Aside

A Recent Interview on Author Sam Oliver

1. What can you tell us about the Religious&Spirituality genre for those who aren’t familiar with or don’t know much about it? 

     Religion is basically beliefs about what one believes to be true in what they have faith in. This could be their God and ways of living to obtain God’s favor. Much of religion is centered on creating a lifestyle that pleases God and brings other people into this union as well through a set of beliefs and practices a collective group of people hold as true.

      Spirituality is a person’s focus of attention. This is usually a centering of one’s awareness inside one’s awareness. To live by the truth revealed in every moment from this source of attention is the ultimate goal in life. When a person lives from this place of awareness, they share in the world around them and beyond a sense of knowing he/she belongs to all that has, is, and ever will be.

2. How has your work you do outside of writing help contribute to your time as an author? 

     As a Hospice Chaplain for almost 25 years, I have learned a great deal about living in soul through those who are entering fully into this awareness at the end of their life. Dying people share with me what is important to them. What rises to the top of it all is not what many people think. Yes, the Hospice patients that I care for do feel sad about leaving behind those they love, but a great deal of their focus becomes a willingness to be a person of faith who trusts in the wisdom that brought their life into being has the capacity to take their soul home as well. This journey into such faith is a path into their most authentic self revealing their true nature to those they love. 

3. How has being a member and writer for the Healing Ministry Journal helped you as an author? 

     Healing Ministry Journal has enabled me to create words and awareness that have helped me to create an inner ministry I am able to share with those who are dying. It has given me a voice as well to those who care for the dying. Most of all, Healing Ministry Journal has given me a voice to share with everyone I can a meaningful dynamic of living we all share and so few have words for. It has been as much a blessing to me as it has for me to share with others. 

4. What can you tell us about some of the novels you’ve written? 

     “Mondays with Mary” is a story about a Counselor in Boston who travels to Southern New Hampshire to volunteer for a dying Hospice patient named Mary. They create together in their visits an Eternal Relationship that becomes a bridge to Jim’s path into soul. It is a transforming relationship that enables Jim to move from an analytical lifestyle to a more reflective one encompassing a view on life filled with insight and grace. 

     “Angel Marie – The Making of an Angel” is a story about a baby that is born into her mother’s heart. It is a story of pregnancy loss whereby the journey into another’s heart requires us to enter into unconditional love for hearts to truly become as one.

 5. Would you say your writing gives hope and inspiration to those who are in need?

      Of course, we live in a society of words. They can be used to hurt or to heal. My hope is to create a set of words that can inspire the inner dialogue inside us all. My intent is to bring together a universal awareness that leads to faith, hope, and love. My writing allows me to get in tune with this world that lies deep within us all and pull forth the resources inside it that leads our attentive awareness into the core of our being.

 6. How has being a speaker helped in your writings? 

     My speaking has given me the opportunity share with others in a heart filled modality of care unlike any of it’s kind. When I speak, I place my attention in the same place I do when I write. I ask for guidance upon what needs to be created in that moment and let the words formulate a sacred space we all can share. To do this, I have to be willing to let go of my notes and trust in the wisdom that has created us all to lead us on a journey our hearts and souls call home. 

7. What are three words you would use as messages to reach your readers and those who follow your work? 

   “ Follow Your Dreams” These three words will lead a person into their soul every time. A dream is filled with intentions and desires to share what inspires a person. It is the creative visualization of one’s heart making itself known to those who will listen and share in a sacred union of care drawn together by a force greater than us all. It is a movement into time and space that reaches so far into infinity that only one’s soul can enter into such realms of intelligence. 

8. Have you ever considered writing in another type of genre? 

     Yes, I have thought about writing romance novels for years, but I keep coming back to the style I presently reveal because it fits with who I am at this time. There is a sensuality to romance writing and spiritual care that parallel each other more than people may know. We are sensual beings that use our hearts to extend into another’s awareness allowing us to feel our way into relationships and even life itself.

 9. What’s something interesting about you that not too many people would know about you? 

     I love to play golf and internet checkers. Both of these experiences allow me to fully engage in a form of play that is not predictable in any way. They are a lot like life. They allow my creative side to connect to nature.

 10. What does it mean to you to be writing, working and giving back to such a helpful cause? 

     This means the world to me. It is an opportunity for me to utilize my gifts in a world that longs to be known as they are known inside. It is my chance to give courage to those who want to become more consistent with who they are in what they do through words of encouragement. In so doing, I am able to communicate to all walks of life in a way I would not be able to do in and of myself. This makes me feel so grateful when given such opportunities as this to reach into the human heart and touch places only our souls can embrace.

