Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Walk and Keystone Fuzion

My legs hurt from the 5 k run yesterday. I actually ran most of it and only walked a bit.  Gilbert had come for a poop and pee then insisted he go back and protect Laura who was still sleeping.  He's really a suck. Sitting beside her as she is lying in bed he puts his paw on her arm and she begins to pet his back or scratch his belly.  That's so much better than a run which I think is sore for his back.  If I wasn't fat and out of shape I'd crawl back in bed with Laura. I was glad for the run though.
Today Gilbert got his walk along the Brunette River. A Gilbert walk as opposed to a Bill run involves lots of sniffing and lots of peeing but not rushing about.  It takes a long time to complete a goodly Gilbert walk.
The sun is shining. It's hot. I love it.
Laura was up early this morning. Her sister and John were picking her up to go with Robin to Cultus lake to meet family and friends and see the granddaughters and grandson.  Laura's granddaughter Paris and Robin are best friends. The newest grandson, Everley is really cute.
I like when Laura sees her grandchildren. She's such a lovely lady and children and animals gravitate towards her. Just yesterday the neighbour's little 5 year old took her by the hand and said,"Lets leave the adults and you and me go for a walk."
With that she took Laura by the hand and chattering all along walked away with her.  I was left talking with Laura and Rick and Dave. There were others there whose names I've sadly forgotten.  Gilbert was so happy to see Dave's dog Emory and visit with the chocolate lab and blond lab. He likes them all.
My big event yesterday was going to Meridian, to look at the 37 foot Fuzion and talk to Steve.  We're hoping to go back next Saturday and that all goes well. I've been looking at new digs for a few weeks. It's been a plan in making for months.  I live in my Keystone Energy which I got and have used for hunting. The fact is I do more living in it and less hauling in it which Laura pointed out. So the Fuzion 5 th wheel is more space and more elegant and also a toyhauler. I doubt I'll be taking it off road anytime soon if the deal goes through.
I have to get an endorsement for my license and called Burnaby Hitch to have a toyhauler removable hitch installed in the new Ford F-350 Lariat edition. Then once I have a machine I have to get a teacher to train me in hauling it. I actually also have to take an actually driving and hauling text.  I like that the government has required this. In retrospect I would have had more peace of mind if I took lessons in towing my previous machines.
I'm really no good at backing up and have all manner of anxiety towing despite doing it and  getting by. This unit is that much longer and that much heavier but the fifth wheel arrangement distributes the weight and I'm told makes backing up easier. I'll have cameras on the new unit as well.  in addition the Fifth Wheel is least likely to shimmy in the wind going downhill/. That's been a trial coming down the Cocahalla Highway off the escarpment and  the coastal mountains.
I picked black berries on the walk today. Sweet. Took some pictures of flowers too.  This morning after Laura left with her family I eventually  had a shave and shower.  Laura's sister and brother in law are terrific. They don't look any different than they did when I met them some 15 years ago. Their daughter sure has grown.  She's a young woman going off to New Zealand for a month next week. Laura thinks the world of her.
I thought about my nephew Alan going to Coventry England for a year of work and study with his partner Meaghan who is doing a year of forensic psychology.  Robin must only be about 20 and I can't help but think how our parents must have been terrified when Baiba and I flew off to bicycle across Europe at that age.  Alan's much older and finished his psychology but I confess young people seem more vulnerable.  I'm old and scarred and dangerous.  It's been a hard learning curve but I survived it and so do the young. I hope it's much safer than it was in my day.  They'll do fine.  Cell phones alone make life less isolated.
I'm reading a Captain Steel novel.  British Grenadiers fighting the French under Marlborough in the 1800's.  Back yard summer reading. I listened to a pod cast while I walked ,of 13th century Hildegard of Bingen, one of four Doctors of Letters of the Roman Catholic Church.  I like the history podcasts. I had just listened to a medical podcast on Placebo Effect in the car.
I ate Me and Ed's pizza left overs for lunch. Laura and I had enjoyed it fresh last night. Great crust.
I've concluded I'm on call.  I've no big expedition or project in motion. I'm just muddling along.  I've a sense I'm recovering from a particularly difficult time still grieving, overworked by the need to move. Disappointed by ethical lapses of others.  Glad to be in these clinics.  I really like the other doctors and colleagues I'm working with. The Fentanyl epidemic is taking it's toll.  I enjoyed getting to Whitecliff last week. IDAA before that was so  inspirational as always.
Now it's time to get back to reading on a lawn chair in the sun. Gilbert is on his leash lying beside the Harley at the front of the property, guarding and sniffing the wind. There's a lot of dogs here right now. They come and go but this weekend has been a real doggy social weekend.
Thank you God for all your blessings.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Homosexuality and Christianity

First and foremost, I tell people that Jesus did not talk about homosexuality.  I've read the Bible and as much as I look I don't see anywhere that Jesus spoke about these issues. He talked a lot about God instead. Consequently I think the failure of the present day church is that it has been brought down into the realm of social discourse.
What L'Chaim means is 'to life'.  Fundamentally Christianity is about creativity as was Judaism before.  This issue with homosexuality in Deuteronomy was that a tribe's success in the days before the Industrial Age depended on reproductive numbers. The more in a family, the more power; the more in the tribe ,the greater the number of warriors. Warriors meant you could get slaves. Slaves and peasants tended the fields.
(Note that the argument of Islamists today is that they will rule the world through the fertile wombs of their women. Much of Islam remains in a pre industrial consciousness due to the denial of fundamental freedoms for most especially women.)
The role of the Mother in the Church is sacrosanct.  When childless girls were elevated to high status in the church without being celibate nuns, the same with celibate priests, the introduction of whether one was lesbian or homosexual or heterosexual became a mute point.
Celibacy by contrast is associated with spirituality and increased enlightenment in many religions not just Christianity.
The onset of 99% effective chemical birth control in the 1950's and choice of abhorrent abortion over celebration of birth and motherhood were game changers.
Paul was an old Jewish leader who made mistakes.  Nothing Jesus says is dated but some of what Paul says had a short shelf life. Jesus was God and Man.  Paul was at best a godly man.   I can't accept the infallibility of the Bible when I read about Paul's statements regarding slaves. He was a Rabbi and may have been married but the evidence suggests not.  His comments regarding women and men and marriage aren't necessarily wrong but somehow sound dated. Nothing Jesus says sounds dated except his local and historic metaphors, mostly about fishing and farming.  It's lost on kids living in a concrete jungle of parking lots of mechanicals.
So Individualism is central to all these discontents. The destruction of the family is fundamental aetheist communism. The religion of the STATE as God as created by Marx and Engels and Lenin and Stalin an Mao is simply based on the reality that individuals can be dominated by the fundamental divide and conquer tactic of the State.  So we have the rise of Individualism out of Marx and Engels who were outspoken about the need to destroy the family.  They didn't like Mothers especially theirs and others.
Jesus by contrast simply said that God must come first even if that separates you from family. Jesus did love his mother.  Marx wanted family ties destroyed with only one relationship of importance, that of individual and Aetheist God State, (the committee).  Even the Kings and Emperors of old supported the serf's family.  Family was the fundamental unit of society not the individual.
Today all the sexuality and social issues especially around "Identity Politics' is a priori about individuals.  Jesus spoke of the individual relationship with God.  In my relationships with others in my family and community I reflect my fundamental relationship with Jesus Christ.
The tendency of Evangelicals to call the Bible, the Old and New Testament is flawed. The GOOD NEWS is the Gospels. All else is secondary.  All else is truly commentary.  Jesus summed up the scriptures with the statement Love God and Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself.  This is a key to understanding every phrase in the rest of the Bible, everything said by Paul, everything said by Isaiah. If it doesn't fundamentally agree with what Jesus says its being misinterpreted or cherry picked or selected out of context.
I personally identify as a Christian and as a member of the family of Christians.  I am first and foremost a Christian as that speaks to my most important relationship, that with my Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the name I use when I speak to my God.  All other relationships sexual or otherwise take a distant second. I don't hear that in Church dialogues and see the emphasis in Gay flavoured churches and Anti Gay churches as missing the point.
The point of Christianity is Jesus.  I like hearing and sharing his Holy Name.

