I took a short time off from blogging to prepare for and attend The Examined Life Conference: Writing, Humanities and the Art of Medicine. I met many wonderful people on this adventure. My trip was made even more special by an invitation to speak at a Life Design’s Class and a dormitory. When I take the opportunity to speak to groups, it always leaves me with a lingering awe over how my message is received the same way by various, completely different communities. All these events were rewarding in this surprisingly similar way: I had eighteen year-old students and doctors alike wipe their eyes and tell me how much they appreciated the lessons I offered. On the plane ride home, I read the same reaction through thank you notes people went out of their way to write and deliver.
This was the information provided in programs to offer an understanding of why I was there to speak.
After the conference registration and welcome, I was in the the first set of presenters. We went around the room for introductions when, lo-and-behold, I heard a name and recognized the voice of a dear college friend. She drove four hours to surprise and support me. Afterwards, we were able to spend a few hours catching up. What a wonderful surprise! It was a great gift and a special way to start my three-day conference.
My week ended far too quickly. While listening to other presenters, I learned more about writing and how it can fit into the medical world to heal and help individuals grow. I met amazing people who had wonderful hearts and strong spirits. These are people who are destined to make a positive change in the world. I heard some beautiful poetry and even received one by email. Thank you, Susanna, for leaving me awed and speechless with your words that truly struck a chord in my memory. Abbi shared lessons of challenges and growth she built from an unimaginable heroic story. You are a strong, wonderful woman Abbi. Heather left me excited to see what she started writing, inspired by what I shared.
If I met you and we chatted for a while, thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with me. I hope I left behind lessons others can grow from as their lives evolve. I know there were many seeds planted within me this past week. To the students I met, to the individuals I chatted with from planes to hotels and to all those in between who spent time learning and speaking with me, thank you for a week that left my spirit overflowing with ideas, hope and gratitude.