We landed at 5am this morning in Melbourne.
Rach is an amazing sleeper. She sat right next to me, eyes closed and face down, completely zenned out. Like a monk in prayer.
I’m not so successful at the sleeping thing.
I spent the flight staring at the back of my eyelids, and exploring every other sensation my body had running. I imagined being blind, and how all my other senses would grow stronger, like a superhero.
I could hear the low rumble of the engines, and a few muffled conversations two rows forward. I heard every snap and click of the bathroom doors. I heard so many coughs I lost count. I wondered if I could influence dreams, up there in the sky with all these sleeping souls. So I pushed thoughts of courageous generosity out into the ether, but, no one woke and gave me 20 dollers, so I guess it didn’t work.
One of the things I love about Rachel Callander is how she does this: The travelling, speaking, training, listening thing. She hustles so strong, but at the same time she’s not grasping at all, not chasing the spotlight, even when the spotlight chases her. The learning, the studying and thinking is hardcore, but the delivery is kind of effortless.
Not EASY effortless, but, more like, joyfully determined.
Like, she’s been told her future, been given that certainty, so now, no matter what the journey looks like, or how hard it gets, she’ll lean in to it with a cavalier openheartedness.
Psychologist Angela Duckworth would call this “grit”, I think.
Abbortsford Convent is a peaceful ancient thing, straight out of a Harry Potter novel. I swear I saw some kids just finishing up a game of quidditch in the courtyard when we arrived. I laid some books on a table in the hall and enquired about coffee, and Rach stepped up to the stage.
This is the third year North Richmond Community Health has run their “Conversations About Care” symposium, and it has become something quite beautiful and powerful. It feels like a summit of elders, a gathering of altruism where the conversation isn’t about personal gain, money, justice or excuses, but instead, we hear ideas about transforming the customer experience, flattening the hierarchy of ego, building equal respect for both the patient and the professional.
Rach is alive here - Softly buzzing with questions, empathy, warmth and strength. She’s taking notes and sketching models into her Moleskine, and remembering every name she comes across.
I’m terrible with names, and have to write everything down:
Susan Alberti AC - A powerhouse of forward motion;
John McKenna - The Yoda of the Health System, reminding us of our limitless potential in life;
Dr Ajesh George, Prof. John Aitken, Dr Jonathan Silverman, Lucy Mayes, Dr Ioan Jones, Dr Katy Theodore, Dr Martin Hall.
Incredible humans, investing their lives into healthcare and relationships.
Rach whispers to me in passing, “These are our people, Nath!”
And I close my eyes, and again push my thoughts out into the ether; and I see a room full of people invested in humanity and cultural change.
Looks like I found that courageous generosity after all.