All of a sudden, we are reminded about the incredible fragility of our planet, our lives, our economy, our jobs, our savings. Perhaps we forgot that everything is at the mercy of things way beyond our control and can be taken away at a moment’s notice. While this might sound pessimistic and scary, let me explain how this reminder could be our greatest doorway into lasting happiness.
I learned a lot of things on my recent trips to Africa, with most of those things centering on the basic point that we are so incredibly fortunate. The obvious differences between the “haves” and the “have-nots” were naturally on the forefront due to the severe shortage of everything that money can buy everywhere one looks in Sierra Leone. But below the surface, there was something much more heartbreaking than the mere lack of resources. It was the pervasive hopelessness and powerlessness that had become ingrained into the culture after years of suffering, and the general belief that there was nothing they could do to make it better.
At CWCC, we have talked for a while about a model credited to the authors of “The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership,” in which there is a very simple horizontal line in which we are challenged to recognize ourselves as being either above or below in different situations. The point is not to always be above the line, but to recognize honestly where we are, and pause before we act from below the line, considering if we are ready and willing to shift up. Sometimes we are not ready or willing, and that’s OK, so long as we don’t do harm.
One of the most common complaints that we hear in our office from married/partnered women aged 30 to 50 with children is that their desire for sex has dwindled and they think there is something wrong. Sometimes, patients even come in with their husbands who are certain that there must be a problem since they used to have sex all the time and something has changed.
What if I told you that women could have the best sex of our lives after 45, or even after 65, and that I have the science to prove it?
Put down your phone. I know, we all do it, but interacting with your phone instead of your kids damages relationships and sends powerful messages about the importance we give to our children’s lives. I know this because I have done it and my kids are old enough to articulate how it made them feel. Lonely, small, unimportant, frustrated. This is not a surprise since these are words I would use to describe my feelings when my husband is on his phone when I want to connect with him.
It’s been an amazing life so far. As scattered as it sometimes seemed, the thread that travels through everything is a genuine love of people and a deep desire for connection. Practicing as an obstetrician and surgeon invited me into the lives of others in the most intimate and connected ways possible, literally through being part of new life, and sadly at times the reality of death. My own children showed me a degree of love and connection that I had never before thought possible. Helping to relieve the suffering women from other cultures brought me face-to-face with the reality that we are all deeply and divinely interconnected.
A lot of people ask me what the tattoo on my right foot means. I’m proud to say that I designed this myself after several months of considering what would be important enough to put permanently on my body, for the purpose of reminding me about my “Northstar” whenever I forget. Imperfect, Impermanent and Impersonal.
There were two things I told myself and others they should never ever do- get a tattoo and ride a motorcycle. About a year ago, I got my first tattoo and bought a motorcycle in the same month. I think this used to be called a mid-life crisis. The funny thing is that nothing about it felt like a crisis. It was a letting go of old beliefs and an opening to the possibility that my old ideas were nothing more than opinions. By loosening my grip on old habits and my certainty that I was right about things, the world got a whole lot bigger and offered a whole lot more freedom for me to be the full, magnificent person that I was destined to be.
I guess I have been a closeted writer all of my life — and for years I knew that I had a voice developing a fresh idea yearning to be heard and that a book would blossom when the time was right. What unique idea needed to be shared, born from all my years of living and loving as a woman, wife, doctor, friend, and mother — combined with my 20 years of connecting with patients and hearing their most intimate secrets?