Attending; en recension

"Dr Epstein lyckas väva samman svåra och esoteriska begrepp som mindfulnesscompassionbeginner’s mind med den kliniska vardagen och ger hopp om att på individuell nivå, som team eller organisation, kunna skapa förändring i ett sjukvårdssystem som riskerar att mala ned såväl patienter som vårdgivare, och istället ge oss verktyg att frodas tillsammans. “ Peter Jacobsson och Anamaria Whitmer

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What does it feel like to be really listening?

Where does debate stop and dialogue begin? How do we hear each other? What does it feel like in our bodies and minds to be really listening? And how do we know when we are hearing? 

Thank you Joanne

Thank you Joanne

Contradictions, black and white, are usually a sign that I don't understand the intricacy of how things are related to one another. I'm missing details, assuming things I don't really know, judging and allowing my mind to be lazy....encouraging premature closure in my cognitive and emotional processes. PAUSING, Relaxing, OPENING, a new umbrella of understanding may appear. 

A room full of scientists in the dark, each investigating, journaling the truth of their observations. Noting where they believe they are standing in the room and possibly their experience of the others. Each diligently trying to remain at least objective about their investigation of the phenomena, in what they assume to be the center of the room. 

One feels and describes hard areas surrounded by soft folds near to the floor, another a small broom like ornement suspended in the room, yet another warm air and another a large bumpy wall. Discussing, arguing, analysing the contradictory evidence. They can write whole thesises to establish and prove their theories and themselves. The debate is intricate and evidence is detailed, there are advocates, opponents and PR people I'm sure.

Suddenly there is a candle brought into the room and all changes. There is an elephant filling the space, Plato's elephant. No one theory is complete, where they are wrong is where they rush to premature closure, refusing to enlarge the umbrella of their theory to contain their colleagues' observations as well.

And have they even begun to adress the most pressing priority of all? What will happen to them when that elephant is hungry? What will happen to the elephant? Who will be safe, who will be trampled? Is there an exit, how will they work with the elephant, how will they work together? What are the communal and individual needs? 

What will they see if they bring in 2 or 3 candles, an electric lamp, a microscope, if they climb to the roof and look down ....if they listen to one another?

Where could I be missing Plato's elephant today? Will our contradictions viewed on wide angle, micro angle, and in community hold enlightenment? How does it feel when I am really listening? Which thoughts, memories, body sensations get me to that map?

How does this help me practice medicine, psychology, nursing, social work, family life, friendship? Try this Ted Talk and rethink listening.


Heart and Hands

Did you notice any heroes today? Do you see them all around us? Allow me even to present Dr Henry Marsh - The English Surgeon  Take some time to be renewed today. If not by the article, than the film or better yet both.

This British physician dares to stand beside and behind his Ukrainian colleague, their friendship, loyalty, creativity and perserverance create 'miracles' in the midst of poverty and medical system disfunction. Human solidarity and compassion being the miracles even beyond the cures.

I am stunned by the slow deep beauty in this documentary. The grey weather and unending concrete seem only to intensify our heroes'  humility and prowess. This film will cure elitism. It will raise you up.

Daunted, existentially stretched and clearly questioning Dr Marsh still moves forward with british politeness; wading through eastern european melancholy and desperation. The stoicism of his patients, balancing under their hopes, expose his heart and ethics clearly.

'The worst of all surgical mistakes is complacency' reminds one of other great social activists' quotes.

And when you have been uplifted by this film, the whole film, continue on to the next to see him wade through administration and bureaucracy in the Brittish system. Do you see the heroes now? Aren't they magnificent?

Strong Back Soft Front

Can you see the compassion around you today? The heroes and helpers who stand steady in these times of confusion, extending their hearts and hands; do you see them? Can the search for this be in itself a mindful meditation?

Allow us to share a TED talk condensing, exploring, observing COMPASSION. Perhaps thawing small frozen places in us. Thank you Joan Halifax.

The transforming of suffering through compassion can only happen when we are not attached to outcome. Recognising this paradox is key. We must participate without moral outrage, pity or fear and allow the full catastrophe of our humaness to explode onto our awareness.

Then and only then in the light of our mutual situation will we find true compassion, transformation and resilience, mobilising our personal and interpersonal immunity.

Cultivating a strong back and soft front, a steadfast strength and an open heart. An eye for wisdom in the palm of each hand. Compassion is empathy in action.

When do you find yourself most engaged in noticing the helpers? Can you feel your own back rising strong and your heart melting as you observe them? Can you sit still as you watch or do you lend them your heart and hands? Can we tell each other these stories over and over again?