Is spirituality cool to talk about in 2016? I know some people associate the term "spirituality" with terms like religion and politics, and they should not be discussed in public, let alone on a blog & website. I know others out there are asking, "Hey Mike, have you lost it? Are you ok? And, how's your yoga mat?" Well, I can tell you my yoga mat is fine, thank you for asking.
"Desperately Seeking Spirituality: A Field Guide To Practice" is the new book from my friend Meredith Gould, whom you may know from her associations with the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, and from the Church Social Media Chat (#ChSocM). She is the author of many other books, most notably, "The Social Media Gospel: Sharing The Good News In New Ways" which is "The Bible" for social media use in organized religion circles.
In person, I have met Meredith on two occasions. But, our friendship started online and continues online. In addition to our mutual interests of social media and medicine/healthcare, I have talked with her "on the back channel" (her phrase) about spirituality and religion. Did you know she was raised in the Jewish tradition, and is now a Catholic, married to an Episcopal priest, and worships at an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran) church?
I have never written about those topics on this blog, until now. I was raised Catholic (12 years of Catholic school), but I admit that I haven't kept up with those traditions as much as my parents would want me to. My patients have asked me about spirituality in the past, and they have talked with me about practices like meditation, yoga, and what they call "holistic practices."
Don't get me wrong, I am not of the belief that Western medicine is the end-all and be-all practice of medicine. There is more out there, and I'm learning every day. I guess I'm taking the same approach with spirituality. There really is not one "right" religion, and the rest is wrong. Right?
What I'm trying to say is that I'm going to take this opportunity to read this book, to do some self-exploration, and to share some of this process with all of you. In addition, following the completion of this book, I will be interviewing Meredith on the podcast about "Desperately Seeking Spirituality" and anything else that comes up in our conversation.
As a preview to our upcoming chat, here is a previous fun conversation about social media, medicine, healthcare, online communities, and more. This Google hangout took place before the 2014 Stanford Medicine X conference, the second time we met in person...