Listen generously

On my way home from Cardiff last night I listened in awe to Dr Rachel Naomi Remen – physician, pioneer in integrative healing and storyteller – in conversation with Krista Tippett for On Being.

An extraordinary person who in her journey through medical school and clinical practice also experienced life with the ravages of Crohn’s disease. This, combined with the seeds of her family heritage sown early in life, led her to see and hear the world of healthcare differently. She recognised that cure wasn’t the same as healing.

“We thought we could cure everything, but it turns out that we can only cure a small amount of human suffering. The rest of it needs to be healed, and that’s different.”

Her dual work with people with sicknesses that can’t easily be fixed and doctors who want to offer healing not just treatment, led to her becoming a professional listener and teacher. Recognising the power of presence and the wisdom that helps loss to heal.

“And the only instruction is: listen generously.”

I suspect that this applies everywhere and in our own woundedness – we are enough…