A Geezer’s Mindful Milestone

MeditateThe residents and medical students rotating on the psychiatry consultation service had an exquisite surprise for me today. They threw me a little appreciation potluck lunch. This was a fun and touching way for them to say “thank you,” at the end of the rotation. The food and the company were wonderful. We swapped stories. I ate goat meat for the first time. It was a marvelous experience in mindful eating.

I am deeply proud of them.

And they wanted a group photo, which I hope they realize I’m proudly sharing with the world.group pic 1 (3)

When I told them that, in all of my 18 years on faculty, I could not recall that any trainees had ever done that for me, they were puzzled. I was not.

I’m still trying to figure out why now. I suspect it’s because there’s something different about me, not just as a teacher but as a person. I think I’m changing and I don’t mean just mellowing with age. I’m much too far gone to be mellow–more like fossilized.

I guess by now, readers have figured out that I’ve been participating in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) here. The last class will be in a few days, and I will probably miss it. I know I’ve poked a bit of fun at it on my blog, but I believe that it’s made a difference in how I approach my work as a teacher, psychiatric consultant, and doctor.

It may be that my trainees noticed that, even when I was not at my best. It’s not a spectacular difference. After all, I’m still a geezer. But it was noticeable to me. It better be because I’ve spent the last 8 weeks learning how to notice things more keenly, both inside and out. I’m supposed to be evaluating the residents according to the new ACGME Milestones Project by way of the Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) and I realize I probably just hit a milestone of my own.  I have a long way to go.

Anyway, the introductory video on mindfulness below is taken from a link in my new menu item “Research on Mindfulness Links,” which I recently added. I think it’s well done, and contains much of what I’ve been learning from an excellent and wise teacher. It runs a bit long, but once you get going, it flows well. The speaker even demonstrates guided meditation to give you an idea of what it’s like. See you at the next milestone.

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