I went to an unusual and inspiring meeting last night. Invited to attend a “Compassion Dialogue” with Andy Bradley from Frameworks for Change and I was very apprehensive about it. I had no idea what to expect and looking at the list of other participants I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for.
Well I have avoided challenges and new situations for long enough so when the invite arrived I had no hesitation in accepting it. I have wittered on about care and compassion for long enough. I hope it infuses my teaching and I care very deeply that the world has become damaged and the world of health care has suffered as a consequence of fragmentation and rationalisation. Health care is a complex, complicated and messy business; there are no quick answers and no simple solutions. The time I worked in diabetes taught me that and watching health care from a distance over the last 17 years has cemented my belief that we need to pay far more attention to the well-being and support to those delivering care. I have had burn out, stress and depression; overwhelmed by what was expected of me and hurt by the bitching and sniping around me. I tried to make a difference but I was defeated by power and hierarchy, that experience has left a legacy of a lack of real self-belief and I know it contributed to me not getting my PhD.
Last night was inspiring and energising but not in a frenetic and fizzy way. It has left me with a calmer purpose (hence me turning up at the blog today) and a solid determination to make things happen with poetry, expressive arts and health. I am not sure what that will be but I know I have an idea of what if looks and feels like when it is being delivered and how participants leave with a new insight.
When walking the dog this morning I wandered off onto a path that led me “the long way round”. I was a little frustrated as it meant I was out for much longer than I planned but then came across a field of rape seed scattered with poppies.
I realised then that “the long way round" might lead you somewhere unexpected but beautiful and that might just be where I am right now at 52. Twenty years ago I was in an awful rush – seeking promotion and academic attainment. Along the way I learnt about social theory and met inspiring teachers (transforming perspective). My hurrying to get somewhere was derailed in 1999 with depression and a new track appeared in 2001 with motherhood but now I think I might have found the right path and one that might be better for me and my family.