“According to the alchemists, the preparation of the philosophers’ stone must begin when the Sun enters the constellation of Aries and the Moon enters that of Taurus. Why? Because the Sun is exalted in Aries, and the Moon is exalted in Taurus. The sign that follows, Gemini, is ruled by Mercury. Now the symbol of Mercury is formed , from top to bottom, by the crescent of the Moon the disc of the Sun and the sign of addition (+). Therefore the symbol of Mercury expresses the union of the Sun and the Moon. Mercury is the child of the Sun and the Moon; it is the philosophers’ stone. This philosophers’ stone that the alchemists seek is, in reality, a symbol of the transformation of man. The alchemist works with the Sun and the Moon, that is to say, with the two principles of the will and the imagination; and thanks to this work he eventually transforms himself, becoming like the Sun and the Moon, radiant and pure.”
-Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
As per Aivanhov’s quote, and according to astrological calendars, the Sun will be entering Aries this year on March 20, 2014 at 12:57 PM, GMT, which is the official Spring Equinox time. The Moon will enter Taurus on April 1, 2014 at 5:20 AM, GMT. I should add also that Mercury rules Gemini and the Moon will be entering Gemini on April 3, 2014 and remain there until April 5, 2014.
In other words, with the Sun in Aries, the moon in Taurus and then Gemini, that week of April 1-5 will be a very potent time for anyone wishing to do serious earth-healing work, light work, meditation, prayer or any other form of serious white magick.
Just sayin’ ;-)
“Sometimes, while in the mountains, we see on the edge of a precipice a tree whose trunk and branches are oddly twisted. This tree has had to withstand bad weather, and the struggle is reflected in its trunk and branches. In the same way, in life we meet people whose faces are tortured and asymmetrical, but what gifts, what talents! This proves that they too have had to endure very difficult conditions, which they have overcome. But in order to do so, they have often developed their mind and will to the detriment of certain qualities of the heart, and these efforts, these tensions, have eventually deformed their faces. Beauty in human beings speaks more of the qualities of their heart than of their intellectual faculties or their will. This is why very beautiful people are often predestined to be victims. Because beauty, true beauty, has a much greater affinity with goodness than with intelligence, they often lack adequate means to defend themselves against the desires their beauty arouses in others. To ‘stay young’ has now become an ideal, and yet our contemporary culture teaches people to age as rapidly as possible. Oh, not physically, to be sure! Everyday, quantities of products and methods are invented to keep the body fit, to maintain the figure, to smooth away wrinkles and so on. But inwardly, psychologically, men and women age earlier and earlier, because it is earlier and earlier that they forsake simplicity, spontaneity and confidence to become suspicious, calculating, blasé and dull. Do you want to stay young? There is only one way: remain young at heart, forever alive, loving, interested in everything, quick to forgive, delighted by the slightest thing, and ready to forget insults, sorrow and failure. Maintain a heart that is always ready to love and embrace the whole world, a heart that does not shrink and grow cold. As long as you maintain a warm heart, you will never grow old. …We all like to give or receive flowers, to put them in our houses and plant them in our gardens. We go to admire them in parks or in the countryside and are enchanted by their forms, colours, and scents. But we consider flowers primarily as decorative elements which help to make life more agreeable, and as such, our admiration remains superficial, and we gain very little from their presence. In actual fact, flowers are living beings with which it is possible to relate. Yes, a flower is not simply a morsel of coloured, scented matter, it is the dwelling place of a spiritual entity who has come to speak to us of heaven and earth. If we know how to look at a flower, how to create a bond with it, we enter into relationship with the forces of nature, and with the entities who work to render it such a vibrant and poetic presence.”
- Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
LENGTH OF VISIT: 10 minutes
MARITAL STATUS: Widow
RACE: African American
RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: Baptist
ADMITTING DIAGNOSIS: Pancreatic cancer
NUMBER OF VISITS: 1
WHICH VISIT IS THIS? : 1st
CONSULT PLAN: This encounter happened during one of my cold-call visits. I asked the clinical manager for a list of patients she thought would like a visit, this patient’s name came up. Usually during cold call visits, I often visit the patient first and then check the chart afterwards. Most of the time I usually do not know what is going on until I get there.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (FAMILY, STAFF MEMBER, CHARTS)
The patient had her daughter and granddaughter present when I entered the room. Her attending nurse later told me that the granddaughter, who must be in her early 20s, has literally been there beside the grandmother the whole time.
