Before I officiate at a wedding, I meet with the couple. Getting married is crossing a threshold. There’s a moment before which you aren’t married, after which you are. What’s the difference, one moment to the next? I’ve officiated at 26 weddings over 40 years. One time, the couple couldn’t say. I didn’t officiate.
We continuously cross thresholds in our lives and in our journey to best health. A threshold is a beginning, a change – before we weren’t, now we are. We cross a physical threshold when entering a building, a room, a town… We cross a threshold when we enter a community, a relationship, an experience. We cross a threshold as we park our cars, enter a clinic, go for an MRI; when the doctor or nurse enters the room or responds to an email; when we call our insurance company; when someone asks, How are you? We cross a threshold when we feel a lump, hear a diagnosis, throw up, panic, feel pain, fall. Before we didn’t, now we do.
Crossing a threshold can present us with limitless possibilities. Who knows what might happen? Anticipation, excitement, hope. Some thresholds upset our sense of balance, our inertia. Why me? Distraction, hopelessness, annoyance, frustration, fatigue, rage Crossing a threshold can energize or suck energy, depending on the moment and perspective.
A pivotal moment for me as a nurse was discovering the opportunities I had to experience some of these threshold crossings, moments of imbalance, with others. Having a companion or a guide at these moments can be huge. A smile, a touch, information, can change the trajectory of that crossing, speed the regaining of balance, add energy, provide relief, increase hope. My mission became: to increase the sense of balance patients, caregivers, and clinicians feel as they work together towards best health.
Threshold crossings occur around us constantly. Consider being a companion, a guide when you notice someone approaching a threshold. You can make a difference in the crossing.
Pissed off only begins to describe my reaction to the passage of WealthCare, TrumpCare, RyanCare. How about outraged, furious, despondent, bewildered. My frame has always been: Everyone has a right to basic health care. How can we align the forces of this great and diverse country for best health for all? Read More
“I rest in ease, knowing there are others out there, whispering themselves to sleep, just like me.” ― Charlotte Eriksson
I am the son of Holocaust survivors. My mother was a German Jew, a refugee in Netherlands spending her teen years in hiding, then a refugee in the United States. Her family had means and connections. My father’s father was a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and a refugee in Switzerland, then the United States. He had means and connections. They were both welcomed into this country. Read More
OMG, where’s my wife? I need to be rescued. I can’t do this. I can’t be here. My pounding heart, my rapid, shallow breathing. I can’t be here. Where’s my Ativan?! Have I gotten bad news, a diagnosis, felt a lump? Am I bleeding? Have I fallen? Am I a stranger in the strange land of the medical industrial complex?
No, I’m on a Blues Cruise. I want to play the blues with other amateurs. They are the amateurs that are not headliners. They have blues bands of their own and play regular gigs wherever they live. I am an old, baby amateur. I’m the only horn player at this session. I don’t know the tunes. I don’t know what key they’re playing in. I am SO way over my head. It could just as well be a gaggle of 8-year old’s trading Pokémon cards. Read More
I officiated at my 26th wedding yesterday – a young lady I’ve known since she was born. So honored to be asked. Now I’m in DC to meet the few-week-old son of a couple whose wedding I performed several years ago. After the 10th marriage I’ve done, I say to every couple, there’s a minute before which you aren’t married and the next minute you are. What’s the difference? Five of the first ten are still married. All of the rest are still married. Correlation? Who knows?
Life is a series of thresholds. The minute before and the minute after. We transform during thresholds. I relish participating as a minister, a nurse, or as a human in transforming thresholds. Thresholds are intimate and beautiful. It’s love. So whether it’s a wedding, at the clinic’s registration desk, hearing good or bad news, or simply witnessing a life moment, how we engage people over thresholds profoundly affects the experience for us and for them. Be present, appreciate, wonder, make a difference. Thanks.
My long-time friend, Glen, died last week. The first thing Glen and I did together in Detroit, 1969 was to go into elevators and face the back to freak people out and then we got stoned. Glen helped my wife and I set the poles (trees) in the house we built in West Virginia. He and his wife had wanted us to move to Maine and live with them, but it was too cold for us. Glen died of brain cancer. His children took care of him for the last six weeks of his life in his home. Not a nurse among them. Read More
Habits are the ingredients of health. My chiropractor tells me that my exercise habits should be sustainable. I need to keep them up no matter my life pace. Now I alternate days of 45 minutes of balance and core strengthening exercises with 60 minutes of recumbent bike riding. I could do that when working full-time and when not. Smiling and greeting you at a threshold is a habit. A habit for my mental health and yours. My newest habit is to stop putting food in my mouth every day at 7:08p. Why 7:08? No reason. This blog is a habit: one idea germ a week, 20-60 minutes of writing every Sunday for 3 years. Helps me keep my disorganized mind in order.
Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits ~ Mark Twain.