Swing dance at our Reception

Swing dance at our Reception
Dancing to Come on Come on: by Mary-Chapin Carpenter:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beyond Assembly-Line Health Care

While I'm waiting with great anticipation for the release of Thomas Moore's next book, "Care of the Soul in Medicine", I did find this excerpt through the Barque website. I'm sure we have our own horror stories of soul-less, inhumane medicine, but Moore uses his alchemic skill with words to describe an experience, which are for us, indescribable. The book will be published by Hays House on this coming April 15 and this excerpt was published in their newletter, Present Moments. If you are interested in a longer excerpt, be sure to check out Google Books. I'm wondering if posting your own stories of good and bad experiences with modern medicine might be useful either here, or on Facebook, or better yet, on Barque: The Thomas Moore Forum.
Inspiration Care of the Soul in Medicine
Beyond Assembly-Line Health Care
by Thomas Moore

Why a hospital without a soul is just a body repair shop . . .

A few years ago I was feeding my two dogs, one an aged collie and the other a young and energetic mutt. I had a bowl of dog food in each hand, and when I tried to walk into the house from the porch I tripped over a doormat and fell, hitting my forehead hard on the sharp edge of the doorjamb. I was alone in the house and was dazed at first. When I came to, I saw blood all over my hands and felt a lump on my bleeding head. I sat down, not knowing what to do, since I couldn’t think clearly. At that moment my wife and daughter arrived from a shopping trip and drove me immediately to the emergency room of our local hospital. I walked into a crowded reception area and was told to wait my turn and get my insurance information out. I couldn’t think very clearly, but I had enough presence of mind to see that this visit would be good material for my book.

My first impression was not a positive one. The receptionists were too busy and rushed. Maybe they did a quick triage and decided I had minor abrasions. There were people present with serious problems. But I was treated brusquely and felt no sense of care. I didn’t feel that I was in a place of healing as much as a “factory” where the assembly line was moving too quickly.

Eventually a harried doctor came and gave me a dozen stitches. He didn’t introduce himself and I didn’t think he went about his work with a great deal of care. The scar on my forehead even today is very noticeable, while the work the plastic surgeon did on my face when he removed my precancerous lesion is impossible to detect. Maybe it was just a matter of skill—a plastic surgeon versus an emergency room resident. I suspect that the lack of soul in that place was also a factor, because ultimately it is the soul that heals, even when it is only a matter of stitches.

The soul is the invisible factor that draws people together, brings out their humanity, and gives depth and meaning to whatever they do. When you treat people as objects, as cases and syndromes and machines in need of repair, you will not be a healer, not even a doctor or nurse. You will be a technician, a human repairman, a functionary in a world of objects. Soul will not enter into your work, not into your skillful use of techniques and not into your relationship with your patients. Your work will not satisfy you, not because it isn̢۪t worthy work but because there is no soul to give it a deep human pulse.

On the other hand, when soul is present, when you are capable of being present as a human being and making a connection to a patient, even simple applications of your skills will make your work fulfilling and bring you close in touch with the people who come to you for help.

A hospital with soul is a place of healing. A hospital without soul is a body repair shop. The depth of human feeling and care will show itself in the people, in the building and in the atmosphere. In a sense, it is the atmosphere that heals. Religion scholar Karoli Kerenyi once wrote that you sense the presence of the god in the atmosphere of a place. In a hospital you may sense the presence of Asklepios. If you do, whether or not you name him, you will know that the place has soul and that it has what is required to heal.

Thomas Moore has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist. In 1994, he added best-selling author to the list when he challenged us to bring more depth to our lives by nurturing our souls. The result was his blockbuster book Care of the Soul. Today, he is a renowned spiritual writer and teacher who continues to remind us that healing is so much more than just simply treating the body. His latest book Care of the Soul in Medicine will be released on April 15. You may order this book online at either BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, or wherever books are sold. To meet Thomas in person at one of his upcoming workshops, click here. For more on Thomas’ work, visit www.careofthesoul.net.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

LYRICS TUESDAY - If I'd Never Met You!

I almost didn't make it but I wanted to show you lyrics from another song from Corbin/Hanner's album - Every Stranger has a Story. These romantic lyrics are from their song,

Dennis Craig, Dave Hanner (Play On Publishing, ASCAP) 1996

If I'd never met you would the sky be so blue
Would the stars shine as bright or the moon be so full
And would I have a song to sing, the whole day through
If I, if I'd never met you
If I'd never met you would I know what heaven is
Would I understand the magic that's in an angel's kiss
And would I believe in dreams coming true
If I, if I'd never met you
I used to be the one who said I'll never settle down
Been on my own so long, what's the sense in changin' now
But when you least expect it, love sneaks up from behind
Now I can't imagine me without you by my side
If I'd never met you the stars would still be bright
The sky would still be clear on a cold autumn night
And I'd still be a dreamer without a dream come true
If I, if I'd never met you

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

LYRICS TUESDAY - Every Stranger has a Story!

Everyone who know me, knows that I like traditional country music. I don't care for most of what is called country music today. For me, I enjoy the stories that are told in country music. I guess that is consistent with some of my other interests. Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, sees stories as a way to care for the soul. And I really am glad to see the book and website of Christina Baldwin, called Storycatcher, Making Sense of our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story.

I've been noticing that while I'm listening to my ipod music while on the treadmill at the Y, I'm hearing lyrics that mean something and sometimes, remembering stories associated with that song. Recently, while listening to the title track of "Every Stranger has a Story" by Corbin/Hanner, I remember how impressed I was at the emotionally touching lyrics of almost every track. So today I want to post the lyrics of that title track and hope you will follow up and perhaps borrow the CD from a local library. Of course on several sites you can even hear some of the melody. I've embedded a link to the website where I got those lyrics.

I'd like to know, from your comments, if the words had any impact on you.

Bob Corbin, Randy Van Warmer (Bro N' Sis Music,BMI;Coljes,BMI;
Dixie Stars Music/Vanwarmer Music,ASCAP ) 1995

Stand on any corner, on any street in any town
Choose any one you see, pick any face out of the crowd
If you could take a look inside, read the pages like a book
You'd see passion and desire, fury and fire
Anywhere you care to look
Every stranger has a story, every heart has a tale to tell
Every life has it's pain and glory, a fall from grace, an escape from hell
Every stranger has a story, so listen well
You walk right by someone, you don't know where he's been
What he's seen and what he's done, or what's been done to him
Don't judge him by his cover, all that glitters isn't gold
For every line in his face, there's a time and place
When his blood ran hot or his luck ran cold
Every stranger has a story...
From the first cry, to the final sigh, like actor in a play
The scenes unfold, the story's told, a page is turned each passing day
Every stranger has a story...

Thank you Corbin/Hanner for such a soul lifting song.