Apr 06

Letter to my newly licensed self. . . from my oldly licensed self

Dear Me,

You and I graduated 3 years ago now. Life is starting to feel fun again and so is running my own acupuncture business. But there are a few things I want to tell you about what happened in between here and then. It might help, it might not, but here’s what I wish known when we first graduated.

RecoveryFirstFirst, it takes a damn long time to recover from school. You won’t even know that for at least 18 months. You will have no idea how depleted you are and how much rest you will need. Stop judging yourself for not doing enough. You’re running on fumes. I can tell you that we are still recovering. I’m just no starting to feel human again. Some of my long term interests (like writing) are just now returning. For a long time it feels like you have just enough energy to get out of bed, go treat people, and try to scotch tape a small business together.

Second: Oh. My. God. You’re not going to believe how many times you’re going to hand money over to people when you first start that business. Over and over and over again. And the details! Seems like they never end. But hang on. If you keep pushing you eventually get through it and things get easier. And cheaper.

5919It’s kind of like it was when you were first learning herbs, Cat. Remember how grueling it was trying to just learn how to learn single herbs? That was a perfect training ground for how it feels to start your own small business. Then remember how much easier formulas was by comparison? Remember how you seemed to have a feel for why those singles were combined into that formula and how they worked together? After a while running a business gets like that too. You’ve done the details a few times and it gets more familiar, more automatic. It’s not as hard to do these things after a while because you have a foundation of knowledge to fall back on.

Next, stop listening to the Debbie Downers. Yeah. Starting a business is hard work. Yeah. A lot of small businesses fail. But that doesn’t mean yours is going to. And no, small businesses do not fail because they are acupuncture businesses. They fail because people don’t know how to run them. While it’s true, you didn’t get enough education about how to run a business in school, it’s equally true that you are capable of learning how to do it. You memorized herbs in another language for the love-a-god! Surely you can learn business management!

heartmoneyFourth: Money stuff. Find a good accountant and a good tax preparation expert. This may or may not be the same person. You hate accounting, Cat. Hate. You’re probably not going to develop a love for it. And while we’re talking about money stuff, take some time to figure out your relationship about you and money and abundance. That will save you a lot of grief in the future! And remember that you are an infinite being in a finite body.

And finally, practice mindfulness meditation. It’s simple, it’s effective, and you can do it anywhere. Also, it will help you learn how to be present for both yourself and your clients. They will thank you for it, you will sleep better, you’ll feel more clear-headed, and you’ll be able to hear your intuitive voice with far more ease.

Good luck, Cat! Follow your intuition and your heart and you’ll be just fine.


Love, Cat.

breathe you are alive


Apr 01

Esoteric + Acupuncture = Awesome

“To every needling, the method is above all not to miss the rooting in the Spirits. To be effective and at the same time not to violate the organism goes all the way to the origin of the patient’s life, to the place where the Spirits are rooted.”

Ling Shu

Esoteric acupuncture was developed by Dr. Mikio Sankey in conjunction with esoteric master Djwhal Kuhl and a number of other ascended masters. It’s always wise to look at other methods for treating a client, which is one reason you study biomedicine in acupuncture school in addition to Chinese modalities. Esoteric acupuncture reaches beyond Chinese medicine to incorporate sacred geometry, yoga and chakra theory, Qabbala, and esoteric theories in the search for health on energetic and spiritual levels.

Esoteric acupuncture is a way of treating the Spirit, which is the template that forms our lives, our bodies, our whole pathway in and through this life. Your computer, your car, your cell phone, and your climate control system all function because of programming. When you power any of these things up the computers inside of each of them follow a program so that they can do what they do.

While we are different from these inanimate objects we too are run by programming: programming that comes from our experiences, beliefs, self-talk, and even previous lives. This code lives in the energetic layers that surround and permeate our bodies. The energy or Qi that animates all of life pours into us through this program code and creates the reality that you know as your life. The conditions which heal us and the conditions which harm us begin in this energetic part of ourselves.

