Henry David Thoreau

As I completed my income taxes over the weekend – not convinced that I should have after recently re-reading Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau – I noted that one can claim acupuncture fees as a medical deduction. I reflected on the successful acupuncture sessions I completed with Dr. Liu at Sunshine Acupuncture in River Falls 18 months ago and decided I needed another Qi alignment. I’d been thinking about it for several weeks and I concluded that now is the time.

I attended two successful sessions this week with Dr. Liu. I feel much better and will continue to rely on her as the first choice for any medical situation I may encounter other than situations that require immobilizing bones in casts.


For those unfamiliar with the acupuncture process, after an initial consultation so that the acupuncturist understands your physical and mental state, you lie face down – it may be different for other conditions – on a table with your head resting in a ‘donut pillow.’ Dr. Liu then applies 25 to 30 needles to key points – for me, it is in my lower back, legs, and top of my head. She positions heat lamps on the needles and leaves me with a bell to ring if I experience any difficulty. I am required to remain in that position for 30 minutes after which she returns and removes the needles. That’s it. I find the results positive on several levels.

So what does one do during those 30, face-down minutes staring through the donut pillow? I pray the Rosary in a special way that I learned from actor Martin Sheen…

U.S. Presidents

Martin Sheen as President Jed Bartlet

Although I have an affinity to JFK and Ronald Reagan, I consider Martin Sheen – President Jed Bartlet in “The West Wing” – and Kiefer Sutherland – President Tom Kirkman in “Designated Survivor” – as the two best presidents in my lifetime. “But they are fictional,” you legitimately might say. “True,” I would regretfully respond, “Isn’t that a shame.”

I have enjoyed Mr. Sheen in many of his films. I think many people associate him with his moving film “The Way” about a father’s journey – physical and spiritual – on the Camino de Santiago. A half dozen years ago, I read an informative book about Mr. Sheen, Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way. It is one of many books I have loaned and forgotten to whom. I hope the loanee took the time to read it.

How to Pray the Rosary

In the book, Mr. Sheen tells us he prays the Rosary daily. It is the way he prays the Rosary that makes it special. The most common kind of Rosary has 59 beads – five decades of 10 Hail Marys and one Our Father, as well as the beginning Our Father, 3 Hail Marys. As he prays, Mr. Sheen focuses on one specific individual in his life with each of the 59 beads he prays.

I learned Martin Sheen’s method from that book in 2013 and use it every time I pray the Rosary.

So what do I do during those 30, face-down minutes staring through the donut pillow with 30 needles in my body? I pray the Rosary Mr. Sheen’s way, and as I do, I reacquaint myself with 59 people – some dead, some alive – who have had an impact on my life through 69 years.

There is much to take away from this post…

  • Give acupuncture a try.
  • Pray. We quote John O’Donohue on our homepage, “Prayer is the presence that holds harmony in the midst of chaos. Every time you pray, you add to the light and harmony of creation. If you do not pray, if you do not believe in prayer, then you are living off the prayers of other people.”
  • Try praying Martin Sheen’s way by focusing on a specific person or creature with every prayer you pray.
  • Pray that America might be blessed with new leadership that demonstrates the sincerity and character of Jed Bartlet and Tom Kirkman…

Mitakuye Oyasin

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  1. I especially like the last part. We certainly need a different type of leader than what we have right now in the country.