Soon after my life-partner’s death, I had an experience of new awareness that transformed my life. In this audio teleseminar, I share what I learned and the daily practices that support my inner peace and wellbeing.
This recording is the final seminar of the series “Taking Care of the Caregiver,” hosted by Batiyah at Reflect, Relate, Renew. The purpose is to support you in connecting to more inner peace and joy within yourself, despite challenging external circumstances and loss.
From the recording:
“I’m often asking myself on a daily basis: Where is my energy focused? Is it on loss or connection? Is it on absence or presence? It truly is for me about the awareness first, and then the choice next. And breaking that cycle of absence.”
“Loss only exists hand in hand with disconnection or absence . . . We know the loss is real, the loss itself isn’t changing. But the experience of the loss is what we can shift.”
“How can we live in the physical world, with physical challenges and physical losses, AND still experience presence, connection and alignment to the bigger part of ourselves? And to the peace and love and joy that exists when we tap into this essence of life?”
As you listen, I invite you to discover how these perspectives and simple tools can benefit your personal journey.
I would love to hear from you! Please share your insights and input. Thanks!
What do a Rabbi, a Buddhist chaplain and former Evangelical Christian have to say about ministering to people who are nearing death? How does each tradition support someone in this state of being?
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/kuzma
These were among the questions posed as part of a recent Choosing Options, Honoring Options (COHO) event in Southern Oregon. The spring series is called “Facing Mortality: The Elephant in the Room.”
I attended a discussion about different spiritual traditions’ views on end-of-life issues. The five people on the panel work with palliative care and Hospice patients.
The presentation – which also included a Catholic priest and Presbyterian chaplain – did get into some specifics about God, impermanence, faith, and natural death versus assisted suicide. But those weren’t the pieces that I carried with me.
What I took away was much more simple. It was something all panelists agreed on. Their main common practice wasn’t based on comparative religion and finding overlaps from different spiritual traditions. Their common practice was based on a simple human act: Listening . . .
A few years ago on New Year’s Eve, I looked around the house for a blank journal to write in. As I flipped through an almost empty notebook, I unexpectedly came across a note my life-partner Kate had written a couple weeks before she died. “Dear friends, family, loved ones,” she began . . .
Photo credit: Jennifer Mathews, 2013
As Kate’s cancer progressed, she and I had used the CaringBridge website to keep people updated about her life and process. I recall her mentioning that she drafted something to post online, but she never brought it up again. And then almost a month after her graceful exit, I found her handwritten words.
I’m compelled to share them with you as we enter a new calendar year. May they be a reminder that it’s possible to experience freedom and joy amidst challenges and suffering. No matter what you experienced this past year, or what is on the horizon in the coming year, my prayer is that you, too, remember to taste and savor the sweetness of life.
This holiday season, I invite you to get more comfortable. No, I don’t mean wear your favorite flannel pajamas to Thanksgiving dinner (though I do encourage that). I mean get comfortable having conversations about loved ones who have moved on from the physical world.
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/aydinynr
Holidays gatherings are often a time of annual traditions and expectations. Many people seem to enjoy the predictability of who they will see and what will happen throughout the day.
Maybe every year, you expect to play cards before dinner or wish the TV wasn’t so loud. Maybe you count on eating canned beets or having the green bean casserole in the same glass Pyrex dish next to the yams.
But then one year, there’s no green bean casserole. Because there’s no Aunt Sally to bring it.
And suddenly, you find yourself needing to adapt. And having to do so in the company of others. Will mentioning the person who is no longer sitting at the table be a holiday downer? Or can talking freely about her or him connect you all in deeper ways?
As humans, we seem to enjoy freaking ourselves out. We wear gory masks and fake blood on Halloween. We willingly enter haunted houses and watch horror films to get our adrenaline pumping. But we don’t need fake limbs or rubber spiders to scare us on a daily basis. Instead, we have a built-in accessory. It’s called the mind.
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/Arangan_A
A story that a friend shared with me highlights what I’m talking about. As the tale goes, a young child asks his mother to imagine she is in the jungle, completely surrounded by tigers, with no weapon available and nowhere to hide.
“What would you do?” the boy asks eagerly.
The mother pauses. She imagines the scenario. Would she run? Play dead? Accept her fate as the tigers’ dinner? After pondering the question, she replies that she has no idea what she would do. Then she asks the child what he would do.
He replies, “I would stop imagining it.”
Yes, of course. I laughed at the punch line, nodding my head in agreement. But is it really that simple?