Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Experience vs. Endurance

This morning during yoga the instructor was challenging us to "experience" the poses and embrace all the sensations that come from holding the pose. To not let our focus be merely on enduring or thinking about how good it will feel when it is over. Since I was in such a relaxed state, my mind started wandering and I began to think about those two terms as they apply to medical school/residency/fellowship. (I am not supposed to wander, I should be paying attention to my breath)! Experience vs. endurance. Most of the time I have been so focused on endurance that I have missed part of the experience.

The instructor reminded us that experience isn't always pleasant, but it teaches us something. I would have to agree.... but should I?

As I look back over the last few years of medical school, and the last several years of residency I see where I wasn't fully embracing the experiences. In fact, right now as I am writing this post most of what I recall is the endurance. Perhaps when I have endured, and this ride is over, I will be able to see more clearly the experience and then will be ready to embrace it. That is just like me, doing things backwards again.

With the last several hundred days of residency/fellowship what are some ways that I can embrace the experience? I've decided that yoga is part exercise/relaxation and part philosophy..... I don't know what she is talking about, but I am trying.

Well maybe I do know what she is talking about. I figured it out as I am sitting at the computer watching my two girls watching TV for the 3rd hour in a row. If I were going to "experience" this I would be over there with them and the TV would be off. If I were going to "endure" this, I would let them watch TV all day and throw some potato chips or dry cereal their way when it was time to eat. Maybe a few water bottles, too.

Time to start experiencing!


  1. I really like this post! I think it's true of so much of life. I think there are days I flip flop in between enduring and experiencing, with the former taking the front seat lately. What a good reminder to try to really live this time rather than just waiting for it to pass.

  2. It is so so so so so so SO hard to really take in the moment and experience it... the endurance, at this point, is all I can think about. And I know it's bad, but I don't think there is anything that can change my way of thinking right now! BAD me!
    Anyway, I love this post... and I am so happy that you guys are in the home stretch of residency!! The endurance has paid off!


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