“Sweetie,” she says, “you relax, now. Okay?” She pats me on the leg and walks out of the room. I close my eyes in the soft light, needles protruding from my forehead, my right ear, and in the lines that run along the lower margins of my cheeks from my nose to my lips.

I’ve had a lifelong aversion to needles, but I decided to try acupuncture several years ago and have come to rely on my Chinese healer. She knows that I value her wisdom, her Eastern way of seeing and sensing. What she may not know is that my child’s heart needs her soft touch, her nurturing presence, and her positive regard for me. While her needles pierce the meridians and facilitate the flowing of chi, the kindness she offers is like a bloom, strong from the sun, right from the rain, delicate and vital to life.