An excerpt from Self-compassion: cultivating physician resilience during the pandemic by Paul Mohapel, PhD, as published in The Canadian Society of Physician Leaders COVID-19 Crisis Bulletin #7 (page 2)

“Common humanity refers to the sense of interconnectedness we feel with others. All humans are flawed works-in-progress, everyone fails, makes mistakes, and experiences hardship in life. Connecting to our common humanity honours the unavoidable fact that life entails suffering for everyone, without exception. When things go wrong or not the way we expected them to go, we often think we are at fault. We forget that this is perfectly normal and natural. In addition, physicians often isolate themselves when they are struggling. Instead of reaching out for support, they will often blame themselves for not being able to cope better with stress. Remembering that pain and failure are part of the shared human experience and normalizing that allows us to feel more connected with others. Tapping into our common humanity is a reminder that there are forces beyond our control. It requires accepting what you can change and having the wisdom to let go of what you cannot change or directly impact. Self-compassion expert Dr. Neff suggests that, when we find ourselves suffering or feeling disconnected from others, we repeat the following phrases to ourselves: ‘We all make mistakes. We all fail. This is part of the human experience. May I be safe, may I be peaceful, may I be kind to myself. May I accept myself as I am.’”

Mosquito wilsan-u unsplash cropped.jpg
tinnitus by Ted Jablonski (photo credit: wilsan u,

With gratitude, we share two poems by Ted Jablonski, MD CCFP FCFP 


there are days

when the mosquito buzz saw

vibrating through my head

sounds better

than the perpetual drone

of the worried well

that fumble and fidget

in front of me



lean in

eye contact 


furrowed brow 

head nod 





a safe 







a wall of



I can no longer


climb over

the parasite as hero 

I work hard 

keep the balance of want and need 

to remain alive 




clinging to the back of a chronic malady that has stripped the body

and mind of its host

my host 

who painfully withers away 


death means moving on 

change that I would rather not have 

at this moment 




my being has 

danced, sung, chased fantasies 

visions of grandeur 


built a kingdom for my progeny 

who flourish 

bear fruit 


heroic or 

opportunistic altruism 


or parasitic 


the seduction of concession 


I sleep well 




The Physician and Family Support Program (PFSP) invites original physician poetry submissions

PFSP recognizes the importance of the emotional and social aspects of physicians’ lives in their overall wellness. We invite Alberta physicians in any career stage to send in their original poems/prose to be considered for publication in the PFSP Perspectives column in future issues of Alberta Doctors’ Digest

  • Submissions of under 500 words can be emailed to Please write “poetry submission” in the subject field. 
  • We will acknowledge receipt of your submission. If it is selected for publication, we will work with the ADD editor to determine when it can be published. 
  • For further information or questions, please email, and one of our team members will get back to you.

Banner image credit: Helena Lopes on Unsplash