Two weeks ago today my mom was on the operating table for almost five hours while an amazingly skilled surgeon replaced a valve, bypassed a main artery, and did some serious zapping in order for her heart to function properly. I am more than happy to report that she is well on her way to recovery and know she will be better than ever as a result of the ordeal.

Since finding out she would have to go through this, and realizing I would be the primary caregiver especially those first two weeks, there were several things I knew I would learn, re-affirm, understand, and most importantly, practice, as we embarked upon this journey….so lord knows these PGG’s will be chock full of my ‘take-aways’ this summer!

Let’s start with first things first: witnessing the simple yet miraculous fact that the body is built to heal. Our natural state is one of health, healing and wholeness and we are always trying to get back to that place even with little or no conscious effort on our part. When given enough time the body will adjust so it can live – like the main artery the docs said had been so clogged and calcified it had to have happened over many years because her body just naturally created its own way to get blood where it needed to go, and how quickly she was functioning less than 24  hours after the extensive operation she endured.

I’m a huge proponent of alternative medicine and holistic/mind/body wellness and believe that most illness can be prevented and/or cured by diet, exercise, sleep, positive thoughts, understanding and healing the emotional roots of the disease etc….But when it comes to fixing broken stuff, there is nothing like modern Western medicine for surgery – and it’s pretty amazing what we can do these days.

Unfortunately I’ve had to the opportunity to visit and know intimately many hospitals over the years.  My mom was in a place that is known for its superior cardiac care, but what struck me about this particular hospital is that besides its excellent doctors, nurses and technical/medical reputation, the atmosphere of healing permeates the premises and radiates through just about everyone we interacted with.

It was a Catholic hospital, and I had never been in one of those before, so wondered if perhaps that has something to do with it.  There is a genuine feeling that they are there for patients as whole people, not numbers or cases, (I knew we had chosen a great place when I noticed signs everywhere that say “Please be quiet…healing in process“), and almost as importantly, to keep the family and friends of those patients as relaxed and stress-free as possible.  In other words, I felt equally cared for as my mother. They totally acknowledge that the caregivers are very much part of the patient’s experience and are integral to their healing as well.   

As a career/life coach and speaker on employee engagement, I am always talking about how aligning your work with your life creates the most fulfillment not only for yourself but also serves others.  I was impressed how the staff seemed to share a common purpose, a deeper meaning to what they do and why they were there, and my guess is that it comes not only from ‘management’ but an inner connection to their work. And man does it show!

Of course this is heightened by the fact that many have jobs that are quite often literally dealing with matters of life and death, and I’m sure they have their bad days and issues with co-workers, but nothing is perfect and we should all strive to have workplaces as cohesive as that, regardless of the industry or business.

As I say in all my talks, we are living in extraordinary times; change and upheaval abound, causing us to confront our own versions of dis-ease in one or more areas of our lives. Wondering how you can create an atmosphere of healing and purpose wherever you need it?  Give me a buzz, and I will perform my own version of open heart surgery on you….minus the anesthesia or rehab and with an extra dose of heart and soul!

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