation, helping hands, caring ears, helpful eyes, a loving heart. What a gift. What a gift to again wake up on this day, November 21, 2012. A day that will not happen again. A fresh new day where anything is possible as long as we show up to receive.

I am grateful for a voice and for this medium. I am grateful to receive feedback that my readers are being touched and moved. I am grateful to that spark inside of me that calls me to share my talents with the world. I am grateful for a career where I have the opportunity to encourage people to share their talents with the world. I am grateful that people trust me and allow me to challenge their current stories and truths. I am grateful for these hands that type out a weekly blog, that anchor my words with needle in hand, that embrace the ones I love, that help a person in need cross the street, that tell a story through spontaneous choreography. And I hope everyday will start with gratitude and end with gratitude, from this day forward.

Last night, as a volunteer, I witnessed a crowd of over 1,000 in L.A. waiting in line for their children to receive a donated pair of shoes. These families did not have an abundance of creature comforts, and they had a lot of love. As I spent more time keeping the line on the sidewalk I thought of the many ways humans assemble in a line. A line that wraps around a building. My mind went to the lines around the world for the new iPhone 5 and how absurd the contrast felt. I was not in the line for the iPhone 5, so I can not compare-but I will say the vibe of the line last night was gratitude and love. No one was impatient, even the end of the line that in total waited around six hours for their shoes. The kids were energetic, passing the time by making up games and playfully tormenting their new friends-us, the volunteers. I didn’t see a single whining child in the crowd. Just love and gratitude.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday with your friends and family. For those of you who are not totally looking forward to this reunion, be thankful for enjoying a feast in a warm home. Let go of the past and fill your heart with more love. Be thankful for the abundance in your life. Have a sense of harvest. Take in all that you created and accomplished. Nothing is too small.

Just in case I missed something, and/or this post did not reach you, I will leave you all with some powerful quotations. Thank you all for reading and opening yourselves up to new ways of being. You are doing important work. As you heal yourself, you heal your community.

Look for me in December. Till next time, Be Well.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

― Marcel Proust

“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
― Oprah Winfrey

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
― Meister Eckhart

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
― John F. Kennedy

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The gratest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
― Seneca

“God gave you a gift of 86 400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you ”
― William Arthur Ward

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A Letter To My Readers

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on November 15th, 2012 | Comments Off on A Letter To My Readers

Hello All,

I am writing this to those who may have wondered where my voice has been these past few weeks. This letter is to keep you updated with my blog schedule. For those of you who may not know, I am now a Research Acupuncturist, working with the Samueli Institute on a project concerning headaches after traumatic brain injury from combat in the U.S. military. Training and other requirements to prepare for this position have eaten up all of my time when I am not working. There will be at least another few weeks of appointments, training, etc., before I start my new position over at Fort Belvior. If you are on my email list, I will let you know if I am able to write this coming Wednesday, otherwise, I will start with my regular Wednesday blogs on the fifth of December. Thank you all who read my posts.

For more information on the great work being done over at the Samueli Institute, check out this link below. They are a non-profit organization that researches the benefits of alternative health modalities in the healing of our troops. I am honored and excited to be a part of their team.

Samueli Institute

I hope you are all thriving and living in gratitude. I look forward to returning to my posts as soon as I can.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

-Unknown

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Happy Halloween!

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on October 31st, 2012 | Comments Off on Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone is okay after hurricane Sandy. Today being Halloween, I am posting a spooky Poe poem. Thule is mentioned, and for those of you who do not know, it is a country described by the ancient Greek explorer Pytheas ( c. 310 bc) as being six days’ sail north of Britain, most plausibly identified with Norway. It was regarded by the ancients as the northernmost part of the world. Stay safe and reach for a piece of fruit in between indulging in Halloween candy-your body will thank you!

Till next week, Be Well.

Dream-Land

Edgar Allan Poe (1844)

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule-
From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters- lone and dead,-
Their still waters- still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,-
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,-
By the mountains- near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,-
By the grey woods,- by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp-
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,-
By each spot the most unholy-
In each nook most melancholy-
There the traveller meets aghast
Sheeted Memories of the Past-
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by-
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth- and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
‘Tis a peaceful, soothing region-
For the spirit that walks in shadow
‘Tis- oh, ’tis an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not- dare not openly view it!
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fringed lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.

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Material World

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on October 24th, 2012 | Comments Off on Material World

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart.”

-Helen Keller

Hello everyone!

How are you stretching yourselves today? What intention have you created? I have noticed myself being short and frustrated lately, feeling like there is little in my control. So, my intention today is no matter what, I will fill my heart with gratitude. I will be counting my blessings today instead of humming and hawing over perceived obstacles. How about you?

