ISSN 1538-1080

Building Bridges, Saving Lives

Building Bridges, Saving Lives

We all have the capacity to heal within ourselves Freud depicted religion as inherently pathological and inconsistent with psychological maturity. Yet many of us in the field of emotional and psychological well-being have felt the opposite. We have been aided and guided in our work by spiritual concepts from both ancient and more recent traditions. We have seen the healing power of spiritual practices those which help us to experience the sacred, and enable us to connect with what is most central to our lives. We have seen the power of awakening, gratitude, humility and faith to promote and foster well-being. Some of us, myself included, entered the field of medicine for religious or spiritual reasons. My Jewish background taught me, If a person saves one life, it is as if he has saved an entire world. And if a person destroys one life, it is as if he has destroyed the entireworld. This sentiment, embodying all that really matters in the universe, continues to be my touchstone. With its simple eloquence, this lesson reminds us that every life is of infinite value and deserves to be nurtured. It advises us to respect the internal world of the self, as that is where much of real consequence in this world resides. It extols the virtue of self-love and love of others. It instructs us on how to find meaning and fulfillment in life: Save yourself and save others, love yourself and love others, grow yourself and help others to do the same. Many traditions teach that we are a creation of the sacred and that our deep inner wisdom is linked to the DivineMy patients have taught me how to bridge the medical, psychological and spiritual worlds. In entering their trauma, stories, lives and pain, I have learned to silence my cognitive mind and trust my intuition. When I see each patient as the Divine with skin on, I can help countless individuals recover and graduate from psychiatric care. A discerning eye and loving heart transform life challenges into life lessons MAKE SOME THINGS RIGHT AGAIN When I was a child growing up in a family where things were often dreadfully wrong and no one knew how to make them right, my siblings and I had to carry some pretty adult-sized burdens at far too young an age. In little ways, large parts of our childhood were stolen in order to help my mother keep my fathers impulsive decisions from capsizing our wobbly family boat in rough seas. He didnt mean to create such chaos, but he had the nature of one who grabbed for what he wanted when he wanted it, and the pieces were left for my mother and the children to pick up or put back together. One example of this phenomenon a relatively small blip on an already chaotic family radar screen is an era I have always spoken of, heavily punctuated with sighs, as The Horses! THE HEROIC JOURNEY Ruth, a very dear Quaker friend of many years, is slowly entering the last stage of her heroines journey home. Now in her mid-seventies, Ruth was diagnosed six years ago with Primary Progressive Aphasia. The first signal that her brain was changing its course was that she could not retrieve some common words she had always used with ease. Working with healers in various traditions, including indigenous healers, she was able to stand her ground against these progressive losses for five years, but more recently, the changes are coming quickly, and she has been losing balance, words, and memory with advancing speed

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