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  • Writer's pictureDympna Weil, MD

The Fluidity of Stillness

I do things on my own terms, that are in alignment with my values, my conscience, my inner compass. I always have.

My early career was in academics, practicing OBGYN at a tertiary care center with medical students, residents, complicated cases and all the support of specialists and sub-specialists and resources galore. I loved that inquisitive spirit of teaching and mentoring, collaboration and community. I then journeyed into a smaller community private practice and later, in another season of my life, practiced as an OBGYN Hospitalist.

I was searching for the right balance - the harmony - of practicing medicine and being a human being with a very human life. Somewhere along the way, however, I slowly stopped listening to my guiding voice. I just kept going, doing things because that's what I did, what I trained to do.

And wasn't that the goal? The dream?

When I declined to listen to that voice, its volume increased.

When the volume got louder, I put on noise-cancelling headphones.

Anything to just keep going. Ignore my intuition; silence my body's signals.

After all, medical training had made me masterful at that very skill.

Until one day, my body said, "No more."

It made me still. Or else I dealt with the consequence of crossing it.

Disequilibrium. Dizziness. Headaches.

I no longer trusted my body.

My body was lovingly forcing me to listen in the only way it knew how.

It took 9 months to deliver me a diagnosis: 3PD.

The irony of a nine month diagnostic gestational period is not lost on this OBGYN.

My body was and remains infinitely wise. I have not always appreciated its wisdom or listened to its whispers for love and compassion. So it shouted. 3PD. Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness. Only then did I listen, when it physically lay me down, unable to process motion from stillness. The fluidity of stillness was imperceivable from the outside - while my body was absolutely still to an outside observer, I felt motion. Uneasy. Unsafe. Disconnected from my body. My brain now unable to integrate all the sensory inputs as efficiently, effortlessly and seamlessly as it once did. In this forced stillness I found a gift. An opportunity. I found the glorious gift of time to learn what it is to offer some kindness and compassion to a person who was in overwhelming need: me. And it moved me. To begin a practice of kindness. To begin a journey. To repurpose my pain. I am becoming a person who shows profound kindness and compassion towards myself. My recovery and healing requires this and I now know that I deserve this. We all deserve our own kindness and compassion. We can choose to be still. Even if just for a moment. And so my stillness sends off a purposeful motion of change into the world.

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