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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Only Religion is Kindness

  The title comes from an incredible quote by the Dalai Lama. It transcends cultures, boarders, ethinicities and can be appreciated by all. These are the sort of statements that go on to warm and liberate, to elevate and inspire.

  Kindness as I have discussed before is a form of love and love is in its purest sense an intelligent concern for others. As we in the Christian faith are looking ahead to the Christmas period, as Muslims celebrate Mecca and Jewish looks to Hanukkah this year, or the Seinfeld Festivus, I believe that we should really look to what matters.

   This should not be a once day, one-off event. But an opportunity as we look ahead to make that difference to someone else in a challenging time. The way that it is set up, I am sorry but seems to be all about us and not about the mission or statement or the challenges that we have been given and enact those tasks. We go on belittling each other, bullying and cheating and any of the other Capital Offenses that tend to happen. We are all guilty, no man can cast a stone. That is a critical point.

   So why write of it this week? Because I had the opportunity to ask a favour, nothing about me but to act merely as a conduit. I waited to see what would happen as I knew most sadly that there may have been some psychosocial challenges around my request and wishes. I acted to help another who was helping others. Would the chain remain unbroken? My hero of the week is the brave person that continued that chain of helping others. Now that was a specific event, but I have been blessed this week (and like everyone else its been a wild week) to see the blind lead the sighted, a broken doll to influence decisions weeks later in a medical class setting and an opportunity to break bread and share laughs with colleagues moved beyond my teaching and watch these birds fly. Those are the gifts that I love, plus I have been gifted with some beautiful paintings from a patient and appreciate that I have the mindfulness to stop and reflect, to see into their mind as we share in their painful journey. Those are the tangibles and intangibles that really matter.

  So, as we move ahead to the crazy season and you are feeling stressed, there is a choice, you can become a patient of mine (and I dont offer tissues) or revel in the kindness, miracles and gifts of the day. For YOU my gentle friends are the ones that can watch the Miracles unfold all around you. You just have to put a small amount of effort in it an the payoffs are mystical and incredible. Such is life.

   To do that, is to be yourself, often.


--- November 2010 



8:38 am est 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dont touch! Construction on the wall of defence

  Ok folks and friends and gentle readers. Story time again and welcome to the world of philosophy, psychiatry, psychology and human nature and psyche all bound together into one Twisted Fairy Tale. This is my second kick at the can this week as the server ate my blog for today. So it might be a bit shorter.

  Last week we fearlessly addressed the 7 Capital (meaning of the Head) Sins that dealt with greed etc and keeping one's candle to themselves. The premise was that one loses noting by lighting a candle and the second candle glows and glistens. One things that was NOT addressed was the concept and construct as to WHY the Capital Sins (Deadly Sins) such as avirice, pride and greed impact and develop and become so high. WHY some people cant or dont want to share their candle.

  I am lucky as I have many friends that are candle sharers. Meaning the share their light without expecting praise, reward, notification in a newsletter and a brass band. One that do it for the right reason and you dont really have a clue WHAT they are capable of doing or do in their spare time fully until you hear about it and go wow. They dont talk of themselves (Deadly Sin....sorry) but divert the conversation artfully to others. One of those friends made the beautiful point that you have 2 options... share the candle and risk your own becoming vulnerable by the second person as you are exposed and even meaning well, the winds of war snuff out your flame. One the other side is that one is so fearful to light the candle and of that vulnerability and being hurt (by bullies, colleagues, ones close, family) that they built a kick-arse dome and wall around themselves. No spots there for the wind to get in! Hallelujah! My observations is then the candle in its impregnable fortress is lost and like a beautiful lady seen high up in the castle. You cant touch her, although you want to and she wants you to. (Or converse, the man in the tower... you get the point, Im not doing this for political correctness points after all!)

   Next question is why and what happens to that flame? They are prisoners in a guilded cage and lost to candle sharing and lighting of flames. Where do you stand and what does your wall of defence look like?  That in itself is a valuable question to address and then to ask why was it built! Root cause analysis and to fearlessly look at oneself.

  The step beyond that, if you do want to share is how do you create that door to create an ingress and safety. I actually think the doors are there or certainly could be built. Cue Mike Holmes here! The doors are the or could be built, but they might be too small, boarded up or maybe made wrong the first time. That needs a person that is seriously committed to looking and opening up and construction takes time, makes a mess. Personally, Im ok with that! I do believe we miss doors all the time as we move through this world. Doors that are meant to be opened but we are fixated on the trappings of society we miss them. The "Law of Diminishing Returns" comes into play here. Work at 110%, you get the same productivity as someone running at 60% or less.

   "Winning" is such an abstract concept that is hard to quantify. Building a great edifice with no doors and a window up high? Something that one can see for miles? BUT that you end up being a prisoner in.... is a loss. The people that win, light candles. Thats pretty well a hard done fact in my personal and clinical observation. You can destroy yourself and still light some candles, like being an alcoholic yet a person of respect but that is the curse of the Capital Sin. Even then, you can build and edit and do construction and wall off that capital offence. Would light even more candles. Its all about the thought process. One isnt defined by their status, but what they DO with that status, especially to the ones close to them.