For today’s blog I am exploring another aspect of the Metal Element: Materialism. The challenge with the Metal Element is around assessing value of things. Some may assign too much while others will assign too little. When our value system is off, important things may slip through our fingers while we hold on to the shame of mistakes, the pain and anger from insults and the grief of things not meeting our expectations.  If our value system is off, we are more susceptible to materialism, putting more value into shiny, expensive objects. The truth is, what is of highest value is least substantial.

My mother has a lot of metal out of balance. She would have been on that scary show, The Secret Life of Hoarders, if it weren’t for my dad stepping in. I was 12 when he joined our family. My mother still managed to fill a basement with all sorts of lone objects-all of which she had emotional attachment to, thus making it unspeakable to part with any of them. I remember the bathroom I used when I lived in her house after I moved back to Virginia from Maryland. I was constantly bumping into these floating shelves she put in for decoration. One day, I knocked the shelf and a Japanese tea cup that my grandaddy have given me for christmas one year dropped on my foot and broke when it hit the floor. My mother must have seen the whole thing, because the first thing I heard was an Earth-shattering cry of pain FROM HER. She was so upset about the mug, she had no regard for my blackened big toe.

She also loved to spend money to relieve her blues. We all do it. Shop therapy. Someone who is stuck in metal may feel isolated, worthless and empty. Uncomfortable with these feelings, they may try and fill this void with new things. The problem with materialism is that all physical things tarnish and their value fades over time. Plus, no amount of treasures will fill the void. The only thing that will fill it is your ability to cultivate self-worth. To recognize that you are filled with divine light, and thus have value to share with the world. You matter.

Spend some time this week to reflect on personal things you are proud of. What do you have to offer? If this is challenging for you, think about what a good friend or family member might say are qualities they appreciate about you. If nature is a place where you breathe easy, spend some time taking in a colorful Fall tree line or a sun-soaked, cloudy sky. If you feel isolated, think about the ways in which you create isolation in your life. Could you be manifesting you destiny to be alone and therefore contributing very little to the rest of the world, feeding your story of worthlessness? If you have a story that you are insignificant and you do not matter, know that nothing could be further from the truth. As I always say, the answers are inside of you. All you need is within you. Take a break from the fleeting high of the material world and spend some quality time in your own, to bask in the beauty that is you. I see it. I hope you do too.

Thank you for reading today. Thank you for engaging in practices to bring you more peace and personal growth. Healing yourself will automatically have a positive effect on everyone in your environment. The work you are doing is important.

Till next time, be well.

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on October 17th, 2012 | Comments Off on Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Greetings all who venture to read this blog! Of course I say this with humor and humility. I hope you are all treating yourselves well.

Keeping in line with the energy of the Fall, it moves me to speak about vanity and how is alters our experience. People that are stuck or caught in the Metal element and the Fall struggle with their value system. This can show as one person putting another up on a pedestal as they feel smaller and inferior in their presence. On the other hand, another person out of balance in this energy may not find anything of value, seeing the whole world as tarnished. There are of course several combinations and variations of both, all having to do with over or undervaluing oneself, others and life experiences.

Vanity is defined in the following ways:

1 excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements : it flattered his vanity to think I was in love with him | the personal vanities and ambitions of politicians. See notes at egotism, pride . [as adj. ] denoting a person or company that publishes works at the author’s expense : a vanity press.

2 the quality of being worthless or futile : the vanity of human wishes.

3 a dressing table. A bathroom unit consisting of a washbasin typically set into acounter with a cabinet beneath.

I find it interesting that the same word can encompass both excessive pride and feelings of worthlessness. My thought in that is that relying on feeling good about yourself by feeling good about your outward appearance is ultimately futile. Outward beauty fades. Holding onto and putting so much importance into something that is destined to disintegrate is a self-made trap.

Then I think, what is beauty? People have their own aesthetic for beauty: a big butt, large breasts, full head of hair, tall, short, thin, muscular, straight white teeth, the list goes on and on. The way I see it, our definition of beauty is a direct reflection of our inner world and our value system. What do we appreciate? How deep does that appreciation go? Skin deep?

Are we critical of the world around us and the people in it? How are we limiting our experience to see the world and ourselves as truly beautiful? Are we getting caught up in details when we look in the mirror? A wrinkle here, a freckle there. Do those things truly matter?  What is someone commenting on when they say, “hey, you’ve got a great smile.” I’d like to think they are commenting on the brilliance of divine light exuded from their face and their eyes. A soul connection. A soul recognition.

