You only have what you give

My latest article on elephant journal is about generosity. We always have something to give. In the article, I recounted a situation in which I was a patient in a hospital and still decided to volunteer my time. Please also check out the website I have put together as part of my own service project, Patient Corps. You can find ideas for volunteer projects that are customized for people with chronic illness.

Zen medicine – part 2

During a mindfulness retreat at the end of 2000, I caught a stomach flu and began to develop grave symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s colitis). I could not sleep more than two hours at night because I woke up throughout the night to pain in my side, telling me it was time to go to the bathroom. I ate only small amounts of the blandest of foods and I was running to the bathroom all day and all night. I managed to get back to my aunt’s house in Connecticut and the symptoms continued to worsen.

My step-mother called me and told me that she and my Dad wanted to help me get to Indianapolis, where they lived, so I could be under the care of their friend, a gastroenterologist. So she set up a flight within just two days.

I had hoped for a good night’s sleep the night before I traveled but it did not happen. I slept only about two hours and started yet another day feeling exhausted. I knew it would be a particularly long day. The whole trip would last ten hours from door to door. But I knew I would only survive if I focused on my sense of peacefulness. I could carry nothing but that peacefulness. I also knew that I would have to rely on the kindness of strangers to get through the day. More

Patients as volunteers – can it work?

I’d like to start a new non-profit website that serves as a network for patients who want to volunteer some of their time to important causes.

A lot of patients suffer from feeling like they can’t contribute to society, especially when they can’t work. I certainly felt that way when I was on disability in 2001 from severe Crohn’s flares. I hope that this website will help many patients to feel a greater sense of self-efficacy and to know that their skills and talents are valuable and needed in the world.

I still haven’t chosen a name for the network and I’d like your feedback. Could you help me choose a name for it? Please go to my little survey at: Pick a name. If you have already voted, it is okay, you can vote again as this is a round for finalist names. Thanks!

What is conscious activism? My article on Elephant

My debut article on Elephant Journal is about conscious activism. In the post, I described a question that I asked Thich Nhat Hanh during a time in which I suffered from a flare of IBD. At the time, I wanted to “save the world.” I was actively involved in many projects and I knew that stress was exacerbating my illness, but I didn’t know how to slow down. Thich Nhat Hanh’s response helped me to gain insight into my situation. You can read the article at: What is conscious activism?.

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