September 6, 2017 :: JOHN CARBONE

SOME INSIGHTS FROM THIS SESSION:

  • Extrapolating other effective life practice and applying it to parenting.
  • Adding accountability steps to ASIA.
  • Mantra-fying your Inspire phrase as a Hear Good.

ABOUT JOHN

John has many roles, chiefly: primary care family physician, preceptor for medical residents, mindfulness teacher, husband, and father of three kids.
 
“I thought doctors knew a lot more before I became one!” That’s the first line of a blogpost John wrote about his journey into mindfulness.

I was an intern on the team taking care of a critically ill patient. We had no idea what was wrong with him. Fortunately he got better, but I was really unsettled by the limits of medical knowledge.  I was struck by the thought that someday he was going to die from something--and so was I, and so was everyone!  I came face to face with the question of how to live well and wisely in the midst of uncertainty, with the knowledge of my own mortality. That's when I found Shinzen's audiobook, which was the most lucid thing I ever heard about how mindfulness could help relieve suffering, and also help with the really BIG questions.

John had had some exposure to meditation through martial arts in high school, but now started practicing meditation in earnest, and not long afterwards did his first retreat with Shinzen at a nearby yoga/meditation center.  A couple of years later John graduated as the top resident from his program and joined a primary care practice, but continued to feel saddened and frustrated by the limits of conventional medicine.

People were suffering, and were seeking relief.  In some cases medications are absolutely helpful and appropriate, but many times I felt that drugs were only treating the symptoms of suffering, not the root. I knew from what Shinzen had taught me, and by that time, from my own experience- that mindfulness was something that could actually treat the root causes of suffering.

Nine years ago, John took a sabbatical from his medical practice in order to deepen his mindfulness skills and to find ways to share mindfulness with others.

I was practicing the Five Ways, and I took an MBSR practicum that fall. That winter I taught my first mindfulness class at our hospital's Cancer Center. If my whole sabbatical was just for that one class, it would've been worth it. Those students encouraged me to keep teaching, and some of them still practice with me today. 

While he doesn’t hesitate to share mindfulness tools with his patients, many of his students have been colleagues.

From the beginning, Shinzen really encouraged me to teach, quoting a saying oft used in Medicine--"See One, Do One, Teach One."  He told me that my MD would give me some "Street cred", and let me present mindfulness to audiences that would otherwise dismiss the topic out of hand. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share what I've learned with other physicians and healthcare professionals. It’s been a joy to teach these skills and have it benefit people’s lives. Just a decade ago, mindfulness wasn't as mainstream, but now it's a household word!  Each day there’s more and more scientific research reporting its benefits- including research that Shinzen's participating in!

John almost never misses a day of mindfulness practice. He has some routines to integrate life practice into his work schedule, but reports that his role as father (to sons aged 14, 11, and 8) is where he most would like help to apply his life practice. 

#THREELITTLEKNOWNFACTS

  • JOHN LOST 20 POUNDS IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL BY SKATEBOARDING.  HE CAN STILL DO A KICK-FLIP OLLIE.

  • HE LOVES TO EAT, BUT DOESN’T LIKE BEETS, CRANBERRY SAUCE OR RADICCHIO. 

  • HIS MOTHER HAS A THEORY THAT HE DOESN’T LIKE TO EAT MAROON-COLORED FOODS, BUT HE’S CERTAIN THAT THERE’S MAROON COLOR FOODS THAT HE DOES LIKE, THAT HE JUST CAN’T THINK OF RIGHT NOW. 

Emily Barrett1 Comment