Friday, August 18, 2017

TGIF Aug. 18, 2017

I'm sitting outside at a picnic table after a busy morning clinic.  I'm tired out by confrontation.  Hassle and demands for special treatment. Chipping away at a person. Working the room.  All the metaphors for the 'cut me some slack', 'you don't understand', 'just this one time', 'I really am your friend', 'you don't care', "my child, mother, aunt, sick someone, dog, cat etc story', the countless explanations we've heard a thousand times and used ourselves. I'm jaded. But I'm thankful for the one in 20 ratio. Everyone else was just perfect. The loud obnoxious one gets your attention but the 20 people were really just great. It's a 4 hour sometimes more experience. I'm exhausted by the strangers but the motorcycle ride is a wonderful experience. I often take the Harley on Friday.
Now I'm waiting for Laura.  Gilbert was ecstatic to see me when I got, lots of jumping and barking and bringing me toys.  I like his company but also like to leave him when I'm only going to be gone for a few hours.  He rides on the motorcycle but getting the box on and off is just a little hassle, not bad for a trip or a whole day but a nuisance for a half day. He's lying now sniffing the air and enjoying his place at the front of this 'territory'.  He's on guard and really in the know about what's going down here.
We had the police here big time a week ago. Several cars and guys like swat walking around looking for someone.  It was tense.  Then Laura learned about our friends being back together. The community news. I like the folk I meet. Laura always seems to know more about what's going around and she's hardly here.
I eat and read and watch tv and do a lot of paper work, evening writing reports.  Still doing the 80 and sometimes 120 hour work week if I include the research and reading.  At the end of the day I'm well paid but wonder if I ever do more than minimum wage with all the hours.
Looking at upgrading the RV.  It was originally for hunting and camping but I've been living about like I did with my yacht, sometimes doing the apartment thing but doing more hanging out here than I have in the woods.
"It's your home," Laura said.  I realized it really was and Mac explained to me the down payment and mortgage on units. He's living beside me in a really nice home. With Laura over most weekends I thought really I could use more room. And this last year with the office move and the switching over to clinics, loss of cleaning lady, and general chaos with deaths and grief and general survival mode I realize this is not a home anymore. Gilbert and I have barely survived this year.  He lost an eye.
The hot sunny summer has been a good time of recouping. Again IDAA was restorative. But I think about the long rainy winter and how claustrophobic it gets in this small space. I really have to consider a change. I don't want to do apartments.
With the Liberal government and Justin Trudeau increasing communist dictatator moves makes me want to leave Canada, move to the US where there still are States where people aren't into Identity Politics and Left Wing Violence.  I just don' t want to die in a Communist jail. The liberal's have outlawed freedom of speech already. The CBC News is constant propaganda.
After owning homes in the past I don't want to move and buy a house anywhere in Canada because I don't believe Canadians own houses. They lease them from the government who tells us what we can do in them. Better to rent but the neighbours I've known are increasingly all powerful especially  some raging addict who holds whole buildings hostage while lawyers protect them. Always it's the fallacy of  the 'ends against the middle'.  I'm a "middle" and no one cares for the Middle any more. I don't feel safe since I've heard from so many dozens of people stories of their unholy dangerous loud and threatening neighbours. Laura's tales of her 5 am partying neighbours with their  loud music   turns me right off the overpriced Vancouver apartments. In my last apartment I had to deal with a delusional man myself.  Just one of many colourful neighbor tales. It's its own genre like the mother in laws.
But politics is foolish.I'm irrelevant to all the Gods of Washington and Ottawa. Victoria doesn't really  care. Our own Mayor is only interested in bike lanes so generally I don't know why I've been allowing myself to be distracted by politics.
I've been arguing on Facebook with the lying violent left wing commies and the deceitful Islamic terrorist  hoards and I don't know why.  I really should mind my own business. I really like the .Conservative Party with Andrew Sheer, Michelle Remple and Candice Bergen.  Their saniety is too often blocked out by the selfie dominated loud Liberals with all their lies and corruption..
 Other than that I can only explain myself by saying I'm afraid of Justin Trudeau's abhorrence of all I think of as Canadian , essentially Canadian values. I really liked Kellie Leitch and am not convinced that Andrew is as strong on Canada as Kellie was.  He's got a good group around him and I really hope they get rid of the pustulent smegma of a stony eyed leader we have right now.  I ought not to be so invested. I'm really not being diplomatic in my astute observations.
Trudeau is everything I was when I was smoking dope and drinking wine and talkin left wing intellectual nonsense as an effete university professor dilettante with a pretty wife who came from an alcoholic family and was so traumatized by that background she'd do anything to avoid trouble. I was trouble eventually. I questioned the lies of the main stream media. I treated too many alcoholic senior media and heard too many stories of pedophilia and broken laws and then I kind of grew up seeing the world through hard experience and learning that the 'platitudes' were just that.
But Dr. Kaufman gave a talk on Civility and he's an okay guy and I really have to be more civil on Facebook when I'm talking to a brain dead walking genitalia whose trying to spout off about politics and he doesn't think his farts smell. I have to resist calling the cretin wasted DNA just because he's a thorough idiot. I must be civil.  I am so tired of their trying constant strategizing and their persistent moving the bar and insisting they want me but their inclusivity only applies to my being exactly like their cookie cutter reality.
I'm ornery today. I had to prayeon the motorcycle because I was having flashes of doom and gloom. Then I realized it was just because it was a cloudy day.  I was having flashbacks to the coming of winter and wondering how I'd live through a mother season of misery.
If I get better digs maybe the higher ceilings more room and less dirt and clutter will stop me from begging Trudeau for the euthanasia he wants for my kind of people, English Canadian westerner, third generation.
I've done gratitude lists too.  Thank you Lord Jesus for your sacrifice and resurrection, for your teaching and being, for the Christ consciousness in the very fabric of creation for the example of humanity. Thank you all my teachers for the direction and concern and guidance you have given. Thank you for the beautiful loving sexy women in my life. I have truly been blessed even when they've interfered with my escape and made me pay a huge ransom to get away from their taking me hostage. I really am thankful for Gilbert and my motorcycle and my friend Laura who Gilbert and I are waiting to arrive.  He takes me for granted but really has her twisted around his little paw.  Right now he just visited for a bit for a scratch and has begun chewing on his Snoopy toy.  Different days he has favourite different favourite toys.

