hands. healing hands. yes, even in the “medical profession”–technology oriented, no nonsense, stick-to-the-facts-ma’am medical profession–they, we, forget that their hands are healing hands. we’ve forgotten that those hands carry the energies of their hearts. we forget that the energy of their hearts is communicated into the bodies and souls of patients. we have forgotten the sacred aspects of healing. patients rely on the expertise of the doctor but patients and doctors alike have forgotten the sacred and mystical aspects of healing. we have forgotten the importance of healing hands and hearts.
i sit in the temporary bed which is my home for a couple of hours until my second surgery is to begin. i’m suddenly not in my body but watching all of the hubbub of the pre-op area: nurses and doctors scurrying here and there, iphones dominating their attention with some personal or professional communication, lost in their minds, their heads, considering god knows what things, issues, cares, distractions, or concerns. maybe they’re wrapped up in this morning’s argument with a spouse or some other personal concern, or possibly even their upcoming part in the play of delving into the bodies of “sick” people to “fix” what’s wrong with them. my observer feels there’s something not right. something’s missing. there’s too much commotion, not enough silence, contemplation, too little connecting with their own inner selves.
i’m confused about my feelings. what is it that’s not right? i realize it has something to do with a missing awareness. there is no focus on the mystery, the mystical, the sacredness of true healing because this aspect has been excised from our minds and habits. surgery is viewed as a purely technological event. what will be happening in the operating arenas requires that all who are involved be sufficiently and appropriately prepared to play their part and play it well but in no one’s mind does that include a need for silence, a need for acknowledging the spiritual dimensions of ourselves, neither patient or physician.
yesterday i had a followup appointment with the thoracic surgeon in phoenix who has been at the helm of both of my surgeries. i have to admit it. i have a real feeling of connection to him. until yesterday i chalked it up to the usual things: he’s a very attractive young man with a lot of naked charm and straightforwardness in his manner, open and easy to communicate with, enthusiastic, competent and more than anything, gentle and kind. so i thought, yeah, it’s an old lady crush on the cute young surgeon thing. i really knew better but it wasn’t until this morning that i was able to put the pieces together.
after an excruciating hour long wait to see him, i have to admit that i was inclined to read him the riot act when he walked up and held out his hand to me. i took his hand and rather than a shake, he held my hand in his then walked to the other side and put his arm around me. yes, the old lady to cute young surgeon crush thing comes up in all our minds at this point but what was really going on inside me was a deep realization of his hands. i felt the size of his hands. i’m 5’3”. he must be 6’3” and his hands are quite large compared to mine. there was a sweetness and a sincerity in holding my hand that had only to do with who he is and his ability to connect to his patients, not anything else. later considering this small gesture, i reflected on how comforting his hands are, how my soul was soothed and how immediately, the extreme fatigue i’d been struggling with for the last month since my surgery simply lifted. the healing came through his hands and caring touch and stayed with me permanently.
in folklore it’s said that the hands are indicators of what is in the heart. in the hindu system, hands and heart are of the same chakra, the same energy. i’m sure there are many surgeons in the country who do what he does and do it well but those whose hearts are clear and connected may not number so high.
i would guess that my surgeon is not at all aware of how who he is affects outcomes because he just is who he is. but i am. i’m sure many of his patients feel this as well, even if it’s not a totally conscious understanding. in any case, unknowingly, he has put a huge helping of true healing back into his art just by expressing through those rather large sweet hands not only great technical expertise but a really sweet heart. he has given me the opportunity to see individuals who practice medicine and not lump them all into a cold unfeeling category of practitioners. he has given me the opportunity to “open my heart”, both literally (he performed open heart surgery on me the first time) and symbolically.
so, going back full circle to the feelings i was having in the pre-op area, i see what it was that i couldn’t completely put my finger on that felt so out of sync. while it’s true that we can’t know what’s going on in any one of the individuals scurrying about with their iphones and rushing to the next spot they have to be and everyone has to process their duties in the way that they do, at some underlying level at least, the thought of the mystical processes that inevitably and stubbornly waft through the very impersonal spaces of hospital pre-op areas and surgical arenas need a little nod from all involved, yes, even in the hallowed halls of modern medicine. our human spirit and all the layers of energy that comprise the human body are being denied and in that denial, so much opportunity for healing and growth is also being lost.
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