The Grief World is where Non-sequiturs Rule
A time ago, the sister of a new patient answered my general question seeking to get some background information on her because he was (alas) non-verbal. She answered my question by first telling me what profession she was in, how much money she made doing real estate, then she went on to her husbands career and how well he was doing too. At that point I gently interrupted her, asking again about the patient.
"Yeah, I'm getting to that..." Then she looked at me like I was the one doing a stand up routine. She then mentioned the profession of the patient, which was completely unrelated to her (or her husband's) income stream.
My irritability and impatience was not a good start...because the truth is that the family is an organism, which moves as fast as it's slowest part and this woman was the tail. She was so discombobulated by her brothers illness / decline that she was in the particular dream world where non-sequiturs rule. She was down Alice's rabbit hole.
I joined her there instead of helping her out of her hole...because I was completely out of line with my attitude. I get stressed out, too. I /we/ our hospice team had lost a very dear patient the day before who I had been supporting for many months. I did not recognize my own stress level.
Rx: Practice a Mindful Moment Eight-times a Day
I miss things when I try to overly-control. I know better because I have a daily practice - actually an eight times a day practice where I pause for 1 to 2 minutes (because my phone's buzzer is going off) to do a short prayer or mindful breath. (See The Resiliency Workshop for more on this super useful-practice.)
But, I am generally better at herding cats; that is managing, diversion and distraction at least into the general direction of where I want/need the conversation to go...but I also must listen for interesting and important side streets to the highway that I think I should be on or I will miss something important.
Are you with me?
Serving Wholeness with Wholeness
My impatience should have been my first spiritual clue that (my own) health and wholeness was no longer in evidence. Here is a link to a mini-talk I did before a sound meditation where I quote some interesting things David Whyte, the poet, has to say about witnessing each other and in doing so serving deeply each other's wholeness.
Thank you for listening. Please comment.
I am not Jewish, I am Interfaith.
I support people of any faith or no faith...and all those rivers between the two as a hospice and bereavement chaplain...and in my writings and sound meditations.
It can be a rough ride. A good day of being a hospice chaplain is being able to:
• to stay open: my own daily meditation & prayer practice
• to stay curious: regular research & study about this world
• to stay on the side of love: improvisation with Spirit by listening deeply
I have been supporting several (very secular) Jewish folks at bedside in the last two weeks. They don't know or to date have refused me to reach out to a local Rabbi, so I am enjoying the research. It has deepened my own prayer practice, which is ever evolving.
Here is an adapted prayer from the Jewish Morning Prayer. Try it (with your name as host* of God) now, see if you don't get clarity & guidance.
* Host - Another Jewish prayer in the book references the name of god as "Lord of Hosts" and asks if you might surrender to be the host of God today. It is a thoughtful idea.
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