Black History is American History

I am continuing to work with SURJ Santa Cruz County and here are some resources to engage with, stay informed, and share with your community:

When SURJ was involved in the Abolition Fair last fall, the Abolitious organizers shared this study guide with us, and it is truly a gem. Check it out here and let us know if anyone might like to form an abolition study group this year.  Email us at info@surjsantacruz.com with any thoughts or impressions.  It is all good practice to be talking about the alternatives to policing and prisons.  Another world is possible!

Let’s continue to deepen our learning during Black History Month by signing up to experience a virtual exhibition of 28 works that celebrate Black legacy in the US: 28 Days of Black History.  They also offer an Anti-Racism Daily newsletter of daily actions to dismantle white supremacy.  The more of us doing this work, in whatever form suits you, the more likely it is that we will have lasting change in our lifetimes.

Revolutionary Love is another path to the just world we all deserve. Learn more about Valarie Kaur’s learning hub here.

Pre-order Mariame Kaba’s new book on bookshop, We Do This ‘Til We Free Us.

Watch Judas and the Black Messiah on HBO Max.

Check out this newsclip about a new mural in West Oakland to honor the women of the Black Panther Party and to follow the mural and related projects on their website.

The 1619 Project

And I will be part of this embodied workshop about Calling In instead of Calling Out:

March 6, 2021, 11:00am – 1:00pm SURJ SCC & SCCCCOR (Santa Cruz County Community Coalition on Overcoming Race) will be hosting a workshop: Calling People In: Having Difficult Conversations About Race.  Register here.

Join us to learn and practice some tools for having difficult conversations around racism with family, friends, and even strangers. Calling People In is a term used to engage in these conversations with others while respecting that we all have beliefs that are derived from our own experiences. Calling people in vs. calling them out asks us to approach a challenging conversation with curiosity and an authentic desire to learn about another’s beliefs. Prof. Loretta J. Ross explains more here.

I would also like to wish you all a HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR OF THE YIN, METAL OX. Read about what to pay attention to in the coming year here.

In continued spacious solidarity and love, Erin

HAPPY 2021

Wishing you a calm and quiet 2021.  I am sheltering-in-place again in the Santa Cruz Mountains, as our ICUs are at capacity and we are waiting to get vaccinated.  I am still offering herbal and lifestyle consultations via phone and zoom.  Let me know what is new with you and if you want to set up a consultation, even if it is to help brainstorm what you want to change or adjust in the New Year.  I will be in touch about any upcoming appointments that we have on the books.  I did renew my lease at my Opal Street office just a few weeks ago.  I am playing it by ear each week, as I don’t want to endanger anyone by practicing acupuncture and moving between two counties.

A silver lining of this whole pandemic for me has been the time to get more involved with racial justice and activism in the local Santa Cruz County chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).  The Bay Area and San Francisco chapters of SURJ are amazing and offer so many ways to get involved each week.  Below are some end-of-the-year resources, reminders, and actions we can all take and enjoy as we wait for this outbreak to pass.

As y’all know, we are in the final push for the Georgia Senate elections. These two runoffs are crucial for us to take back the Senate and get some real change to happen in the next few years! Donate to the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight or directly to Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff.  Or donate your time and communication skills with SURJ and Southern Crossroads by calling voters in Georgia.

Support the Demand that the Biden-Harris Administration meet with Black Lives Matter

Last week, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris met with several Civil Rights leaders and groups. But Black Lives Matter (BLM) was not invited! As the largest civil rights movement of the 21st century and a leader in the protests against police murders of Black people, BLM deserves a seat at the table. Add your name to the 64,000 people who have already signed the petition, calling on the incoming administration to meet with BLM.

Read:  This article about Baldwin and Buddhism. And this statement from James Baldwin, he starts speaking around minute 14. Then read about “how the clash between the civil rights firebrand and the father of modern conservatism continues to illuminate America’s racial divide” by checking out The Fire Is Upon Us, which was highlighted in the Code Switch episode on top book recommendations from this past year.

