What I'm Reading (Dec. 16)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Dec 16, 2021
Annapurna – goddess of food, Christmas trees, phrases I may or may not miss next year, and do our inner cycles embody our “self?”
Image courtesy of hrockhardin on Pixabay 

“As the legend goes, the primordial deities Parvati, mother of the natural world, and her husband Shiva, who possessed the power of destruction and creation, brought sacred balance to the Universe through their union. However, a rift developed when Shiva began to belittle Parvati’s work of tending to humanity’s material wellbeing. So one day, much to the surprise of Shiva, Parvati vanished.”


From Aeon, a short video, How the Hindu myth of Annapurna, goddess of food, connects sustenance with spirituality



“Quarter Pine Farm grows Christmas trees. They and 15 thousand others (sort of) like them are the source of close to 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees every year. While 15 different varieties were possibilities, it is most likely that you bought a Fraser fir with a $75 or so price tag.”

We paid $135 out in Long Island for a tree; in the city, you may want to take out a mortgage. That said, surely it is the season to consider the economy of Christmas Trees. From EconLife, The Life of a Christmas Tree: From Seedling to Six-Footer

“The saying it’s a “bones day” / “no bones day” was created by TikTok user @jongraz about Noodle, his thirteen-year-old pug. In the video, he tests whether Noodle has “bones” (or energy) to get up from bed, or “no bones” (no energy) to get jazzed for the day ahead. The lighthearted—and frankly, adorable—TikTok video series got people to not only assess their pets’ bones levels for the day but also whether they, too, had bones or no bones.”

As we near year’s end, the lists of the top whatever are beginning to emerge. Here are some phrases we “discovered” this year. I do not know about you, but several could well be seen in the rearview mirror, in my opinion. From the blog by Grammarly (an app for grammar checking), The Most Memorable Words and Sayings of 2021

“Think back to a recent episode in which you felt as if you were being true to yourself. How would you describe what you did? Perhaps you would say that you ‘trusted your guts’ or ‘followed your heart’, rather than ‘thinking with your head’. You might also assume that these idioms involving the guts or the heart belong to an outdated folklore – that they are a poetic rather than a scientific expression of what’s happening when we tap into our sense of self. Yet, emerging scientific evidence increasingly suggests that being aware of who you are – being self-conscious – really does depend, not just on processes in your brain, but also on what’s happening deep in your viscera.”

Our world, in a personal sense, comes from our sensory experiences. Watching my young grandson, I can see as he struggles to understand how to control his hands and feet, to become embodied. Embodiment grounds are “self” in many ways beyond the linguistic, as this article points out. Interestingly, while embodiment is the initial grounding of self, Eastern religions use our ability to control our breathing and other visceral autonomic processes to free ourselves and discover our unembodied soul. From Psyche, A stable sense of self is rooted in the lungs, heart and gut

Let’s talk about being a physician.

“People go into medicine to save lives. They believe that they will use their demonstrated intelligence and skills to make a difference. Unfortunately, modern medicine is ever more about turning physicians into box checkers. CPT codes, checklists, facility mandates, perpetual boards … a physician quickly loses control of their working day unless they are weird freaks who do extensively more work to retain control. And beyond that the average physician becomes enculturated to this much earlier.”

My generation escaped a few years ago, but this rings so true. Please take a minute to read it all. From Marginal Revolution, What is Wrong with Physicians

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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