it used to be such a burden to have to massage my parents. my dad would call for me on a hot muggy summer night, right when I was getting into a show or a juicy article. Come and tui-na me, he’d say. And I’d internally groan. Sometimes I would do it so fast and hard so I could get it over with that he’d be writhing in pain and beg me to slow down.
Nowadays he doesn’t ask me anymore. I almost have to beg him to let me practice OMM or tui-na. Once I became a medical student they suddenly assumed I wouldn’t have time for them anymore. They beat around the bush. So many times they poke their heads in my door and say, “Do you want to go with me to do ______? Oh, actually you should study…” And sometimes I let that become my truth - I stop making an effort.
What do families do together to become closer? It can’t all be vacations and going out all the time. My sister thinks everything should be grand all the time. Snacks should always be available during movies. We should go on more trips. We should eat out more. We should have a party. We should eat more tasteful food. I take on the opposite viewpoint when it comes to family. I believe in the value of daily, boring life. Laundry. Cleaning. Cooking. Groceries. Watching news together. Walking around the neighborhood. Having conversations that lead to other ones. Showing each other youtube videos. Yardwork. It takes time to foster deep relationships. It takes working together, side by side, to appreciate another person.
I am beginning to appreciate cooking more. Usually I am not a picky eater. I aim for convenience and health, which usually means shoving a bunch of random fruit and veggies and cheese in my mouth and hoping it would fill me up. But since my partner is getting his sauces on with his wok, I am beginning to see how cooking is a) an art and b) brings people together. In my previous relationship I would sit in bed like a little princess and wait for dinner to be ready before pitter-pattering downstairs. Same with my family. But in my current relationship I see cooking as teamwork. I anticipate my partner’s next steps. I clean up after him. There is beauty in chopping veggies, mixing sauces, breaking eggshells, boiling water, washing dishes. There is value in ordinary tasks. There is satisfaction in putting the last dish on the table, wiping your wet hands on your pants, and sitting together with friends and loved ones to eat.
It is so easy to give up and become complacent. To give up on being present with my family when I could be in front of my laptop. To give up on OMM. To give up on being a good doctor. To give up on cooking. I have to keep on going, to keep on practicing, to be useful, to find meaning, to confront apathy…
To all you mediocre DO students out there… don’t give up on OMM. I found my first therapeutic pulse today while practicing counterstrain. I felt that sucker under my index finger, so undeniable, so bold. If you believe, then your patient will. Don’t let a great skill pass you by because you were too lazy.