You Can Lead a Horse to Blue Solar Water, But Can You Make Him Drink?

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
-English idiom

Sometimes cartoonists say the darndest things.

Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip "Mutts" above, really hits home for me . . . and maybe all of us at some level.

But as a case in point, let's take doctors.

We work with patients -- educating, helping, treating, prescribing, sometimes operating on, and doing all kinds of other procedures too.  

Sometimes the patient accepts the prescription, suggestion, recommendation, or diagnostic test.  Many times -- at least 50% or more in some sources -- they don't. 

We wonder, why would a patient spend time and money to see us, and then not follow through with suggestions they receive?  There are papers galore examining this question . . . but that's not the miracle in the comic above.

The miracle is that the "horse" drinks at all -- even if it's Blue Solar Water.  And that in the cartoon, Mooch (the tuxedo cat with attitude) attributes this result to his own ministrations.  What would Mooch say if the horse continued to balk?

So many times we run into this paradigm, in both medicine and Ho'oponopono.  We do our cleaning, and sometimes "it works":  we get the raise, the romantic partner, the contract, the car, the house, whatever.   Of course this has to be because "we" are brilliant, are doing it "right", or have our you-know-what together, etc.

We forget that more is going on than meets the eye.

As patients, we have millions of reasons why we won't fully "drink" the medicinal water -- whatever it may be (allopathy, homeopathy, surgery, meditation, St. John's Wort, you name it.)  We also have many reasons why we do, but I think they have more to do with US than with our doctors.

I can recall plenty of times I've patted myself on the back just like Mooch above, when actually my "horse" was thirsty and simply ready to do the work.  This doesn't mean my participation wasn't useful or timely -- just that the seeming "success" isn't because of ME.  I apply my science and my art (my "tools") as best I can, and I am as present with my patient as I can be.  S/he then does what s/he does with these things.  It may be to "drink", or not.

The bottom line is, I am not in charge.  This is a very hard truth for most of us, physicians included. 

It can be especially painful when someone is suffering, and we think we know how to heal them.  We forget that all healing is ultimately self-healing -- and that the patient's own inner resources (which are part of Divinity) do that miraculous work.  We doctors try to best leverage these things in the patient's favor, but it's true nevertheless. 

Likewise in Ho'oponopono, we clean with moment-to-moment situations, using whatever tools or processes we know.  Amazingly then, the right and perfect next step shows up -- and the next, and the next, and the next.  We are not "in charge," and the best thing we can do is our cleaning.  Sometimes we're inspired to speak up, to do, or to act.  We are clear, and we do.  If not, we clean.

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len has often said, "If you wonder whether you're inspired, you're not. Keep cleaning."   :-)  

Thank you dear Mooch.  I love you.  You're helping me let go of my hero complex, and simply do what's in front of me to do.  As a dear friend of mine in North Carolina (fellow psychiatrist Dr. Julia Lunsford) would say, "That's a gracious plenty." 

Peace begins with me,


Detti said…
Hello! My name is Detti, I am from Hungary. I have been practicing Ho'oponopono and found your website after looking for something regarding depression and Ho'oponopono, then found your post on this. My dear father is suffering from serious depression and I have been trying to help him. It is hard to accept that I am "not in charge". I am cleaning and praying. Sometimes it is very hard and don't know if the memories are mine or his... but I guess it doesn't matter as they show up as my memories.

Your writings are very clear and helpful, you have a simple way of explaning your experiences and making them real, thank you for that. And thank you for finding you. :-)

blessings, Detti
Pam Pappas MD said…
Dear Detti,
Thank you for your comment, and for your cleaning.

You're right, it can be hard for us to understand that the best thing we can do to help others, is to do our own cleaning. When we do, we get back to "Zero" . . . . and that is the state in which Divinity can inspire us to take right action. Otherwise our efforts are simply memories being replayed again and again. Amazing concept, but I am finding it to be very true and very helpful. And no, it doesn't matter whose memories are "whose", because we share them. :-)

Cleaning along with you,
Thanks for the reference to Dr. Lunsford. She lives in my backyard! Funny how the Cleaning will just drop things in your lap!

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