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.
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