 

For more on this author:   www.pathintohealing.com

The Value of Loss

We live in an age of efficiency and time constraints. Everything we do has to  be fast and with incredible accuracy. There doesn’t seem to be any room for  mistakes or a person who slows down in maturity. It seems as though we live in a  society that wants to treasure the young and devalue the elderly.

The ability to live in such a fast paced world demands so much out of us as  we age. We attempt to run with the pack like a ban of wolves until we can no  longer take another step. A world that no longer values maturity is a world that  is heading towards a life filled with no meaning. Experience brings to life the  role of a teacher. A person able to express and bring into being the reasons why  we do what we do.

Hospice has taught me a great deal about loss over the years. Dying people  slow my pace down a lot in the course of a day. Much of my mind is on meeting  deadlines and schedules my company demands of me so I can visit all who need me  in a given week. At the same time, my Hospice patients demand me to slow down  and be attentive to even the smallest of needs. Here are just a few of them.

1. Listen to their story.

Even if you hear the same old story day after day after day, or a story is  told with memory lapses. Your ability to hold your attention on what brings  meaning to a dying patient is a way of caring. It is an incredible opportunity  for two hearts to be engaged in unconditional love. This movement into  unconditional love engages a purposeful attempt on your part to expand your  heart and give space to someone others may be devaluing because he or she is no  longer a productive member of society. Here, you become a bridge of  communication between the divine and human qualities of attention that brings  healing into a world that no longer values attentive awareness.

2. Give space to the Creative Imagination.

Giving space for the creative imagination to emerge in a relationship is like  opening a door into the heavens. The creative imagination is the inner vision of  a person’s mind and heart. When your mind and heart join to create a path, your  soul is engaged. Soul Care is the essence of why each of us is here. We all want  to be known as we are truly known in this world. Such vulnerability is not as  helpless as the world has made it out to be. To be known for whom you are  without judgment by you or others is a pathway into courage. The ability to  share a part of this level of who you are indicates a person’s capacity to trust  the world in ways known to us as a child. It was the time in your life when you  engaged the world in play and not stress.

3. Appreciate Silence.

Your ability to calm down the mind and heart, so you can match the pace of a  dying loved one is a gift. It opens your reflective nature and creates a path  into a place your soul calls home. The ability to hold your attention on the  needs of another over your own opens the gateway into your empathic nature. All  of us have the ability to be “in tune” with another person when we realize the  needs of another are important. The heart begins to open and a channel of  expression beings to emerge. Your feelings begin to appreciate the needs of  another in a moment of silence where the feelings of awareness unite you in  peace.

4. Letting Go.

Letting go of your needs and a dying patient’s needs to hold on to a world  that no longer values loss opens a pathway into divine qualities of existence  only your soul can embrace. This passageway into a sense of meaning beyond this  life gives hope to those who are aging and faith to the dying. Those of us who  care for the dying find meaning in the loss of life through a constant  remembering the value our patient’s instill upon us as they become more soul  than body at the end of their life.

5. Grieving.

Loss opens up a place inside us that guides our hearts and minds into a place  where we remember who we really are. We realize that our life will someday come  to an end. It challenges us to grow into a reflective lifestyle whereby we do  good things for goodness sake and no longer do things to build our egos up.  Knowing your life will someday come to an end brings life to your soul and a new  beginning for most people to discover for the first time in their life what is  really important.

This journey into realizing that the things in life that really matter are  the things in life that isn’t matter is a place of awareness where we understand  the meaning of loss. Valuing loss in our society gives appreciation to and for  what has gone before us and who made our lives possible. Giving attention to the  value loss brings allows us to balance our lives in ways we may not attempt  apart from a reason to do so.

Loss creates space in our world giving homage to the value our history brings  to the present moment. Without such honor bestowed on these moments of time our  life has brought into being is a life lived without appreciation for what  brought each of us together we call the human race. Such a devaluing of human  expression leaves no real hope for those creating our future as well. For a life  lived without remembering what has sustained its life is a life no longer  infused by the spirit that brings all life into being. A life without spirit  inspires nothing. Having nothing to live for is a sad place to be inside  yourself and the purpose of living no longer remains alive and well. Without a  reason to live, all life ceases to be.

Sam Oliver, author of “Mondays with Mary” is a Hospice Chaplain for Amedisys  Hospice Care in Londonderry, NH.

For More on this Author: http://www.pathintohealing.com

 

When the Morning Dawns

When darkness turns to day, the sun moves over the horizon and touches everything in sight. This movement across the landscape brightens everything. Such an illumination awakens us all. We rise with energy moving in and through us allowing us to create a new day. A day unique from all the rest and creatively woven into our soul.

