Our very own Theresa Atchley, LAc is going to Nepal and we want to share her adventure with you!
If you don’t know it already we are here to tell you that we have an amazing team of people working at Written on the Body. Our staff is full of talent, creativity, love and are just hands down incredible and compassionate people. A great example of this is our Acupuncturist Theresa Atchley, she is a gifted practitioner with a lovely smile and a huge heart. Terry is heading out in just a few days to lead a volunteer group of acupuncturists to remote areas of Nepal through the Acupuncture Relief Project. She has volunteered with the Acupuncture Relief Project in the past and has found her own life to be greatly impacted by her experiences treating the people of Nepal. Terry will be continuing to update her blog with stories of her upcoming trip and we wanted to invite you to follow her journey as well as read about her previous adventures. What I have read from the blog so far has been beautiful and soul touching and I am really looking forward to reading more myself:)
Here is Terry’s most recent post, as I said she leaves in a few days for Nepal and will return at the beginning of February, she will be accepting appointments at Written on the Body again at this time until then we hope you enjoy reading about her journey in Nepa (Richard will still be available to offer acupuncture at Written on the Body during Terry’s absence):
I haven’t written in quite some time. My last blog post was about the final night in Kogate. That was a tumultuous night and the end of a very transformative experience. After leaving Nepal I traveled around SE Asia with my boyfriend (now fiancée). I’ve often wondered why I didn’t keep writing blog posts, it wasn’t for a lack of tales to share.
I’ve come to several conclusions. First, I experienced writers block. The minute I landed in Bangkok everything shifted. I still smelled like Nepal, but no longer felt connected to myself as I had there. Secondly, I wanted to keep several memories sacred, safely bundled away. This didn’t happen at first. When Nathan and I reconnected, most of the time I compared how Thailand was vastly different than Nepal and would share silly stories. By no fault of Nathan, I could see the glossed over look and the lack of understanding, like sharing a private joke with someone who wasn’t privy to the initial hilarity. He didn’t get it. I knew this would happen and was almost prepared. I created a wall around the memories. I smile to myself when reminiscing, but start sentences with “In Nepal” much less often. Why didn’t I share my adventures in SE Asia? Well, partial writers block, laziness and an unsubstantiated feeling that no one would read my writing anymore (don’t know why I thought this, but I did).
Here I am one year later. I’m working as an acupuncturist, betrothed and returning to Nepal. For those curious, I work at two clinics in Portland. One is a community clinic, similar to the set up of the clinic in Nepal. I’m happy to provide low cost care to those in my community unable to afford private treatments. On the flip side, I also provide private treatments at a clinic on MLK Jr BLVD. Business is slow in the private sector, but I’m hoping to learn tricks on client recruitment and marketing.
The proposal: Nathan carried around a beautiful ring for two months of travel before finally asking. I found the ring in his bag within the first week we reunited, but he did not know this (I secretly looked for the box in his pocket at every romantic sunset, there were LOTS of romantic sunsets). When he asked we were watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat, Cambodia. I’d talked about my excitement over seeing the temples for months prior to leaving and, unknown to me, Nathan planned to ask at this moment for months. Which explains why my mom asked on a daily basis if I had any news to share upon our arrival to Cambodia. It was a very private proposal and I look forward to eventually having a party to celebrate with friends.
I’m returning to Nepal!! I’ve been asked to lead Camp C of the Acupuncture Relief Project this year. I am honored to participate again and will be taking a much different role. I will lead/guide/teach/befriend 6 volunteers from various areas in the US and Australia. Only one volunteer visited Nepal 20 years ago, the rest have never been. I do not know what to anticipate, but if I learned anything from my previous visits it will have something to do with releasing attachments, maintaining malleability, remembering anything can and will happen, but it will be ok. My current mantra is “I can do this” because, let’s face it, this is an incredibly intimidating task. That is to say, I am more than excited to return. I think of Nepal on a daily basis. From the prayer flags hanging in my treatment room to my current patients to the chickens I see roaming around someones yard, Nepal surrounds me regularly. I am still wearing the glass bracelets we purchased at the end of the Langtang trek. Some have broken off, but they were squeezed onto my wrist and I cannot take them off without the glass cracking. Honestly, I thought they would have broken off by now. I also still wear a necklace given to me by a monk at Boudhanath Temple with a written prayer of protection intricately folded and wrapped with string. I cannot take this off either, it is tied in a knot too tight to fit over my head. I guess I still need some protection. Some might think I have a hard time moving on, but I prefer the idea that these talisman serve a purpose (guiding me back perhaps?). I don’t have to know what it is, but as I said, the bracelets are glass and the necklace is a tiny string. Both will eventually break, but until then I like having ’em around.
“No one tells you how hard it is to come back.” These words were spoken to me by a fellow traveler as we lamented the end of our travels. Granted, this was several weeks ago and our travels ended many months prior. Travel books just stick with the adventure part, who writes about the return? I understand why. Poetic prose aside, returning home sucks. Really sucks. I know I slipped into a depression like none other I’d had before. I am slowly on an upward swing, but my soul is still unsettled. A deep sadness creeped in, paid the landlord and loitered within me creating a yearning I cannot quench. Why sadness? You had a great adventure, you have a partner, things seems to be falling into place, what are you sad for?? My self judgement took over and I am my harshest critic. Do I know where the sadness came from? Not entirely, but I suspect I was grieving the loss of a life I thought I would have. The life of someone who embraced freedom wholeheartedly, up and moved to an unknown land, a person free of the banality of life. Not so. Perhaps some view this as naive and out right dumb of me to think, but I did. I drank the kool-aid all travelers share. The tasty and addictive beverage part adventure, part freedom. The urge to leave again resides within me, it is not as loud, but the whispers keep me awake at night. I know I am not finished exploring. I know I can always drop everything and go, but there is a strong force that says, eh, not really. Who knows what life can throw at me, what if that was the last time I could leave the country for so long? Ah, good ol’ what-ifs. Funny, but this was something I remember struggling with last year about this time. Seems the lessons from Nepal are always present. I also realize the “first world problems” described. But I am a product of my environment and I live in a developed country. I’d just like to acknowledge that things aren’t as bad as they could be and if feeling a desire to explore the world is the worst of my problems, then life ain’t terrible. I know, doesn’t stop the feeling, but I know. Also, going to Nepal IS travel, but it is also work, very hard work that I adore, but not the footloose and fancy free exploration following a whim of fancy. Nepal feels like a second home.To those who read my blog while I was away: Thank you so much for your support, attention and interest. It’s not easy to share with the infinite abyss of the internet and in a time of short attention spans, I was happy to know you cared what I said.
I must raise the money to return to Nepal, luckily not as much this time (thank the universe!!). I have to raise $1320. I deeply fear that everyone will incredulously gawk at my request for more donations, but I am hoping that those of you who know me and have read my entries will understand the necessity and altruistic nature behind my return and offer support.
DONATE HERE!!!! -Theresa Atchley
Thanks for reading everyone and we hope you have the best holidays ever!