Friday, January 7, 2011
JANUARY 7, 2011 LEADERS OF PROMINENCE
"How wonderful is the feeling that WE do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor wish to be" - Twelve and Twelve
At one point in my God bestowed chosen profession I thought I wanted to be specially distinguished among my colleagues. I really thought that this would bring me happiness. I now know and have accepted that this is not true. Happiness should come from with in. For me at this time in my life, it will not nor does not come from being specially distinguished among my colleagues. Sure, I would like to be a "Dr ..." among colleagues, but how many times do we see prominence and "TV personality" take away from the true reason why we initially went into medicine. At one point, I thought I wanted to be a leader of prominence. Who doesn't ? In your career wouldn't you want to be a leader among men?
My obligations to patients I treat are squarely met, troubles are solved and well accepted with a
belief in a Higher Power . I want to believe that all those who practice Integrative Medicine are partners in a common effort to help others heal. I have to believe that love when freely given will eventually come full circle and return to where it started. Today, I know that right living can come from no pomp and circumstance, and definitely no heap of material possessions.
Happiness and acceptance can be read in the quote by Anne Wilson Schaef: "We have finally started to notice that there is real curative value in local herbs and remedies. In fact, we are also becoming aware that there are little or no side effects to most natural remedies, and that they are often more effective than Western medicine.”
"The Herbs ought to be distilled when they are in their greatest vigor, and so ought the Flowers also."
Many quotes on herbs come from the Bible. The last quote is from someone who is considered the father of herbal medicine. However the first American Collection of Herbs was written during 1762-1778 by Christopher Sauer. It is called Sauer's Herbal Cures. Perhaps I wasn't paying attention when I heard this name, or it was never mentioned.
In 2001, food historian William Woys Weaver translated a long lost classic originally written in German. It is not every day that another individual in your life will not only take an interest in a topic but also try to rediscover this interest for the benefit of many individuals. Woy's 2001 English translation is such an example. It was translated with loving care and he even added descriptions of the 266 plants listed in the book.
I have been blessed by another individual. This individual, my life partner, Rick, has taken such an interest in my hopes, dreams and aspirations that as I write this blog I am holding the English translation of Sauer's Herbal Cures. I cannot describe the excitement nor the 'old' smell of this book. It was probably found in the kitchen of an old herbalist. I want to believe that! It was sold to Rick via a man in New Delhi, India. How cool is that! In 2001, this book was made accessible to readers such as me through Woys words. I never knew such a book existed. I now have the distinct pleasure of reading the quaint advice, ancient wisdom and practical garden skills that made this original work so outstanding. From the first pages I discovered that Sauer's book was obsolete when published as it was published in installments and written not in Old English, but in German. This man had some political views and morals concerning sex which are constant over tones throughout the text. Woys intention was to make more individuals aware of Sauer and the green gardens of the past.
For me it is an historical document. I am in awe of history. I always have been fascinated by individuals biographies and more so by autobiographies.
Since at one point my self esteem was low, I always read about people. I wanted to be well read so I wouldn't feel 'less-than'. I read a variety of biographies ranging from Presidents to Movie Actors. I never read one book at a time. So as I finished the Life of Coco Channel, I was surprised by Sauer's Herbal Cures. I couldn't think of a better way to start the New Year. It is something I did not expect. Without expectations on my part, I do not get disappointed or hurt, but rather surprised.
What I find more interesting is the hint of magic or witchcraft mentioned in this text. Even at that time, he received a letter from the state medical association and was accused of practicing medicine without a license. This accusation could be applied to today's healer. I could definitely foresee a medical association accusing an herbalist of practicing medicine without a license or a licensed physician practicing herbology without proper training. This could happen in any state.
We do know that Naturopathic Physicians cannot be licensed in New York State. Does one ever consider the clinical experience of a herbalist? Perhaps as I read this book I will discover some remedies that I might even use today. Or is it possible that not all of Sauer's remedies are written and published because of his fear. How many of us live in fear?
I enjoy reading that the plant Goldilocks could be the ugliest plant in the world, yet its name signifies a sure winner. Or it is more interesting that the plant Devil's Bit acquired its name by Sauer in 1763 based on a legend that the devil bit off a piece of the root and this is why the plant retained its crooked shape.
History of any kind is important. I am concerned that history is not being taught in the same way I was taught history. Is history actually taught in school? Do Film Schools teach about the classic movies? Why does a young gay teenager not know who Bette Davis or Marlene Dietrich were? Why have I never heard of Sauer, but only of Nicholas Culpepper?
TODAY, in 1955, Marian Anderson was the first African American to make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera