In composing this letter and reflecting on the year, there are many things I want to say but finding the right words is a challenge. COVID-19 has affected us all emotionally, physically and financially. Racial and political divisions have tested America and the world.
In this profession I am in the unique position of being both an advisor and a student. I meet people from all walks of life. While I help them with physical pain, physiological difficulties and emotional distress, I am in the unique position of learning from their life experiences. I gain insights by hearing different perspectives. It is a a gift. It is also the first time in my eighteen years of practice where external and internal conflicts have existed on so many levels. We all react differently. Some of us seek quiet, some seek confrontation. I learn from them all.
Quarantine has limited how we interact with each other. It has forced us to spend more time with ourselves. Some have focused on self-improvement and welcomed the quiet while others struggle. I have done both. The old quote, “Wherever you go, there you are.” comes to mind in that some of us keep ourselves so busy we never have time to look at what makes us tick. I had to sit with myself and find new ways to discover those parts of myself and those I love. It is the first time in my life I have truly taken the time to meditate. I have taken time to write down my strengths and my weaknesses to try to find better ways to live my life. I started a gratitude book to focus on the good in each day. What was the best moment of my day? What was the worst? What am I grateful for? You can’t imagine how good it feels to acknowledge some things and let go of others. I realize the power of words, and have listened to podcast after podcast to find inspiration and to feel joy. What we choose to listen to influences love, hate, sadness, inspiration, togetherness, and also division. My perspective may be very different from someone else’s and while I can be quick to judge, I’ve learned to allow room in my mind for other opinions. I have eaten humble pie several times over the past year while I learned more about the whole picture or different views of a situation or way of thought.
This year I experienced the loss of my father. Unlike those who lost their family members suddenly due to complications of COVID-19, I had the opportunity to have many phone calls with my dad as he prepared for hospice. In-person visits were severely stunted and hugs disappeared due to the dangers of transmitting coronavirus to his caregivers. Practicing gratitude was difficult. I found myself angry with the restrictions and shocked by what I found to be an unfathomable way to say goodbye. But now, I’m grateful for having the opportunity to say the words I felt to be important to say to my dad.
The magnitude of the pandemic is hard to grasp. I feel for all the people who have lost loved ones. While I do not know their personal experiences, I do know they are in pain, and it hurts. I know the social sacrifices we are making now are worth it – to protect those we love, along with all the healthcare workers who work long hours to take care of our families and friends. Hang in there everyone. We are almost there.
I started 2020 with specific aspirations about my personal and professional growth. As we begin 2021, I once again find myself setting goals. Daily goals based on constant evaluation seem like the best way to continue and begin again.
As founder of the Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, I am most proud of being a “we”. Closing our office on March 16, 2020 took about two hours. Re-opening was a different story and it took a team. Never in my career have I been more proud to work with such fabulous people. They worked hard to scour the clinic, source materials and rearrange the office to make sure we were COVID-19 compliant. Our 60-day mandatory shut down gave me the time and space to appreciate how lucky we are to be acupuncturists and to serve the Boulder community. At the Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, Inc., our team renews its commitment to the health of our clients. Wearing masks and disinfecting the office have become routine and we continue to focus on improving patient care. We do miss working together on the same shifts (currently limited by social distancing) and supporting each other. But more than anything, we love the opportunity and privilege of working with you. We are grateful for you.
Wishing you good health, love, and prosperity in this coming year.
Erin Pass, L.Ac., Dipl. C.H.
Founder, Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, Inc.