I was surprised to learn that the patient is 83 years old because she looks unusually youthful, I would have guessed in her late 50’s or early 60’s. She was extremely alert and other than the tubes in her arm, she looked quite vital, robust and healthy. The granddaughter was in the corner observing and listening to the visit while the daughter came in as I was leaving.
EER: Ms. Smith?
Ms. Smith: Yes (she nods)
EER: Hi, my name is EER, I’m one of the spiritual caregivers here, I’m just coming by to see how you’re doing…
Ms. Smith: Oh, Hi! Thank you for coming by, come in…how are you?
EER: I’m fine thanks, but more importantly, how are you?
Ms. Smith : Oh, I’m doing fine (smiles) ….(slight pause) Now, did you come here on your own or did someone send you?
EER: (I smile because I know what she’s getting at) No, no, no Ms. Smith, No one sent me here, it’s part of my job to go around and see how patients are, we’re mostly here to offer and provide support to patients and their families.
Ms.Smith: Oh! (Now, she and grand-daughter both chuckle heartily)…I thought someone may have sent you to tell me “something” because quite frankly, I feel just fine.
EER: No, no, no. I’m not the harbinger of bad news. I’m just here to see how you are and what I can do to help.
Ms. Smith: Oh, good. (she settles into her bed and pillows a little more) Now…what religion do you practice?
EER: (This one always is a test to answer so I try to give one that’s as diplomatic as possible.) Well, it’s not so much religion that’s so important here, the caregivers here come from all faith traditions and we try to address the needs of all faith traditions, so you can kind of say it’s non-denominational. That’s my approach also.
Ms. Smith: Why, that’s lovely because I believe in the same.
EER: You believe in a non-denominational approach?
Ms. Smith: Yes, you see I grew up Baptist but what I really believe in is in the beauty and hope of God and that it extends to everyone.
EER: (I realize that she may be a bit of a universalist but continue listening.) That God is for everyone?
Ms. Smith: Yes…you know, most people think that God and religion is some building but I really think faith is something inside (touches her heart area). All our journeys, our paths, our reasons are different which is why I don’t believe in denominations and all that. What I believe in is beauty and that we are all to share in it. That we should live for and in beauty. What I really enjoy is talking about it with people who understand. You know… most people don’t get it…
EER: (I nod)
Ms. Smith: I can tell that you get it, you’re very beautiful, that understanding is in your face. You can tell, especially in the eyes.
EER: (I smile) How?
Ms. Smith: Well, life experience mostly, you know 83 years ain’t just a snap of the fingers… I’m no spring chicken…. You see lots of things in that time…. you learn over time from folks and from things…. You learn over time we’re like different flowers… different colours, smells, shapes and all, but still… flowers.
EER: (I smile) It’s a beautiful thought. (I’m thinking about her present illness and wondering what does this illness mean to her). You seem to be a very strong lady. (Here, her grand-daughter just chuckles and nods). I guess what I’m curious about is how does this illness fall in with your faith?
Ms. Smith: What? This? (points at the tubes) It just one of those things you have to go through in life. You get old, the body breaks down. It doesn’t affect my faith too much… I know I’m in the palm of God’s hand, I’m only here because of His will. I feel fine… I feel safe…(And indeed she speaks this very peacefully and knowingly, I don’t detect any fake bravado or sense of dismissiveness.)
EER: You sound very peaceful with the whole thing…
Ms. Smith: I am.
EER: You also seem to have the support of some good people around you (motion in the direction of the grand-daughter)
Ms. Smith: (Smiles) I do.
EER: I can see that you’re a woman of faith… If there’s anything we can do, the nurses here know me, they can call me.
Ms. Smith: Thank you (she takes my hand). Really, thank you. I really do appreciate you coming up and seeing me and for your concern. Thank you.
EER: Thank you for letting me listen. I learned something new from you today (she leans over and hugs me, I hold her hand and gently squeeze it and take my leave)
I experienced this visit more as an exercise to just listening to a person and of being present. I think what made it easier was that this woman is an uncommon Baptist and holds a more universalistic stance theologically than those of her brethren. The patient was initially hesitant and suspicious of me but once it was clear that I was not being sent to her to tell her something bad, she became very forthcoming with me and that made the visit easier.
