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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lifes Lessons Served by a Cabbie

  Life's lessons come when we are least prepared from the most unassuming or unexpected of places. I think that I should turn this into one of the quotes that will make me somewhat famous. Or at least I am somewhat delusional in certain ways. But, I guess that was a given. But this afternoon, processes were hit home not by a hospital CEO, but the YWO Airporter cabbie.

  I have spent the past 4 days in Ottawa with some of the brightest minds in Canada in the healthcare sector. (Its why the posting is so late this week)  Its always amazing the level of knowledge of skill and knowledge in the room that I often feel awed. So why does 14% of people that enter in a hospital have some form of negative experiences or outcomes? Thats an interesting question. Now, as I wait in the airport, I think back to some of the learnings of the week. What if there was a 99.8% success rate in airplane safety (much less 86%)? That means I learned that by 0900 on any given day that 3 airliners would have gone down. Oops.

  Ok.... the cabbie. He was 20 minutes late and instead of being in a bad mood, used humour. He had been stuck in the Ottawa Pride Parade and felt bad we might be late for our flights. He cared about us and our needs. Valuable lesson. He also made sure all the processes to ensure safety and his job were done, despite being late. Valuable lesson 2. And he kept his spirit and humour and friendliness. Valuable lesson 3. Amazing what you learn when you dont expect it from others. I have had the chance to learn lots about what really matter and the miracles of sight and giving and miracles the past 2 months.

   So where did I learn from the unexpected? I learned and had reaffirmed the facts at the conference, sure. However the learnings are hit home by everyday people and the processes that they do and the care that they put behind them. When we drive, assuming we arent distracted we have better than an 86% safety rating. Commitment to the process. Do everything carefully and in a pattern, check it and then proceed. Dont just shoot from the mouth or prescription and assume it will be ok. Poor planning and poor processes mean bad outcomes. Managers upset staff unnecessarily as they dont realize or think through the impacts of their decision. Money is lost and wasted, people are hurt. Not just in healthcare, but other areas such as government.

  Lets stop and smell the roses and love the moment. Take our time and see it. Seeing is so precious and we take it for granted. Toxicity is so commonplace and we can be assertive and minimize and try to avoid.

  Back to my little mental island cocoon and reflect on the learnings of the day as I very slowly watch the coconut trees grow.

  Be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure  August 2010 



3:23 pm edt 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Little details in the mundane.

   Been a week again and actually I am a bit behind this weekend with the blog. Mea culpa. A week of ups and downs and battles won and lost. Basically, the same sort of week as everyone else and the sort of week that makes selecting any one particular thing to write about more of a challenge. Because to stop and reflect like we as humans normally do about the week, we tend to give it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down overview. Thats like saying the sky is blue.

   So really what we are doing with our days, and ultimately our weeks and months and years is applying a mystical memory erasing ink or label making ink that applies a generalizable, quick and often erroneous term to the event. Its like looking down from the plane and seeing things but the level of detail just aint there my friends. Nopes. Plus eventually, I truly believe that we come to see and believe in that mediocrity. There then becomes a loss of the intricacies of the moment.

   Finally, I come to the meat of the matter. So in my average week with great points interspersed by crappy points I have to look at the intricacies. What stands out either motivational or demotivational? And I believe that despite getting my paperwork that officially makes me a scientist and that this week, the comment to me was "I can see the level of details again". Why is that important? Because that is a present, a gift and to someone that is a miracle and 2 months ago was a passing blase that only caught attention unless the detail ws spectacular. Face it folks, we are all guilty of this one. The evil and condition of getting stuck in the rut of familiarity. Not interesting when we see it everyday and its thought to be average. Have to keep upping the ante, getting better and newer stimulation in order to trigger the ole dopamine pleasure reward systems. Thats societal and that sells stuff.

