We all know medicine is in crisis, and so are those of us who serve the sick and injured. Astronomical numbers of health care providers, especially physicians, suffer from abusive medical training, neglect of self care, unmet physical and emotional needs, compassion fatigue, burnout, chronic illness, addiction, depression, anxiety, broken relationships, loneliness, and PTSD from the traumas we experience without proper emotional and spiritual integration.
We don’t have to accept this as normal. But we can’t expect someone else to fix it for us. There’s no need to deplete our energy pointing fingers at those we might be tempted to blame for the mess our health care system is in. Nobody holds more power in the health care system than the health care providers who offer our love and service to patients who are suffering. Now is the time to take back our power, heal our traumas, move beyond our victim stories, and come together with our broken open hearts and our activist spirits so we can transform the system and reclaim our roles as true healers.
Nobody is coming on a white horse to save us, but this is not a bad thing. How would we discover how much power we have pouring from our broken hearts if we didn’t have a chance to exercise this power to put our feet down and say “We will not compromise our integrity and put our patients at risk any longer. This stops now!”
WE ARE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR
How will we appreciate how much power we have when we come together with our grief, our love, our passion, and our Kali-infused swords, cutting through everything that is not love, unless we take a chance? What might be possible when we come together, heal ourselves, blast open our power centers, ramp up each other’s courage, and roar like Mama Bears protecting the vulnerable patients we are here to serve?
What if we simply refuse to tolerate a health care system that puts the greed of corporate and political interests over the safety of our patients? What if we’re no longer willing to go along with the status quo of a system that ranks “Preventable Medical Error” as the #3 cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer?
Could Doctors Strike?
I once asked my mentor, a physician, author, and medical school educator, what she thought it would take to move the needle on healing health care. She said flat out, “Doctors strike.” I sucked in my breath like I had just been punched. Oh wow. Doctors strike. She said that all it would take is for every heart-centered doctor who is unwilling to compromise their integrity one second longer to simply refuse to participate in a system that pays lip service to patient safety but puts the financial bottom line ahead of health care that truly heals the body, mind, heart, and soul.
“But what about the patients who need emergency health care that day?” My Savior Complex got all lit up. “Doctors can’t and won’t just let innocent patients die.”
But we are letting patients die anyway, she said. Simply by tolerating a corrupt system, we are complicit in the more than 250,000 deaths that happen as the result of preventable medical error each year.
I gasped, realizing that this shocking number of unnecessary deaths doesn’t even account for the people who might be cured if we were more open to other “anomalous healing” modalities that could facilitate real cure of “incurable” illnesses.
I felt hopeless when she said that. A doctor strike would never happen, I told myself. And I wasn’t sure it would even be ethical to try it. But everything else that might help transform the system would take so long and face so much resistance. What could any one doctor do to stand up and say “This stops now?”
Heal Health Care Now & The Whole Health Medicine Institute
I didn’t know, but I decided to experiment with starting an online gathering place called Heal Health Care Now, just so people like me who were interested in being part of the change could find each other, self organize, and mobilize in a grass roots way. 5,000 answered the call to action on this online forum. But nothing happened. People raised their hands to say “Me too!” But nobody did anything.
So I decided to focus on just doing my part to heal, empower, and educate doctors and other health care providers about all that I was learning about consciousness, spontaneous remission, energy healing, healing trauma, shamanism, and all the other healing techniques that patients are using to facilitate radical remissions from “incurable” illnesses. I might not be able to heal health care by myself, but I could train and certify ambassadors who could spread this revolution of consciousness in medicine and carry it into all aspects of medicine—into the hospitals and clinics, the public health sectors, the academic bastions of scientific inquiry, and the private offices where health care providers are doing what they can to practice ethical medicine in alignment with their soul’s truth and integrity. In 2013, I launched the Whole Health Medicine Institute, which started as a certification program for physicians only, but which was expanded to include other licensed health care providers. This program is only one piece of the “Heal Health Care” puzzle, but it’s one of my pieces, and I’m passionate about it.
What’s Your Part To Heal?
If you’re one of those health care providers who feels called to take action in order to participate in this revolution in medicine, you may feel confused about what your piece is. No single one of us has to transform it all. Some of us will focus on getting socialized medicine for the United States. Some will work on medical malpractice reform. Some will lobby Capital Hill or run for office. Some will champion grass roots campaigns. Some will light up empowered patients who become part of the movement. Some will open the hearts of greedy pharmaceutical companies that cannot see beyond the profit margin. Some will be stealth agents of awareness infiltrating our medical systems and implementing change from the inside out. Some will open thriving practices outside the system that do not interface with insurance, where experimental and cutting edge methods can be explored with those patients who can afford fee-for-service models. Others will become group leaders of Healing Soul Tribes so we can offer cutting edge services to groups of patents who cannot afford fee-for-service care.
Your part is your part. Only you will know what that part will be!
