Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.
Our ancestors knew that nature was a constant surprise. Scientists are beginning to come to the same conclusion.
Coyote's wristwatch is a chemical clock, a flash of nature that alternates once a second between all of its molecules appearing perhaps blue and the next second, appearing red. No scientist would have believed in such chemical clocks if they had not been observed. Coyote, however, "knew" in the space between the molecules, mocking our order of sense and propriety.
Still, the more we know, the less we know. The most amazing things of earth and sky perpetually elude our conventional science.
What our grandfathers and grandmothers taught us was to be open to the miraculous. As an old Dineh song from Arizona says:
I walk in beauty
Beauty is before me,
Beauty is above me,
Beauty is below me,
Beauty is around me,
I walk in beauty
The point of this is that we can never know with certainty that which is possible and that which is impossible. Our capacity to analyze and apprehend the world is so limited that our goal of "full knowledge" will never be realized.
How does this pertain to health care? This is how it pertains: We can never know the limits of healing. We can never know with certainty who will live and who will die - who will recover and who will not. Indeed, we cannot even know - as I sometimes suspect - if death might not be the ultimate healing for some people.
The first lesson we learned from our ancestors is to expect a miracle - to prepare in all ways for it - to humbly believe that things beyond our ken are possible, and yet realize that our hopes or our expectations may not come to fruition. That our prayers may not be answered - at least, not in the manner that we asked. In the vast complexity of the universe, it would be thoughtless to imagine that each and every one of our desires and wishes should always come true.
In health care - or in all ways of life - does that mean that we should not be aligned with expectations, fruitions, possibilities, hopes, the striving for and then the letting go of "full knowledge" - or the lessons of the Coyote?
I say that to not be so aligned is a detriment both to our ability to heal - and our capacity as a provider, to "care".
_ Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry
Department of Family Medicine
West Winds Primary Health Centre
University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine
3311 Fairmont Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7M 3Y5
[ Events ] [ Book ] [ Pregnancy & Birth ] [ Papers ] [ Curriculum Vita ] [ What's New ] [ Healing Intensives ] [ Home Page ]
© 1999 - 2006 Web Design by Peter Shefler of Clearstory Studios All Rights Reserved | Website Hosted & Maintained by The Healing Center On-Line