Thank you Lord for this existence. Thank you for electrons and neutrons and photons and Higgle particles and galaxies and stars and the sun and the moon.  Thank you for the breath and my heart and lungs.  Thank you for my taste buds, scent, stomach, skin and genitals . Thank you for my hands and feet. Thank you for the internet and key boards and discoveries and inventors and genius. Thank you for Ginger Ale. Thank you for porcelains. Thank you for barbecue. Thank you for food.
Thank you for clothing.
Thank you for the Church. Thank you for 12 step programs. Thank you for the university. Thank you for the clinic. Thank you for my teachers. Thank you Ford and Mazda and Harley Davidson.  Thank you for my F350 Lariat Edition 4x4 truck.  Thank you for choice. Thank you for movies. Thank you for ballet. Thank you for theatre.. Thank you for concerts and thank you for music.
Thank you for sex. I really enjoy regular orgasms and love making and just plain doing it.
Thank you for bikinis. Thank you for beaches. Thank you for shorts and sandals in summer.
Thank you for the dress pants I found under the winter clothes. Thank you for jeans. Thank you for bows and arrows and fishing rods.
Thank you Lord . Thank you Jesus.  I really want to read and study the Bible more. I'd like better internet coverage so I can do more Hebrew study. I wish that I'd learned Gaelic. Thank you for conversations with Ted about the Celtic calendar.  Thank you for history and old ways and traditions.
Thank you for the Irish and the Scottish. Thank you for the Hay Clan.
Thank you for swords and rifles and pistols.
Thank you for the kazoo. And harp.  And violin. And my guitar. I enjoyed playing my guitar. If i had a larger home now that I no longer have an office I'd have my guitar out like I did there. I'd not played it for months till this week simply because it's in storage like so much stuff. I 'ld like to be less cluttered. I'd like the organization new digs would bring and after these last couple of years of pain it would be good to rebuild.
Please Lord removing the lying delusional threat that plagues me. Protect my life and my dog's life. I've had too many threats and I've just been doing my job as I was taught but with people who are borderline and psychopathic and now they have such institutional power to harm and be offended and to suck the very life out of existence. Canada is plunging into the despair and depression that is the norm in communist countries.  The Worker's paradise.  The corruption tires me.
I must have hope and optimism. It's the end of a week. I'm weary.  All day with despair and sickness.  Days of complaints and more and more the front lines takes the abuse and the layers upon layers of high paid Monday morning quarter backs is amazing. No one wants to see patients any more and everyone is angry that I can't see them yesterday and furious that I won't see them today and tomorrow. The system of care is imploding except for those with government and union and corporate benefits and special insurance. The tiers increase but I'm okay. I've been blessed. I not one of the millionaires who own homes in Vancouver where every actual home owner is among the wealthiest on the planet but I'm okay.  There are 9 billion and most every Canadians is in the upper 1 billion. The severe poverty now is limited to less that half a billion, maybe a tenth of the people on earths. A mere hundred or so years ago nearly half the world was in poverty and facing disease. Life expectancy is increased dramatically.
I am truly blessed.  Enough rambling. Thank you Lord for Friday TGIF!!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Gratitude Wednesday

Thank you for Gilbert Lord, my furry little friend and companion. Help him keep his sight in his remaining eye.  Thank you for the blue sky this morning.  Thank you for the music of the two alarms that woke me, that diddly and the space ship sound.  Thank you for clothing that slips on without fuss or fasteners, sandals, sweats shirts and hoodies. Thank you for the sun and rain.  Help keep the wild fires in the country down.

Thank you for work which organizes and gives purpose to my life. Thank you for the gifts that have made me of service to you and my fellow man and woman and to children and babies. Thank you for the learning and reading and doing. Thank you for this program and this iPad and the internet and all my friends that are connected to me and each other through this advanced technology of today.

Thank you for my family. Thank you for my high school friends. Thank you for my university friends. Thank you for my friends of travel. Thank you for my friends of work. Thank you for my American, Canadian, South American, British, European friends. Thank you for my friends from Asia, and Africa.  Thank you for the opportunity in life to travel to all these lands and meet the wonderful people I have been truly blessed to know. 

Thank you for my physical reality, the place I live, this country, province and city. You know the countryside is God's country. This city is pretty funky too. So beautiful though so expensive. Help me to be able to afford to live here. Expand my territory.

Protect me from evil. Protect me from lies. Protect me from rapists. Protect me from theives. Protect me from bullies. Protect me from falsehoods. Protect me from psychopaths and sociopaths. Protect me from the banality of evil.

Thank you Lord for food and sustenanace. Thank you for the networks and history that has brought all this to us today. Thank you for entertainment and communication. 

Thank you for my breathing and the air. Thank you for my heart and the feelings. Thank you for the senses.  Thank you for my feet and hands and back and head and all my internal organs. Thank you for chemistry and biology and math. Thank you for neurology and pharmacology and intuition and help my patients with addiction. Guide them and keep them safe till they increase their motivation to change. Help us help them.

Thank you for sobriety and faith and peace and goodness. Thank you for my teachers and the healers who have helped me over the years. Thank you for my dentist Doug Lovely who exercised the demons from my lower jaw and saved whatever goodness he found in the war on decay.

Thank you for the men who are surveying my home and offering me the hope of a better place to live. 

Thank you for my friends in program. 

Thank you for my boat and vehicles. Thank you for the joy of driving. Thank you for the music too Lord. I've been so thankful for the music this summer. Thank you for memories. Thank you for the novels and treatises and reading.

Thank you for all your blessings Lord. Thank you for this planet, this universe, the waters and filament, the people, the animals the flowers and trees and bushes. Thank you for the galaxy and the hope of space travel. Thank you for this dimension and the hope of multiple dimensions. Thank you for you son Jesus and all the prophets and saints and mystics.  Thank you for all true religion.Protect me from false gods and false news and lies. Thank you for reality and truth and Martin Buber, and Camus, and Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer and Brother Lawrence, and St. Theresa and St. John of the Cross and Yogananda and Buddha and the Tao and the Flow and Jung and Freud and Leonard Cohen and Martin Luther and Gandhi and Churchill and Robertson Davies and Kohut and Kernberg and Erickson and Grossman and O Henry and Shakespeare and Kidman and Clint Eastwood and Jason Strachan and 007 and Arsenault and Ray Bradbury and Spielberg and the Beatles and Country Joe and Lightfoot and Dylan and our prime minister Justin Trudeau and the Queen and Donald Trump and Australia and Jurd and Hugh and Darryl and John and Art and Tom and Adam and Carole and Bobbie and Archie and Wes and Opera and Ballet and great Art and Monet and Hagen Dax and true Culture, great Culture, culture of culture , the best of the best of all people, space flight and brain surgery and cures for diabetes and antibiotics and anti vitals and cures for cancer and weather balloons. Thank you for all the wonders of the world and all the man made wonders.