We Have To Start With Healing Ourselves
If you want to be part of the change, you must start with the old adage, “Healer, heal thyself.” Most health care providers are deeply in need of healing, yet you may be so focused on giving to others that you may not even know how much love, support, and healing you need right now. As health care providers, we are so programmed to self-sacrifice that we hardly notice how much we’re suffering. Then something collapses—your health, your marriage, your job, your financial security, your family, your sanity, your will to live. Suddenly, you wake up. And then—with clear seeing- you can’t un-see what you’ve finally seen. You know something must change in your own life. Sometimes, it’s a matter of life and death. But always, it’s a bubbling up in your chest that says, “I know there’s something more . . .” It comes as a longing born in the truth of your deep heart to experience more meaning, more passion, more vitality—and to reclaim your calling as a true healer, one who tends not just to bodies, but to souls.
This deep knowing beckons you into “the space between stories,” when one story has ended and the next has not yet begun. You’re not sure what to do, how to be. You’re not sure if you’re supposed to leave medicine—or leave your marriage—or move across the world with only your backpack.
As Charles Eisenstein writes:
“The challenge in our culture is to allow yourself to be in that space, to trust that the next story will emerge when the time in between has ended, and that you will recognize it… So please, if you are in the sacred space between stories, allow yourself to be there. It is frightening to lose the old structures of security, but you will find that even as you might lose things that were unthinkable to lose, you will be OK. There is a kind of grace that protects us in the space between stories.”
Are You In The Space Between Stories?
Maybe you’re in that space between stories right now. Maybe you’re an MD, DO, psychologist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, nurse midwife, or other certified health care provider who feels inspired to be part of the solution, but you’re not quite sure how. Maybe you hope you can stay inside the health care system as a stealth agent of awareness, infiltrating the system and implementing your activism from the inside out.
Maybe you’ve already left your job inside the medical system, but you have no idea what’s next. Or maybe you’re still slogging along in a managed care environment, fantasizing about how you can offer your gifts to a world in need of your love, but you have no idea how to get unstuck.
Maybe you dream of offering patients a different kind of medicine—one that incorporates not just what Western medicine has to offer, but also the kind of mind, body, heart, and soul medicine indigenous healers, shamans, and energy healers have been practicing for millennia. But how does a physician even begin to learn what initiated healers spend decades learning from their lineage traditions?
Maybe you’ve thought about hanging up a shingle and starting an integrative medicine practice or getting certified in functional medicine, so you can offer a cash-based service that gives you a way out of the system. But perhaps something inside of you is feeling “off” about selling expensive supplements and ordering pricy specialty laboratory tests, much of which is untested and not evidence-based. Maybe you sense, deep down, that patients won’t really get better until you address the psycho-spiritual roots of illness and delve into the unhealed traumas that keep people sick.
Maybe you’ve fantasized about using your medical expertise to teach online programs, lead workshops, deliver keynotes, write books, or offer health coaching virtually. Maybe you’ve considered getting further training in CAM modalities like energy medicine, acupuncture, or naturopathic medicine.
Or perhaps you’ve dreamed of ditching it all and pursuing a creative career as a writer, an artist, a musician, a meditation teacher, or a vegan chef.
Health care providers reach out to me all the time and ask me, “What can I do? How can I be part of the change?”
I can’t tell you what your part is. I can only tell you that when you make contact with that part of you I call your “Inner Pilot Light,” that inner wisdom starts dictating to you through mysterious means how you can do your part in a way that’s joyful, fulfilling, resonant, satisfying, and deeply meaningful, all while helping you get the bills paid in ways you might not be able to imagine right now.
If anyone told me when I left the hospital in 2007 that I’d be doing what I’m doing now, I would have thought they were crazy. All I know is that the call to action for me—and for most health care providers I’ve met in my crazy journey—is simple.
All you need to know is your next right step.
If you tune in and get quiet and relax the parts of your mind that resists and argues, you’ll know what your next step is. This is your call to action. As much as you might wish you could see the whole picture, it’s unlikely you’ll see your next steps as a complete business plan with step-by-step instructions in how to achieve what you might envision. This process isn’t like medical school! It’s not just about passing the next board and applying for the next phase of your degree process.
It’s much more mysterious and the veils are thicker. It’s more like if you open to your next right step, and you’re brave enough to do what might sound crazy, then the step beyond the first step will be revealed to you. But not until you say yes to the step that’s calling to you now.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
What is your next right step right? Can you tune in and hear the answer? All you need to know is just the next right step . . .
Are you hearing your next step? If not, share your frustrations or limitations in the comments below. If you are hearing your next step, tell us what your next step is here in the comments. Are you willing to say yes to this next step? If not, what holds you back toward saying yes to this calling? Let us help you unblock whatever is interfering with you and your ability to be part of this movement toward healing health care. If you already know what your next step is and you have zero resistance, please share! Inspire the others with your courage.
For those of you who are not health care providers but who are holding space for those who are, please send your prayers and blessings as those of us who are trying to figure this out open to our guidance!
Trusting this process for all of us,
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