Dear MWHC family,
Divine Love works in mysterious, incomprehensible ways, doesn’t it? I never would have imagined 2 years ago when I stepped off the Carilion-Bridgewater premises for the last time the adventure that was awaiting me – an adventure of the heart and Spirit that brings me to this moment, now, with you.
Do you know how precious are you to me? Each of you, who has taken a leap of faith with this practice, who are participating in something completely different, and who are co-creating this practice and growing it into what it’s meant to be.
And I recognize that the loving intentions of my heart can be limited by my human imperfections. I want to give all, do all, and be all for you … just as you desire to do in your own lives for the ones you love. So forgive me when I fall short, fall behind, and sometimes fall apart.
This past week, I have been in Virginia Beach. I was originally supposed to be in New Mexico for the start of the 2-year Living School through the Center for Action and Contemplation, but it turned into a 5 day online symposium, so I returned to my hometown, left my boys with my parents, and rented a space by the ocean in order to learn and to heal.
On my bucket list is a 30 day silent retreat, and after 44 years, this was my first step towards that. It wasn’t 30 days, or silent, but it was a retreat.
I spent 7 hours a day on Zoom meetings with 189 people all over the world, each of us longing for a contemplative community whose language and practices help to express the heart-fire burning within us, and discern how to manifest transformative love in the world.
I watched the sun rise over the Atlantic every morning for 6 days, on clear mornings, cloudy mornings, quiet mornings, loud mornings. And I was consoled that even in these uncertain times, there is a certainty that the sun will rise and set and rise again, and we can set our watches to that certainty.
I watched the tides flow in and out and in again – bringing shells and fish and rocks and sounds to the shore, sometimes gently, sometimes more violently, but again and again taking my whispered words of longing and awe and gratitude, and returning to me an overflow of grace.
I stepped into the waters, and then finally submerged myself the last 2 days- feeling the waves pull me from shore, and return me to shore. It was the first time I’ve willingly and intentionally walked into the ocean that I almost drowned in when I was nine, and pushed aside my fears and played in it for hours, because my 12 year son wanted to play and invited me in.
Isn’t it amazing what Love asks of us, and what we will do for Love? And when Love invites us without forcing or berating or scaring, and we accept the invitation, how one moment can heal 35 years of suppressed trauma and fear?
I share these things because I want you to know that even as I remain your physician, I am also being led in the path of the Master Physician. A path in which the Inner Knowing and still, silent voice within me is gaining greater confidence and authority. It’s a voice all of us have, and it is a fully trustworthy voice in a world that’s so loud with competing voices that want to take from us, rather than give us life.
Over the next two years of the Living School, as I learn from five of the greatest living contemplative teachers about the Christian contemplative mystical tradition, I will write about, and wrestle with, new ways of seeing the world and falling in love with the Divine Lover who loves us all. If what I share resonates with, or challenges, or brings up questions for you, then I welcome conversations and hope to create spaces in which we can do so, safely, together.
And I will always feel honored to bear witness to your experiences of Love in its fullness – all the joy and the sorrow it brings. As Richard Rohr has said, the two normal and primary paths of transformation into Holy Mystery (God) are the paths of Great Love and Great Suffering.
Those are paths that cannot be walked alone. I will walk with you as a companion on your journey, and I invite you to walk with me on mine.
Peace, health, and wholeness, Arlene
McCain Whole Health Care is an innovative membership family medicine practice focused on deeply relational, person-centered care.
Dr. Arlene McCain is a board-certified family physician who offers comprehensive medical care for all ages, with a whole health perspective that honors body, mind, and spirit.
She is committed to partnering with individuals as they discern personal motivations for healthy change and passionately supports their inspired progress towards a thriving life.
This practice offers a safe space in which to ask questions, explore answers, and create community on our individual journeys towards health and wholeness.