stories that heal

Facts are essential for scientific understanding. Stories are critical for wisdom, understanding the arc and meaning of our lives. Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, author of two wonderful books about stories, describes how some stories can diminish us and our view of ourselves. Others give us strength and hope. Stories can reveal deep meaning in our ordinary lives and relationships. How can we change a story that is not serving us well?

Changing Our Stories:

Dr. Remen relates how her own story changed after a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Instead of being an invalid destined for an early death, she became a race car driver with her mother’s help. She looks back now on a life story radically different from the severely restricted life the doctors said would be hers at the age of fifteen. As it turns out, you can’t know your own story until you have lived it.

Counting Our Blessings:

As Dr. Remen notes, sometimes a blessing doesn’t look like one when it arrives. It may instead look like an obstacle, a challenge or a disappointment. Only in hindsight can we see how it may have contributed to our resilience or our coping ability. We may also have an impact on someone else’s story without even realizing it. Dr. Remen believes we have all blessed many more people than we realize.

Finding Patience:

When a serious medical problem arises, we may need more patience than we expect to be able to get to the bottom of it. But with patience, it will be revealed. We also hear from Dr. Remen about her work with Commonweal Cancer Help Program and the role of stories in healing, even when the condition cannot be cured.

This Week’s Guest:

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen is Founder and Founding Director of The Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI) at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio.

Dr. Remen is also Professor of Family Medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Remen’s best-selling books of stories, Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal and My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging have been translated into 23 languages and have sold over a million copies. Since 1991, her course for medical students, The Healer’s Art, has been taught in more than a hundred medical schools and completed by more than 21,000 medical students both here and abroad.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Download the mp3 (Choose mp3 from the pulldown menu above the “Add to Cart” button)

Air Date:December 15, 2018

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Marywinne
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Reply

    I would love to “read” this program since, because of hearing problems, I cannot “hear” it. Is their a written record of the program I could access?

    • Terry Graedon
      Reply

      Dear Marywinne, we haven’t transcribed the shows because people who would like to read them want them for free. I’m sorry we don’t yet have a way to pay for the transcription.

  2. Carol
    WI
    Reply

    I read both of Rachel Naomi Remen’s KITCHEN TABLE WISDOM and MY GRANDFATHER’S BLESSINGS soon after they were published. I have gone back to them many times over the years. My daughter has borrowed them. I recently mentioned to a friend that I had been reading a story out of one of these books by Dr. Rachel Remen each night at bedtime as a meditation. My friend said, “Oh! I’ve been doing the same thing!”

  3. Stef
    Vero Beach, Florida
    Reply

    Dr. Remen told the story of the stranger on the street that spoke up to a husband who was verbally abusing his wife and how the stranger made such a strong impact on the women’s life. I felt such a sense of relief and peace to hear that story because I too spoke up to a stranger who was verbally abusing his wife and have thought since the incident perhaps I should have used control and not have interfered. Now I feel I definitely did the right thing.Thank you Dr. Remen, your interview has strongly impacted me and I look forward to reading your books.

  4. Diane
    Burlington, NC
    Reply

    Another facinating guest. Dr. Remen confirms to me that each day is a gift and we need to engage with the world around us. I’m looking forward to reading her books.

  5. Diane
    New Port Richey FL
    Reply

    Dr Rachel, how wonderful to hear your beautiful voice this morning on PP!
    Two Remen books right now on my kitchen table to be
    given as Christmas gifts💖💖 Thank you for your generous and
    ever so helpful words. I love you.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Total
USD
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.