Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Party of Special Things to Do or... The Great Good Place

Yesterday I turned 48. It was a particularly good birthday, celebrated pretty much all weekend. Kelly and I had a first little gathering at our home we've been making together, I beautifully landscaped a corner of the yard I'd been struggling with for years, and I spent my actual birthday doing what I love to do the most - lots of acupuncture for lots of people. The Party of Special Things to Do indeed (a Captain Beefheart reference). Wrapped it all up doing another one of the things I do quite expertly - watching TV in my sleep on the couch. Woke up to a lovely PBS segment on surgeon turned potter, Cliff Lee.

Last week I had a patient tell me his brother used to be a cook at Armadillo World Headquarters. As a result he got to sneek in to many great performances there...Van Morrison, Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, and on and on...He was telling me this because he noticed the clinic's armadillo logo and domain name (Acupuncture World Headquarters) and he got it. It's not so often people get the nod to the 'dillo which is our homade branding effort, so it's always fun when they do.

There's another thread that runs through all this though, which was made crystal clear to me during the recent community acupuncture workshop held here in Austin, put on by the fine folks of Working Class Acupuncture with an additional hand from Alexa of East Nashville Community Acupuncture. What I'm talking about here is the notion of "the great good place" as put forth by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg. Thanks Alexa, for sharing this.

Turns out what Ray Oldenburg is articulating is what community acupuncture clinics are doing. Who knew?

I have at various points attempted to make this connection. I've added language to our website, I've taken it away. At the end of the day, this is what the Armadillo references are about - the commonality of the great good place. The 'dillo brought people together in a strange sort of way - bikers, hippies, cowboys, students. Music was the great leveler. Community acupuncture brings people together in a similar sort of way. In our case, acupuncture is the great leveler (or maybe it's the recliners!). I never cease to be amazed as I look around the treatment room at the variety of folks there: the fireman, the teacher, the grandmother, the cancer patient, the musician, the mom, the job seeker...all doing their part, just by being here together, to make this the great good place it is.

So happy birthday, and
Good night Austin, Texas - wherever you are!