a letter of intent
I wrote this letter shortly after I made the very difficult and scary decision to leave my fellowship program early.
This letter was, and is, an expression of what, and who, I hope to be for all of my patients.
It’s a reminder of why I’m doing all of this: why I’m trudging out on my own, counter to what I ever wanted or imagined for myself; why I spend so much time and energy honing my craft; why I care so much.
It’s so easy to get caught up in trivial details when working with people and trying to practice in an evidence-based manner. But at the end of the day, the reason we work so hard is so that we can help the person in front of us.
The more I stay true to this essence of helping, the more I find that I can help the person in front of me in a meaningful way, even if it’s not always in the way(s) that I expect.
Today my intentions are:
to have an open heart,
to be curious,
to listen to you,
to hear you.
May I remember:
It’s not what I do, it’s how I am,
& the only way to truly help you is through love.
May I also remember:
I don’t owe you anything;
I cannot change, fix, or heal you;
& I cannot do the work for you.
But what I can offer you is this:
I can do my best to create a space of safety, love, and healing;
I can share my own experiences of suffering, as well as those of others I have known;
I can step into your story and navigate with you, as best as I know how;
I can help set the conditions for your mind & body to heal themselves;
I can be present, in the midst of your suffering, without judgment or aversion.
So may I meet you today as a human being, free from the roles that keep us separate,
and may I sit down across from you — my fellow human being — with an open heart, an open mind, and a singular question:
How can I help?
And when our time together is finished, may I let go of any ‘could haves’, ‘should haves’, and ‘if onlys’, so that the next person who I work with can be received with the same openness.
And when I make mistakes, take missteps, and outright fail during our time together,
may I honor you by acknowledging and learning from these experiences.