Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen talks about the art of living

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I have been a fan of Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen since I first read her book,Kitchen Table Wisdom. It is a collection of stories about what she has learned from her patients. Most of whom are in the last stages of cancer.

Remen herself has lived with Crohn’s disease since she was in her twenties, yet her writing and her speaking is predominantly about the blessings in life that all too often most of us only see when we are at the end of it. The power of sharing our “stories,” living with a sense of wonder and honoring each other.

I was reminded of Remen by a recent contact I made, a woman who once we started talking, immediately asked me if I’d read Remen’s books?

So now I am taking up Remen again. Reading one of her books I had not, My Grandfather’s Blessings. Already this morning only reading the introduction, I was in tears reflecting on all the blessings I have in my own life – my husband, family, friends, work; all the kindnesses and all the heart that is webbed and woven around me. 

Remen embodies bravery, speaking to doctors about how medical training is like a disease that may be necessary for health care providers to recovery from. Here she was giving an address last year to women in medicine. 

How uncomfortable she notes doctors are made by their own professional culture taught to dishonor the things that truly provide healing, like connection, hope, awe and authenticity. Medical school Remen said, “does not train us to be fellow human beings.”

Her stories are amazing and uplifting. They will make you see your life differently. Thank you Rachel Naomi Remen.

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