  Want to live the moment? Look deliberately for the little details in the buildings and see and have the amazement. There is a koan statement that to summarize states "Everytime you see it, each time its new." That approach to vision will help what you see. And when you see it and its new and you look for the detil in the intricacies of anything, the amazement opens up. 

 Open your mind, your mind's eye and that will influence what you see. And let it not be for a few seconds, minutes or hours but may it create an indelible image that is warming. Be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure August 2010 

8:01 am edt 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sing, sing a song of Non-judgement

   "Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship" Buddha.

    This quote can be taken in the three realms of health, wealth and relationships. I have had the great opportunity over the past few years to see exactly what that means and have it driven home ever so much over the past 6 weeks. It is not suprising to us as humans that health, contentment and faithfulness have been ascribed as the pinnacle of gifts, wealth and relationships. I must interject here with the authour's prerogative and as the societal question/statement. "Show me da money". Or even worse in my mind, show me a celebrity with "da money" (or da issues). It reflects in the Bible that Faith, Wisdom and Belief is greater than money. Or as I like to ascribe to in my innermost dealings: hope, faith and belief. I think that is wisdom.

  Health is critical and key and to sum up the past 6 weeks, it is the be all and end all. Without hope, faith belief, relationships and friends then any illness will be unbearable. Add a societal perspective or bias to the bent like in mental health or psychological disorders and it kills. It kills. Any non-visually obvious disorder yields its own bias, judgement and challenges. A wise person said it best that if you have good health, enjoy it. But please dont look down or judge those that dont have it. Reach, love and care and help them.

  Wealth isnt about the money. One things better jobs from better education makes a man healthier, wealthier and wise. Sorry folks, the wealthiest and wisest people I know dont have a degree or fancy letters. But some do. Basically, cant judge a book by the cover is my whole premise here. Want wealth? Look to the person thats reaching out in kind words and gestures to someone else. Someone that has the courage to give when they themselves have or are struggling. Then emulate and be like that person and give. I believe, with all my core that to become a wealthy person is to give to others. And its not the dollars and cents. 

  That ties to relationships. My strongest learnings and relationships have come from others. I know that I have received and learned far more than I have given. For those fiends, I hold you very very close and know that no matter what, I would be here for you and vice versa. And its not about being there in the monetary sense. When a person goes to bat for you, supports you, believes in you 110%... thats a good friend.

  Leads to another wise thing I have recently read and that is the desire versus repression to sing. Even to have part of that, the heart sings. I believe that we should have the gift and opportunity to sing the wonders that we have and give and share with each other. Open your heart and sing out my friends.

  And of course, be yourself...often.


---Joel Lamoure  August 2010 



4:28 pm edt 

Friday, August 6, 2010

When one teaches another, two people learn

    When one teaches another, two people learn. This is something that I have read over the course of the week and sums up basically in a nice sentence what I try to believe and practice. This is a reflection of what we are able to do and achieve, far beyond the world of academics. It represents a constant undertone of what we do as humans, as stated beyond the world of academics but in fact the very essence of life.

    I received this spring from a great student a mug that states "Teaching is the profession that makes all others". Now that I received this in the context of being ateacher, I initially took the statement at face value of SOLELY being a teacher. My bad. After having looked at this mug over the past 6 months in the morning when the rest of me is still in hibernate mode and slowly gearing up the switches, I see it different. The month of July really hit that home and having the opportunity to watch another previous student move up the ranks cemented this. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step is how the expression goes. But I do believe along this journey there are waypoints in the light and darkness of the ebbs and tides of the days where we need to stop and reflect. To realize that the ex-student sitting beside me gave me likely more than I gave them. A sense and belief, courage, self-confidence and ALSO, the tools of the trade as they describe it to also advance myself. To be able to stop and reflect as a teacher is essential. Its not about the rank, position, title, authority or whatever can be spewed out to a captive audience. Fun, but not the essentials in life of teaching. It is to stop and reflect that as a teacher, you learn and get back far more than you receive in so many ways. Hearing a colleaguie speak at a fairwell party yesterday showed me the importance of going that extra mile and how much it truly is appreciated as evidenced by the accolades, respect and comments by others. A true leader, and I did learn a little more from him yesterday what a TRUE leader encourages and fosters in others. Thanks Dr R.

