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Massages for fundraising

This is a very long email.  I only invite you to read it if you have the patience to read about my life and how I intend to help our community organizations.  It can also be found at:  http://blog.moveyourqi.com/?page_id=63.

Hello Friends, Family and Practice Members of Elements in Harmony Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs,

It is with GREAT inspiration that I write this letter to you today.

There are many of you who know me because I play a healing part in your life. I either have done so since I was a professional massage therapist in 1996, a Chinese medical assistant/intern between 1994-1998, as a beginning licensed practitioner in 1999 or now as a more experienced servant to the people of my chosen profession. For those of you who know me, you know that I speak the truth when I claim to do my best to keep my business doors open while providing exceptional services in the fields of acupuncture, massage therapy and Chinese herbs. A select few have a year contract for acupuncture services as low as $35/session. Considering that it typically costs $35 to see an INTERN in most Traditional Chinese Medical colleges in the nation, you can see that I walk my talk. That program ended the week that I offered it and the majority of my patients now have contracts that range between $45-65/session, saving them from the regular $75/session. I now have the privilege of providing low-cost treatments at $25 and $40/sessions in my clinic’s Common Room. The time-tested equation of FREQUENCY AND CONSISTENCY is able to be followed in my practice because I make the treatments affordable. Having billed insurance companies for my services in the past, I guarantee that these rates are much better than trying to meet the public majority’s high deductibles in their health insurance plans. Yes, there is less than a handful out of the myriad of insurance plans out there that truly cover acupuncture, but I have found that by taking the leap in faith that people can afford $25 or $40 in the Common Room that I still will be able to keep an effective practice open.  My faith has proven to be correct.

There are many of you receiving this letter that do not know who I am, why and how I chose Chinese medicine for a living and how I have survived 9 years of business. This letter is not to explain my business in full detail, so if you really want to know, we can discuss it personally on another occasion. If you can catch me on a Monday or Wednesday that I do not work at the clinic and I’m working as a taxi mom, then I’d be happy to share all of my experiences with you.

I want to share with you today why I have chosen experiences in having worked with the homeless and poor communities several times in my life, especially as an intern at Pacific Beach Methodist Church.  It starts with the people who created me.  My parents’ histories in the Philippines can write best-selling novels and movies. My mother, the youngest of 11, was raised in poverty. My 10 uncles and aunties were raised in an aristocratic family as the grandchildren of a Spaniard lady.  They were filthy rich before my grandfather’s business went under just before my mother was born.  My great-grandmother cried pure Spanish tears until the day she died because she never got used to the fact that her only son took her name from riches to rags.  It was my mother’s dream to one day make her way to the States, prosper and create a new legacy for generations to prosper upon. I am the prodigy of that dream and if you know my daughter, she is taking advantage of many North American opportunities not available to many of her cousins in the Philippines and she is only four years young.  I am the only grandchild on my mother’s side who lives in the United States.  I am among the nationalized American citizens who genuinely grasp the idea of “the land of opportunity.”  Not bad for two unmarried people who didn’t expect a pregnancy.  Even with nothing, my parents came out with more opportunities than what they would have ever hoped for back in 1973.

Poverty in the Philippines is like that of any other developing country. Many parts of my homeland would be considered third world, while few parts of it would put les riches de Beverly Hills to shame. Palawan is one of the most sought-after scuba resorts in the world. The diaspora of Filipinos who have created tremendous successes for themselves makes it very easy to forget that this ethnic group truly understands the struggles of starvation, natural disasters, homes built out of leaves or cardboard boxes and a chronic lifestyle of feeling a lack of hope.

My father joined the U.S. Navy to provide a better lifestyle for his family long before he met my mother. He purchased a beautiful house in his hometown, La Union, for my grandmother with American money. My family still owns that home where many of his own 10 brothers and sisters have enjoyed visiting.  My father brought my mom and me to the U.S. territory, Guam, in 1975. We moved to San Diego in 1978. We purchased our first home in 1981. For those of you who remember, this was a time of recession.  My father faithfully served our country for 20 years and I will ALWAYS be grateful for that.  (There are no more bases in my motherland, so gone are the days that people like my father were able to enlist and serve the U.S. military.)

Despite my mother’s family’s desperate situation throughout her life in the Philippines, her siblings did everything they could to give my mother the best education possible. She obtained her accounting degree at The University of the East. She founded a sorority, learned how to play the guitar in her dorms, smoked American cigarettes, collected Beatles records, spent all day in the movies to drink a cold Coca-Cola and get free A/C, while escaping the notorious southeast Asian humidity, and she ripped her sisters’ jeans to fit her own style as a young Filipina aspiring to one day live the American dream.  My dad didn’t like my mother working, but she remained undeterred and taught herself how to drive a stick shift car and took herself to work as a seamstress in Guam.  A woman who has starved through Christmastime knows how to swallow her pride, pick herself back up and work as a county clerk, while attending San Diego Community College.  I recall a few years of fond memories in my Catholic school uniform doing my homework in the long evenings in the National University student lounge.  My mother earned her second Bachelor’s degree in accounting and I attended her graduation with awe and pride.  My parents taught me the value of a hard-earned dollar and I worked for my first paycheck at age 15 scooping ice cream. I haven’t stopped working since.

