Bedside Manner


I sometimes like to imagine what healing was like before we got so focused on machines, lawsuits, and pharmaceuticals. A time before your physician was more intent on getting the “right” codes into the laptop in the seven minutes they were allotted by the conglomerate, than actually being with you and getting to know you.

A time when the human body and the human soul was at the very center of the healing relationship. A time when we knew we were all connected, both within and without. A time when our physicians felt honored to be of service to us, instead of answering to the bottom line profit demands of a corporation.

A time when our healers were naturals at bedside manner.

That unique capacity to be with another human being; next to them, holding their hand, looking into their eyes, being with them as they made their journey through life. In both, as they say, in sickness and in health. What an honor to be privy to the deepest, realest and most raw experiences of another soul.

And now, what a devastating turnaround that it has gone missing. Only to be exchanged for not only poor substitutes, but for a form of “care” that is most decidedly devoid of care. Even at times, dangerous. What could possibly have replaced what we need most? Money incentives, efficiency, standard protocols, separate specializations, insurance codes, following the rules, and fear. Yes, fear.

Fear that they will miss something or make a mistake. Fear of being ostracized, sued or fired for stepping outside of SOP. Fear of getting too involved. Fear that they cannot help us. Perhaps worst of all, fear of their own humanity, and of showing that to us.

We need this. We need those in the healing profession to reclaim the human roots of their calling. Visionaries. Those with the courage to do less technically in the service of doing more healing wise. Those willing to break ranks with anything that violates their sacred obligation to us, and to what it is that actually heals.

Those willing to claim the power and the healing Presence of such quaint and outdated practices as the art and science of bedside manner: A genuine and authentic relationship built on care that transcends any agenda other than that.

Maybe this has never occurred in history. Maybe it’s pure fantasy on my part to believe in its existence. But this is what I yearn for: Medicine built on integrity, real care, and most of all, a healing relationship with a physician who trusts that connection above all else.

To Not Know & To Do Nothing


“I don’t know what to do.”

Lately, this phrase finds its way into my life more and more. As in, I don’t know what to do when nothing I try will bring resolve to something in my life. Or, I don’t know what to do when I look out at a world demanding I live in a way that makes absolutely no sense to me.

I am reading a novel called “A Wizard of Earthsea,” where one of the final scenes finds the protagonist traveling further than he or anyone has ever gone in his attempt to bring resolve to something. The wizard comes to the place where the magic and all the things he has ever known no longer work. He is left moving ever closer to something that is only his to do, but with no way of knowing what to do when he gets there.

Or, what will happen.

This is exactly how I feel lately as I come up against those places in Life where what I did before no longer works, and yet, I have no idea what to do or how things will turn out. It is not a comfortable place. But it is a real place.

More to the point here, it is the very place that most of us try and avoid at all costs.

It is terrifying to feel you have no power to effect change. No control over shifting something in your life. It’s almost too painful to admit. And so, we don’t. Instead, we engage in all kinds of behaviors that make us feel as though we are doing something. Anything. Creating the illusion that what we are doing is having an impact. That it’s up to us around how things turn out.

But it’s not always up to us.

That’s a hard, almost unbearable Truth to be with. And, it’s the only legitimate starting point. It’s like before someone can get sober, they must first admit something they have been unwilling to admit to before.

Interestingly enough, to come to the knowing that it is not up to you and that you don’t know what to do puts you in an exquisite position. That being, the vantage point of seeing something more clearly because the situation is not muddied by all of your attempts and preconceptions. Of course, this awareness often comes in surrender moments for we do not easily let go of what we always do.

But if and when you can admit that nothing you have been trying is working, try doing nothing. Yes, you heard it. Do nothing. This was the permission a friend recently gave me: A reminder that to do nothing is a sane and valid response. Full disclosure: It feels awful initially. Like the whole thing is going to hit the floor if you don’t do what you always do.

But if you can be with that, knowing that feeling awful is a part of it, there is a coming to terms that is possible. A kind of necessary correction around what is within your control and jurisdiction, and what is not.

