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Everything sooner or later becomes a part of everything else – Mary Oliver

Because of my name, I am very found of rocks and stones; they are integral in my life and thoughts. Today I utilize them in a piece of prose.

Most of my work is the sort I don’t get to see the results. I witness the more immediate outcomes, such as the alleviation of symptoms, but I don’t see long term outcomes. Years ago, when I was doing therapy/analysis I saw patients transform into more calm and conscious human beings. They went on their Journeys which didn’t include me – at least not literally. Figuratively I may have gone with them, like a stone in their pocket, a pebble (or more) they found on the path they picked up to carry.

One of the great truisms of Life is we influence others. Even the most isolated types effect others. Even the lack of interaction is an interaction and has consequences. The notion our intercourses, no matter how insignificant they appear, can ripple through time into something big (good or bad) is sobering. In the musical “Into the woods” in the song ‘No one is alone’ there is the poignant lyric: ‘careful, no one is alone”.

I earn a living trying to uplift others. People come to me wanting to be better.* I have to be continuously conscience that the smallest of my interactions can influence, down to my mannerisms and what I say. The figurative stones I directly give others to carry are only the tip of the iceberg what I may be providing. Perhaps a better metaphor is these are only the stones on the seashore. Out at sea, deep where we don’t see them, are countless stones influencing the tides and flow.

Yesterday on zoom an elderly patient announced she was moving back east due to family matters. As she has no roots here in Arizona, chances are I won’t ever see her again. She stated I did a lot for her. I didn’t ask what that all was. Apart from prescriptions she carries something away with her, something I don’t appreciate entirely, nor will I see the consequences of our interactions. My hope is this new and possibly last chapter of her life will be better for the rocks in her luggage. Another hope is her benefits will be passed down to her relations and out to others. This is the only ‘trickle down theory’ I believe in.

After I die I will not be remembered. My niblings will remember me, but by the time their children grow up I will be at most a name in the genealogy book. My patient’s descendants certainly won’t know of me, but perhaps a bit of me will have carried down to them like a secret stone in the pocket of a hand-me-down. Stones are laid, one of many, in projects I won’t live to see finished.

*Most of them anyway.

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October 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018