"No! I want them off!" My son peeled off his hot, sweaty socks and flung them on the floor insisting he didn’t need to wear them in his skates.
I decided not to explain why he'd have to put them back on. I unfolded them and waved them around and talked to him about something else as I untangled his laces.
"Okay, let's get your skates on." I said stuffing his socks back on.
"Hey, they're cold now!" he laughed.
“Magic.” I said.
“You have magic?”
“Yes! So, do you.”
“Yep, right there.” I pointed to his heart.
“There?” He looked down and studied his shirt.
“Your heart is full of magic.”
I really believe that. So does Dr. Krupali Tejura. When patients come to her, a radio oncologist in Southern California, they have few options left. Many of them have weeks or months. But Dr. Tejura takes her medicine to uncommon levels. She uses all her science and medical tools and then she really gets to work. She asks each patient, "What is the greatest lesson of your life? Is there anything you would do differently? Do you have any dreams you haven't yet realized?"
Dr. Tejura gets tears in her eyes as she describes the joy of making patient dreams come true and witnessing the magic of social media to bring strangers together in a miraculous dance of healing.
Like the one whose husband asked Dr. Tejura to please get his wife to October because it would be their 62nd wedding anniversary. Dr. Tejura twittered to her growing community of compassion that she needed tickets to an international violinist’s concert. Rather than getting a pair of tickets donated by the usual do-gooders, the Violinist himself tweeted back VIP tickets and a backstage meeting. The patient not only made it to October, she made it to December. To a glorious musical crescendo of her final days on this Earth.
Many ask Dr. Tejura how she manages to do so much for her patients. She goes far beyond the usual doctor – patient relationship. Her colleagues are mystified that she has any time to blog and tweet and arrange so many transformative and meaningful moments. She makes dates with chocolate cake. She arranges surprise birthday parties. And in her sharing of her heart with her staff, her patients, her blog, many more are moved. Strangers step forward and reach out to the patient with no family or friends. They reach through cyber space and trust. And care.
And then magic happens.
It’s not who it happens for. It’s why. Human beings are wired to care and help each other. In our transitory, isolated, overworked, anonymous culture we seldom have the opportunity to really help others. Even our non-profits are disconnected and mysterious. Where does the money go? Who does it really impact? We want to help in meaningful ways but don't know how.
When you live from your heart, magic happens. And thankfully, there are more people like Dr. Tejura showing how it’s done. You can pray. You can donate cash or time. But the main ingredient is heart. Put your heart into your hands and trust.
I wanted to ask Dr. Tejura what she thinks is really behind this epidemic of cancer in our culture today. I want to get behind and under it and dig it out like a lesion that doesn’t belong.
But then my heart swelled with understanding. On a human scale, each individual life is powerful and valuable. When someone is at the end of their life, we all instinctively know this is a point of truth, where we face the void. Where they turn and whisper the secret they've carried. Where we watch the tethers between us evaporate and know that we are now at the front of the line, leading our families, our culture, our human lineage into greater understanding of just who we are and why we are here.
The path of the heart is synchronicity and serendipity. Heart alchemy entwines souls and transforms ordinary people into angels. We may never know who the gifts of coincidence are meant for. Curing cancer is not nearly as important as the magic ripples that touch on levels none of us can see or understand.
I may not be able to expose the macro causes so no one ever gets cancer again, but I can embrace my own ability to love and heal those around me. I can feed my family healthy food and teach them why chemicals and preservatives in foods are compounding in our bodies and environment. I can get my kids outside in nature, away from television and screens, so their bodies can move, expel toxins and cleanse. I can sit and listen and trust them to become who they already are and love all the clumsy parts, too. I can celebrate this chance to share with you the magical secrets I stumble upon.
Love and trust. We need to embody these, hold them, in our hearts. Live them daily. Dr. Tejura radiates compassion. That is her gift to the world.
Follow Your Heart by Brett Dennen
I believe the heart makes magic. And now, maybe my son does, too.