Thank you Lord.  Help me through this day and watch my anger, my impatience. Overcome my potty mouth. Help me to be less a barnyard animal and walk more upright if that is what will help me in my communication today. Catch me putting on airs and distancing myself. Help me to meet people where they are. Help me not offend those constantly looking for offence. Help me to be safe. Protect me from patients bringing guns and knives to the office and threatening me. Protect me from patients who use lawyers as weapons. Protect from patents who abuse the system and use beurocrats as weapons. Protect me from weaponized words.  Protect me as a Christian from persecution. Protect my Jewish friends who increasingly face persecution today no different from the persecution they experienced from the nazis.  Protect us all from the new nazism which is covert as most aggression today is covert and black is white and whiter is black. Protect us from the abuses of the elite .  I pray for the Elite that they may do what is best for all and help the world as a whole and care for all the people including me.  May we have greater gratitude individually and collectively.

Help me Lord with my character defects. Help me to overcome my lust, sloth, gluttony, envy, anger, and those other two. Help me follow the 10 commandments. Help me to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. Help me be a good example. Help me to be more the man my mother raised me to be. Help me to be more like my father and brother before me. Help me to be less afraid Lord. Help me to fear less. Help me to have faith in you and greater perception of the Good.

Thank you Lord for Freedom and Choice and thank you for helping me walk in the light. Thank you for the sunshine today.  Thank you for the warmth and breeze. Thank you. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Smokey Vancouver

Another morning of smokey skies and thick air. I slept well and am thankful for that.  Last night breathing was difficult and the day was long with stress.  Leaving for a few days as a doctor the work just piles up.  Calls upon calls for services.  Desperation and waitlists.  I avoided the coroner's file yesterday.  Death deserves time. I didn't recognize the name. A new person I hardly knew. Like the young girls a few months back.  This Chinese Fentanyl is a plague on youth.
I remember the sky like this years ago.  The smell of smoke and the haze was there too.  They say the wild fires were worse years past but this one is bad.  A bad year.  So many places we hunt are destroyed.  Nature's purification.
North Korea threatens Guam. My friends live there. I visited. So close to Saipan. I'd fly over.  Islands in the vast beauty of the Pacific. Chamorro people and Carolingnians.  I miss the laughter at times. The white beaches. The magnificent underwater caves. Such pristine places for tourists and those who live there.
Amaniac threatens to bomb them.  God I hate these aggressors.  Of course they all say they're victims.  ISIS in the East and North Korea in the West complaining they are victims just as Hitler did when he invaded other lands. The Japanese said the same.
There's rain promised for the weekend. I'll like the cleansing but frankly, I love the sun and heat.  I have loved this summer and the back yard and walking the dog and lawn chairs.  Some years I've spent the summer sailing.  Other years I've been camping. This year it's lawn chairs and back yard books.  I just finished a Thriller by Brad Thor , Use of Force.  I am reading the History of the Early Church but along side that serious read I've these other more exciting novels which just seem to take over my interest. Little progress on the neuro chemistry of the brain book I'd picked up too.  Lying in the sun I'd rather escape to swash buckling tales of young men and sexy women travelling all over the world to exotic places to save the world from what ever, terrorists, aliens or catastrophes of other kinds.  Joseph Campbell's Hero Tales. The stuff of adolescence.
I must go. Work demands I come in early.  Gilbert has had his eye medicine and treat.  We've walked. He's eaten. I just need to shower and dress.  Morning is a series of routines that must be completed. Not necessarily in order. I've had my coffee.
I'm prayed.  I 've not meditated long enough .  Be Still and Know that I am God.  I'm not prayed long enough. I've not exercised enough. I've got that perfectionism bat I beat myself with. A whole series of expectations that threaten to grow to resentments. I love weekends where there isn't the deadlines waiting to suck the soul out of one. I'm thankful though for the dead lines. The meaning in life is serving and helping and I felt good to be back at work.  There's times when it's just good to be the automatic.  We ask the questions, write the scripts, look up and say a kind word, give encouragement and set another time.  Completing intakes, forms, assessments.  I was slow first day back, distracted by a multitude of phone callls.  I've bills to pay and had no cheques or envelopes. I put these in last night.
I am thankful for God.  The idea of a loving universe, the idea of an intrinsic meaning and purpose, these are important to me. I believe that if I do good and serve I am planting good. I am at an age where disease strikes readily. I'm thankful for my health.  Each day I read of those close in age or important to my youth dying.  I didn't know Glen Campbell was in his 80's but he's died and I loved his music growing up.
Aging is a factor. Thank you Lord for this life and this aging.  Gilbert and I had such fun with Laura on Monday.  What a great companion. Life was so much brighter and fuller the three of us rolling about.  Gilbert must get in the Center and be included in our hugs which then become a free for all.  It's hilarious.
I'm resisting getting up.  All I've got to do is shut this down and go to the shower.  Shave.  Dress. I sometimes have to speak to myself to get through the routines to get out of the door.  There are dragons out there.  The traffic is a trial.   But once I'm at work it's fine.
Must go.
Thank you God for all your blessings. Watch over my family and friends. Keep them safe and well today. Help me be an instrument of your love. Help me to serve my patients and colleagues well. May I do as my teachers taught me and be compassionate and kind in my encounters. Yesterday I was so overwhelmed so behind in time that I forgot all the Dr. Kauffmen taught about civility.  I would have been more civil if I wasn't so harried but I didn't get angry or impatient.  But I did talk over some and I didn't wait to listen longer. The person on drugs will talk forever and I don't want to listen to the drug talk but I didn't cut them off though perhaps appeared impatient.  The waiting room was angry and loud.  I felt pressure all day. No lunch. No coffee. I needed to pee for hours before I couldn't hold it.
It's hard to come back to work after a break. But it's a short week.  More new demands this week too but this too will pass. I want to get on with getting my new home. I talked to Mac about ways to transfer belonging for old trailer to new. Logistics. It was great to see Dave and Marcia back together on his motorcycle There are money matters that need addressing and sharks are circling always,  I 'l let out a reef in the sail and move on with the day.  This too will pass.
Thank you God. Thank you Jesus.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Almeda, CBC and Fake News

Alameda University and Master of Divinity and Fake News
-William Hay, MD FRCPC CCSAM

I wrote about this some years back but the twisted tale gets even more convoluted. I told Dr. James Houston the former chancellor of Regent College that God had a sense of humor.  Dr. Houston has a great sense of humor and he thought this a funny story indeed.

It’s most recent twist is a request from a CBC news reporter to discuss my Almeda Degree. I’ve been vociferous about CBC Fake News for a year, which is rather disappointing as I’ve been a fan of CBC programs for decades. How sad that CBC News once reliable has gone over to the Dark Side.

I have lots of prestigious “Paper’, a Medical Degree from University of Manitoba, and a Canadian Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. In addition I had my FLEX, the American Medical Degree, and subspeciality certification in Addiction Medicine, in Canada, the US and Internationally.  I’ve taught at University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia.  I’ve 30 years of medical and psychiatric clinical experience and am an acknowledged expert in Canadian and American courts.  

