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A Smaller Plate

I haven’t been writing much this last month because I’m in the midst of some challenging changes. Changes not just inside my body, but in my surroundings as well. I am a strong believer in embracing change and being present in every moment (even in the hard times), but at this moment I’m just saying, my plate is full…and it’s a smaller plate.

The biggest change is deciding not to sell our home of 47 years and instead making some extensive renovations. Staying here in the ceremonial center of our family life has filled me with unbridled joy, but it means moving out of my office (which is a separate casita attached to the house), and into a smaller space inside. The move has been stressful, and I wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact of getting rid of much of my library; packing the ceremonial objects collected over a lifetime; and shredding patient files brought lots of nostalgic reflection.

At the same time, I have been learning how to manage a household (management and details are not my strong suit) and it’s a task I have assiduously avoided until now. I’m hiring repairmen, scheduling doctor appointments, making to-do lists, learning how to start the dishwasher, etc. and it’s been a bit overwhelming;

These changes also come at a time when I am usually in Peru. For the last 10 years in the beginning of August I have been in Iquitos Peru for the Festival de Belen; a gathering of clowns from all over the world sharing their gifts with a desperately impoverished community spreading hope, cheer, and health.  This annual pilgrimage has always replenished my soul, restored my faith in humanity, and reminded me of what I like best about who I am. I was surely there in spirit, but my body missed being there.

So, what’s getting me through? I am surrounded by love, and learning a lot about what’s important at this time in my life; moving into this new space is teaching me/ what to hold onto and what to let go of/ how to ask more directly for help/ helped me focus on what I still want to do, what inspires my imagination and dreams of things still to come.

The greatest blessing has been an appreciation of being surrounded by so much love. Love is the essence of a passion-filled life, it is those moments that stand out when you know you really lived. I feel it all around me, and am so grateful, it makes my smaller plate seem bigger.

To all of you, I say thank you…for all my relations, Mi Takuye Oyacin.

If you want to hear more and join the conversation, join my next Schlagchat  on Tuesday , August 22 of 6 PM at zoom.us/j/847539925.

4 Responses to “A Smaller Plate”

  1. Stevie Moffic says:

    Carl, if it is possible, consider writing your memoir, even just for you and family. You’ve had such an important career that it needs to be passed on in some way like that.



  2. Victoria McDonald says:

    Dear Dr. S.,
    I was blessed to hear you speak at a volunteer managers’ conference in Phoenix some years ago. Although saddened to hear that you are faced with this challenge, I know that you are a warrior. You wage war against hatred, discrimination, poverty, and especially hopelessness. What an inspiration to all of us, your relations on this small planet. I have turned to you and your writings over the years when my son battled intractable seizures from a TBI (medical malpractice episode). The nights I walked the floors in desperation, anger, and feeling hopeless, I would open one of your books, or turn to a Schlagbyte. Within a very short time, I was feeling more hopeful, at peace, and many time laughing out loud.
    You are a man that I respect and care about. Please know that you have touched my life and are still healing me!
    On our paths we do encounter rough areas; we stumble and we do fatally, but the love that surrounds us lifts us up, and we soar as an eagle.
    To you, a healer, a warrior, and (I dare say) my mentor – love from PA!!

    I look forward to many more Schlagbytes.

    Vicki McDonald

  3. Carl Hammerschlag says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Stevie, and maybe when this current dust settles the writing will come easier. In the meantime telling my story and these snippets will have to suffice.
    And thank you Vicki for your loving words and support. :O)

  4. Tom Egnew says:

    Your words rang true for me as I look towards retiring from my full-time position at the end of the year, to work perhaps part-time. May we both find that less is more. Blessings . . .

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Dr. Carl A. Hammerschlag, M.D., CPAE is a psychiatrist, author, and professional keynote speaker. He is an authority in the science of psychoneuroimmunology mind, body, spirit medicine and speaks about health and wellness, healing, leadership and authenticity . He has delivered motivational keynote speeches to corporate and business clients around the world.