The Caring Moment
by Dr. Jean Watson
Often we hear about burnout, but increasingly we learn that the burnout is not because we care too much. It’s because we wall ourselves off and close off our heart, and close off our very source of love, and the human connectedness that gives us the life-generating force for that work.
Why are we in this field, when it often seems that we are just there to fix the body, to give physical diagnoses and treatment?
But what if I and you and we realized that healing is much more than that, and that much more of what healing is about comes down to us through the ages, from our ancestors and the wisdom traditions that call us into this work, and that’s about honoring our very presence, our very being, our connectedness with another person in a given moment.
And it is that caring moment that actually can be a critical turning point in my life, in your life, and in another person’s life, as we touch another person’s humanity?
What if we revisited the very foundation of our work, and began to honor the deep rich beauty of our humanity, that must again flourish, because this is what healing is about?
And what if we realized that we are teachers for each other, that this is sacred work, and it’s sacred because we’re working with the life force of another person as well as ourselves on this shared journey?
What if we began to pause and to realize that maybe this one moment with this one person, is the very reason we’re here on earth at this time?
Any health practitioner today is struggling to return to the very human depths of our work, and we know that when we’re connecting with another person in this deep way, even if it's for a brief a moment in time, that we have much more purpose in our life and in our work, and we know that when that’s missing there’s an empty void, and we’re dispirited.
And we also know the same thing happens with patients. When we hold them in their wholeness, we’re holding their healing for them, and we are helping to sustain them when they are most vulnerable. And as we sustain another person, we’re also sustaining ourselves.
Healing is a spiritual practice. When we touch another person physically, we’re touching more than just their body. We’re touching their mind, we’re touching their heart, we’re touching their very soul.
And when we look into the face of another person, we look into the infinity and the mystery of the human soul, and when we look into the mystery and the infinity of the human soul, it mirrors the infinity and the mystery back into our soul, and that’s what connects us with this infinite field of universal love, that we draw upon in our caring and healing practices.
So I offer this as a blessing for you in your work in the world, and in your heart, as you open to the love that you have to give and to the purpose of your calling into this noble and ancient profession.