On a recent holiday traveling with eight of my family members, I was reminded of the song by the classic rock band, Cream, ‘Strange Brew’. How I got there, at least as far as I can trace the sequence of thoughts that led me, was first a reflection on how very different and at the same time very similar a group of closely or loosely related human beings can be.
There are leaders, and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority. Those who lead inspire us. We follow those who lead not for them but for ourselves. And it is those who start with “why” that can inspire those around them or find others who inspire them. Simon Sinek- author of Start with Why
New Year’s resolutions bother me. Always have. Perhaps that is in part because I have trouble committing to something that I wish to change about myself.
In many ways, choosing a career in medicine offers opportunities found in a few other professions. It can be described quite simply as the opportunity to work within one’s integrity.
I am currently basking in the after-effects of our recent Mindful Practice Facilitator Training, completed yesterday, as I write this, at the end of five days of an on-line experience that I can simply characterize with these few words- possibility and play.
I have been thinking a lot about the traditional paradigm in medicine of defining patients by their problems. This framing that focuses on deficits, deficiencies, and things to be fixed permeates the ways in which well-being and ill-being are approached. And more than that, this paradigm defines the nature of the challenges facing us as health professionals.
I recently attended the screening of a German documentary film titled Grenzland, which translates to Borderland. In it the filmmaker Andreas Voigt presents a series of miniature portraits of ordinary people on both sides of the river Oder which forms part of the border between Poland and Germany.
Our work in Medicine is not a sprint. It is more like a marathon. We know it requires discipline, commitment, intention, hard work, and stamina. But unlike running a marathon for individual reasons, it is a community activity.
Our training for a career in medicine feels, at times, like this- just waiting to go on. It is lengthy, tedious, physically, emotionally, and cognitively demanding, and we often ask ourselves questions about our readiness and our competencies, while along the way doubting our places of belonging in this profession.
We can reasonably ask the question, why then would civilization develop altruistic societal institutions and hence individual responses that has its members move toward danger, provide care for others who may risk the caregivers themselves, and even elevate those responses and individuals in some way as responding to a higher calling?