Archive for June, 2007

Volunteering Amidst Abuse

This evening was my last night volunteering for the Soup Kitchen in town. I’ve enjoyed it, although there are some awkward feelings associated with this activity. First off, the people who volunteer (me) are the almost-sickly-sweet type of people that comedians make fun of because we feel good helping other people. Then, the people who come to the soup kitchen are the people who have a hard time in society. Most have a mental/neurological condition, some of which result from the emotional abuse they experience growing up.

I saw a woman tonight actually hit her 3yo son. It breaks my heart to think about it. The daughter, probably 5yo, was looking at me because she knew I saw the abuse. We looked at each other for a while. I tried to send her love and compassion as she pleaded with her eyes. What can I do? Is that behavior reportable? It could be considered “parenting” and not hold up in court unless the child experienced severe injury. And the mother: what kind of abuse did she experience for her to think that physical abuse was the only way to control her child?  Children are such amazingly vulnerable beings and all they want is to be loved and experience life. How could anyone hit a child?


This is the conundrum of volunteering for less fortunate people. Not only are they poor in their pocket, they are often poor in their ability to love because they were probably starved of love in their own childhood.



I went for a fantastic walk on the beach this evening.   For ~2.5 hours I waded through chilly Maine waters.  My feet turned pink and numb, making the water feel warm.  My goal was to walk the whole beach (and back), which I believe is somewhere between 2-3 miles one-way and I did it!  The sun was going down and the clouds were majestically highlighted, confirming the existence of a divine intelligence.

During my ramblings my thought processes came around to the thought “I am the type of person that wants my life steeped with meaning”.  Then my immediate revelation was that it IS steeped with meaning.  I live my life very consciously for this very reason.  THEN I realized my life is perfect.  For a time on the beach this evening, my life was perfect.  I wanted nothing.  I was satisfied.  Earlier today I thought that self-acceptance was similar to quiting smoking: you contemplate it, know it’s good for you, you try it for a little while, then slip back in to old habits.  You try over and over again until you find yourself living.  There are  no self-effacing monologues plaguing your mind (or no cravings for cigarettes).  Of course, once you realize this, you are susceptible to fall again, but the fact that you lived for a time without obsessing and still living shows you can succeed!

Underground Atlas Club

Another dimension for my Swing Dancing/Osteopathy movie!  Okay, so it is not so underground if I post the information here.  Anyway, it would be fun to have an underground “Atlas Club” to preserve the Philosophy of Osteopathy.  We could have secret meetings that take place under the auspices of a swing dance (what else?!!) and new members would have to go through a rigorous screening before being permitted to attend the meetings.  The meetings would actually be held after the swing dance, similar to a late-night blues house party.  And the meetings would be full of love and admiration for the process of life, development, healing and how we can facilitate this (i.e. Osteopathy) and maybe also about how to keep the evil forces of medicine from tainting our purity.  That’s about as far as I’ve gotten, but I’ll keep you posted.  Maybe as I write drafts, I’ll post them for feedback.  So far it is all just a fantasy to make me sparkle (see “Thanks” entry below).  😀

Political Aliens

“Many will recall that on July 8, 1947, witnesses claimed that an unidentified object, with five aliens aboard, crashed onto a sheep and cattle ranch just outside Roswell, New Mexico. This is a well-known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Air Force and the US government.
However, what you may NOT know is that in March 1948, exactly nine months after that historic day, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Condolezza Rice, and Dan Quayle were all born.”

Not sure how accurate the information is, but it sure is funny!!

I like to think that aliens are more intelligent than us, but maybe I’m wrong.  Shrug.


I was feeling really bummy for a couple days.  I was coming off my high from the great weekend in Franconia, starting to panic about boards and my neck began to hurt again.  Fortunately, I’m back on track and I believe I made a new friend ( in the process!  When I get super bummed I tend to log in to Zaadz ( where there are a lot of inspirational people.  When I post a blog entry there anyone can see it and if they want, they can write to me.  This time CC (the human sparkler) emailed me and she did what she could to help me sparkle.  It did help.

Even though I tend to get through these crumby times on my own, it was fun to try and relate my issues to someone I don’t know concisely and she can give any feedback she thinks might be useful.  Since she doesn’t know me and my funks, this forced me to be articulate (a good way to see problems in a new light) and she could give suggestions that I (or anyone else who knows me) might never have considered.  One thing I definitely figured out is that I really have to trust my way of being in the world.  My studying is not linear and I have to embrace that.  Whatever I study, I study thoroughly.  I can’t stand going straight through these review books.  I used to think I was so logical.  Actually, I am logical, but I require chaos in order to put the information in order on my own rather than having someone put it in order for me!!  And I’m throwing Goljan in the trash (recordings of board review lectures).  I don’t like the man and he makes me panic more than necessary.  I don’t care if the majority of students use his materials.  They are NOT for me!!

Fear of my own lack of preparation, lack of trusting myself, caused me to panic and maybe even facilitated the neck pain.  One thing CC pointed out on her website was that we need to act out of love, not fear.  Kind of like finding the health in the patient rather than the disease/lesion (here’s to you, my fellow Osteopaths!).  I knew this, but it was a good reminder.  So, now I study out of the love I have for the knowledge and my future patients.  With those 2 motivating factors, I should learn plenty and the boards will just be a drop in the bucket like every other freakin’ test I’ve ever taken!!