Watch: My Ancestors’ Home about the Ohlone in the Bay Area

On Netflix: Chadwick Boseman’s final role and Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Forty-Year-Old Version

Listen: Bryan Stevenson interviewed on the On Being Podcast

Below are some wise words from Arundhati Roy and Sonya Renee Taylor. As we reflect at the end of this unprecedented year, consider these questions:  What do you want to bring with you into the New Year? What do you want to leave behind?  What new version of the world is possible?  What can we imagine and envision together?

​During this wintertime of stillness, mourning, reflecting, and receiving, be sure to stay warm, hydrated, and practice self-acceptance.  Winter is the season of the water element, the kidneys and bladder, and fear.  Take time to recharge your battery, which includes your adrenals on top of your kidneys.  Eat root veggies, soups, whole grains, and get enough protein.  Ginger, nutmeg, and garlic can keep us warm internally, as can a chai tea.  Stay as cozy as you can.  Cheers!


​Sending you all the very best as we continue to move into these uncharted winter waters together, Erin​

Slowly Easing Back into Work

I am starting to see a few patients and will have some September appointments available.  Reach out for a tele-health consultation, too!  Here are some basic herbal tips in the meantime:

 

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Office Safety Precautions in Effect During the Pandemic

My office is taking the following precautions to protect our patients and help slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • We all wear masks.
  • We all maintain safe distancing, except for when the needles are placed.
  • Restroom soap dispensers are maintained and everyone is encouraged to  wash their hands.
  • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is available in the treatment room and at the reception counter.
  • We schedule appointments at specific intervals to minimize the number of people in the office.
  • We ask all patients to wait in their cars or outside until no earlier than 5 minutes before their appointment times.
  • Credit card pads, pens and other areas that are commonly touched are thoroughly sanitized after each use.  No-touch payment is available.
  • Tissues and trash bins are easily accessed.  Trash is disposed of on a frequent basis.
  • Common areas are thoroughly disinfected between patients and at the end of each day.

Public Health & Love

In regards to COVID-19, I wanted to check-in and share some basic reminders of how to prevent the spread of viruses.  I also want to reassure you that we have many anti-viral treatments from plants; all the way from Chinese Herbal Formulas like Gan Mao Ling or others containing Andrographis, Isatis, and Scute Root, to more local and Western remedies like Elderberry Syrup, Oil of Oregano, Thyme Tea, Olive Leaf, Lauricidin (extracted from coconut), and also simple Vitamin C, D, and Zinc.  You can also cook with more ginger, thyme, and garlic, yum! 

Here are some basic precautions that can be calmly integrated into your daily routine, as we should do with every flu season:

● Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and you may already be sheltering in place.  My physical clinic is currently closed and probably will remain closed until early June.

● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 

● Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.  Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-90% alcohol if soap and water are not available.  COVID-19 can transmit through both respiratory droplets and via stool, so careful hand-washing is critical.  Here is a video to visually show the steps to make sure you get soap on all parts of your hands.  

● Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.  Cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hand if you do not have a tissue available.  If you contaminate your hand and then touch other objects, you will spread the virus. 

● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 

● Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

● Get good sleep, and prioritize your self-care.  Sleep is crucial to optimize immune function. 

● Eat nutrient-rich foods, and prioritize a healthy diet.  Your diet provides building blocks used by your immune system to fight illness.  Here is a link about food safety.

● Optimize your vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin C levels.  You can order supplements here.  Sun your face. 

● Stay hydrated. Water is at the foundation of our health. 

● Stay calm.  An outbreak is scary, but most people will experience COVID-19 as a mild illness.  Prolonged, toxic stress inhibits immune function, so whether it is fear about the virus or excess stress at home or work, do what you can to give your system a break and restore.  Exercise, acupuncture, nutritional and herbal supplements recommended by your healthcare practitioner, qigong, yoga, meditation, or whatever your “go-to” to unwind must take priority now.  These are not luxuries!  Take care of yourself.

