Heaven Might Be Anywhere

One of my greatest fears in life is that this life, this practice life, will be our only life, and, of course, one doesn’t hear the punch line. This moment of truth, this day of reckoning, this day of judgement, is the religious revelation of the existence of evil and the evil dominion of bête noir: The introduction of fear as consequence of a wayward behavior in this life.

What if the moment of truth, the day of reckoning, and the day of judgement were all about the earthly presence of beauty, of grace, and of winsomeness? What if in your minds eye you were witness to all the mystical magic of earth? What if the magic of life was overlooked because our treasured gift of life was fettered away in a foolhardy gaffe to get somewhere-anywhere, because somewhere-anywhere promises joy and laughter and intimacy and beauty which is sorely missed from right where I am.

What if the hereafter punch line was: Heaven is right under your nose?

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A Comment Worth Mentioning

aacommentDr. Culpepper writes in response to my recent post, “Thank You, Doctor.”

Dear Mr. Mulligan:

Medicine is a calling and I suspect that you would have served beautifully in this profession. A real physician does not have a job as a doctor, he or she becomes a doctor.

In the process of medical training, one takes on a new life… well, that’s the ideal. Much of the challenges of our healthcare quagmire result from medicine becoming instead a business.  It’s as if church and state combined into a disaster. So it is with healthcare becoming a business. No one begrudged a well paid physician, our community supports that concept. It is instead the focus on business: the margins, marketing, middlemen, and entrepreneurs (some of whom are doctors) that has poisoned this noble profession. Those physicians that are still true to the calling are swallowed up by the toxic agendas and often not seen except floating below the surface.

Please continue pointing to those brave souls. They need the attention and a lifeline.

Dear Dr. Culpepper:

it’s nearly impossible to practice a passionate profession be it medicine, applied sciences, mathematics, art, performing art, music or writing.. aacommentresponse While these passionate professions are often enjoyed by many, they fall far outside the gated community called business.

Your irresistible “calling” metaphor is the perfect rational as to why men and women pursue professions which require the volitional abdication of varying aspects of their human nature like sensibility, acceptance, support or reason. But it also provides a pathway to genuine propriety and inclusion in one of the most reverent and honored professions on a global scale. It is a profession which treats humanity not borders or anarchy or tyranny.

Physicians transcend the pettiness of our human condition to oversee the miracle of humanity. I myself have heard a calling; to ignore convention and weave together language inviting the curious to hear the harmony of words. To others blessed to hear their calling, I recommend you listen to its invitation; yet most discard it as folly. True Callings  never quiet; they continue to knock, disrupting whatever future you planned with doubt and obstacles.; then one day an example of the difference you could make persuades your abandonment of a false life to step off the canyon’s edge and begin your true life.

If it’s fear that stops you, consider your patient’s eyes filled with fear and the strength they see in yours; passionate eyes sparkling with compassion and the quiet strength of a truthful life.

Unbearable Cruelty

2menWe were walking a block-and-a-half home tonight after watching a recently released movie.  About thirty minutes from the end of the movie I closed my eyes and withdrew the custom-fit Etymotic ear plugs I wear around my neck every day, and tried, really tried to isolate myself from the movie.  I knew that it was already too late to stave off the consequence of watching a film which included the graphic horror that the characters (humans) performed on one another.  I’d swum well past the breakwater and already found myself caught in a riptide of emotion that I prayed I could withhold until after we said goodnight.

And then it happened: starting from deep in my core, an ache, dull, almost quiet; but it sank, then caught fire and spread throughout my torso, finally exiting by way of heaving sobs and weeping.  I wretched as though vomiting; it had to come out like bad liquor; all at once I wailed, it was impossible to breathe; my partner grabbed ahold and hugged me; and I asked the same question I always ask when this happens: Why are people so cruel to each other?meanpeoplesuck

Whatever degree of resistance we’re born with or develop as a means of survival, when it comes to cruelty I find it absolutely unbearable and I must, in order to keep my wits, distance myself as quickly as possible, or shut my eyes which is partially effectual by eliminating the video portion.  An apparent afteraffect of my mental breakdown in 2008, one of my widely known characteristics disappeared.  This capacity was a basic tenet of survival in my career: an unusual and boundless tolerance of unwarranted and often gratuitous domination, insensitivity, and publicly verbal assaults by senior executives.  Post-breakdown I was no longer immune from feeling, really, really feeling the appalling and sorrowful inhumanity most humanity ignores, approves, pities, politely acknowledges while respecting civil decorum, or determined is very profitable as entertainment and implants it in scene after scene of recent motion pictures, or spends millions of dollars to create brutal, vulgar, savage, and murderous atrocities then market to our children as toys, or a sympathetic and comfortable populace helplessly citing the excuse approved by concerned yet tolerant bourgeoisie and the proletarians alike, “I mean really, what can I do?  I’m just one guy?”

TRY EMPATHY AND INTOLERANCE AND ACTION against any expression of cruelty by a human being!

And if that doesn’t inspire you to get involved, how about when you witness any expression of cruelty by a human being?dalaikindquote

But if neither works for you, place yourself in an environment where one human being (them) has dominion over another human being (you), and experience how it feels to take both barrels of cruelty.  And not just once.  Any time. Any where.  And fighting back gets you fired, sued, incarcerated, or killed.

We’ve got groups throwing blood on fur donning women; hordes marching on behalf of the inhumane treatment of animals for experiments; prohibition of foie gras in Chicago due to the mistreatment of the goose.

Really?  I mean, really?

Our cruelty to each other must take precedent: It’s intolerable, inhumane, unjust, and in no uncertain terms has it ever been, or will it ever be fodder for entertainment or a toy for a child.