Who's behind this? - a bit about me
Hi - my name is Helen. I live in New Zealand, in Wellington - a very very windy city where I have learned to accept the ups and downs of changeable weather - this has been very good training for me, helping me to accept the inevitable ups and downs of life! You will catch glimpses of this rather lovely city in some of my photographs.
So why am I writing about health and kindness, what is my intention?
Quite simply, I see so much needless suffering in the world, and it grieves me. My intention is to live with appreciation and kindness and to help reduce the hurt which is caused by things that prolong pain and cause suffering - things like blame, shame, disrespect, intentional harm, injustice. I hope and believe that the things I've learned about reducing suffering might be useful for more people than those I see in my day to day life - hence this website and the resources I will offer.
I've worked as a doctor for a very long time - 4 decades (yikes - how did that happen?!) It's a wonderful privilege to be part of people's lives at times of crisis and distress. I've learned a great deal for myself as well as for the people I have been trying to help.
My experience has shown, over and over again, that a kind and caring attitude towards ourselves, whatever our situation, is an important part of healing and being well. It sounds so simple, but for a lot of us it’s extremely difficult. If that’s not the case for you, that’s really great. But for many of us it's often very hard to find kindness when we are experiencing regret, anxiety, overwhelm, and confusion about managing our health and our lives well.
It is quite simple, really - but it can be hard to make it a priority, and there can be many other blocks.
So I hope that this website and the resources I plan to offer can provide you with some inspiration, information and ideas that will help you add kindness to your recipe for well being, and that this will help you to have a strong foundation from which you can reflect this precious skill to others and the world around you.
As a child I tried very hard to please, to be a good girl and do what others wanted. But no matter how hard we try, we can't please everyone. Well before I became a doctor, and not because of anybody being particularly horrible, I learned to be critical of myself, to doubt myself, to feel I wasn’t measuring up no matter how much I tried. Medical School reinforced these traits! (And of course, it is important to do the right thing as a doctor - but often that isn't as clear cut as it might seem.)
It has been hard work to undo that pattern - to unlearn excessive self-doubt and criticism and to practice kindness to myself.
But practising kindness has helped me to be calmer, less self-critical and worried about being good enough, more open and resilient, and hopefully more helpful to others. It has also helped me to respond with less fear and anger to the attitudes and actions of people who cause hurt and damage. I find it very painful to see the ways in which unkindness in its many forms can be so dominant in our world. I work on how I can more effectively contribute to countering the impact of the cruel and hurtful - it's usually so much harder to heal than it is to prevent injury! But I know that kindness is a sure guiding principle. And I find great pleasure and feel restored by spending time in the natural world - by the sea (where I live), in the bush (NZ term for forest) and gardens, pottering with plants, and photographing the beauty that I see. (And I have a website that reflects those passions - thegoodearth.co.nz)
I'm not some brave paragon. I struggle with change, I don’t make new habits easily. But with what I’ve observed and learned over a long time, in my own life and the lives of those I have cared for, I want to offer you this opportunity to develop and strengthen your own capacity for kindness and well being.
I reckon, if I can find more kindness, so can you!
(Please be clear - this site is about how we go about living and dealing with our health - it does not provide medical advice and does not take the place of getting professional attention and care for any health problems.)