Serving is our path to wholeness


I‘ve posted here before about holistic Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen. Herself a patient with Crohn’s disease since the age of 15, most of her work in medicine has been with patients at their ends of their lives with cancer. 

She has created a program, called Commonweal, for cancer patients to gather and experience healing, if not a cure. She has created The Healer’s Art, a curriculum for doctors to gather and heal from their work: not being allowed to grieve for their patients, medicine’s emphasis on science and dismissal of spirit and mystery, and from the medical system itself that stresses being an expert over being a person. It is taught in many medical schools now.

She has written books telling the stories of life, of healing, of what’s important that she learned as a very young child from her Rabbi grandfather and as a doctor tending to her dying patients. 

This passage I just read this morning from her book, My Grandfather’s Blessings and it seems particularly fitting this weekend over the Easter and Passover holiday:

“Serving anything worthwhile is a commitment to a direction over time and may require us to relinquish many moment-to-moment attachments, to let go of pride, approval, recognition, or even success. This is true whether we be parents, researchers, educators, artists, or heads of state. Serving life may require a faithfulness to purpose that lasts over a lifetime. It is less a work of the ego than a choice of the soul.”

I know so many people through this work who serve and I believe it is our path to wholeness. 

I try, as a practice, to be kind, to be conscious and to leave people feeling a little better than before I wandered into their space. But it’s a practice and I need to be reminded to be conscious on a regular basis.

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