This is the landscape of our soul. As you can see, nature has a way of showing us just how powerful we are. The same power that created the moon and the stars and the movement of all space and time lies within the human heart. It is the heart of creation itself, and perhaps, the heart of our Creator.

Human beings are fortunate to be able to be aware of our awareness. This awareness gives us an opportunity to reflect on our soul and find blessing in being alive. Our consciousness of a creative force inside us guiding us into this world, through it, and eventually to our eternal home allows us to fulfill a purpose on this earth.

Such a purpose is beyond our own ability to really know. Yet, we can open our heart enough to allow our purpose to find us. This is done by recognizing that the things in life that really matter ARE the things in life that isn’t matter.

Yes, it is our soul’s longing to fulfill the purpose for which we came to earth for. No one really knows how a baby is conceived totally. Science and human understanding still hasn’t been able to fully comprehend such a force of nature. We can only embrace what is beyond us and find a way to bring into being forces of nature such as a tiny child.

When a child is born, we are in awe. The miracle of birth creates something inside us all. It is the remembrance that life does not come from us. Instead, life comes through us. As such, we are living in a dream come true. All of us are probably living our soul’s purpose more than we know, and even, can know. It is the mystery of all mysteries.

This does not explain why some of us find peace and other’s find pain. But, such a philosophy will enable us all to find grace in knowing our lives create in our world facets of ourselves we all are a part of. An understanding of such grace gives every one of us a chance to find mercy and grace and the same unconditional love we came into the world with when we were born.

Sam Oliver @ www.pathintohealing.com

The Landscape of the Soul

It has been said that “our hearts will not rest until we rest in thee.” This is our journey in life. It is our journey home. It is the journey into the spacial quality of existence that brought us into this world. It is the journey of what is leading us through this life. And, it is the journey back to where it all began.  

Through the years, we accumulate a series of experiences. Our tendency is to evaluate and simply reflect on what we have been through and what we have learned. This inward site into what we can no longer see with our eyes allows us to see through them, and into, our soul.  

The landscape of the soul creates a movement and a synchronistic pattern between our heart and our mind through the inner visions of our soul. When the heart and imagination join forces to look back or look forward, we are deepening our awareness of who we really are. This deepening of who we really are is our soul.

It has been said that “our hearts will not rest until we rest in thee.” This is our journey in life. It is our journey home. It is the journey into the spacial quality of existence that brought us into this world. It is the journey of what is leading us through this life. And, it is the journey back to where it all began.

One could say that the infant and the elderly are more soul than body. As you and I develop our personality and ego, we begin to think we are somebody. Ram Dass calls this “somebody training.” We begin to think we are real and act on this appearance of being as we move into adulthood. When we mature, we go back into what Ram Dass has called “nobody training.”

We spend a great deal of time learning to develop independence from infancy only to lose it again as we die. It is the journey from innocence to grace. The human expression is a journey with many ups and downs. What keeps us on tract and often sane in an insane world is the “landscape of the soul.” The landscape of the soul gives us strength to do the impossible and give us hope when there is none.

Even though all parts of the self needs to be embraced with scrutiny and unconditional love, there is something inside us perfecting our true nature. Our authentic self knows we are growing through life and simply going through life at the same time. This delicate balance between these two forces of nature enables us to stay on our path. In so doing, we learn to trust in our soul and find direction there when direction in life is not present.

When darkness turns to day, the sun moves over the horizon and touches everything in sight. This movement across the landscape brightens everything. Such an illumination awakens us all. We rise with energy moving in and through us allowing us to create a new day. It is a day unique from all the rest and creatively woven into our soul.

This is the landscape of our soul. As you can see, nature has a way of showing us just how powerful we are. The same power that created the moon and the stars and the movement of all space and time lies within the human heart.

Human beings are fortunate to be able to be aware of our awareness. This awareness gives us an opportunity to reflect on our soul and find blessing in being alive. Our consciousness of a creative force inside us guiding us into this world, through it, and eventually to our eternal home allows us to fulfill a purpose on this earth.

Such a purpose is beyond our own ability to really know. Yet, we can open our heart enough to allow our purpose to find us. This is done by recognizing that the things in life that really matter ARE the things in life that isn’t matter.

Yes, it is our soul’s longing to fulfill the purpose for which we came to earth for. No one really knows how a baby is conceived totally. Science and human understanding still hasn’t been able to fully comprehend such a force of nature. We can only embrace what is beyond us and find a way to bring into being forces of nature such as a tiny child.

