Updated: Jun 22, 2022
It's time to write because I can.
This is for the birds (and the bees).
Because we need you.
Because it’s yours.
We have started something for good.
Life is messy.
You’re alive so I am just affirming what you already know. I am also saying it out load to remind myself so I stop keeping locked safe what is meant to be shared, tasted, spit out, swallowed and savored. Shared. (Bears repeating). Aired. Felt. Together.
I was inspired at the start of 2022 by my friend and colleague, Don Taylor’s new post on substack called, Remembering what I never knew: art, memory & place. As a formidable scientist it was a bold and unexpected read in my inbox. Fundamentally, it was vulnerable. It was real. More than any data point could ever point to, the artists and history I have been introduced to because of his words, his courage adds more color, texture, shade and nuance to my life in ways I never would have encountered if left to my own.
I was inspired. And immediately began penning my first post. Hours poured in I finally unveiled a “Coming soon” announcement. The more I anticipated sharing the colors began to dim and the expectations of doing it right sucked life where many moments earlier punctuation heroically dared to bleat.
The only thing to follow was the proverbial blank page. And rather than it being filled with “so many possibilities”1 the virtual pages became crowded with silence, doubt and an insatiable need to DO IT RIGHT.
Despite what I have read and listened to, watched and looked up I have finally come to see that no such thing exists. Instead, here’s the story.
I came close to dying 7 days ago.
Not like a car or avalanche or fire or all manner of out of body tragedies that are real. This was from my own self-imposed need to avoid causing distress.
I can hold a whole lot of distress of a certain kind. My professional career is built on my deep-seeded2 need to mitigate distress. That is the parenthetical shorthand definition of what a hospice & palliative medicine physician does. We mitigate, alleviate and go out of our way to anticipate and prevent the experience of distress. So the idea of instigating distress is intolerable, unthinkable, untenable and wholly antithetical to my being alive.
7 days ago I awoke with a sore throat. Who in the last 2 years hasn’t at some point pondered if not sworn they had a sore throat? And thought the worst? I was fortunate to have access to rapid, accurate, reliable and free COVID testing. In less than 12 hours the results returned negative.
My throat didn’t care.
I am going to pause here because it is late where I am and I have walked over 20,000 steps today (foreshadowing to tell you I am well on the long and winding, meandering and magical road to healing). I also want to make sure you have ample time to provide sustenance for this journey you have joined. A journey of healing the planet and our humanity. I promise the only fuel you need is what gives you power to read by and what keeps your heart beating. (For the former, you should talk with my 14 year old for tech support. I am useless to you). For the latter, here is my first offer of sustenance.
The first 100 people who choose to join this journey with me I will send you a free song from their new album, Metamorphosis. 10 of you will be randomly (or not, I don’t really know how this works) will get the entire album, because I can!
For every person you refer to join this journey I will continue do the same until I can’t. Either way I won’t stop writing unless I must. Because as you will see in the next installment, sometimes, what I want bears little resemblance to what I or you or our planet NEED.
We are out of time. Let’s not waste another second. Join me. I am so glad You Are HERE.
1 Lyrics from Sunday in the Park with George, by Stephen Sondheim
2 I know this is the incorrect language but we’ve already established my newly rooted understanding of correctness to trust that all is intentional even when unconscious.