Sunday, October 21, 2012

BOSTON - a weekend that changed my life

1976 – I was 37 years old, the country was celebrating its bicentennial, and my wife, at age 34, was studying for the law school entrance exams.  Amy was 11 years old, Beth 7, and Sara 5.  My medical practice of 5 years, which had been a source of unbridled pleasure and satisfaction, was beginning to lose its luster, as my mental, emotional, and spiritual well being began to gradually decline.  Unknown to me at the time, this was to be the beginning of a journey taking me to places I never could have imagined.

State law required all physicians to complete a certain number of continuing medical educations hours (CME) in accredited courses every two years, and I was registered in an Oncology review course at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  I arrived at the conference hall for the 9 a.m. session, and was confronted by an all too familiar CME environment, large hall with tables set up in rows facing the lectern and a large screen, and smaller tables on the sides of the hall with coffee, tea, and water.  Each registrant is given a syllabus with a daily schedule lectures and an outline of each presentation, along with a pad of paper and one or more very sharp pencils.  The lights are dimmed, the first slide is projected on the screen, and the speaker begins to read…directly from the slide, the same slide that is in the syllabus.  It takes less than 10 minutes for the sleep inducing boredom to set in; this is the last place on earth I want to be on this day, and after 30 excruciating minutes I get up and walk out, and will not return for the remainder of the 3-day course.

I walked back to the hotel to get my canvas shoulder bag with my camera, pens, and sketchbooks, and set out to explore the city.  And explore it is exactly what I did, walking through every section and neighborhood of Boston over the next 2 days.  On the third day, I took the train across the Charles River and experienced Cambridge and the Harvard campus.  I loved every minute of every day; quite remarkable for someone who was not fond of traveling, site seeing, and dining alone.  It was more than just the visual delights of the city’s remarkable urban landscape; I was experiencing an incredible sense of being centered within myself.  Everything was as it should be in my small world.  I was doing what I was intended to do. 

Those three days in Boston 36 years ago were to mark the beginning of an incredible journey, taking me through the most intense years of my life.  Four years later I would make the decision to leave my practice and pursue a life as an artist.


Patience Renzulli said...

Note to ... Everyone: I am not a lawyer. He is talking about another wife here.

Patience Renzulli said...

Note to ... Um ... Everyone. I am not a lawyer. He is talking about a different wife here.