Tom has been a client since 1994. He works hard and works smart. In that time he has become very successful. In order to remain successful, Tom has had to learn how to balance the intensity of his work with choices that support his mental clarity, his focus, and his physical health. He has had to learn which choices achieve those goals and which choices fail.
As in all meaningful growth, Tom’s progression has been slow, steady, and backed by increased understanding of why a given choice works or doesn’t work.
Tom and I really have little in common other than a desire to know what works and what doesn’t and to make choices which support our goals. Yet that simple commonality of purpose has rewarded us with a continually deepening friendship.
This, to me, is the essence of practicing medicine. Yes, Tom comes to me in moments of crisis, because he has learned that taking care of life’s little imbalances, immediately rather than later, pays big dividends. But even more importantly, he has learned to perceive and avoid those choices which precipitate crisis in the first place.
Tom would be hard pressed to tell you about the principles of Oriental medicine, or even the names of the formulas he takes, and he certainly can’t recall Chinese words used to describe them. Yet he has absorbed the spirit of the principles, and they have become a vital part of his reality.
Tom has acquired this understanding because he regularly spends time in the company of someone who lives those principles. It’s the easiest and most effective way we learn. That’s why the beliefs, behaviors, and viewpoints of our parents are so indelibly etched in our psyche.
Few Americans have been exposed to this concept as a medical model, but this is the ideal of the successful doctor/patient relationship. Monitoring our choices is what determines our experience. And in today’s challenging world, we must be exercising our most profound wisdom in each moment in order to happily survive — or, better yet, blissfully attain. How much easier these disciplines become when we associate ourselves with someone who is a living example of a principle we wish to embody!
Business has been slow this year, giving me the opportunity to engage in a couple of time-consuming projects which might not otherwise happen. Tom has been concerned about the welfare of my practice. So the other day, I facetiously remarked that I had taken on a second job.
I was jokingly referring to rewriting the practice software Sue and I have created. We’re preparing to market it to other doctors. But Tom didn’t know this, and for a heart-stopping moment he thought his worst fears had come true. Seeing his reaction in the span of less than a second was equally profound to me. Each of us suddenly saw our relationship in such stunning clarity that contemplation of the experience continues still — as in this blog.
At a time when many of us are focused on ways to save money on our addictions, Tom and I were given, in that brief instant, a rare glimpse into the true value of our relationship. A precious gift, indeed.
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