Chinese herbs are so powerful in treating colds and flus and have been used on the frontlines in China against COVID-19.  Even though my physical clinic is closed at this time, I am offering donation-based 20-minute consultations about herbs, stress-management, and to discuss any symptoms you may be having.  Pay whatever you want for the chat, and I can let you know how much additional herbs would cost.  My Venmo account is Erin Wood @ErinLiseWood, or a check can be sent to me here in the mountains.  If you are having any acute symptoms such as trouble breathing or a high fever, call your MD or advice nurse to see if you need to go to urgent care or the ER.

Keep practicing spacious solidarity and take care of one another!

~Erin Wood, L.Ac.

Another Acupuncturist Endorses Bernie

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Politics are personal.  They have been immensely personal to me since I was 29.  That was when, in the last year of acupuncture school, I found out I had a neurological autoimmune condition called myasthenia gravis and a tumor in my chest.  I had a high-deductible Blue Shield plan at that time, since I really only went to the doctor once a year for a check-up and used herbs, food, and dance as my medicine.  The surgery to remove the tumor cost me, in addition to my monthly premiums, copays, and lab or radiology fees, over $6000.  Then, since the tumor was Stage II cancer, I needed 5 weeks of radiation, which also cost me over $6000 since that was in a different calendar year.  And of course, I couldn’t work during this time, both recovering from chest surgery where they sawed through my sternum, and getting radiation in another city is like a full-time job.  I lived rent-free that year, bouncing from my mom’s apartment, staying with my boyfriend, and finding house-sitting gigs.  Since my overhead was relatively low, I could focus on studying for my board exam to become an acupuncturist.  After going through all that, I felt like nothing could scare me, and certainly not the 5-hour acupuncture exam that felt like going through intense airport security into a massive room of jittery test-takers.  I passed and started working that fall as an acupuncturist and herbalist.

As an acupuncturist who has taken insurance over the years, I can honestly say that with each passing year, it becomes more of a headache to bill and get reimbursed.  This year, a middle-man organization called American Specialty Health came through Blue Shield.  This organization makes billing such a hassle and reimbursement so poor, I can no longer treat most Blue Shield patients.  I have a Blue Shield plan myself through Covered California and there are hardly any more acupuncture providers that will take my plan.  I basically stopped taking my own plan!  Talk about dissonance!!!!  Acupuncture isn’t covered by Medicare and Medi-Cal reimburses so little, around here, only the acupuncture school takes it.  The clients of the methadone clinic where my partner works mainly have Medi-Cal and instead of having ear acupuncture on-site, they go to the acupuncture school, and are mainly treated by students.  Ear acupuncture is proven to help with detoxification and there is a protocol of 5 points in the ear that was designed in a hospital in New York to curb cravings and diminish stress.  So much more benefit could be gained by making acupuncture available at more clinics and recovery centers, and have licensed professionals leading the ear acupuncture groups.  Unfortunately and so obviously, the system is in a broken holding pattern.  And people are still dying all the time, whether from lack of access to care, institutional racism, misogyny, suicide, or any combination of those forces.  Care should be based on need, not some intermediary privately-owned company and their profits.  Medicare for All would save billions of dollars a year, money that could be spent on the care itself.

Over the years, the recurring theme of stress for me has been my health.  And it isn’t simply the fatigue, pain, and managing symptoms, medications, appointments, herbs, supplements, and anti-inflammatory foods.  The root of the stress is wondering if my health issues will bankrupt me one day.  As for student loans, I basically just pay the minimum amount each month, based on my income, and try to put those tens of thousands of dollars of debt out of my mind.  What is worrisome is all the uncertainty that comes with increasing premiums with less coverage on top of having to add state disability insurance as a self-employed person, which is over $500 quarterly.  It is so fortunate that I had state disability insurance a few years back, when a flare-up of the myasthenia gravis came back after almost 10 years.  My muscles were so weak, I couldn’t pull my hair back in a ponytail, I couldn’t put my dishes away in the cupboard, my neck muscles strained to keep my head up while driving, and my eye muscles couldn’t prevent blurry vision, making it hard to drive at all for a time.  I was off work for a few months, and then gradually started back part-time.  What helped the most was rest and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions to tell my antibodies they didn’t need to go bonkers and gum up the synapses between my nerves and muscles.  I did these infusions 5 days in a row for 3 months, and at the end of the 5 days, had blinding and debilitating headaches, a sort of meningitis as a side-effect of the medication.  I still do infusions every 7 weeks, just 1 day at home, and my nurse is the absolute best.  The first infusions were in a hospital, so that bill was disproportionately high and that was the third time I had to go on a monthly payment plan to pay the bill off over a few years.  Luckily, these home infusions, are only $45 each.  I imagine they can keep their overhead low by not needing a facility, just an incredible nurse and the medication delivered to my door.