The lengthy prelude of this letter’s gut intention is to make it very clear that even before my husband’s three lay-offs, I have known since birth how economic struggles can affect a person’s life.  Not all oak trees survive during a tornado, but there are a few that do. People like me whose bloodline has been instilled with the idea that money is so hard to come by are able to thrive because of faith above all else.  Perseverance, determination, hard work and constantly thinking outside of the box are essential for survival and profit for any business.  More importantly, to be an oak that the tornado loses to, it is essential for a person to know that IT ALWAYS GETS BETTER WHEN ONE’S FAITH IS INFALLIBLE.

I share this story with you today because I received yet another phone call today from a very dear friend whose mortgage increased $1,000/month due to an ARM loan.  I have patients whose mortgages are $6,000/month because of the current housing situation.  Though the federal government is stepping in, I’m sure we all know our own share of friends who have lost their homes to foreclosure.  You might actually be one of them and I am so sorry.

This friend who called today helped me out during one of the most difficult times in my life.  She sent me $224 when it was once so hard to come by, so that I can have one last month on Cobra insurance.  It was critical that I was the only one insured during my husband’s first layoff because no one would insure me as a pregnant woman.  (I made the mistake of letting insurance companies know beforehand that I was pregnant while inquiring about their rates.)  We spent everything in our savings before the 9th month on Cobra payments, life and rent.  Not knowing where that last payment was going to come from forced me to start calling my good friend who works with Planned Parenthood to ask how poor people give birth.  She advised me to look into my local state hospital.  I swallowed my pride and came close to the realization that giving birth in a comfortable Kaiser hospital may not be in my fate.  It was a hard fact to swallow, but something was better than nothing.  I was willing to go on welfare if I had to just to give birth and provide state aid for health care to my child.  So when I received a check from my friend out of the blue to help me out, you can imagine what gratitude I have had to her since then.  Angilynn was born at Irvine Regional Hospital and Medical Center under the care of Kaiser doctors.  Kaiser Hospital across the street was in the works of being built.  I had my own room, the best doctors and nurses in the country and somehow, God still made it possible to give me a doula working for free in order to complete hours needed to finish her credentials.  Until this day, Lindsey and I are good friends and we refer patients to each other:  www.OCDoulas.com.  (There is a picture of me discreetly nursing my daughter in the hospital on her site.)  Our families were not able to stay throughout the entire labor until birth, so having Lindsey and my husband by my side were very important to my endurance and sanity.

I have made my way since then.  My daughter has come to work with me since one month old.  We have no family in the county and we have been blessed to send her to a private pre-school and take part in several activities outside of school.  We are blessed and I have learned to always give in order to help everyone around me.  During my husband’s third layoff, I was able to provide for 80% of our necessities and desires.  The other 20% was taken care of by his unemployment, which, by the way, is not an option for most of our planet’s people, including the Philippines.

My dear friend’s phone call today broke my heart.  I feel for many people in this economy and I want to help everyone out.  I have been this way since I graduated from high school.  I first worked with the homeless and poor communities as a freshman in college.  My experiences with the communities, both as a personal quest and as an acupuncture student have taught me that ANYONE with or without a college degree can become homeless. I say with pride that I worked at Pacific Beach Methodist Church and helped many homeless people overcome drug addictions and aid in their diseases caused primarily by lack of shelter, consistent food intake, common hygiene practices and violent crimes done either by other people or to themselves.  Having watched Patch Adams with Robin Williams encouraged me to call community clinics throughout San Diego to provide my services for free as a licensed acupuncturist.  All but one clinic told me that my services were not wanted or needed.  While I was in school, I was an intern at Sahaman Community Medical Clinic in National City, which was founded in 1973, the year I was born.

Operation Samahan is a four facility community clinic organization based in National City California. Samahan is a Tagalog word which means working together, and that has been their goal from the start. It was founded by a group of Filipino doctors, nurses, and other health volunteers who sought to help Filipino seniors who did not have the finances, linguistic skills, or confidence to navigate through the health care system.

Through ambition and the Grace of God, I became their first licensed acupuncturist for both the National City and Mira Mesa clinics.   My time there helped instill a value that I keep until today, nine years after I received my license to practice Chinese medicine:  work together.

