A few miscellaneous thoughts for the New Years. It has been an incredibly difficult few years. It is hard to let go at the end of the day, and at the end of the year, but it may be one of the most important skills you develop as a physician. Letting go of the work and worry one day enables us to get up the next day and be present to your patients and others the next day. There isn’t just one way to practice letting go at the end of the day. Self-awareness about the importance of letting go of work always helps. Some have rituals or signposts (literal or figurative) that remind them to transition from work to home. The following writing by farmer and poet Wendell Berry has been helpful in letting go at the end of the day:
Whatever is foreseen in joy
must be lived out from day to day.
vision held open in the dark
by our ten thousand days of work.
harvest will fill the barn; for that
the hand must ache, the face must sweat.
And yet no leaf or grain is filled
by work of ours; the field is tilled
and left to grace. That we may reap,
great work is done while we’re asleep.
When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.
-Wendell Berry, Sabbaths, North Point Press, San Francisco 1987
Yes, we work hard—the hand must ache, the face must sweat, and the patients must be seen. But at the end of the day, we can rest in the knowledge that we have done our best. Great work is done while you are asleep: by your colleagues, by the human body’s ability to heal, and by forces beyond us.
Handel’s Messiah Live from the Sydney Opera House – YouTube – a beautiful rendition of Handel’s masterwork performed by a 600-member choir all singing maskless just before the pandemic. (December, 2019) It is inspiring to think that the day of maskless singing will happen again.
Hania Rani — ‘F Major’ (Official Video) [Gondwana Records] – YouTube – a very different piece of solo piano music, filmed in an expanse of land in southern Iceland
We wish you all a very Happy New Years.
GME Wellness Committee