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
–Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Take a moment to reflect on what you put importance on. Is there room to expand your appreciation?

Another point I wanted to make is how one can get lost if they get caught up in their own vanity. I knew a woman who was sharing a story about her life with me one day, and she was telling me how vanity really lead her to make bad decisions. She never felt pretty or special, and then she found herself with a man who she found to be very attractive. She felt special. A handsome man was noticing her, choosing her. She got lost in that and didn’t see that that same beautiful man was a mean drunk and an unfaithful partner. She disregarded her loved ones’ growing concerns and married him anyway. Later he would abuse her and cheat on her, and that fleeting feeling of special was gone. If she appreciated her own inner beauty, she would know her own worth and she would have never settled for a man who mistreated her.

There are other ways in which vanity can have us lose our center. I’ve heard of stories of men getting caught in trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. Buying fancy cars and living beyond their means. Eventually it all catches up with them and they find themselves lying to their spouse, getting buried in debt and shame, all motivated by outward appearance.

Vanity is nothing more than a distraction, and we have plenty of those already.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You are the judge. Include yourself in your own definition of beauty. Take your values and reflect on them. Are they in need of purging and remodeling? Are your values all in service to your higher self? You will know they are large enough to live into if when you reflect on them, you feel an expansion both in your chest and in your perspective.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Treat yourself well and you will be rewarded. Till next time, Be Well.


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What’s The Point?

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on October 10th, 2012 | Comments Off on What’s The Point?

Hello again!

It has been an absolute pleasure working with clients in the treatment room. I am inspired by the work people are doing for themselves and their community. Thank you.

So, the phrase, “what’s the point?” has been brought up several times this past week by people in and out of my practice. What a question. What is the point? I’m not sure I have the answer that will apply and resonate with everyone, and I woke up really wanting to explore this question.

Is there a deeper question? When I hear, “what’s the point?”, I hear, “What is the significance?” My feeling is this person is in search of meaning and/or value. Here is what is known: We are alive until we are not alive. What we say around all of that is personal belief and is a reflection of our inner world. Why is Joe Schmo from down the street so easy-go-lucky? He simply does not create a space for himself with a lot of restriction, judgement and high standards. What sets us all apart? We are all human with our human experiences. What distinguishes us are our actions, emotions and beliefs-all of which are of our creation. No one built the world you live in but yourself.

So, explore what is limiting you and what is having you go small. What I mean by “going small” is choosing to operate from a negative place, whether that be fear, worry, shame, etc. What are you committed to? That will be the thing that grows and flourishes in your life. Are you committed to your suffering? Or are you committed to expanding and cultivating more joy and freedom in your day to day life? When you refuse to forgive and forget, are you committed to your suffering? When you are stubborn and unyielding, unable for new growth and expansion, are you giving up on being an active participant of life and giving way to an automatic way of being? When you hold on to hurt, even though you know it does not serve you, are you choosing to prolong your suffering? Does it not feel like a choice? When did you give up your power to choose? There are many things in this world that are out of our control. One thing we are all capable of is growth in self-mastery-if we choose to commit to it.

So, if you come to a place of, “ok, no, it would be crazy to be committed to my suffering, but what’s the point?”, I have a thought. We are with ourselves from birth to death. We may try drugs, sex and rock and roll to try and escape, but the truth is we can never run from ourselves. So, for me, the point is to be a friend to myself. I want to contribute to my expansion and learn not to get in my own way. Self reflection is crucial. The more I learn about myself, the more I see the ways in which I flourish and the ways in which I shrink. My practice is then to lovingly let go of what has me stagnate, suffer and go small, so that I can cultivate the ways in which I flourish. There was a time when I was my own worst critic. I would tell myself I was reaching high to motivate myself towards a worthy goal or cause, but when I fell short of it, I would beat myself up. It was abuse. And it was a hard space to live in day after day. The truth is, I was only a failure if I gave in to defeat. Life is better when we keep it moving. It is certainly better when my head space is peaceful and positive.

When we don’t get overwhelmed and caught up in the details, it is very simple. Get to know yourself. Explore. Do this as lovingly as you can. See what has you smile and create ease in your body and create more of that. If you are having trouble finding any light, search harder. Life is not all bad. There are gifts along the way. Choose to treat yourself well. If there is a conversation that you are undeserving of your love-let go of that like it is hot lava-it is just as painful and damaging. Be your best friend. Create a world that is lovely to spend time in. Once you are happy with yourself, the meaning and purpose will follow. You won’t have you standing in your own way anymore, distracting yourself with negativity and limiting thoughts and beliefs.

“There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week. Be committed to yourself because you are all worth it.

Till next time, Be Well.

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