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Recently, a friend asked me how often I write on the blog and who reads it. At the zenith, I wrote almost every day. It was an exercise, a practice, an intentional effort to find the good and acknowledge those things in my day that gave me inspiration, joy or affirmation. It was the inoculation from pessimism and anxiety. And it afforded me tremendous protection from the darkness. As I have fallen away from writing, I recognize I have lost much of my immunity.

Honestly, I have no idea who reads. There may be metrics and features, add-ons and plug-ins, that capture such data, but I don’t write for the reader. I write for my heart and my soul, to lift my head upwards and to find the gratitude.

For Thanksgiving, we asked the many guests joining our table to anonymously write three things of small cards: for what were they grateful, thankful and blessed. And we shuffled all the cards up and then read them aloud. We read each others offerings of thanksgiving. It was a mindful effort to step into another person’s gratitude. Empathy is more than feeling another persons pain or suffering. It is also being capable of graciously and enthusiastically feeling their joy and good fortune (even when our own place may not be so wonderful). Yes! We can feel happy for others even if we are discontent. The abundant heart opens up to other people’s bliss even if our own bliss feels distant and difficult. Fight the miserly, stingy heart. It robs you of being present with others.

I went to a family physician conference this weekend and one of the lectures was about physician burn-out and how to combat it. The great metaphor was that the very luxurious and sumptuous Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island lost is power two consecutive nights. When the generator came on, the hotel fought repetitive brown-outs and black-outs for hours. Florida doesn’t do high wind, winter storms coming for the northwest. We are usually bracing for the hurricanes coming from the southeast.

Burn-out dissolves when you do what you love and stay focused on it. You can hold onto joy in your day if your heart is focused on being present. Are you still called to that which you have set your life’s work? If not…CHANGE IT. And if their are people in your realm that steal your thunder, squelch your voice, suction away the energy or cause joy to evaporate – get rid of them. And….do not grieve them when they leave. Because they do leave. They run. They flee. They slink away. Because they are stingy and miserly and hard-hearted. They demand and insist on being the center and cannot see anyone or anything but themselves. Let them go. And let go of the sadness you feel over their small-heartedness. They CAN change. Realize YOU cannot make them (or anyone) change.

Be yourself. Be true. Be honest. See the things that are cool and lovely and silly. Be silly. And say thank you. I came across these things recently and they made me very happen. Check out the Rifle Paper Company, an indie business started and run in Winter Park, Florida. Check out Mercantile + Co from Garden & Gun Magazine (and check out G&G magazine if you haven’t already – buy a subscription for yourself for Christmas. Trust me, it’s worth it!) Watch this commencement speech. I love it. And watch the combined Army & Navy choirs sing our National Anthem. If you like murder mysteries, check out Louise Penny. I listen to the books through Audible, which I also love.

And when someone has her very first baby, even when she is a doctor and “knows the medical part” of pregnancy, labor and infants pause for a moment and recall your own first days with your newborn. Remember the awe and grandiosity and sublime love that blossomed forth from a font inside you that you had never known. And look at the baby picture, so fresh from heaven, you can still see the remnants of purity and perfection. And be filled with thanks. And revel in her joy.


One comment

  1. I am so glad I know you. You are fresh. Profound. Whimsical. Earnest. Vivacious. Contemplative. Engaged. Brave. Deep. Seeing. Strong. Resilient. Passionate. Purposeful. Principled. Creative. Grateful. Caring. Giving. Real. Human. Diverse.

    I LOVED that version of the National Anthem. I even posted about it—and I rarely post.

    In retrospect, I wish we would have / could have enjoyed—at the PCN gathering last week—a similar exercise to what you did at Thanksgiving. . .to just go around the table and share a positive experience of the past year we are closing / celebrating.

    I am fortunate to be able to firmly assert that I have never experienced burn-out, professionally. As I think about it, I bet it is because—when I encountered the things that can such the Life out of us—my usual response was to engineer a way to obviate the source of life-suck. It became what I and those with whom I collaborated were ABOUT. It was essentially our Mission. To bring into being a better way, in many spheres and on many levels. To Live, Love, Laugh, and Leave-a-Legacy. To deploy our God-given talents toward the greater good, and to love the process of doing so, with heavy emphasis on innovation / creation and the collaboration upon which is so solidly depends.

    I walked away from “it all” not from burn out, but because those values were excised & jettisoned. Once it became clear that we were not about inventing a better was, getting health care right by getting Primary Care right, about bringing a beautiful and joyful new incarnation of health care into being. . .and I realized that our inspiring and sustaining Mission had been stomped and trashed, I backed away. I’ve been licking my wounds for months. My tongue is getting tired and my wounds no longer benefit from licking. They’ll heal just fine on their own.

    For me, it is time to stretch out, look up, and see what else I’ve been missing while having been so fixed on / immersed-in something as wonderful as I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy for these past 2-3 decades.

    I’m looking forward to discovering (engineering?) what’s next.

    Thank you SO much for this particular posting, Lisa. I like that you don’t write for the reader, but this reader is really glad you write for you.

    (BTW, who WAS that friend who asked you how often you post to your blog?!)


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