Esoteric Acupuncture MerkabaEsoteric acupuncture opens the door for us to change this programming in our energetic field by way of very specific acupuncture point patterns which create energetic geometric structures such as triangles, merkabah, and pyramids. These geometric energy shapes, created by the use of acupuncture points (either with needles or without them), function as vehicles or gateways through which one can travel on the energetic and spiritual planes if desired. They create opportunities for energetic and spiritual growth, health, and change. Though Esoteric Acupuncture is not about balancing the physical health, the work that is done does translates down to the dense physical body, promoting both greater health and, perhaps more importantly, the desire for greater health.

What can Esoteric acupuncture do for you or your clients? 

This is based on both my own experiences with Esoteric Acupuncture and on the feedback I have received from my clients. Everyone’s experience is a little different because we are all unique and are all at different points in our spiritual evolution, but these are the recurring themes that have been reported back to me.

Experiences during the session

    • Assistance and balance in spiritual practice and development regardless of religious beliefs and practices
    • Chakra balancing and clearing/strengthening the central energetic channel
    • Clarity of purpose and new understanding about life paths
    • Creative insights about how to move past a stuck point in life
    • Spiritual visions and communications
    • Contact with and guidance from angels, guides, and ascended masters

Experience after the session

    • Issues or blocks begin to resolve or are reduced in effect
    • New perspectives in meditation practice and/or magical work
    • Profound levels of insight
    • Awakening of psychic powers
    • Increase in ability to channel healing energy
    • More ability to live ‘in the moment’ during stressful or crisis moments

Many have also reported that experiences on the table during the esoteric acupuncture session will flash into their minds at key moments of life changes or times when help is needed.

Esoteric acupuncture won’t do the work for you that needs to be done in your life, but it will open doors and help carry you to places that will support this work. Clients who have done more spiritual work for themselves seem to be the most likely to experience the more dramatic moments.

If you are ready to learn Esoteric Acupuncture, the time is now. Esoteric Acupuncture Level 1 is happening Sunday April 27, 2014. Click here to register and book your spot.

If you want to read more about Esoteric Acupuncture, check out the Esoteric Acupuncture Austin page and/or join us on Facebook.

Apr 01

Finding your niche

“What are you going to specialize in?”

I heard this question constantly when I was in school. I usually responded with something that sounded cool or difficult because I wanted people to be impressed. My answer one year my answer was, “Geriatrics. Aging baby boomers, you know.” Another year it was, “Pediatrics. No one does that much, you know. Untapped market.” And that’s true, it is an untapped market for the most part, but I don’t really click with kids, so that was never really going to happen. Another year it was, “Facial acupuncture. Ton of money there, you know.” And that’s true too, but it bores the pants off of me so that wasn’t going to happen either. Especially not after I tried it for a while and nearly went blind dealing with tiny needles.

Specialization: Stand out from the crowdBut the cold hard truth is I never had any idea when I was in school. Or for more than year afterwards. You might not either. And you know what? That’s fine. You can always change your mind until you find your groove. As a matter of fact, I know several graduates who didn’t settle on their specialty until they practiced on their own a bit and discovered who came to them and/or what they enjoyed. Sometimes grads go to business network groups, introduce themselves, and find all kinds of things popping out of their faces in a bit of a panic and then find they get referrals for those kinds of things.

Here’s what I mean. When you go to a business networking group meeting you usually give a short introduction about yourself which includes a one-liner about the kinds of clients you are trying to attract. One particular graduate stood up, introduced herself and said she was interested in working with oncology patients. BAM! She started getting referrals from the people in her group for oncology patients. She had a background in cancer research which may have been what drove that sentence she dropped on the group, but regardless, she got good at working with cancer patients very rapidly! Now a lot of her practice is oncology based and she’s loving it.