When a child is born, we are in awe. The miracle of birth creates something inside us all. It is the remembrance that life does not come from us. Instead, life comes through us. As such, we are living in a dream come true . All of us are probably living our soul’s purpose more than we know, and even, can know. It is the mystery of all mysteries.

This does not explain why some of us find peace and other’s find pain. But, such a philosophy will enable us all to find grace in knowing our lives create what we all are a part of. An understanding of such grace gives every one of us a chance to find mercy and grace and the same unconditional love we came into the world with when we were born.

Sam Oliver @ www.pathintohealing.com

Why Does My Loved One Have to Suffer?

Not long ago, I visited a man whose wife was dying of cancer. He retired early in life, so he and his wife could travel the country on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He was a big man, and his wife was tiny. But, their love for one another was deep and knew no size and shape after 45 years of being married to one another. He shared with me many stories of there life together. He was deep in grief.

Over the years, I have heard surviving loved ones of dying patients wonder “why does my loved one have to suffer?” I will often hear that my spouse, uncle, aunt, mother, or father has been a good person. It doesn’t make sense to have to watch my loved one go through this people say. After having many years to ponder these reflections, I have come to believe there is “NOT” an easy answer to this question and the mind wanderings that go with it. These expressions come from such a deep place within us that to give an easy answer would pull people from this place they are asking us to meet them in.

The place I am referring to is a dying loved one’s soul. Caregivers are being ask to meet them in a place where suffering no longer exists. Thomas Moore, in “The Care of the Soul,” refers to the soul as a place where one’s imagination and heart join on a journey the physical body cannot move into. This is the place whereby one’s thoughts, feelings, and spirit come to embrace what is beyond us.

When a loved one asks us, “why does my loved one have to suffer?” “Why did this happen to my spouse, daughter, son, sister, brother, or others.” We are being invited to listen to their soul and offer unconditional love. This act of non-judgmental care is a spatial quality of existence enabling us to care for another’s soul. Why? Because at the deepest level of our being we know there is not a human understanding to this question, but it does lead us deep within our psyche and opens us up to our soul. It is a place where souls can meet and find healing.

Thoughts give rise to the ability comprehend an idea. We go through a series of wanderings to make sense of the world around us. This path into the grief process eventually leads us to the realization that the intellect will not give us what we are looking for. Although our thoughts are a form of expressing our grief, they simply lead us to more and more questions there are no answers to.

Feelings give expression to our thoughts on a given situation which may give rise to more emotional pain knowing we cannot understand what is happening. This is felt in the body and moves in and through us. We tire and eventually give up on using our mind and body this way. Eventually, we move into exhaustion and have no energy to feel anything.

Spirit gives us hope in life hereafter, but it does not take away our grief. The expression of prayer and hope in life hereafter does allow us to bring into our grief a sense of consolation. Funeral services include various songs and scriptures allowing us to have words to comfort us. The ability to cope through faith allows us to place some of our grief in a power greater than ourselves.

When you combine the mind, body, and spirit’s capacity to deal with grief in an integrated way, we often find a sense of peace. This is what is known in many sacred texts as “a peace beyond understanding.” To know “The Unknowable” or “Creator of All Things” is to trust in the wisdom that has created us all. This is perhaps the journey into letting go on the highest level of our being possible. Here, we are able to trust that there will be a tomorrow and grief will not and cannot kill the relationship we had with our loved one. Instead, we begin to relate to each other on the level of soul. This is the place where our soul can create channels of expression with our dying loved one no other way is possible.

As you can see, the answer to the question of “why” is my loved one going through this is not as important as where this internal process leads us inside our being. This place can be nurtured and cared for by those willing to listen attentively to another’s desire and need to be heard from such depths. This act of going into such sacred space where one’s soul is healing simply by sharing one’s pain with those who care allows us to heal in places our hands cannot touch.

Here are three final points to consider when you find yourself with someone who asks the question “why does my loved one have to suffer?” First, listen “fully” to one’s grief and their questions on suffering. Make sure you have listened to another’s grief as outlined earlier in this article.

Second, since you have no control over a person’s journey into dying or the timing of his/her passing from this life to the next, try to get the surviving loved one voice what their loved one will be released of in their dying and themselves as a caregiver. This step requires a great deal of honesty, and you will not probably get this unless you have fully listened to someone tell you about their grief of losing their loved one.

Finally, your ability to help someone through this phase of grief will help the dying loved one and loved one’s who survive build incredible trust in you as the caregiver, volunteer, minister, social worker, nurse, and doctor.

