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  • Amy Maddison

“We are not in an era of change, we are in a change of era”

By Lucy Mayes

I know a little bit about what it feels like to bring an audacious idea into action in the world. This made it all the more exciting for me to be part of the ‘furniture’ of the recent Gatherings of Kindness around Melbourne. What I witnessed in that week was miracles. Some of those that particularly moved me included:

- The enormous amount of collaboration, goodwill, investment of time, energy, faith and skill from the many partners and supporters.

- The response from the participants – the yearning for, and deep meaning made of the conversations these gatherings enabled.

- The support of big institutions for concepts that can sometimes be scary to big institutions (not to mention individuals!).

- The power of faith in your partners - the handing over of ownership, control or needing to know or manage outcomes - and the positive work that is enabled in that environment of collaboration and trust.

- The potential outcomes from gathering people together around a topic of importance and good intent, without simple solutions.

- The beauty of the arts as a profound and powerful vehicle for engaging the human spirit and for speaking truth in a way in which it can be heard.

- The power of shared story to help us reach and touch our own humanity through that of others.

- The importance of not feeling alone in professions and systems that call for and demand a lot of our humanism.

I am in awe of Dr Catherine Crock – her creativity, generosity, resilience, ideas and skills. She has had many so called ‘audacious ideas’ over the years, and she has turned so many of them into action and outcomes that have enormous reach and impact for the greater good, and for individual lives and journeys through healthcare.

My own audacious idea which saw its way into action through the Gathering of Kindness was a book which was launched as part of the Gathering this year, and in which Cath has been a contributor and strong supporter as the project unfolded. ‘Beyond the Stethoscope: Doctors’ Stories of reclaiming hope, heart and healing in medicine’ couldn’t have found a better tribe and platform from which to find its way into the world. Inspired by a journey from burnout to hope, and capturing many other stories of darkness and light, this book is testament to the power of story. It will, it is hoped, spark more of these conversations about kindness, compassion, healthy systems and healthy humans on both sides of the delivery of medicine.

“We are not in an era of change, we are in a change of era,” says Andrew Lyon, as quoted by healthcare reformist David Reilly, in his contribution to Beyond the Stethoscope: Doctors’ stories of reclaiming hope, heart & healing in medicine.’ Valued at $29.99, Beyond the Stethoscope is available at or on Amazon for non-Australian buyers or for Kindle.

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