23 August, 2010


Chicago's Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park (also known as "The Bean")will turn you into an amateur photographer. It seems to me that everyone around it has a camera, a little bit like the Mona Lisa, but with neither the obnoxiousness nor the lack of appreciation for the art itself. This sculpture begs you to look at yourself and take pictures of the strange reflection. People really love it. Perhaps because we don't ever get to see ourselves quite in this way (and one can come up with so many funny poses). Of course, due to its shape the image is highly distorted. Anish Kapoor, the artist, named it Cloud Gate because 3/4 of the reflection is of the sky and this brings the reflection of the viewer, the city, and the sky all into the same realm. It is difficult to keep such a broad perspective on life, and especially difficult to place ourselves in the center of this reflection.

I recently wrote about the idea of reflection, but it has been an important recurring theme in my life recently. The mentors of my patient centered medicine group stress the importance of reflecting on one's experience as a student and as a physician. For me, what I most want out of this is to focus in on the image of the doctor I would like to be, and keep that in mind as I get closer and closer to that day - to continue to uphold the values of social justice and improving the quality of life that speak to me so strongly today.

This idea of reflecting resonates so strongly within me right now because I must keep reminding myself to do so. As I begin a new stage of my life I feel like I am being told in so many ways and by so many people how I should spend my time, who I should be friends with, what my aspirations should be, who I should be. Amidst all this it is difficult to remember who I want to be and who I am. I recognize that these expectations are mostly assumed by myself, not necessarily placed on me. Also, I mean this on a small scale, mostly on a moment-by-moment basis. At the end of the day, when I think of it, I haven't really lost sight of myself. But there are brief instances throughout a day when I lose confidence or feel jealous because I am not who I think somebody else wants me to be. These are the moments in which I most need to be genuine with others and honest with myself.

It is difficult to be mindful of this, but I have found something that helps. I have a few triggers. An image, a song, a memory of an occasion or a feeling. Something that reminds me of the happiest moments, when I have felt inspired and full of life and light and known that I was in the right place at the right time and that I was exactly who I was meant to be. Do you have any memories that you lean on when you need to feel more in touch with yourself?

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