A Note from Bill Skelton during COVID-19
This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What changes we are all experiencing! Having so much free time has on one hand been a forgotten luxury, and on the other an opportunity to reflect on how to best use that time.
The easy starting point was trying to shorten what seems like my ever-lengthening to-do list. Next was taking courses on subjects that I have always wanted to learn about; it has been fun but limits my sense of being adequately engaged in life.
I decided to use a focus of gratitude as the starting point of an exercise in changing my utilization of that time. There is an old saying that gratitude turns what we have into enough. With my abundance, I have been keeping those in need as a primary focus of that time and the impetus for action.
A number of our patients and acquaintances are elderly, disabled, very ill, or isolated from others. Being able to personally bring supplies has helped some of them and periodically reaching out to the others individually seems to have helped almost all. I wish I was able to provide house calls but these times simply won’t allow. Weaving the web of life with others seems to mean more to them than I would have imagined. It certainly has been an enriching experience for me.
Reaching out further to those in our community who are also in need has been easy, welcomed, and highly gratifying. We have been active in a local meal delivery service and have been helping to supply our local food bank. I remember well lean times so shopping for others has been a pleasant way to focus and dedicate some of my time. The recent excessive burden on those services has been extensive, and they can all use our help.
Our system of human function and interaction seems more fragile and also in need. Now, many of the people who interact with the public and whom we depend on are in difficult and uncertain situations. For some, it is just a matter of having work or knowing that the status quo they have counted on will persist. We have been in contact with our regulars to confirm our continued need for their help in the hope they won’t stress over any possible additional loss. We have also been attentive to supporting and strengthening our transactions with local businesses.
Some institutions that deserve our regard are strained as well. As the medical supply crisis in New York City became apparent, we collected and shipped our surplus personal protection equipment including the needed N95 masks from our clinic to a hospital distribution center for medical supplies in New York City. Finding ways to support the institutions addressing mental, emotional and behavioral health is our current focus. Many of the studies I have reviewed suggest an emerging crisis is likely pending in this area. Our We Give Wednesdays program has been a supporter of MIRCI.org, a nonprofit whose mission is to create pathways to recovery for individuals who are experiencing or at risk of mental illness and/or homelessness.
Every day seems to bring awareness to a new area of need that could command our attention and promote action steps that would help. We really do know what to do to make this time a very good one.
So, I will end with what one of my favorite professors would say to our class at the end of our morning tea ceremony (our time for discussion on professional, clinical and personal cultivation) as we were about to enter our extremely busy clinic “Now, go do good!”.
~ Bill Skelton
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