February 2019: Letter from the President
Dear HealthCorps Family,
February is Heart Month, created by the American Heart Association to promote the maintenance of a healthy heart. It is also a month to promote the healing of hearts.
Last week, our Chairman, Dr. Mehmet Oz, lost his father. Although Dr. Mustafa Oz lived an iconic and resilient 94 years and his end was anticipated by his family, the grief of his loss was as deeply felt by his adult children as it would have been had he passed on two decades prior. It is difficult to lose a parent at any age. It is hard to navigate a heart that is broken from loss and grief.
At HealthCorps, we teach young people to look at challenges as opportunities for growth and resilience… even the extreme circumstances of death, mourning, and grief.
To heal and grow from a challenge, it is important first to recognize and accept your feelings. According to psychologist Robert Firestone, “The core conflict for all human beings is whether to live a life of feeling or to attempt to suppress our feelings in an effort to block out pain.” Psychiatrist and HealthCorps Advisory Board member Dr. Mark Goulston utilizes a powerful exercise for behavioral change that includes a first step of noting how you felt when faced with an adverse circumstance.
Recently, I watched a fantastic film called HEAL that also stresses the importance of honoring and acknowledging one’s feelings as an important aspect of healing. The movie also goes on to stress the importance of forgiveness in the healing process. Forgiveness (“I forgive myself and I forgive everyone”) is a key component in the short Sahaja Meditation exercise that our Coordinators share with students across the country.
Too often do we resist and fear emotion. This Heart Month, I challenge you, as I am challenging myself and my co-workers, to embrace and respect their emotions – regardless of how uncomfortable their feelings are.
President, HealthCorps Inc.