How MAPS Helped to Give This Neurologist a Cool Mind
By MAPS Ambassador Karen Ho
Since joining Parvati.org four years ago based on a desire to be of service in my life, I have gained so much more than I ever imagined. My focus on building alliances with like-minded organizations, the UN, grassroots, and youth has led me to diverse opportunities and remarkable people, from environmental champions to youth advocates, community builders to government officials. I am moved by their passion and energy. These experiences have brought me to my growth edge, too, as I come from a professional background far removed from the worlds of non-profit advocacy and diplomacy.
Solving the ecological and humanitarian crisis we face today requires more than global awareness, technology, financing, or political will. It requires a fundamental shift in our relationship with our environment, its biodiversity, and all peoples. This paradigm shift must begin at the personal level, by cultivating principles that will bring about a meaningful and lasting solution. Thus, the most transformative aspect for me in serving MAPS has been the opportunity to embrace my personal ideals and to cultivate the peace that is foundational to MAPS. Helping to realize MAPS has meant a personal re-orientation—to fully embody these values that were once merely abstract ideas, and to embrace all that MAPS represents as a reality and way of life.
Making Compassionate Choices
This internal shift has also benefited my professional work as a physician. When I listen to a patient, I increasingly ponder their concerns in a larger framework that encompasses them personally and societally. An individual’s health is intimately connected with the health of their environment. Then, I ask myself: how do our individual choices, taken collectively, shape our health at the macro level? In a similar manner to the way body systems are interconnected synergistically to create a healthy whole, how do we make intelligent, compassionate choices to harmonize our educational, health and welfare systems to promote a vital population? We do not live in a vacuum, and each of our choices affects the balance of all other systems. Again, the answer seems to come back to the intention of our individual choices.
The unfortunate passing of my colleague Darcy while on duty for MAPS in March has driven home the point for me: how do each of my choices, at the personal level, serve the realization of MAPS for our collective good?
MAPS is about the interconnection of all life. It reframes the way we do business, the consumer choices we make, the choice to foster those conditions that ultimately create a better and more compassionate world. What began as a desire to offer myself in some small way, has given me much more than I had anticipated. Serving the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary has paved the way for the creation of an inner peace sanctuary that, no doubt, is key to transforming our world.
Karen Ho, MD, received a medical degree and completed her neurology residency training at Queen’s University Medical School in in Kingston. She is currently in private practice in Ottawa, Ontario and also takes part in teaching and mentorship. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors, dance and visual arts.