Two years ago, Hemma re-opened its doors after a 10-week lockdown. We struggled to maintain our mission of community service during a time when community meant spending time with one another through our computers, phones, and cautious outdoor meet-ups. After 13 years of steady service, in the span of one week we lost about 20 employees, at least that many volunteers, a vibrant yoga studio, weekly events, and the hum of a thriving community of soul seekers. You might say it was the end of an era.
We were not easily deterred. After 10 weeks of forced closure, we regrouped, moving the clinic into the former yoga studio to allow for a safer, more spacious environment. Despite the challenges of operating during a pandemic, we managed to find a way forward. Since then, we’ve provided more than 12 000 treatments during a time when people needed care, comfort, and community perhaps more than ever.
At this point, it feels like we’re all hoping that the pandemic is behind us and we can get back to some sort of “normal” – to the way things used to be. My own feeling, however, is there is no going back. There is only forward. And as much as we may long for the past, it’s the current moment, and perhaps the next, towards which we need to be attuned. Rather than going back to the way things were, I believe we need to cultivate change – to be willing to take a thoughtful look at the way we’ve been living our lives and begin to make some real meaningful changes for the sake of ourselves, our families, the community, and the planet. For me, that means looking at how I am living my life and how I want to continue operating the clinic and serving my community.
One thing I’ve learned in this life so far is that loss and death are unavoidable. Try as we might to avert them, they’re as dependable as the seasons. Another thing I’ve learned is that death also provides for growth – physically, emotionally, spiritually. In fact, there is no growth without death and loss. Knowing this makes it easier for me to say goodbye to one era or phase of my life and welcome in a new one. My mission to serve does not change; only the methods do. For me, this new growth involves collaborating with some long time friends – working together towards a shared vision of community service.
After taking some much needed time to rest over the summer, I will be building again – setting up our Community Clinic in a new neighbourhood. Our plan is to be open by the first week of September. I am really excited about this next step. For one, it means I’ll be sharing the work of running the business, which will give me more opportunities to focus on my work in the clinic, as well as teaching and mentoring others. The change will also allow me to spend more time with my family and friends and within the community I have worked so hard to serve.
In 2007, I opened the first Community Acupuncture Clinic in British Columbia. At that time, there were fewer than 20 clinics of its kind in North America. All we had was a dream and a vision.15 years later, we’re still here, thanks to all of you who participated in and shared in the vision of care that we offer. I believe there will always be a need for community healing spaces, perhaps now more than ever. Spaces that are accessible to folks from all walks of life. Thank you again, from my heart, for all your support and participation in this vision.