  Want to do some construction? Know the plans and blueprints. Fearless self reflection and mindfulness. Higher Powers. Back to reding my current light reading, which is the Belgium version (published 1930) of Tanquerey's "The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology"

  Almost forgot... be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure November 2010 


9:24 am est 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lighting a candle... the chain letter of life.

Nothing is lost by the first candle in the exercise of lighting a second one....

Therein lies the theory of taxonomy, education and altruism. So why wont we take the time and light another candle and let it shine? To share our wealth, gifts, skills and then nurture the new candle and its flame? To then step back, in awe and watch the second candle light a third etc. Its like one of those viral exercises instead of it being a stupid fake Snopes email (another issue) that clogs my inbox (MUST pass it to 10 people or die painfully!---Sigh, spare me. <Delete>) it becomes  a positive viral spread. Like the chain letter of life.

We CAN spread and light someone else's candle. Seen it and watched the impact. Dont ask people that are so wealthy that they dont have time to do the task as they are "all about themselves" in large. Dont ask the people scraping day to day to survive, although they give more than the wealthy of light in my experience. Its the average person out there. These people can light another persons candle and illuminate others. Love is an intelligent concern for others. Sadly, there are those that will take the light you give them and be selfish, keep it to themselves and leave you wondering WTF just happened here. This is a time that your taxonomy comes in and what you believe in. Peace, patience, silence, humility and serenity is my mantra (and I do crap at the middle 2 of the 5).

In peace and patience though, if you dont get bent, continue to share your light, its fascinating to watch the selfish hoarders. I think they are wearing retro nylon and rayon outfits pre-doused in gas in my experience, they light themselves on fire and destruct. Wow...See ya later, dont write. Want to borrow a fire extinguisher? Seen it many times in practice.

This week I have had the grace and gift to watch one person light 7 candles. I too was held in thrall of the story and if only I could command that degree of attention. Better bone up on my teaching skills I guess. I had a small part in letting that original light shine (very very very small, but heck, sometimes I can be delusional). A person lost so much, yet gave so much. Was in my opinion the "Miracle of South Street Hospital" that day. To have the ability to change influence on thousands of future patients and minds in 1 hour is an incredible sight to see. I feel honoured, if only being the catalyst that allowed the light to transfer.

Why dont we give our light? Because we can be selfish, stupid, greedy, self-centred and blind mentally. Thats it. Excuse my bluntness, but I will not apologize for that last statement. Look at the 7 Deadly Sins as identified by Dante. Pride, lust, envy, greed and gluttony all pretty high here in the context of this weeks blog. And depending on the premise of the thoughts and subsequent actions, either a venial or mortal sin. Ouch. I would rather have a blind person that cares and still gives and let me lead them safely using my eyes. Thats a gift I can give. That they give, I can return the light and trust me from experience, they see the light clearer than those that see.

OMG that someone may surpass us. Sorry folks, that actually is a gift as an educator to see someone excel. I challenge the odd student and resident one task... Surpass me in your career. Push them, watch the light burn brightly. Doesnt hurt my feeling one bit. And all of us on this big blue marble are educators. Every one of us. Means we all have a light. Shamelessly share the light. Dont use it to burn someone else.

That way, one can be themselves, often. 


--- Joel Lamoure November 2010 



9:41 am est 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Unique person, special gifts. Avoiding the "Passive Bully"

  This blog and this week we will continue down a couple of fronts. That being the representatives of bullying and taxonomies.

  The taxonomies are what you believe in. Basically, how far are you willing to stand for what you believe in personally and professionally? I know so many people that pay lip service to this and "I will help you" or "lets advance these goals" but in reality they are all about themselves. When it comes to real help or spending that thing called time, how often do they? Listen to you are hear you out or share a chuckle or come in on their off day to assist? There is way too much narcissism out there. Inherently that is aggravated by society. It sadly is an all about me world out there. So its not the number of friends that you have or depend on but one or 2 close ones. The sort of people that give of their skillsets and there is reciprocity to advance a common objective. All parties win then. And that they express and listen and care when the going gets tough, support them and continue to advance the taxonomies that are jointly shared. A self-centered relationship is parasitic inherently and doesnt advance both common objectives. One party may have the wool pulled over their eyes for a bit, but unless there is thanks and or reciprocity, even a kind minded individual will turn away, feeling used.

  How does this tie to bullying? Well, people can be cruel as we learned about the second day of school. There is the need for a hierarchy and pecking order. Different beliefs? Different commitment? Different clothing? Different orientation? Shun and denigrate them. Do it fast before they rise up. Because I truly believe every living person is unique and has a unique skillset and experiential story to tell. They are the best at that and why, why, why is that suppressed? Bullying them down or labelling or breaching their peace and privacy is in fact illegal in some areas and professions. But it happens. Labels are affixed which inherently raise unconscious thought processes (stigmas) in others which creates what I call "Passive bullying". Its as bad as Overt Bullying and hurts and cuts just as deep and requires so much effort that could be invested elsewhere for better returns than overcoming a label that has been unfairly affixed. People get hurt and die still. Human lives, with unique gifts... the candle extinguished.

  Be aware of yourself, embrace the person you are and sing it loud and clear across the hills. Stand up and believe in what you believe in and stand against the passive bullying that may be going on around you. Expect nothing in return for that assistance, as your taxonomy is being rewarded.

  Most of all, be yourself... often.


--- Joel Lamoure November 2010 



12:23 pm est 

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