I didn’t ‘need’ more paper.  But I’m a Ship’s Captain having sailed solo in winter to Hawaii.  Technically I can ‘marry’ at sea but I wanted a piece of paper. My psychiatrist friend had got a piece of paper on line and married his daughter and I thought such a diploma might come in a handy if I wanted to place a blessing and a curse on some unsuspecting couple. I’m personally divocred and women have aborted my babies suggesting that even the idea of being married by someone such as myself would be suspicious. A fake marriage? 

I also have been studying Spirituality and Christian theology formally for longer than I have been a doctor. At the University of Winnipeg I studied Literature of the Bible with Dr. Carl Ridd back in the 70’s.  I grew up a Christian and have studied the Bible and Christianity all my life, studying all manner of courses in churches and teaching Christianity, prayer and meditation. I published a number of papers on Christianity, religious studies and comparative religions.  The most prestigious was an article I published in the Journal of Science and Religion.  
I also studied Yoga with the Self Realization Fellowship of Paramahansa Yogananda obtaining my diploma from that institute, travelling to Encinadas and later India.  That was back in the 70’s and 80’s before I studied Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis with the Ericksonian Institute.  A long time fan of Dr. Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response I published a paper on meditation and blood pressure treatment back when I was delivering babies and doing surgery. 

Around that time I was asked to teach a class of young women Hatha yoga and threw out my bag trying to impress these girls with a humble presentation meant to help overcome ego. 

I have never missed an opportunity to study with religious leaders of a variety of religions, spending hours in sweat lodges with indigenous elders, going through various ceremonies, studying Tai Chi and taoism, studying Buddhism with a fellow physician, taking courses in Hinduism, learning from a Sufi, spending time with an Orthodox scholar, dating a Bahi and an aetheist and learning from osmosis. I have learned from Sikhs and Hindus and recently from a Zoroastrian.  I studied the Classics and learned the pagan religions of Greece, Rome and Egypt. I have enjoyed  reading the major texts of world religions.  I read the Torah and discussed Judaism at length with my mensch friend Sam and took guidance from Dr. Rabbi Twerski. I definitely enjoyed meeting the Dalai Lama and Bishop Tutu and have been blessed in countless spiritual encounters with men and women I could only admire and hope perhaps to emulate in some small way.

Though I ‘d been president of Amalgated Baptist Youth groups I would go on to publish a paper on how I was a better doctor than I was a Christian in the Medical Post. .  This was around the time when I had travelled to Israel on pilgrimage and began decades of travel to various spiritual sites, often designated Heritage sites.  One day I hope to write a book of these travels and the meaning they had for me. I’ve blogged them with the photographs I’ve taken and discussed the various followers I’ve talked with along with the spiritual leaders I’ve met.

About 20 years ago I began studying theology in night school formally focussing on Christian Spirituality, taking many courses over the years at Vancouver School of Theology, St. Mark’s Catholic College and Regent College.  I’d also taken church courses like Alpha and studied the Holy Spirit with the Pentecostals. I was meditating with a Benedictine Nun at the time and reading books like neuroscientist’s Mario de Beuregaard’s Spiritual Brain.  I especially liked How the Irish Saved Civilization series too. Though raised Baptist and been a member of the United Church of Canada I was formally baptized Anglican and became a reader at Christ Church Cathedral.  

I was doing readings and discussing ministry with pastors and ministers and thought I’d like a Masters of Divinity in Christian Spirituality or Ecumenical Studies.  This would allow me to marry on my yacht, a dubious matter and would also document this informal aspect of my training which was increasingly a direction I was taking in my addiction medicine clinical work where it was obvious that addiction was conceptualized not just as a disease but also a spiritual malaise.  

When I looked for an institute that would provide such a degree I found that none were indeed ecumenical. I could get a masters in religious studies and having shared with various institutes what I had accomplished was repeatedly told that I could indeed obtain with some extra study what I wanted but nothing was ‘ecumenical’.  Comparative religions yes, religious studies yes, but nothing like Christian Ecumenical Spirituality.  The Baptists have their M Div universities, the United Church theirs , the Catholics theirs, the Hindus and Muslims and Taoist their’s . I found that interesting because it appeared the religions had attempted through actual amalgamation religions like the Bahai’s and perhaps Muslims and  perhaps Mormons to create a religious equivalent of Esperanzo while individually academically  they really were quite divided.  I didn’t want an Anglican Master of Divinity as I really didn’t want a job. I was a Doctor. 

The music director of my church called me, a Christian Psychiatrist, an Oxymoron because Freud had been an aetheist and he considered psychiatrists Priests of Science. I told him that while I was Freudian trained I’d also studied in depth the theist Dr. Carl Jung and been mentored by the great Christian spiritual psychiatrists Dr. White, Dr. Gutowski and Dr. Ney. 

That’s when I came across the idea in California of on line degrees based on experience and review and questions by on line faculty.  I liked the secular nature of Almeda ironically and frankly for $1000 I was pleased to get an Almeda University degree that was backed by the government of California.  The process of finding all the paper that supported the above studies and more, getting the various universities to forward evidence of my attendance, finding copies of publications and answering endless questions in this regards was itself fascinating. Then I got this diploma.  

Psychologically at the time I was also somewhat miffed by the general institutional university’s monetary elitism as the costs of study were becoming exorbitant and exclusive for my patients.  I had had scholarlships but the education debts that my patients carried were a form of indentured servitude. Yet their future employment increasingly depended on these diplomas. Also increasingly students from other countries arrived with diplomas which had no real equivalency with Canadian or American or British or European or Indian or South African degrees. I saw an increasing disparity in this and learned around the same time that the University of Toronto had granted medical degrees to students who had been failed by the faculty but by threatening legal action passed by the administration.  In California there were simply not enough positions for the number of people who wanted to study and on line universities were becoming the answer.  I’d studied Aboriginal Studies in distance learning from University of Waterloo in the 80’s and have maintained my medical scholarship in part by constant listening to medical tapes, then discs the USB sticks in my car or truck.

I supported this process and thought there really was a place for experiential equivalency. This came about when I was training nurse practitioners who were doing the work of a general practitioner though not in a hospital setting.  I thought Almeda was a phenomena but clearly institutions have an invested interest in exclusivity and branding.  

I followed the scandal of Almeda and other on line institutions which were increasingly exposed as traditional and conventional universities increasingly replaced these original rogues with their own brands. 

At the time I was asked to be on the board of an off shore medical university by a former ambassador. The whole issue of education changing with some off shore universities being acknowledged as equivalent while others didn’t meet the varying standards.  It was also apparent that much of the certification process at the institutional level depended on whose hand your greased and by how much.  

I’d met doctors from some countries who knew less than first year medical students while some countries graduated doctors superior to myself and classmates. When I was accepted for a position at Stanford I was considered one of the ‘foreign doctors’ and discussed this when I was interviewed at Berkeley and in a Virginia position.  Increasingly much of Continuing Medical Education, which I’ve dutifully completed with honours and excess is highly suspect.

