Breaking down the word … ’enthusiasm’ comes from the prefix en- (‘within you’) and Theos (‘God’). So, to be enthusiastic is to have the spark of God within you. To speak with enthusiasm means you are speaking divine words that light up from within you (and likely light you up). We can’t necessarily pick (or shake) the things that ignite light and action.
Enthusiasm for a cause is a divine gift. Let’s start there. But the question, “why does it matter?” is a very fair one. One worth revisiting as the years roll on for sure. I’ve been asked this a lot over the past year and I’ve had to really listen to my answers. I’ve sat with myself and played with a related question, “could I just let it go and drop it?” Could I just go to work, take care of folks one person at a time, and drop this vision for cooperative, integrative community-centered heath care? I have been a volunteer for the cause since the late 1990s. Maybe I have had and done enough?
Apparently, no. I can’t drop it.
I suppose it is the ‘fortunate’ that have this sense of purpose about something in their lives. So, to be able to ponder the notion of living on that purpose and how much of our life we want to give to that purpose is a consideration of privilege and a rich blessing. To feel so compelled, so passionate, so unwaveringly pulled to create and co-create is a very hallowed double-edged sword. These internal missions drive our use of time, our priorities, our finances, our relationships and our direction. It is necessary to sit with ‘it’ from time to time and be sure that we are still willing, enthusiastic stewards of the cause.
If it is your ‘Life’s Work’ then it will not be shake-able until it has fulfilled its potential. So here we are. Here I am.
Almost every single person I see in my private practice has been struggling for far too long. If they are lucky enough to have found a good team of practitioners, it is solely up to them to keep that team in communication and their information sorted out. Amidst their suffering, they are forced to be their own ringleader. More often and sadly, people arrive with huge gaps in their support network. These people can’t get well with such holes in the foundation of their healthcare.
I see all ends of it. There are basic needs, like a primary care doctor and standard preventative strategies. There are more creative needs, like integrative teams of experts putting their heads together. We should be able to do better to serve the public and help people in need. I know many of us have ideas about what that could look, feel and operate like. And apparently, I have an undying enthusiasm for bringing it all to fruition.
Resources are finite. It is a truth no matter who you are or what you are dealing with. Energy. Time. Money. Emotional wherewithal. We ultimately only have so much reserve to cope, adapt and heal with. And, when somebody has been living with a chronic condition, those stores are already tapped. It is unrealistic and relatively unkind to expect that a general person would or should be able to navigate the healthcare landscape, much less when they are already low on resources across the board.
It shouldn’t be that hard to provide a simplified framework, create efficient paths for approach and bring together teams of providers. It just requires an infrastructure, community effort and community support. The notion of community has to be front and center in the healthcare/wellness care conversation. I can’t believe we can create healthy people in the absence of healthy (or at least authentically striving to be), engaged community.
One part of the framework is the ‘6-Domains of Integrative Medicine’ educational tool along with the personal support to implement it into a sustainable and thoughtful wellness strategy. Another part requires thoughtful virtual engagement of a broad, diverse and reputable community of wellness providers. And the final, perhaps most important part, is a relationship with the public that offers various, comfortable, engaging points of entry and contact.
This way, when a person is in need they know where to find resources immediately. They don’t waste months and years floundering trying to put together their own piecemeal team and educate themselves through Dr. Google. They don’t waste a ton of money, time and energy on disparate services, questionable providers and incomplete treatment plans. They know right away, ‘I have this great infrastructure in my community that brings me reputable integrative health and wellness resources I can trust and access easily.’
We all know and have felt the big, confusing abyss between inpatient care and outpatient wellness. We all know there is an infrastructure needed to fill this void. These can’t just be words that sound good and feel good to speak. There needs to be action. There needs to be engagement. There needs to be vulnerability and transparency. There needs to be evolution and impact.
Obviously, I’ve been sparked. Community-driven integrative healthcare delivery really matters to me. It matters a lot. It is clearly my ‘Life’s Work’ and I won’t be able to drop it until its potential, or my role in it, has been fulfilled. Enthusiasm. It is quite a thing …
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