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dimanche 28 novembre 2010

Affection to Affection, carrying a Net of Friendships.. Paris to KL Fourth time this year

I was made aware of the value of friendships very early in life, when for various reasons, my own family couldnt be with me (then or later in my life) but strong friendships have successfully filled that void. I think of my friends (not social friends but the ones I consider friends and who consider me their friend.
Of the many things I am grateful for in my life, one is that I have never needed the professional services of a Psychoanalyst. There are qualified psychologists and psychoanalysts and there are many New Age Self Realization Gurus who cannot truly help you but can cover your pain for a moment with incense wafting from their shallow words. I have great respect for the ones who truly help other people, like my colleagues, I call them Minas Psicologas at the University of Havana, Cuba who genuinely extend a hand of friendship and professional counsel to those who come across their consulting rooms. I have always wondered what it would be like to go to a Psychiatrist or Psychoanalyst. My encounters with the Western medical men when i did not have any acute medical condition all ended up disastrously disappointing since they were not trained to counsel but only to mend something that was broken and not strengthen something that is not broken. I take care of a lot of people, take care in the truest sense of healing and not just numbers passing through the Consultation rooms. The luxury here is one of time and many of my patients are on anti depressant pills, not given by me to them, but they had acquired it somewhere along the chain of doctors in the system that have seen them as patients.
So when one is battling Depression and in cases where they succeed in overcoming it, I have nothing but the greatest of respects. Here also i maintain my circle of healing philosophy: 25 % medications and western medical men including psychiatrists, 25 % family and other relationships, 25% social responsibility and the rest 25% help from spiritual sources.
I have been very lucky to have extraordinary mentors during my medical career in formation: Dr David K of Albany Medical College, Dr Howard L of University of Miami, Dr Philip G, Dept of Pediatrics; Drs Norman S and Joel G, Opthalmology and Dr Jack M and Dr Dick G, Endocrinologists in Australia..
Dr David K a Psychiatrist told me, after all Psychiatry is a form of paid friendship, insisting that those who have truly good friends do not need the services of the analysts. At a dinner in San Francisco some years ago, I was the only one in the table who did not have an analyst and during my enamoured days in Buenos Aires, every one I had met, professionally and socially had their own analysts..
What has this to do with my upcoming trip to the Far East? Friendships of course. MC has become one of the strongest and most supportive friends I have had, she is about to disappear into the La La Land of Yoga in India for a few months to be trained as a Yoga Teacher, she has all but given up her profession as an Accountant and Finance Officer, CPA and all that. Paris to KL by direct route, Malaysian Airlines fly that route and soon Air Asia would too, is only a 10 hour flight but my flight would take me more than three days!
Today in discussion over Lunch in Paris, I wanted to see who would be the persons I would seek out to clear emotional problems in lieu of a psychoanalyst. Obviously I have someone in Paris, MC in KL of course, my sister in Miami, my brother Yitzhak in Portland, my colleagues in La Habana. (I can think of at least four of them).. So I am stopping albeit briefly to say Hello to some of my friends, not that I need their analytic help at the moment, but letting them know that I have faith in them should that necessity arise...
The greatest gift a friend can give me is their time and thus i go out of my way to give that gift of time to them. I am lucky to be able to travel, so i travel to all parts of the world to be with my friends.
This journey will take me from Paris to Miami, to San Francisco then on to Tokyo and Singapour and finally to KL. The Yong sistes are waiting for me with vegetable soup and Perrier water, Breathing Exercises (Pranayama) and Asanas, 10 days of de toxification from the dust accumulated from this peripatetic life. Before I leave KL I hope to spend one day in Malacca, a connection which gave me the love of the Portugese language and a visit to a tribal village one hour and half from KL.
This is a good month to remember that greatest of Americans, JFK, at least for those of us who live outside the USA..Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country..
We could say the same thing about Friendships:
Ask not a Friend what they can do for you, but tell a Friend what you can do for them.
Like we say in Baracoa, Los novios se pasan, los amigos son para siempre ...