About the same time a beurocratic doctor who to my mind was best described as frankly, stupid, and  received an honary degree causing me to reflect on the whole ‘business’ of education for  cash and influence of the honorary degree. Wasnt the online experiential degree an honourable extension of this existing questionable practice?  

I just learned that the Engineers are adamantly questioning the relevance of professional studies past training since the nature of professional standards is self study and self awareness and task specific. Now i’ve heard that many other professions are questioning the training in their departments and finding that these certifications and recertification amount to little more than a money grab as they’ve been shown increasingly to be scientifically irrelevant.  They have made a very lucrative business of charging students who agreed to pay up front over and over again for the same training which is increasingly irrelevant to the older members in the field. 

My Queen’s Counsel friend shared one night how his legal work is so highly subspecialized that there are only 2 or 3 in Canada doing it. The continuing legal education in his field is generally set by academics at the level of law students with little relevance given the generalities of the knowledge base. I feel the same. Worse in my continuing medical education certified training there are increasing sign in sheets and the didactic lectures are the only thing valued by these low brows in the increasing policing of doctors education by low level political factions intent on making more money as ‘educators’.  The best education I have at conferences is the discussions over coffee with colleagues and rarely in the didactic presentations where we go back to sitting in desks and being obedient students as fun as that is.

So psychologically I was glad to have this On Line Degree and put it up on my wall . I’d a diploma up there also which declared  “I bought the band a drink’.   Indeed it is one of the fancier ones and was only first noticed months after I put it on the wall.  Both degrees allowed me to ask patients what they wanted a degree for and what was education. I've been encouraging patients for ever to get education while bemoaning Canada's tendency to mediocrity. A master's degree is well supported in Canada and repays the effort but my phD friends and medicine specialists versus surgeons feel that the further specialization its not reimbursed as it is in the US and Europe. 

It could be said that I had some ambivalence about the academic institutions especially since a government in my former home province had under funded education with the result that my own Medical Degree, once one of the top three in Canada had been devalued by these thug politicians none of whom had much education at all among themselves.  There was a mediocrity growing in Canada and the education systems were in chaos. My second university had fallen in 'value' whereas my first and third degrees were ''devalued". 

My father used to complain that he had to stop hiring union men because increasingly the carpenters despite their “trade” papers seemed solely to be incestuously related but lacking the the capacity to distinguish hammer from saw. In those contracts he was required to hire union he was hard pressed to complete the job as opposed to other contracts where he could hire individually according to merit.

In Canada the illiteracy rate of high school graduates with the stoppage of national high school proficiency exams became such an issue that universities eventually introduced admission exams because Canadian high school diplomas no longer had currency with institutions of higher learning. Many argued the was a product of liberalism socialist  or communist influence. Everyone was. ‘Entitled’ to a degree rather than being required to ‘earn’ a degree.

It was also easier and cheaper for me to get an American license to practice medicine than to great a Canadian license in another province because of the increasing politicization and Balkanization of education in Canada. It remains the case that Ontario doesn't quite acknowledge medical education from other provinces charging several order more to Canadians to have their training acknowledged than any province charges Ontario in return despite Ontario degrees being the most suspicious in the country given how many are obtained by legal threat.  

Spiritually I was amused at the degree too. One of  my favourite religious teachers had been Brother Lawrence who was the monastery’s kitchen help.  

Then I heard Almeda as an institution died. The folk just closed up shop. This interesting innovator It was presumably beaten down by existing institutions and laws and killed.  I really don't know what they did to bring upon themselves systemic wrath but the there obviously was some back rooms decision to regulate the university degree granting process. 

This was at the time I’d bought a hard bottomed rubber boat which sprung a leak.  When I tried to get parts the company had gone out of business.   This was just capitalism and market forces at work. The same had occurred with the radar I had when it was damaged. I couldn’t get parts. I have a hard drive from a company now defunct and I only learned of it when I found it didn't interface with new software. Interesting exclusive parallels with market forces and centralized regulatory forces competing.

About this time I also finally found years later a university offering Ecumenical degrees in divinity and theology.  This was at Columbia University and the Irony was that the program was started by a psychiatrist with interest in divinity.  I’ve considered taking classes and do hope to continue to study theology in formal didactic classes alongside my ongoing informal study.  The trouble is that increasingly degrees are being issued with a shelf life. I didn't renew an American Certificate I had because the prestigious institution could only vouch for its own diploma for five years. As a learning machine professional I was interested then that these institutions of supposed higher education were unable to produce a training program of the likes of my medical degree which was a life long degree with no shelf life limitation. I don't think i’d stop being a medical doctor if my university stopped paying the rent or defaulted on a loan. My Master of Divinity degree retains inherently the value of equivalence of the citizenship status of a person whose country has been dissolved by war perhaps.

My personal learning includes going to places like Instanbul where I hired a Turkish professor of religion and history and was guided for days through mosques and museums studying Islam as well as visiting the underground churches of Cappadocia.  I have had a number of torture victims as patients who had escaped from Muslim prisons and countries.  At the same time I’d been a presenter in Azerbaijan with a most delightful Muslim physician who answered my religious questions about his religious experience devoutly.  In the last few years because of the horrid ignorance of the Canadian politicians regarding religion I've been reading more extensively about the church development and religion and state interface. Where once I was reading Kierkegaard and Buber I found answers in Karen Armstrong’s Fields of Blood. I'm also reading the history of council and creeds withe the dicussions of orthodoxy and apostasy. At the the of King Lear he says “Lets talk of court things, whose in whose out”. Because the matter of whose in the in crowd as in the high school yard chum circle functions well beyond the school yard. Indeed President Obama gave out medals once reserved for the courageous and brave to comedians as the Queen Knighted Beatles and the Nobel Prize for Literature was given to Bob Dylan. 

The mystery is with everyone shelling out experiential degrees who indeed did Almeda offend, whose hand did they fail to grease and why as a true innovator in the process did they fail. I expect the answer is money. They simply didn't have the resources to muddle on like other similar bodies had through history. Time magazine with its ‘person of the year’ awards survived the probable error of the infamous Hitler choice. Perhaps if Almeda stuck to Divinity degrees no one would have cared but their administration degrees might have been used by too many Canadian Senators resulting in that once august body having shameful ignominy today. I am glad I didn't marry anyone because they might well have overnight joined the ranks of the unmarried without the blessing of the legal system which is making a killing off an institution once principally a source of ecclesiastical revenue.

I reported a fake doctor who had risen in the ranks of our local government concealing his never having obtained a doctorate from the august instition he claimed he had. What fascinated me was that he had appealed so much to the authorities. He was consulting on policy and nor practicing in a physical manner where our Fake surgeon surgeons or Fake pilots show up rather obviously. This fellow merely had the gift for the gab and said what our local government wanted to hear. His recommendations were so alien to the university position I knew that I questioned his credentials. Sure enough he was an imposter. But his policy persists today as abhorrent as it is because the government wanted a stamp of approval on their cost cutting nonsense. The matter which interested me most was his success at fooling literally hundreds if not thousands before I personally called him out as a fake, a liar, a fraud. It was a very dangerous tim. 

It goes to the naming of a thing - godly or ungodly. Are the fruit trees Adam named wrongly named today as we found only later that Adam disobeyed God. Are the names given since the Apple less or more valid. 

