• By grace_health
  • Nov 25 2020

There’s this sense of loss I feel, as the leaves depart, and are replaced by blustery, cold days. I yearn for hot tea and a…

There’s this sense of loss I feel, as the leaves depart, and are replaced by blustery, cold days. I yearn for hot tea and a warm blanket, and get lost in wistful moods, remembering years past, far-away people, warm faces.  

Our kids are three boisterous bundles of energy, SO EXCITED for holiday breaks, foods, and trips outdoors every chance we can get! 

It's a season full of opposites. There’s both an urgency (Stack up the wood! Unbox the winter clothes!), and a growing sense of quiet…like there might be a hint of rest coming, a hibernation of sorts. The woods are quiet on my morning walks, I can see the sky through the tree branches. A meditative, brooding, restful time.

I keep returning to this video, taken during one of my early spring walks. Water reminds me of life, and all its opportunity and potential. As we head into the quiet time of the year, I like to remind myself of that sleeping energy. The excitement of spring gives way to the beauty of summer, and the bounty of fall.

Winter is a season of rest, reflection, and renewal. Our human bodies need all of these, and right now, rest most especially. The river is like an energy that runs underneath all of that, the quiet heartbeat of life. I pause in gratitude for being here, being present, and a little prayer of Thanksgiving for the joy of being alive. 

UPDATES:

COVID PCR Testing!
Grace Health is proud to partner with the Maine State HETL Lab in Augusta, to offer rapid-turnaround PCR testing (48-72 hours).  Free to members (plus courier fee to get samples to Augusta), low-cost to non-members through Convenient Care.

Please use the Patient Passport app to connect with me regarding your needs, or call (207) 303-8800.

Testing is also available free from these locations (courier costs covered by the State of Maine)
Portland International Airport
Walgreens Pharmacies

COVID Rapid Antigen Testing:
Grace Health is now able to offer COVID Rapid Antigen Tests!

Tests are most accurate during the first 3-7 days of a symptomatic illness (ie flu-like symptoms, cough, cold, runny nose, body aches, headache, loss of taste/smell, nausea, diarrhea). They cannot be used for screening in asymptomatic patients (ie before or after travel), for travel, PCR testing is recommended.

For more information, email me at drnorman@gracehealthmaine.com or call (207) 303-8800.

In Health,
Dr. Annie

  • By grace_health
  • Nov 20 2020

Tune in to CBS News Channel 13 at 5:30pm tonight for updates on the current status of COVID-19 testing delays in Maine. Grace Health is…

Tune in to CBS News Channel 13 at 5:30pm tonight for updates on the current status of COVID-19 testing delays in Maine.

Grace Health is proud to partner with the State Of Maine to provide low-cost (and often free) same-day or next-day COVID-19 PCR testing for our patients!

Members: Contact us directly to schedule your test drnorman@gracehealthmaine.com, (207) 303-8800
Non-Members: Dr. Norman is offering discounted Telehealth visits and testing through the remainder of 2020

Other COVID-19 Testing options in Maine:
Portland International Airport
Walgreens Pharmacies

Stay safe out there!
In Health,
Dr. Annie

  • By grace_health
  • Aug 22 2020

I have been trying to put into words the feeling of this past week. It’s an unsettled, persistent, background feeling, at times frightening, at times…

I have been trying to put into words the feeling of this past week.

It’s an unsettled, persistent, background feeling, at times frightening, at times tearful, and always-present.

Being a doctor, and a mother, and intermittently a teacher, I cannot wrap my mind around the choices that I’m forced to make. Especially when all the most important ones appear to be so completely out of my control.

In ordinary times, this week, the last week of summer, would be filled with trepidation and excitement. Last minute trips to buy school supplies, new backpacks and sneakers. Figuring out bus routes, homeroom assignments, and snuggling the crud out of my three gorgeous boys who are growing up way too fast.

Now, these everyday concerns seem so comforting, and so…painfully inadequate.

My heart aches for my rising Kindergartner, who has spent every school-day morning of the last three years watching his older brother get on the Big Yellow Bus, setting his heart on the dream of being a Big Boy one day, leaving home on his own grand adventure of growing up.

My heart aches for my close girlfriends, schoolteachers, prepping their classrooms right now and praying that not one student, teacher or loved one falls ill this year.

My heart aches for the millions of people who have a loved one who is already medically delicate, and fear the very real possibility of losing them this year.

I need to do something with this feeling, this deep burning ache in my chest, before it eats me alive.
I think about my own hurt, and then, the much greater hurt of so many people who, unlike me, are also struggling right now with loss of housing, of livelihood, and loss of connection to loved ones.

In Tibetan meditation traditions, there is a practice called Tonglen. It is practiced specifically in the darkest and most challenging of times, for healing hurt and anguish. Right now, this tradition feels deeply relatable.

In this tradition, my breath becomes a bellows. I breathe in all the hurt. I burn it up. I breathe out relief, clear refreshing oxygen.

I breathe in sadness, fear, hopelessness, anger.
I burn them up in the furnace of my heart.
I hold the emptiness for two beats. I feel the stillness.
I breathe out cool, refreshing, relief.

I pause, and I breathe in again. I imagine a room filled with smoke, acrid and bitter. My breath becomes the medicine, an air filter, a medicinal furnace. With every breath, the air becomes clearer, my sight becomes clearer. The room fills with life again. I feel tears, beauty, forgiveness, love, and acceptance.

And so, I breathe. The simplest of actions, an ancient rhythm, a heartbeat. I breathe in. I breathe out. I keep breathing.

May we all be healthy, and happy. May we all find love, joy, and forgiveness, this coming year.
May our children, and our elderly parents be happy, healthy, loved and fulfilled.
May all those who hurt, who feel isolated, alone, and abandoned, find love, health, happiness and fulfillment.
May we all heal together.
May the way forward become clear.
May we face it together, with love, courage…and compassion

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For a short 4-minute Tonglen instruction from Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön, click here.

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