I was raised as a young girl to be a good Methodist. Anger was not an acceptable emotion in my religion or in my family. Neither my father nor my mother expressed healthy anger. Instead, my mother grew resentful from over-giving and her resentment turned sour as passive aggressive pouting and stomping without clear communication. My father would suck it up, suck it up, suck it up, and then, unexpectedly and without warning, he would explode with harsh, terrifying rage. Neither of them were ever violent with us, but nobody ever modeled or tolerated healthy anger. When I expressed appropriate anger as a child, anger that should have protected me, it got shut down. I vividly remember having access to deep rage when I was tiny, but anger did not work to keep me emotionally or physically safe as a toddler, so by the time I was 4 years old, my anger mechanisms had been effectively disabled. I had been successfully domesticated, silenced into submission and ready to be conditioned into a docile, people-pleasing, compliant good Christian girl who would be ripe for tolerating dehumanizing behavior later in life.
Like many people, I have wrestled with my relationship with my desires for many years. I’ve gone through the phase of working my patooty off to try to get everything I want, then having an expectation hangover if I didn’t get it. I’ve had phases of getting everything I want and then not actually wanting it when I get it. I’ve used spiritual bypassing tools—like the Buddhist teaching of non-attachment to desire—to pretend I was not attached and didn’t want what I deeply craved, when I was actually deeply attached and couldn’t handle the feeling of unmet longing in the face of the intensity of my desire. All of this left me practicing spiritual surrender and entering into a relationship with desire that led me to claim to have distilled down my desire into one desire—the desire to live in alignment with Divine Will. And while that is true on one hand, it was also another spiritual bypass! I came face to face with that around my desire to be truly met in a spiritual partnership. And I had to quit bypassing in order to feel the pain of my unmet longing in my ceremony to call in my beloved, which I wrote about here.
Physician burnout is all the buzz in hospitals these days. With rates of physician suicide, addiction, depression, divorce, and early death rising uncontrollably, and with physician drop out rates peaking, hospital administrations know that something has to change—or we’ll wind up with no doctors, and with no doctors, there’s no business. Sadly, that’s what it seems to take to get the attention of hospital administrators these days. The well-being of doctors doesn’t seem to matter so much. It’s dollars and cents that drive the system, and if there are no doctors, the business of health care falls apart.
Dearest Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Therapists, Chiropractors, Naturopaths, Energy Healers, Acupuncturists, Caregivers, and Coaches,
I know how much you care. I know you are an empath who feels the suffering in others and devotes your life to alleviating it. I know you feel the pain of others as an ache in your own heart, and as a light worker, you long to bring love, comfort, and peace into the hurting hearts and bodies of those you serve. I know you feel called to do this the way priests are called to the priesthood, as a spiritual calling and a Divine mission. I know you are grateful for the impact you have on those in need. I know it fulfills a deep longing to feel like you’re the hands of the Divine, serving love as only you can. I know you need to be needed, and it gives your life purpose. I am so grateful for your service. Thank you for how much you give.
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.