Personally I see the future as closer to retirement, some five or 10 years out, with the idea that I’ll see myself studying more religion and theology and spirituality, meditating more and writing and reading more in the area of spirituality. I don’t know if I’ll marry anyone at sea.  I have my ship’s captains papers for that as it is though I believe it would require me being in international waters. I may have to get a new degree if I want to host a dock party wedding and sactifymthe occasion.

But it was fun to have a CBC Fake News journalist call me and ask me about what is now being  called a ‘fake degree’.  I don’t know that it is. It’s a bit like when a country changes its flag.  Like Canada today, increasingly a communist police state with all the assaults on freedom speech and the death of journalism.  I grew up with a journalist mother during the hey day of the Winnipeg Free Press and have watched  journalist friends leave Canada because they say news journalism can’t be done here any more.  I do believe one can be  a sports journalist still but I don’t know any more. Will hockey be as fake as soccer any day soon? 

I think it’s ironic that I get a divinity degree and the institution fails.  If I was grandiose I would think my intrinsic evil nature , that binary gnostic self,  had destroyed this institution.   Perhaps it’s  just a reminder that religious studies is an ongoing , one day at a time, matter.  Like my boat and radar I guess I may have worked my studies so hard that I simply need a new one.  

I laugh too, sure that the young CBC journalist who called was probably given the story by someone who I’ve insulted for being a pot head sharia communist Liberal liar who panders to the shirtless Prime Minister Trudeau who supports the destruction of freedom of speech with anti Semitic Islamaphobia legislation.  I still have the Master of Divinity Certificate from when it was considered ‘good’.  It’s a bit like Canadian Currency though. Since the liberals came into power my dollar is now only 70 cents on an American dollar. I much preferred it a couple of years ago when it was almost par with the American dollar. 

I’m actually thankful because it brought me back to reflect on this journey and how I really must spend more time in my spiritual pursuits having been way laid by political discussions which do not appeal to me nearly as much as talking about Jesus or asking why Christians can’t create a ‘core’ study program like medicine with it’s subspeciality degrees.  I love medicine that way. After a generalist degree in medicine and surgery,  subspecialized in Community Medicine, Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. I 
think it would be great if there was a 4 years religious studies program and then you  could get  a Christian degree, a Catholic degree, a Judaic degree, Moslem degree, or a Hindu degree etc.  There is initially shallow generalist knowledge and later deeper specialist knowledge.   Thomas Merton was a much deeper student of east and west and I really have a long way to go.  

I believe there is one God. I believe that Jesus was the son of God and that humans are the children of God.  I believe what Jesus said summed up religion as later stated by Hillel, Love God and Love your neighbour as yourself.  I wrote a paper at Vancouver School of Theology on comparing heavens and concluded that Mark Twain’s description of heaven was the one I wanted.  

Yesterday I listened to a Methodist minister share his views on hope.  I hope to get a new Theology degree. I’ve got a new radar and a new boat to replace the previous hard bottomed dinghy.  I have hope that CBC News will one day stop being so Fake and that the present Liberal Government will be replaced by a government less promoting of drugs and impaired consciousness.  It seems fake to me.

But there is a fundamental confusion today about what is truth and what is fake.  I miss the blue on the Canadian flag I grew up with.   I do hope University of Manitoba and University of British Columbia maintain their standards.  Poor socialist Venezuelans today have a country that is unable to feed their people and no doubt their university degrees are becoming like their other paper currencies.  I don’t think I’d like to be operated by a doctor who graduated from Somalia or one who bought his degree with lawyers from University of Toronto. 

I think it’s ironic that my spiritual degree has returned to the little off shore island where it began.   Almeda was the brain child of some academics with an office  on a Caribean Island back when.

I just learned that Almeda apparently had been bought in recent years by a Pakistani ‘diploma mill’  I received a call from the CBC News reporter today having written this after the email arrived last week.  

I immediately wondered if this was where Prime Minister Trudeau’s gifts of Canadian tax payer’s millions of dollars  to Pakistan was going.  The plot thickens. What is true and what is fake?

I have agreed to talk with the CBC reporter next week to discuss this. 

My natural paranoia is such that I can’t help but think that CBC News would take an interest in this after I’ve been such an out spoken critic of CBC Fake News.  The reporter denied knowing I was a critic of CBC yet admitted to reading my on line writing.  What is true?   

I’m especially a rather loud critic of the unholy relationship between CBC News and the Liberal government.  The Liberal government has given CBC news more money despite the increasing number of jokes circulating on the internet about CBC reporting. My personal favourite is  “Is it fake news or is it CBC?”   

I am thankful that the email occasioned my reflection on this which I share but I sensed that the motivation might well be an attempt at character assassination since the Liberals have excelled in Ad Hominem and all the CBC News seems mired in innuendo and suggestion.  Fear mongering always and what sells rather than what is true.  

So much of it does come down to the rhetoric “Appeal to Authority”.  Clearly CBC, Pakistan and Almeda today all have issues with Authority "image" .  My ‘spiritual’ authority is questionable as a ‘sinner’ .  My authority is as a doctor.   I do have a diploma which was validated by the California Education system.  But today it is questioned. 

That this was nearly a decade ago when Almeda was as valid as the CBC news of that era makes one question "perception".  What is the 'shelf life' on a story especially a CBC story. I find CBC news tedious because it sounds increasingly so much like Pravda and gives speculation and opinion rather than stating the 'facts' before getting into the talking heads.  Reuters retains some respectability as it continues to focus on fact more than the journalist, not that there is any objectivity since Heissenberg.  

 Tarek Fatah would say Pakistan has had image problems longer than Almeda or CBC so why is Trudeau giving them Canadian  money.  Why is CBC questioning education that originates in this Muslim country. Is this Islamaphobia? Is it news?  Whose paying for this.  What’s my part in it. Why me. Why today.  

Of course as a spiritual person, I ask what does God want me to know from this?  A thrice divorced man, I probably shouldn’t be marrying people?   

Monday, August 7, 2017

IDAA 2017 - Snowbird, Utah -Closing Comments

IDAA 2017 Annual Meeting has concluded for another year. I loved Cliff Lodge in Utah.  The venue, other than the altitude at 8100 feet, was spectacular. The views were incredible, mountains, pine trees and spruce. We had blue sky and sunshine.  People who hiked the trails encountered moose, elk and deer.  I love the little ground squirrels called pot guts. 

I loved the 5 k run. It got me outside in the early morning.  I enjoyed jogging down hill on the trail and by the day of the run I’d acclimatized enough to walk up hills without a myocardial infarction. Later I loved sitting in the outdoor hot tub and then swimming in the pool.  The view really was incredible.

I was moved to tears to see so many faces I knew. I loved that they smiled back.  We hugged and bubbled over with news.  A year had gone by. I spoke of the death my brother and friends. I heard of deaths of others I knew.  We grieved together.  There were struggles with practice and licensing bodies and we laughed at those struggles knowing they too would pass. There was an emphasis on the spiritual , the  immutables.  Some talked of babies born. Lots of white hair and wisdom and young doctors still full of innoscent enthusiasm.  

