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Fall 2022 Newsletter: The Art of Possibility

In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold. ― Rosamund and Benjamin Zander,The Art of Possibility

Last summer I intended to write a newsletter dedicated to The Art of Possibility, an awesome book about moving from the constraints of seeing the world in terms of measurement, calculations and expectations to the openings created by seeing the world of possibility. This book articulated, encouraged and expanded feelings and beliefs I’ve held for a long time—feelings around finding and celebrating the flow of your life and about the power of dreams, hope and love to change the world. While I did manage to send a copy to dozens of people in my life, including the all of the board, officers and committee chairs of the International Neuropalliative Care Society, I didn’t get around to writing the newsletter until now.

In brief, The Art of Possibility lays out 12 practices designed to help you recognize and let go of assumptions that limit the way we see the world in and promote new ways of seeing and acting that create openings. A couple of my favorite practices are “Giving everyone an A”, (rather than grading people and experiences based on your expectations, give everyone an “A” to force yourself to see how, rather than whether, they bring light into the world) and “Giving way to passion” (noticing where you are holding back in your life and giving yourself permission to let go and let loose).

Every life has its seasons. While Florida is not known for its seasons, I learned it does have a few when I lived there. These include hot season and comfortable season, also hurricane season and not-hurricane season. I feel as though I am leaving a personal hurricane season. Felix is now 10 months old we are both sleeping better. He’s learning how this world works and so am I. I’m adjusting to the paradoxical demands of parenthood to be both more structured and more spontaneous.

A few research projects that felt rocky are running smooth(er). The 2-volume Neuropalliative Care Edition of the Handbook of Clinical Neurology is now in production, and an end is also in sight for Navigating Life with a Neurologic Illness. On the blog-front, I’ve completed a series of blogs about how to read a medical research study using the example of Prevagen (spoiler alert—there is no evidence this top-selling memory supplement does anything meaningful for people with memory issues). I also completed two new blogs laying out a framework for mastering medical BS and started a new series on applying palliative care to self-care and health management.

I’d also like to let you know about a new venture, namely the Cure for Bullshit podcast. In this podcast I (and my co-host Janece Matsko) interview patients, doctors, researchers and other healthcare experts to learn the basics of health and illness as well as practical advice on how to navigate the healthcare system and how to avoid medical scams. In the first episode our conversation with Rob Horowitz, Chief of Palliative Care at the University of Rochester, starts with COVID but quickly diverges into the power of love in medicine, the danger of doctor egos, dying well, and even psychedelics.

I hope things are going well in your world and that if you are in the midst of literal or metaphorical hurricane season you find your way out safely. If you like what you see here, or if you simply want to support me in my dreams, please share with your friends, family and strangers.

Best,

Benzi

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