Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


No, the Needles Don’t Hurt

I am always a little reluctant to tell people that I see a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. My practitioner uses acupuncture needles, prescribes herbs, and gives advice on nutrition. But for some reason, this amuses some people and horrifies others.

I started seeing my current practitioner about six weeks ago. I have had acupuncture and herbs before, and having found them to be beneficial in the past, I picked up where I left off. This time it is to deal with a couple of chronic issues along with pain management for my knee, Achilles’ heel, and hip.

My regular M.D., when I told her I was seeing a TCM practitioner, smirked and said that if paying extra money to such a person would motivate me to live a healthier lifestyle then she had no problem with it as long as I still followed her directives. This is often the attitude of Western doctors because TCM has not been fully explored through western research methodology and protocols. There is no proof that TCM should work.

Yet it seems to be working for me.

There is a very steep flight of stairs at my church that leads from the narthex to the balcony. Six weeks ago I could only walk up that flight of stairs clutched to the rail and using only my good leg to step up. This morning I charged up those stairs without holding the rail with absolutely no pain whatsoever.

Then there are the people who are so freaked out by anything not Western in origin that they think I am engaging in some sort of supernatural, paranormal activity. Seriously?

We are incredibly complicated creatures according to the judeo-christian scriptures*; therefore, it is reasonable to assume that we do not know everything about the human body and how it functions.  Why then is it so difficult to believe that inserting needles in certain parts of the body can stimulate the body to heal itself?

The same scriptures tell us that all plants were made for our good.**  There is even a recipe given by the Creator to the prophet Ezekiel that is nearly a perfect source of protein.*** The Creator has given us food and herbs as medicine.   The herbs my practitioner prescribes and the foods he tells me to eat are not magical, they are scriptural.  So how can that be bad?

Is traditional Chinese medicine a miracle cure for everything that ails us? Of course not. Like western medicine it doesn’t always work. But it’s working for me at the moment. Until I experience otherwise, I am holding on to this.

* Psalm 139
** Genesis 2, Revelation 22
*** Ezekiel 4:9



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What’s That Green Sludge in the Mason Jar?

I am interested in all sorts of alternative health and wellness practices.

For example, I have an extensive collection of essential oils that I use for home remedies and body care. I use fresh and dried herbs to make immunity-boosting extracts, tonics, and tinctures. I have practiced tai chi chuan and some yoga (both of which I don’t do anymore because I am just too impatient to do the routines). I practice meditation (which is ironic considering what I just said about tai chi and yoga).  Currently, I engage the services of a licensed acupuncturist, nutritionist and herbalist to get certain issues under control.

That being said, I still have a healthy respect for western allopathic medicine. I check things out before I try them on myself. I thoroughly researched the health benefits of the macerating lemon balm-vodka sludge in the back of my refrigerator. (It is supposed to have a calming, stress-reducing effect when consumed).

Here are some resources I use to check out the usefulness, side effects and contraindications of these substances and practices.

The University of Maryland Medical Center
The Mayo Clinic

BUT, let me add that even these resources are not perfect.  No one should ever self-diagnose by relying only on internet sources.  My “the-buck-stops-here-final-word” consultant is always my regular medical doctor. If you engage in any alternative practices, be sure to check them out first with your physician.

Now, I am off to engage in the stress-reduction properties of vigorous hand drumming.


Apprentice Learning

Recently, I shared with a co-worker that one of my interests is drumming.   The first thing she said was:  “That’s great.  You should take professional lessons.”

I was taken aback for a couple of reasons.  First, she just presumed I needed lessons, and second, that only a “professional” instructor in a formal setting was the only legitimate way to go.

I do concede that I need to learn more since I don’t come from a musical background.   But I prefer to learn by watching, listening, and doing.  I learn in an “apprentice-style” relationship with other drummers.   I hang out at drum circles and jam with better, more experienced drummers.   They know things and generously share that knowledge with me.  Sometimes I just shut up and listen to their rhythms and try to imitate them.  The ego of the “professional” teacher is not present in the drum circle; they are just a bunch of musicians having a good time,  and I am along for the ride.

We have learned this way for thousands of years.  I see no reason to change that.

A WordPress Daily Post prompt: Apprentice


Z is for Ba-ZINGA!

Z is for Ba-ZINGA!   Thank goodness for Sheldon who popularized this expression.  It is the perfect statement of personal triumph.  I finished the A to Z Blogging Challenge and overcame a writer’s block!  Ba-ZINGA that, you Inner Critic!

In January, I was in the middle of a writer’s block so I started working through a creativity recovery program.  I did not finish the program because I realized a few things about myself as a writer:

First, I am not a novelist.  I am a blogger who likes to write short essays and fiction.   Second, I need an audience, and plugging along by myself on some novel that probably will never be published is a stupid waste of time.  Third, I will not make a living as a writer, so I cannot give up the day job.

These considerations I embraced and now I feel free to write to my heart’s content and spread it out in the blogosphere.

Thank you for joining me on this semi-autobiographical Wandering Journey through so many unrelated topics.   Someone commented that striving to be a polymath is an ambitious goal.  It was never about that.  It was about the journey.    I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

One more thing before I close this project:    Z is also for “zzzzzzzz.”  That is the sound I am now going to take for the next month or so as I take a little break.

My best to you all.








My Barbaric Yawp

“Yawp” is one of those old words that does not come up in everyday conversation.   It means “to cry out” in a loud voice, and  is akin to the more modern word “yelp.”   Walt Whitman used the word in his poem Song of Myself:

“I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable;
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”  (Verse 52)

Sometimes we all need to act a little untamed so that our true selves can burst forth with a mighty “yawp!”  When we break through creativity happens.

This “crying out” is illustrated in my favorite scene in one of my favorite movies