All this to say, having health issue is damn expensive and takes a lot of my mental energy, mental energy that I could be using for work, activism, self-care, and enjoying life.  It gets especially taxing when I need authorization from Blue Shield before treatments recommended by my neurologist are covered.  Or the concern and not knowing if a brain MRI, and ultrasound, or another CT scan will be covered this time since the fine print of my plan changes from year to year.  I just don’t believe this stress should be added onto the chronic illness.  I fully acknowledge that I am one of the more privileged ones,  I come from a white family that has financial resources and I know I will always have a place to live, somewhere.  I have been given access to the best schools in California due to redlining and racist realty practices.

So when Kendrick Sampson spoke at a very recent rally in San Antonio and asked us to think of the most vulnerable people in our lives, and know that we are all working together to uplift one another in community, I knew that I was all in with Bernie.  I think about my nephew and niece.  I want a better world for them.  I don’t want them experiencing wildfires multiple times a year.  I don’t want them being scared at school after lock-downs and active shooter drills.  I don’t want them saddled with student debt the way me and my peers are.  I don’t want anyone to worry and struggle like I have when faced with health issues.  I don’t want anyone else to die from lack of medical attention.  And I want our elders to have the support they need.  I don’t want my mom to worry about housing as she ages.  And I want my beloved city of Oakland to be able to house all of our residents.  Living in one of the wealthiest regions of the entire world, the disconnect and discrepancy of wealth is so heart-wrenching.  I know that the system is working the way the 1% have planned and schemed for centuries, since way before Nixon.  AND, we all deserve better.

 

Another movement doing incredible organizing on the ground is the Poor People’s Campaign.  They are continuing the work of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

To get an idea of where I am gathering loads of inspiration and updates, check out both Vote Save America (from Pod Save America), The Daily podcast and Fair Fight with Stacey Abrams.  I also highly highly recommend this Rumble Episode with Michael Moore.  What are some of your favorite resources?  And what are some of the issues closest to your heart?  Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.

We got this!!!!  Not Me. Us.

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As Autumn Turns to Winter

🍃 Support During this Season 🍃

Fall is associated with the metal element, the organs of the lungs + large intestine, along with the skin, pores, nose, grief,  justice, boundaries + relationships.  Fall is a time when we prepare to move into the water element of the wintertime, which is connected with fear, wisdom, the kidneys + bladder.

The alchemist is the archetype of Fall.  They observe, study, discern, look for order, and “What is Right?”  Autumn is a time when the energy of an ax or sword clearing out what is no longer needed is especially strong.

Self-Massage:  

LU1 is a point on the pecs called “letting go” and letting go is a theme for the metal element.  One can be constipated if not letting go. Try massaging LI4 in the web of the thumb and forefinger and also your abdomen when you are on the toilet to get things moving.  If you are congested in the nose, press up into the sinuses at LI20 and ST3, right below the cheekbones.  I can show you these points at your next session.

Foods: 

*Fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso help the gut flora.  L-Glutamine powder or bone broth can help heal the gut.

*Pears are shaped like lungs and are white like the color of the fall.  Poach some pears in hot water with chai spices and vanilla beans!

*Dark, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, garlic, leeks, onions, shiitakes, ginger, turmeric, carrots, and green tea. 

