I looked up from the massage table that I was laying on and into Dr. Thuy’s eyes. “Did I hurt you?” she asked as she touched my arm. Her eyes were large and luminous pools that emitted tender warmth and compassion towards me as tears fell from my eyes. She thought I was crying because of the acupuncture needles that she just inserted with precision into my feet, hands, belly, face, shoulders, and ears. And although the one she placed in the fleshy part between my thumb and forefinger of my right hand made me wince, it wasn’t the reason that I was crying. “No, no,” I said weakly, as more tears spilled out the corners of my eyes, dripping onto the table. “Emotional pain.”
I was raw from a meltdown I’d had earlier that day. It had been hard to land in Vietnam with my partner and find peace after living alone in a Mexican paradise. Living with someone again forced me to confront myself in new and bigger ways that I was used to. It awakened old pain that needed to come up and out for healing. It was intense.
The needles in my shoulders made it impossible to move my arms, so I couldn’t wipe my own tears. Dr. Thuy’s assistant, who sat at the head of the table, dabbed the tears from my eyes with the tender care usually reserved for a baby. Her gentle touch made me cry even harder. A voice screamed within me, You’re not worthy! in response to the kind attention I was receiving. I tried to disengage from the voice by focusing on my breath.
Dr. Thuy nodded in response to my statement. She spoke English, although I wasn’t sure how much she understood when we talked. “You are beautiful in your emotion, even though you are sad.” She spoke with kind wisdom and conviction. She wasn’t trying to placate me out of her own resistance to my tears. In fact, her own eyes were full of emotion as she observed me. I looked at her, and felt that I could see into nameless, infinite depths in her eyes. There was only love there; compassionate presence and peace.
Again a wave of unworthiness washed over me, but this time it was also colored with loving energy. I began to remember the truth: I am worthy of love because I exist, and that worth doesn’t change no matter how I think, feel, or behave.
I softened a bit more and opened to the love that surrounded me and that these two beautiful beings were showing me. The hypnosis of negative self-talk began to lessen as I became receptive and softened to the moment I was in. There was nothing wrong, in this present moment. I was being cared for by these women; their only job was to attend to me. And as I allowed waves of love to wash over me, my thoughts shifted. Thank you, thank you, thank you… tears now being shed out of gratitude instead of self-loathing. I began to feel lighter, peaceful, and centered as the pain was shifted by my presence.