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“Hope” is the thing with feathers…

or so it was said by the poet, Emily Dickinson. A mentor of mine once told me, “Hope is not ours to take away.” I carry this sentence with me and pull it out now and again to reexamine the meaning at different times. The statement originally came up in discussion when we were working with a patient that had cancer. We had talked about our role as acupuncturists. We explored the notion of ‘false hope’ and what that meant. We talked about what it meant to be providers of a type of medicine that was once considered alternative and is now more accurately referred to as integrative and complementary.

What is our role as doctors, healers, or other providers of medicine? What is our role as family, friends, or part of a community? What is it that we hope for? What is it that we can have gratitude for in the present?

I have the privilege to ‘sit’ with patients in my work…to meet them where they are at in their journey. In my short time as an acupuncturist, I have been a part of sharing the joy of a new life beginning and sharing the sadness of a patient passing. I strive to be present in each moment and to really see the whole person in front of me. I recognized that my role is not to determine the outcome of one’s journey, but to contribute to their experience on their path. I hope that I can bring light to their day.

As I reflect on these statements, I choose hope.

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