Dr. Dwayne is a cancer surgeon on a mission to teach a generation the power of meditation and self acceptance. To that end, he’s building a collaborative framework where high-performing tree huggers can align their self-care and service to others. He writes on faith wellness and spirituality on Substack No Hard Conversations with Dr. Dwayne, hosts the Words of Love with Dr. Dwayne podcast and is launching RxFaith, a concierge integrative wellness ecosystem. Dr. Dwayne lives and works in Tulsa Oklahoma with his husband Felix and their two fur babies, Duke and Oliver.
Dwayne, how did you come to contemplate this idea of no hard conversations?
After years of therapy and a few months of sobriety, it was clear that I had to face many fears. I had to confront shame and guilt which terrorized me and which my grandfather had innocently instigated. I knew that if I were to remain sober, I had to say these words without obfuscation to my hero and psychological cornerstone: ‘Granddaddy, I’m gay.’ His response and the conversation which followed inspired No Hard Conversations. You can hear more about it in the inaugural episode of my podcast, Words of Love with Dr. Dwayne.
Since all of your patients are women, how are you able to be their spiritual and medical advisor?
I recognized that the siloed approach to patient and client interactions was limiting my ability to have the impact I desired. I’ve always wanted to treat the whole person, but would only offer occasional glimpses behind the rigid barriers I had erected between my personal and professional selves. I became increasingly dissatisfied with this approach and eventually learned to deconstruct these self-imposed limits ( just as I had to deconstruct them for my spiritual and sexual selves).
How can we embrace our own mortality and the mortality of our loved ones in a holistic way?
I love, love, love peanut butter and jelly. I love it so much that if I were to be stranded on a desert island, please oh please let my plane crash with unlimited supplies of peanut butter and jelly. For each of us, there are people and activities which evoke similarly guttural pleasures. We embrace them because of the elemental pleasure they sustain. What we do not embrace so readily is this: that for all pleasure there is a predictable end. For every sandwich, there is one last bite. Even the universe we’re told has an expiration date. So really the work of embracing mortality is the work of accepting what is outside of our control. It is the work of pouring our present life force into the connections and actions before us (not in an imagined illusory future). The essence of good stewardship is the persistent, assiduous deconstruction of illusion (acceptance) and the patient compassionate practice of present awareness (meditation). This is my religion. These are pillars of a sustainable ethos.
What other hard conversations are you currently having and how can we settle into this idea more effortlessly?
What sabotages most people’s authenticity mission is a crucial error of omission: failure to notify. We must not alone decide to show up from our point of strongest resonance (which I call our natural frequency).. One must notify other orchestra members of the decision. It will take time for other orchestra members to conform to your resonant frequency. Sadly some will never navigate the learning curve and you’ll be forced to part ways with these players. Such is life, and yes, I too continue to navigate these conversations with lifelong relations. The only way to settle into this idea is to embrace timeless wisdom and be true to yourself.
WRITTEN BYTricia Brouk