New Year, New Pronoun
It’s been about two weeks since those of us using a solar-based, Gregorian calendar celebrated the New Year, 2020. (Is this year particularly backward gazing and reflective due to the 20-20 vision of hindsight?) So many of us start with the best of intentions to “improve” our health in different ways. But, how many of us have already fallen off that wagon?
About 15 years ago, I started incorporating some Chinese traditions into my life, including observation of the Lunar New Year (along with about 20% of the world’s population). One of my favorite features of the Lunar New Year is that it gives me a second chance at a fresh start. Who among us doesn’t appreciate a re-do? If you’d like to participate in a local celebration of the Year of the Rat, check out the Olympia Area Chinese Association’s annual celebration. Details can be found at https://www.olympiachinese.org/.
As an acupuncturist and former environmental attorney, there are many East Asian principles related to health and wellbeing that resonate with me. Here’s something from the University of Minnesota’s “Take Charge of Your Health & Well-Being” site:
“In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a system is comprised of everything that creates and sustains it. Everything is interconnected and interdependent. If all of the parts of a system are in harmony with one another, then the whole system is in harmony. Disturb one thing and you create a disturbance that ripples through the whole system.
This principle applies to any and all systems. For example, it applies as equally to a human being as it does to a family, community, or the environment. So, we must take care to consider our actions and to take things as a whole.”
An aspect of Chinese culture that I wish were widely adopted is from the Mandarin language: the use of the pronoun “tā.” Link to tā and gender
If you have ever spent time around native Mandarin speakers, you may notice that, despite their impressive vocabulary and excellent grammar in English, they often interchange “he” and “she” when speaking. In Mandarin “tā” was the traditional, genderless third person pronoun used universally for singular and plural references.
I imagine it is as mentally confusing for these folks to refer to humans in gendered terms as it is for me to consider using gender-based articles in Spanish. I really don’t think of inanimate objects as possessing a gender.
I would love to be able to universally refer to humans without the need to put them in a gender box that may or may not fit, as gender is not one-size-fits-all. As a practitioner of acupuncture and enthusiastic observer of some Chinese traditions, I would like to incorporate the idea of tā at Acorn Acupunture. I want all of my patients to feel comfortable sharing with me their pronouns and identity as part of creating a safe space for healing; and to feel that their gender status doesn’t influence their ability to receive professional healthcare.
Acorn Acupuncture is a safe space for all humans to heal: he, she, they – tā. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Sharonne O’Shea, L.Ac. at 360-999-1683 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to my business page or my page on RHC. Happy New Year!