Stepping toward fear...

Stepping toward fear...

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth” 
― Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

I am struck by the honesty of this quote, there is a deep truth within this understanding, there is a fear in moving, edging closer to the deep truth that lays within us all.  This has been the 11th block of a 15-block training in Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, and as per usual, I am sitting at the Newark Airport feeling a little shaken up by the process. 

What does it cost......

What does it cost......

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of writing from  Pamela Wible MD and today I re-read her article about doctor suicides. This time in the Washington Post.  As I read through these articles, and reflect upon how medicine has changed during my lifetime, I am struck by the degree to which I have seen the humanity scrubbed out of the system.  I think about the times during my career when I thought, ‘you know, it is not worth it anymore to do this, I should just go.’ .....

Day 443....

Day 443....

The sky is so blue when the storm has passed. It is clear in a way that it never seems to be on normal days. When it is cold, deeply cold like it is today, it is as if nothing can be in that air other than the blue. There is a deep beauty to this kind of day, you have to take a moment, slow down, and let it unfurl before your eyes. It is funny, I did not used to look at the world with this set of eyes, and they seem to grown in clarity over the last year, as my vision has slowed down, the clarity with which I see has changed.

He had great faith in you...

He had great faith in you...

“He had great faith in you, and you let him down…” These words landed, heavily, in the middle of my chest. These words brought pain, they were a tool to bring pain, and they did their job well. I cannot know the state of mind within the one who spoke those words, but I imagine they came from a place of great worry, great pain, and great anger. I have spoken words like this myself on occasions, more than I would care to remember at any given moment, and when I have used words like this with others, they were designed to hurt. It is from this place of seeing the pain, that I began to wonder about why anyone would choose to be a physician, and I realized it’s because no one really knows what they’re saying yes to when they pursue this career.

A Different Point of View this Christmas…..

A Different Point of View this Christmas…..

And so, I find myself wondering what to write in this missive.  The year has been good, full of love and learning, growth and understanding, and yet in this moment, we are sad, we are mourning, we are dancing with grief.  It is strange how a recent event can colour the feelings that you carry for a year, how a single moment in time can mark that year in your mind, how a single event becomes the moment that may name that year.  It happens all the time… oh, that was when Sam was born, that was the year I started medical school, that was the year we got married, the year when grandmother died, these single moments are large enough in our psyche that they colour the memory of the year. 

Good luck, bad luck...

Good luck, bad luck...

Sometimes we are simply too close to be able to see clearly, it is as if our breath fogs the glass we want to look through, we need to get some distance. Is this a good thing or is this a bad thing? it is hard to know. As I look back on life, I look back on things that in the moment seemed terrible, but as I reflect on them from where I am now, the view is so much different. I remember clearly the scene from “the dead poet’s society” when Robin Williams asks the students to stand up on their desks to change their point of view. As I look across my life, I realize I am moving from desk to desk to desk, and looking around, and the view, is always, different.

In this moment...

In this moment...

It was another weekend of training in Hakomi.  We were working on figuring out our resources (those things in our lives that help us get through tough times).  It was the second day of training for this block, and my student therapist asked how things were going, “day by day, usual days, usual stuff.” “Why don’t you take me through a usual day then, how do you start seeing your patients? “. I begin to recount how I work without a nurse, and that I go up front to pick up my patients. She asked me to stop, slow down, and really focus on what I do when I prepare to get a patient, and as we work through that, I came to see what a resource I have built over the last 10 years.

Where the fear comes from...

Where the fear comes from...

What is it that hold me back?  What keeps me from being all that is within me?  It is a funny question for me to ask, given the work I am doing to help others finds their way through this briar patch.  I know, deep inside, that this answer is within, but as I sit here with this question, my mind provides me all sorts of reasons why I cannot step into that place, and as I look at these reasons, they all circle around fear, the fear of rejection.

Needing to be helpful.....

Needing to be helpful.....

Sometimes Medicine wants more than you can give, and there are many times in the past when I’ve given Medicine everything I had and a little bit more. These days, I give medicine what it deserves and nothing more. I don’t spend myself into debt for Medicine, I don’t empty my emotional banks to make sure that Medicine is full, I do what I can and when I get to the end of what I have to give Medicine, I stop.

The inner child...

The inner child...

He is watching me as I go about my morning.  I can feel him just below the surface, noticing what I am up to.  He is ever curious, this little one, and lately he has not been far away.  I can hear his questions about what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what it all means.  He is always asking ‘Why?’ and as often as I can, I work to answer his questions.  He did not used to visit me at all, and for the longest time, I did not know he existed.