So here are a couple of rules of thumb about specializing:

  1. Announce what you want to test-drive.
    When you announce to the universe and your peers you are looking for a certain type of patient, you will usually get those kinds of patients. But don’t fear. If you decide you don’t like working with that population so much you can always put another request out.
  2. There’s no rush to specialize.
    Take your time to figure out who and what you like treating. The rules change when you leave student clinic and walk out on your own. You may find you draw very different types of people out on your own than you did in student clinic. Let yourself explore.
  3. Educate yourself.
    That’s probably the last thing you want to do after you graduate, but remember there are no deadlines and no one will grade you. You can finally take your time and delve into topics that interest you! Google about the topics you like and how to treat them. Check Youtube too. Don’t limit yourself to Chinese medicine either. Make notes about other holistic treatments that are available for this disease, condition, or topic. Sometimes this will generate some pretty cool treatment strategies that other acupuncturists may not have thought of.
  4. You CAN still treat other stuff
    Just because you specialize doesn’t mean that is all you will treat. You can treat an awful lot of stuff. But it’s a great strategy to get really good at something that makes you stand out from the crowd.

You’ll figure it out! Trust yourself!

Mar 31

How to fail in business without really trying

ToyJoy, Austin's dearly departed toy storeAnyone who has lived in Austin for any length of time has probably been to Toy Joy. Toy Joy was a fabulous experience with all sorts of fun things for the imagination, a kid and adult friendly toy store that was constantly packed with patrons. That’s a recipe for success, right?

Not so much. Toy Joy’s rent went sky high, thanks to the popularity of the area which, ironically, was partially created by Toy Joy, and they had to move. They went to the popular 2nd street district and quickly tanked. The last of the dearly departed Toy Joy is being auctioned off this very day, March 31, 2014. It’s a sad day for Austin residents. A little more of what kept Austin weird has died.

So what the heck does this have to do with you? Everything. I hear many graduates and non-thriving acupuncturists talking about how acupuncture businesses fail within the first two years of existence. Yes, indeed, this is scary and yes, indeed, this is true. But the fault is not with the profession and the fault is not with your school. It’s just a fact of capitalism and the small business climate in America.

KUT news covered the story and I found some quotes within it that definitely apply to the profession of acupuncture.

“There are two main reasons why businesses that move into downtown’s Second Street District fail. One is that many of those businesses have been run by people like Trevor Yopp, now the former owner of Toy Joy. Yopp says neither he nor his wife – who was also his business partner – knew anything about how to run a business.”

If you do not know how to run a business, you are far more likely to fail. Remedy? Learn as much about the realities of running your own business as you can. That’s hard right after you graduate from school. You’re exhausted! You just want to lay down and sleep for a good long time. Like maybe a couple of months. On the beach. And you should do that for a while. I advocate taking a good vacation after you graduate. Your brain needs the rest and so does your body. But then it’s time to get busy and learn to run a business.

Craig Stealy says the second reason why businesses fail in the Second Street District is because entrepreneurs want to open a “sexy” business instead of a needed business.

OK, not all of us are going to plop down the money to run a business in the Second Street District. But this does bring up a good point and it’s Location, Location, Location. You gotta set up shop where it makes sense for the clientele you intend to draw. Want to cater to the medical community? Families? Geriatric populations? Then you have to figure out where those people are.

Toy Joy was great at what they did. Great product, fun atmosphere. But it takes more than that to be successful. Basically, it all comes down to business savvy: you gotta have it in order to thrive.

Mar 31

Poopy McPoopersen

Acupuncture and poopAcupuncturists are probably more comfortable chatting about poop than most other groups of people. . . or poople, if you prefer. We talk about poop. A lot. And we do it for the same reason that archaeologists look through ancient garbage dumps and investigators look through dumpters: you can learn a lot about someone by looking at what they discard.

In TCM school we learn what healthy crap looks like, what unhealthy crap looks/smells like, and what to do about it. But we aren’t the only ones who delve more deeply into our own shit. There are other perspectives to health and it’s good to see them because your patients certainly do. . . or doo doo, if you prefer.

The link below takes you to Kim Carr’s Crazy Sexy Wellness page. Read her article about poop to enhance your own education and so you can give your patients some great tips about how to improve the health of their bodies andtheir poop….because sometimes you need to offer them something besides just herbal prescriptions.

Kim Carr’s Scoop on Poop

Cat’s Bonus Tip

If you type :poop: into a comment line on Facebook it puts in a very cute little shit after you hit return. You’re welcome.