Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Here I am, back from a truly restful and happy vacation and full of energy for the possibilities of the fall.

The last thing I did before returning to work on Monday was to drive out to Fischer's Farm in Richmond where I bought my annual 80 pounds of "Big Blue" blueberries to stock the freezer. As I bagged the big, sweet berries I thought about how satisfying it is to recognize and acknowledge our "harvest", the fruits of our labours, be they 160 bags of blueberries or making a dying loved one comfortable or helping a client to live life to its fullest.

We all have a harvest that is worth acknowledging and the more space we make to remember the times when we've made a difference, the more resilient we become to burnout and compassion fatigue. The knowledge that we've done something that matters, even something small, helps to cushion us on the days when we feel exhausted, incompetent or overwhelmed.

Two of my colleagues make a point of calling each other every Friday afternoon to talk about the things that went well that week. Another friend keeps a scrapbook of all the cards and thank you notes he's received over the years as a family physician. Yet another keeps the newspaper clippings regarding successful rescues made by his Search and Rescue team. And still another re-reads her gratitude journal regularly to remind herself that what she does does make a difference.

What about you? What is your harvest this week? How can you keep track of that harvest in a way that will nourish and sustain you in the days ahead?

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