Sam Oliver @ www.pathintohealing.com

Two Kinds of Grief

Over the last 16 years, I have noticed Hospice families deal with the loss of their loved one in a couple of ways. There are those who mourn deeply their loss. And, there are those who grieve with hope. Both will lead you to the same place inside your being. Therefore, I do not want to imply that one way of grieving is better than the other.

As a loved one passes or is close to the end of their physical life, families begin to find themselves at a loss. The ability to talk to their loved one diminishes. The ability to take a walk with him or her falls away. The ability to share a meal, a memory, and countless other experiences fade into past memories. These past memories become alive inside those who can no longer create new experiences with their loved one who is dying.

This regression into one’s imagination and one’s heart reveals experiences that come alive inside one’s soul. Here, souls join one another on a journey that has no beginning or an end. This part of a relationship is eternal and sacred. They are the inspirational moments allowing a story to be formed and shared. As such, a sacred memory becomes a living presence inside those who have shared them.

I have noticed two kinds of grief in dealing with Hospice families dealing with the loss of their loved ones. One is mourning. The other is grieving with hope.

Mourning is a deep heartfelt experience of loss. This is a kind of grief that expresses itself in the body on an emotional level. The body may become flushed, weakened, very tearful, and much more.

It is good to allow space for deep seeded grief to express itself. This cleanses toxic emotions needing to express themselves through the body. As a person finds expression for their grief, a feeling of relief relaxes the body over a period of time.

Grieving with Hope is faith based. This usually means that a person believes he or she will meet their loved one in heaven again someday. This kind of hope can be comforting in the moment. Later, a person may feel his or her loss when their loved one doesn’t come home with them at their death.

Although a faith based grief has its strength, it does not make everything ok. There is still a feeling of loss on an emotional level. The heart knows something is different and nothing will be the same again.

Our bodies were created to express themselves “even” in grief. In Sacred Texts of many kinds, we find the encouragement to find “peace in the midst of despair” or “blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Both of these statements reveal a connection to our faith in a higher being who will give us healing through the path of loss, and into, a sacred journey into the soul where our relationships are eternal.

This journey is taken through and inside the body. It is the journey into the same breath that gives us life and leads us home at the moment our body releases that breath in death. It is a sacred path leading us into who we really are.

Sam Oliver @ www.pathintohealing.com

The Power of Prayer to Heal

On one occasion, I was asked to go into a room and be with a daughter whose Mom was dying. Mom was expected to die not long after I was to enter the room. When I went into the room, the daughter was at her Mom’s bedside. She did die not long after I had entered the room. Her husband was on his way to be with his wife and daughter of this patient. He did not make it in time.

The daughter did not want to be alone when Mom took her last breath. I was called to step in for her husband who could not make it in time to be with his Mother in Law and wife. When he arrived, his wife was so grateful that I had been with her that she shared this with her husband. During this time, I wondered if some guilt on his part may set in with his own personal grief. Just in case, I offered a prayer of release and blessing for their three lives having known one another in this life to include the Son in Law.

Prayer is a wonderful way to invoke the sacred into our lives. Prayer invites a comprehensive understanding that God/Higher Power is in charge of life and of death. It is a reminder how the presence of God’s Spirit supersedes everything and everyone’s ultimate ability to care for us beyond our own ability to do so. In this case, prayer was able to invite Unity in a situation whereby possible individual grief could have been encountered at a later time. Prayer enabled all to participate in Mom’s dying and death from a level of awareness that includes a life’s presence beyond the body itself.

As I write these words, I am reminded how vital prayer is to the Hospice patients and families we serve. Prayer encompasses an eternal awareness and brings forth healing when temporal circumstances could emerge individual flaws in our own psyche. Prayer invites unconditional grace and healing.

For this family, prayer became a way to include all participating in grief to join one another in the path of healing together. It invited what is most sacred in us to seek God for help during a difficult time. Also, prayer gave everyone in the room the ability to seek, and even find, the healing power of prayer by focusing our attention outside our ego enough to know exactly where our strength will come from.

Prayer is a participatory union between those evoking God’s presence through faith in a loving being who knows best how to care for us more than ourselves. It is a relationship based on trust. It is a trust reminding us who we really are as God’s children. And, it is a trust in God’s ultimate Will for our lives beyond our own understanding. It is as though we trust our lives into a Creative order of existence not made with human hands. It is a reminder to each of us just how sacred every moment is and a way of reminding each other who we really are.

Prayer invites us to close our eyes to the world around us and open them up into insight. Here, we see through our eyes what cannot be seen with them. It is here we envision and participate in unconditional love. Innocence is born in this sacred space healing a separation that was never meant to be.

Sam Oliver @ www.pathintohealing.com