If this makes any sense to you, be on the lookout for the places where you always do the same thing without getting the results you want. The times where you are trying to muscle something into happening to no avail. And then stop. Just stop. If even for a moment.

The Dark and The Light


My husband and I have been walking at night in the dark. It started for me because I wanted to be out under a vast and full moon night sky. We say that we are strengthening our night vision, and that it is a great way to talk and move after dinner.

But that’s not why I do it.

I do it because it puts me in touch with the rhythm of the season and of the light and dark cycles. I do it because I always feel more alive. And because every time we go, something wonderful happens.

Last week, it was cold. My husband, having just come in from being out all day, was reluctant as we were at the eve of the coldest day to date. But when I went out to close the chickens up, the sky was so clear and the air so clean and crisp, I  knew I just needed more.

I sometimes have to make deals to entice my husband. Mostly, that we will only go so far. Because I usually want to keep going, I don’t say anything when we get to the designated and previously agreed upon turn-around place. This night was no different. This is our dance: We go past the agreed upon spot without either of us saying anything. I’m silent because I’m angling for more. He’s silent because he does not want to be the one to call “uncle.”

But on this night, he let me know that he had made a deal with himself that when we got to the place down the road where it was darkest, he would signal the time to turn around. Only, each time we got to the darkest place, the light was still on us. So no matter how far we travelled, we never got to the darkest place.

What a metaphor, huh?

That’s why I love it out there. The natural world is filled to brimming with guidance, inspiration and support. It’s always there. Always waiting wordlessly for us to come and be with Her. More to the point, be with ourselves; in all of our light and darkness.

We are running a great risk these days that we allow ourselves to be seduced by the light coming off the screen devices with its messages of darkness. Only, the darkness of the technologies in no way reflects the darkness of a night sky. And the dogged and un-evolved light of the screen devices in no way reflects our most powerful and infinite light. Not even close.

How many of our woes, fears and anxieties would just naturally evaporate were we to learn to break loose from artificial sources of light and dark. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself.

At Odds


There is so much in the world that I don’t want to be happening. Some days, I feel like a fish on a hook. Desperately, relentlessly and ineffectively struggling. Fighting. Denying. Blaming.

I hate it. I hate the way it feels. Mostly I hate the way that it squanders my precious time here on Earth.

Several years ago, a friend told me how she chooses a word for the year. I loved the idea, so I took up the practice. This year my word is Freedom. Not a kind of fighting to be free, like a rebellious hands-on-hips teenager bellowing “You can’t tell me what to do!” But instead, an embodiment of a genuine, god-given freedom that comes from within, is transcendent of what is happening around me, and most of all, comes with no strings attached.

As in, not and never, ever bestowed by another.

This is big stuff. As in, Let no man steal your peace.” This sounds so great. I mean who wouldn’t want that? To be able to go around all day with nothing bothering you. Nothing getting to you. But here’s the truth, the wanting of it doesn’t even come close to what it takes to get it.

So what does it take to gain a sense of inner freedom? The ability to be with “What Is,” while taking complete ownership of how you respond. No blaming. No complaining. No victim.

I realize this is a tall order. I recognize almost none of us has had training in this. And yet, as far as I can see this is the only way to the lasting happiness and peace we all yearn for. Otherwise, we are left believing that every time the world does something that does not feel good or right to us, we are basically F*cked. Imprisoned by forces beyond our control.

I am so tired of being at odds with what is happening. Aren’t you? More to the point, so tired of being at odds with myself because the world is at odds with itself. Of course, this is literally the chicken and the egg. As in, which comes first? A world at odds? Or me at odds? Out there? In here?

In some ways, it does not matter because “in here,” is and always will be, the only place I have any control over.

So perhaps you will join me. If so, the next time you find yourself like a fish on a line, railing against what is, simply say, “Yes.” Acknowledge that what you do not want is here and decide that you get to do the only thing that you can do. Decide how you are going to be and feel about that. No matter what.