    I believe in the principles of "paying it forward". That what we do and the actions we enact and the impacts I want to perform. I want to perform them, but I have a reason behind them and that is the recipient will take the tricks, tools, skills of what they learn from me and find what works for them. That they then will take their unique developed skillset and liberally apply their own knowledge and use that to then impact and help new students, new residents and optimize patient outcomes. That of course may be translated into other forms of teaching (see below). Its like a positive snowball and I love the de-motivational poster (with a spin) that says 1 flake may unleash an avalanche. I have no problems being the flake that starts or contributes to a positive avalanche if it helps others.

    Back to the concepts of teaching outside of academia. We teach when we smile, have children, work, interact with people and patients and families or play. We really do for often there is a small set of eyes that are watching. They then will emulate. We know that a smile breeds a smile in others and becomes contagious. As indiciduals, its not about what we give and expect something in return, but what we get in return that we didnt expect. Thanks to many people for that insight.

Be yourself, often.   

                                              --- Joel Lamoure August 2010

9:57 am edt 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Love... An intelligent concern for others

   Week has flown by my friends in some ways and a range of victor to loss and excitement (not always good) to dragging drudgery. Mainly, a week to reflect backwards, forwards but most importantly in the here and now. Basically, the same as anyone else's weeks in so many ways, shapes and styles. As I have been looking as what to write this week, considering the last 2 weeks have been on vision, eyesight and the implications of different perspectives, I figured I would keep the theme 1 last week but branch out a little more. The week has been one of what does love mean and how do people express that emotion. A week of life, tragedy and death. Lets explore them and pull them all together, shall be my friends?

  It is sad that I have to add this disclaimer, however here it is: This is so not a sexual discussion, sorry for that. Love and sex are 2 separate entities. This is about a basic human and nature entity and side that relates to the care, concern and devotion we give to others. If you believe the two are exactly the same, perhaps infatuation is a better word, not love.

   I was told way back in 2002 that love is an intelligent concern for others. This is in its very least form I believe. But that is the bedrock and foundation of the house and structure that then becomes something incredible, built to the needs of the couple and solid. But the foundation is the most important part. It does not matter what the race, sex, gender, preferences etc are of EITHER party. Any two people on this Earth I believe have the potential to create that bond initially. We are able to love animals, trees, and nature in general. Why? For this is a two way street. So often one will hear that I "love my gadget (insert name of object here)" That is pathological. Nature, animals, people give back and can and do reciprocate. True love is NOT one way. Objects by virtue of the label of that word "object" can not love and give back in an intelligent, concerned way.

   Another factor is that I do believe and in discussions with others we truly NEED some basic tenants in conjunction with the love. Hope, Faith and Belief. 

   This denotes a higher level of thought, caring and two way reciprocity. So really, no suprise that when I "love my gadget (insert name of object here)" that it is short lived. Why? It doesnt give back in a caring and intelligent way. You may like it, it is convenient but sorry folks, no matter WHAT you do or HOW much you paid.... your Gadget ain't going to love you back. And all that attention, detail, investment and whatever got lost along the way while you were misguided in loving and the challenges of getting said gadget are well, Lost.

  Those that love, when people pass away that you care so deeply about, you feel that hurt. It is ok to feel loss and grief because you loved that person. Likely and often those people gave tirelessly, selflessly and in an altruistic way to help others. The Community then comes together to respect that loss, that grief and the the love that person gave. Thank you for those gifts and they live on. My tears and sadness are a demonstration of my love and mirroring them back to you. Be at peace in the Lord's arms Vi and Godspeed. Thank you.

   Be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure August 2010 

8:22 am edt 

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