*Focus on organic, grass-fed animal products.

*Get more omega-3s by eating fish, such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, or flaxseeds + evening primrose oil.

*Dandelion root tea or bitter greens like arugula, mustard, or dandelion greens can help resolve skin issues, which can crop up in Fall.

*Decrease your intake of vegetable oils, sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, and caffeine.


Herbs + Supplements:

These can help boost your immune system and increase your resistance to colds and flus:

*Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Turkey Tail, Shiitake, Maitake, or Cordyceps

*Adaptogens like American Ginseng, Astragalus, or Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)

*Vitamins C + D + Zinc

*Elderberry (Sambuca) Syrup

*Yu Ping Feng San

*Airborne

What to do when you feel the first signs of a cold coming on:

  1. Ginger and green onion tea   

  2. Eucalyptus and Tea Tree steam over the stove   

  3. Gua sha scraping on the back of the neck with a spoon or stone

  4. Promote a sweat, bundle up and sleep it off    

  5. Get acupuncture/cupping to moves phlegm

  6. Herbal remedies like gan mao ling, yin qiao san or herbal cough syrup with elderberry, wild cherry, osha root or loquat leaf

Because the mind is free
Listening to the rain
Dripping from the eaves,
The drops become
One with me.
~Eihei Dōgen

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Change is in the Air!

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I am in the process of moving to the Santa Cruz Mountains, in a cabin surrounded by redwood trees, near a babbling brook.  I have been living in the East Bay almost all of my life and looking forward to this change of surroundings and pace.

I will still be coming up to my Opal Street office two weeks a month, all day Tuesday and Thursday, and will continue to be in San Leandro for those 2 Mondays a month in the afternoon as well.  Talk to me directly and we can work something out, either on my schedule or with a trusted colleague.

Here are some referrals of fabulous acupuncturists who can also see you:

Ozben Felek in El Cerrito, online booking and she takes Kaiser referrals: https://felekacupuncture.com/

For any Kaiser questions, call Amy Lee at 510.504.3721.

Linda Kim at 510.290.1014 at the Opal Street Center, cash only.

David Heron at 510.982.1875 in the Oakland Hills, takes some insurance.

On a completely different note……As a holistic practitioner, I am always looking at the root cause of suffering and upset.  When looking at our country, the root cause of our divisions, violence, and unrest is slavery, and how it was intertwined with capitalism.  Please take a moment to watch this video and read this article, written by Nikole Hannah-Jones.  It is the most comprehensive summary of our country’s past that is still deeply affecting our present.  Learn more about The 1619 Project here.  And if you want to take a listen to This American Life and The Problem We All Live With, click here.

Thank you for taking the time.

Be well, contribute, unearth the truth, and build bridges.

~ Erin

Be always coming home……..

 

“Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
And the ways you go be the lines of your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
And your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well-loved one,
Walk mindfully, well-loved one,
Walk fearlessly, well-loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
Be always coming home.”

~Ursula K. Leguin

 

VOTE EARLY & VOTE YOUR HEART OUT! <3 <3 <3

From the Talmud:

NOW

Get out there and vote for democracy next Tuesday, our rights depend on it.

If you are voting by mail, the ballot must be received on Election Day. You can drop it off at a polling place, as long as the polls are open. Polls are open 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

And if you are in Oakland, vote for Cat Brooks as first choice, Pamela Price for second, and leave Libby out of it, not even as a third choice, she has let Oakland down time and time again. Don’t let her “I saved our community members from ICE and Trump” fool you.  She let ICE work with OPD in August of 2017. to deport a Guatemalan man.  Consider donating your money or time in these last few days before the election to Cat Brooks!

Also, Vote YES ON 10!!!!!!!   As someone recently displaced from their home, it is important to repeal Costa Hawkins, a loophole for landlords and developers to raise rents and evict tenants.

And here are a few voter guides:

Oakland Voter

Another radical Oakland Voter

State Props

League of Women Voters

Oakland Rising

With love and solidarity,  Erin