Having said all of this, I’m sure you are wondering how I, an acupuncturist/herbalist/massage therapist can help Orange County residents.  My husband and I have been here since 2002, so I consider myself now a fully-fledged OC citizen.  I want to bring the passion that I had as an undergraduate in San Francisco and a graduate student in San Diego to Orange County in working to make the world a better place for the rich and, especially, the ones who are less fortunate.

www.ProjectPlayhouse.org is but one company that I just recently came across, thanks to their beautiful advertisement at Irvine Spectrum where my family frequents.   If you want to know the quickest way to financial success, tithe.  Any religion or metaphysical practice is going to give this advice.  The more you give, the happier you become.  This particular organization captured my heart tonight and I find it beautifully orchestrated that God inspired me at such a moment given that my friend’s family is going through a challenging time.

I give consistently.  Every time my bosses pay me, I give to an organization.  My bosses are my patients.  I am simply an employee to my patients.  I was given a role as a “healer,” so healing is my mission and purpose in life.  The people I “heal” are the people I serve.  They tell me what’s wrong with them and I do my work on them physically with acupuncture/herbs/massage  and myself spiritually to ask for guidance, clarity and forgiveness.  It’s a powerful combination and since I’ve been more reverent to Divinity, I’ve had the opportunity to see people “miraculously” heal. Coming from a woman whose family members work primarily in the western medical community, I still do not hesitate to state that nothing is more powerful than the healing hand of the Divine.  I am simply a messenger.

You have read a long letter and now I get to my point.  For those who come in for acupuncture July 31-August 15, you can include massage for a fee that YOU DETERMINE.  50% of all earnings for massage will go to this particular OC fundraiser.  I know no one on the board or in their organization and I am not yet a sponsor, though I hope to be able to be one consistently and that of other local and national organizations.  For those of you who have contracted rates for acupuncture for me, you get to take advantage of this very rare opportunity to help me help our beloved county.  For instance, if your contracted rate is $35 and you pay me an additional $5 for a massage, $2.50 will go towards the foundation.  The catch is that you have to simply trust me and my work ethics and write the entire $5 check to me.

Here are a few guidelines because if you’ve read this far, I’m sure you’ll want to know what the restrictions are:

* Payments $25 and under receive a back or neck massage = 15 minutes
* Payments between $26-$50  receive a back AND neck massage = 30 minutes
* Payments between $51-$75 receive a back, neck and arm massage = 45 minutes
* Payments $76-$100 receive a full body massage = 60 minutes
* Payments $101 and over = 90 minute massage

If you decide to JUST DO MASSAGE, 10% of your payment will go towards the fundraiser.  The 50% proceeds are ONLY if you include acupuncture in your session.  I’ve got a family to feed and overhead to meet, so I am sure that you can understand this contingency.

For every $10 you pay for a massage, you will receive a $1 gift certificate that can be used towards acupuncture, massage or herbs in stock on YOUR NEXT VISIT.  For example, if your contracted rate is $35 for acupuncture and you pay $100 more for a massage, you will receive a $10 gift certificate for YOUR NEXT VISIT or you can give it to a friend.

I want to see how it goes this week.  If this works, then I’ll stay inspired in this particular project and use it to keep giving 50% to this organization or/and other organizations in Orange County and nationwide.

I want everyone to know that no matter what you are going through, it can either get worse or better.  I described my families’ lives to you, so that you can really believe me when I say that I KNOW what it is like to have no money.  If you have a solid roof over your head, you have electricity to read this email, you have a pen with ink, clean paper to write on, clean underwear, good food to eat, clear running water, a toilet that flushes, a functioning light switch, a vacuum cleaner with accessories, a refrigerator, reliable transportation, clean blankets, a phone and your health, you have more than what many in my own family in the Philippines has.  I speak the truth.

Keep your hopes up.  There is always room for more, I know.  We are conditioned to want MORE, MORE AND MORE.  I had my eyes on a Porsche GT-3 tonight parked next to me at the mall.   But having gone through my own life’s challenges, I know that if God ever grants you and me such gifts, it’s only going to be because of ALL of us helping each other out.

If you like any or all of what I have just shared with you, please forward this letter to your friends.  If you didn’t like what I wrote, then you can simply unsubscribe and never hear from me again.  I am only working on what God is inspiring me to do at THIS moment.  I am fully aware that only people who understand my journey will participate with me until my purpose is done and it is my time to go home.

The Japanese have a proverb:

Fall 7 times, stand up 8.

Part of our purpose in living is problem solving.  In my 34 years of living, I have learned that the most effective solution to a problem is by helping out our neighbors.  Remember, “two heads are better than one.”  The “strong” can only stand as strong as the weakest link.  My most revered martial arts master taught me this.  I happened to be the weakest link and all of my brothers strengthened my link to make me just as strong as them.  I’m sure if you look into your own life, there was a loving person/group of people who gave you the strength you needed to overcome your most difficult trial.  By overcoming it, you became wiser and more determined; hopefully, even more generous to strengthen those less powerful than you.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

I wish you love, harmony and peace beyond all understanding,

Anna
www.moveyourQi.com

Committed to providing the most effective and relaxing acupuncture experience in ALL of Orange County!

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