I arrived scarred and fatigued, burnt out, on my  more than 19th nervous break down, just short of pulling my hair out and running naked through the halls of the high school. It’s ever like this. But this time I knew how it worked,  More people arrived. More friends.  Amazing doctors. Sharing together in psychiatry  meetings, discussing the systems, the challenges, the research, the feelings, the changes, the difficulties.  We supported each other. Like minded doctors.  Representatives come from several continents.

We listened to a  talk about the 25 million who suffered from addictive disorders in the US and the 2 to 3 million in Canada. Each country had it’s incredible numbers and the fentanyl epidemic was killing people everywhere.  It was sobering.  

I enjoyed the speaker who said, “I’m in recovery and I vote.”  The need for public awareness was never more important.

I sat mostly in the 12 step meetings. I love the format. Running parallel with the conventional CME each year a doctor or sometimes two discuss the steps 1-12 and how they matter personally and professionally.  
The genius of Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson and the contributions  of Dr. Talbot,  Dr. Paul O and Dr.  Hal Marley and so many others come to be reflected on and discussed in the open time following the formal presentations.  Presentations run 20 minutes then the discussions run for another 30 minutes. Sometimes we split in small groups around a table. Other times we walk up to the mike to make our comments.  The discussants aren’t just anyone but doctors of the highest order for family medicine and all the specialities with experience and intimate knowledge and profound insights to share.  The leaders of treatments centres from Betty Ford to 12 alone come together in these amazing discussions. 
This is the real CME for me. This is the language of the heart. This is what I know personally and what I understand the first 50 men and women who wrote their experience strength and hope in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous had learned.  I love learning the Steps this way.  
Sometimes the Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdalla make their way into these discussions. No one is pontificating. It’s different from the didactic. It’s observations and suggestions and insights. It’s a man or woman relating the step to his family and children.  Another talking about emotional development and family and marital therapy.  I love it. People who are themselves 30 and 40 years abstinent and sometimes 40 and 50 years married talk of the program in terms of family and relationships.  I learn so much here. I am astounded at the genius of my colleagues. 

I get up for the 7 am meeting. That was Hal Marley’s Attitude of Gratitude meeting where the new comers are encouraged and a lot of surgeons show up not knowing what to do with themselves  when others are content to sleep.  I loved Dick and Art’s guidance and Cheryl’s comments. Gordie always has the most rewarding insights. I believe it’s partly because he’s a retired surgeon and the rest of us are waking up.  It’s a tough time for the psychiatrists. I loved meeting Larry, an ophthalmologist. A neuro surgeon provided brilliant commentary. The psychologist soft spoken added her insights. It’s all so inspiring and sheer brilliance.

The resort coffee and breakfast and banquet food was excellent.  The new comers banquet is where the scholarship recipients come forward and remind us all of our first meetings. Then the Al Anon banquet shows the work of Jerry Moe and fills us with hope at the brightness of youth.  The family is central and we view this world as a systems phenomena.  Elsewhere the reductionism is stimying whereas here we look at all comments and hear from every angle of the solution. 

Mel B was the Saturday night speaker and a thrill to hear.  His leadership in the field has long been felt but what a joy to hear the ‘story’ of how it had all come about.  We’d only just applauded the 4 men in the countdown with forty plus years each of continuous abstinence. My mentor and psychiatrist colleague Hugh was among them. We are a group that appreciates life long contribution of members and even honor our dead.  It’s a community and a family in ways like no other place I know.  

George was dear to me as we talked  between meetings, as we’ve talked year after year, Tom and Bobbie, Nathan, John and Dave and so many others. There were 700 or so there, or more, and as many are already signed up for Reno next year.  It’s often a thousand or more.  The meeting moves each year, east and west and north and south with the Local  Committee organizing the event. It’s no small deal.  I was amazed at just how many volunteers were needed for a simple 5 k run let alone all the different meetings and banquets and events that go on which I don’t participate in.  I specialize in the 5 K run/walk while I know Dick is always finding the best golf course in the neighbourhood.  There are competitions and general fun.  I loved the jazz band in the south and the country singer in Phoenix.  Here folk enjoyed taking the tram to the top of the mountain  where they hiked and took photos of wild flowers.  

Every year its the same, the core program with variations of region and characters.  I love it.  I’ve loved the food and music of all the different cities the meetings have been in America.

But it’s the people, Stephen, and Alistair from overseas and Jan and Bry and Brent .  It’s a special high school reunion for me, a ‘same time next year’ love affair without the sex. It’s the most profound learning time.  

I liked meditating this year with Katie, the California psychiatrist who specializes in mindfulness meditation. I so liked listening to the depth of Penny’s insights into people and cats.  

It’s all over too soon.  Yet it’s a spiritual boost. I don’t know what happens but I’m ready for another year. I’ve learned about my most difficult clinical problems, discussing them with my most learned mentors, discussed my administrative issues, discussed electronic record keeping, business practice and government beurocracy and legal concerns.  Every issue too tough to deal with alone has had a chance to be put through the Cray  computer of shared knowledge.  Then there’s talk of love and relationship and loss and confusion.  

We are open with each other. All the hippocracy and gamesmanship I know in other groups are absent as mutually vulnerable we turn to each other for wisdom and give what we gain. It’s here I find that wonderful collegial sharing that first attracted me to academia in Oxford England.  I still feel  this vibe sometimes in  the clinical workplace but we’re all too often pressured and stressed to really take the time to address matters. Here that’s what we do.  

It’s another year.  I feel like I’ve had a transfusion of gratitude and now will give what I can. I feel like I’m  a search and rescue plane whose flown far and wide and finally come back to the mother ship to be refuelled for the next stretch of caregiving.  It’s all about the Spirituality  of Imperfection and I mourned the loss of Ernie Kurtz.

So many books to read, so many new references.  

Macdougall was the spiritual speaker. An awesome breakfast supplied by the resort then this amazing Methodist preacher shared an impossible journey of hope telling stories which would be too crazy were  they not true.

Then it was over.  I’d laughed till my sides hurt and cried.  I’d hugged dozens and dozens, only  a few of whose names I’ve shared.  We touch and greet and hug and I realize I don’t hug other doctors at all the way we hug each other here. I don’t hug colleagues.  Doctors touching anyone even themselves is increasingly verboten. 

At church I hug other professionals.  It’s not something approved of by the increasingly sterile government.  I loved watching my  friend Art put his arm around the shoulder of a man crying over sharing his loss and what it meant to him. Julie hugs me each year and she’s from New York.  

I am so grateful. It’s been so good to be a member of IDAA.   I remember when I thought to leave psychiatry when an academic  evangelical fundamentalist aetheist told me that ‘meditation harms your brain’ and ‘prayer damages the mind.”  I’m so glad the research these last 20 years have proved him dead wrong. Here I am able to pray with psychiatrists and other health professionals to a higher power and God of my understanding.  I love the ecumenicalism of this place and the ‘live and let live’ mentality.  IDAA 2017 was a true blessing for me and I so look forward to same time, next year in Reno, Nevada at the Peppermill Hotel.