2 weeks (13 days to be precise) and counting…

Longest Day of the Year

The sun is setting.  It is weird to think that the days from here on out get shorter, but they also get warmer.  I wish I had a song to sing to celebrate…(mom!)

I have a super duper lot of studying to do!  18 days until I take “The big one”- first step COMLEX

Let your love flow

This song by Sister Hazel sums up my weekend in the mountains. We sang it last night during a jam session AND it was on a CD given to me by one of my friends 🙂

Oh there’s a reason
for the sun shining sky
and theres a reason- why im feeling so high
must be the season, when that love light shines all around us

so let that feeling grab you deep inside
and send you reeling
where your love can’t hide
and then go stealing
through the moonlight night with your lover

just let your love flow like a mountain stream
and let your love grow with the smallest of dreams
and let your love show and youll know what i mean its the season
just let your love fly like a bird on the wing
and let your love bind you to all living things
and let your love shine and youll know what i mean
thats the reason

well theres a reason for the warm sweet nights
and theres a reason for the candle light
must be the season, when that love light shines all around us
so let that wonder take you into space
and there you wonder, his loving embrace
just feel the thunder
as he warms your face, you cant hold back

chorus (x2)

just let your love shine
well thats the reason.

Here’s a video with the Bellamy Brothers, who aren’t Sister Hazel (not as intense), but it gives you the gist of the song…

Weeknd in the mountains…

I’m petrified, but excited.  I leave early tomorrow morning for the White Mountains to attend a BioBasics BioDynamic Osteopathic course focusing on Pediatrics from Fri-Mon.  I got a scholarship, so the workshop if FREE and I have connections to stay in the UNH Outing’s cabin (Frankie Cabin), which is essentially FREE!!  Life is good.  I just don’t know what I’m going to do about a shower…maybe I’ll find a nice stream to bathe in or a nice person with a shower!  Also, I’ve only been to the cabin once before in March when there was lots of snow and I had a guide.  I hope the lock combination works.

I hope the workshop goes well.  One of the guys I used to get frustrated with at UNE will be there.  I’m hoping I will relate to the other docs better or they’ll be better able to answer my questions.  I should meet a bunch of really cool people as long as I can come out of my shell enough to talk.

One subject I’d like to talk to people about is a public health project I’m starting to cook up: teaching people how to grow their own food on the land or in containers and composting too.  Instead of just telling people to eat more veggies, how about teaching them how to grow them?!  They would have to be easy veggies to grow to enhance success.  And the composting is important component because it would serve as food for the plants rather than using fertilizers and it clues people in to the recycling concept.  I’m curious if anybody’s ever done that.

The Irony

I’m now reading “Healthy at 100” by John Robbins.  It is kind of interesting to be reading about cultures that live well into their 90’s and beyond without any signs of sickness until their last days, weeks or months of life.  They enjoy vitality, energy, friendships and even courtships far into ages that we consider over the hill.  These folks often eat primarily vegetarian foods and garden/farm daily, walking for transportation AND they honor their elderly, providing them with special honors and celebrations for their age, health and wisdom.  Although these cultures are not “perfect”, I’m going to continue to look in to them.  It seems ridiculous that medical school only teaches us about disease, but discussing health and prevention habits is brushed off as a side note, assuming we all know what needs to be done.  Epidemiology would have been far more interesting if it included studies of healthy cultures as well as diseased ones.

As doctors, our goals should include societal reform, not just health care reform.  Help our patients make healthy decisions: how to eat more vegetables, dont’ restrict sugar outright, but ask patients to become aware of how they feel once they’ve eaten it, encourage gardening, even if it is in containers.  If we do our jobs right, maybe someday we’ll work ourselves out of a job!

An Unreasonable Woman

Diane Wilson in the 1990’s is a woman shimper down on the coast of Texas, which in and of itself is a tough job.  Then she decides to take on Formosa, a huge chemical company that continually violates environmental pollution laws, but the government (local and federal) turns a blind eye.  They say Formosa is important for economic development and everyone in town seems to believes them.  Money talks and when the shimp are no longer around for the harvest, the town has no choice, but to use Formosa as their source of income.  Well, if the companies would stop polluting the bay, the shrimp might come back, but who really understands that connection?

This autobiography was bittersweet in that it told the courageous story of one “unreasonable” woman’s fight against a polluting giant, but it was depressing because of all the red tape, lies and corruption.  When I see everything that Diane and the issues she ran in to, it makes me hate money more than anything.  It all came down to money: money for the chemical plant to make and save by not complying to standards, firing any employees that became sick or hurt from working there, claiming the employee was drunk and paying off senators and local government people to play on their team rather than for the general welfare of the community.  It really was disgusting.

I do have some, minimal respect for our government.  At least we do not live in a time of complete anarchy with civil war, senseless shootings and rape, well, not significantly in this country, in my back yard.  Who knows what’s going on anywhere else? All I know is I’m safe in my bubble and that’s what companies want; satisfied, senseless consumers.  I feel guilty when I use a product “made in China” or “made in Taiwan”, but I still do it.  The same companies we ban from the US because of their pollution violations, set up shop in these other countries, so we can have cheap stuff at the expense of ruining another country’s landscape.  Sigh.  I really should think about more pleasant things.

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