I experienced the visit as initially amusing but listening to her was encouraging in several aspects. She really did seem at peace with the whole illness and she seemed so abnormally alive and alert, it served as a testament to faith bringing peace, true peace in the midst of physical and medical turbulence.
I’m not sure if the visit did anything for the patient but I tried to echo back to her what I was hearing. Maybe somewhere along the line having that reflected back to her, that maybe something encouraging was heard but I could not tell.
With respect to inclusiveness, the patient and I are both members of visible minorities and both of us are female. The patient is suffering from pancreatic cancer. The patient is a Baptist, however she is not active in her church or faith tradition. I consider myself more of a secular Muslim. Perhaps because of some of these inclusiveness issues, she was able to open up very quickly with me. She definitely changed in demeanor and attitude when she learned that I had a more non-denominational approach.
My main concern was to listen to the patient and help her be aware of our presence here in the hospital. As the conversation between us developed, I was able to see that this woman lived her faith. This woman’s spirituality was not based on a single figure or book or label, but rather, was based on a theme of respecting differences and seeing the beauty thereof. The interaction between us was very open and jovial.
I think the peace the patient was feeling came in the realizations she has made during her long life and that these realizations are no doubt assisting her in her present circumstance.
Like I posted earlier, I had a feeling something was about to go down soon. Initially I thought it would involve the Olympics, but it turns out the event may have been wrong but the neighborhood is correct.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock it’s hard not to notice what is happening in the Ukraine these days. America and Russia’s Cold War antics have been resurrected…again. There are tons of websites, blogs and news outlets which are providing very insightful commentary on the situation but it should be obvious that the United States is trying to begin regime change…again. Putting in a bully leader of their choice in a different country…again. It certainly doesn’t help matters when the US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, was caught saying on a recorded phone conversation “Fuck the EU” which Russian authorities promptly released to the world. It doesn’t help matters when it’s also come out that the US has invested over $5 billion dollars to start regime change in the Ukraine. (Look who is sponsoring the video event below as evidenced by the logo on the screen)
LENGTH OF VISIT: 30 minutes
MARITAL STATUS: Married
RACE: African American
RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: United Church of Christ
ADMITTING DIAGNOSIS: Patient is pregnant with twins. In this very rare case, the two fetuses are in the same bag and have their umbilical cords tied around each other’s neck. The situation looked very grim and they were going to induce labor and have the children stillborn since the patient is only 17 weeks into her pregnancy and the twins were not going to make it to full pregnancy.
NUMBER OF VISITS: 2
WHICH VISIT IS THIS?: First
CONSULT PLAN: It was during my usual cold-call visits at Labor and Delivery. I had asked to go in before but the patient’s husband, who was waiting outside in the hallway, told me they were in the process of giving her an epidural. I introduced myself and told him who I was and to please let the patient know that I had dropped by and if they wanted a visit at a more convenient time, to call me. I got paged an hour later. During the course of the visit, it came out how much the patient wanted these babies; she was already in grief over her impending loss. My plan was to be present for her and comfort her in whatever way I could.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (FAMILY, STAFF MEMBER, CHARTS)
Not a lot about the family came out during the visit, all that came out was this was the patient’s first pregnancy, she was married, and that this was a planned, wanted pregnancy, unlike so many other cases I see in that unit.
The room had no cards or balloons. Since Labor & Delivery rooms are quite spacious to accommodate the spouses, there were overnight bags open and grooming products strewn over the room, which was otherwise quite bare. The husband had been sleeping in the foldout chair off to the side. The nurse was in the room monitoring some of the machines and seemed to be quite close to the patient.
(Husband and attending nurse were also present but did not talk during the visit)
I started the visit by introducing myself and the patient smiled and beckoned me to come in. She mentioned that her husband told her of my earlier attempted visit and the she appreciated that there was such a person in the hospital. When I approached the bed, she automatically held out her hand, which I assumed she meant to just shake, but after I held out my hand, she kept holding on, so we continued the visit like that. Most of the conversation was punctuated by long silences and simply involved me just standing by her and holding her hand.
EER: How are you feeling today?
Jane: Not too good (moans a little).
EER: Is this your first?
Jane: Yes (nods)
EER: Feeling scared?
Jane: (nods) I’m just happy you came up….(she starts tearing now and some tears are already rolling down her cheek) I’d just like you to pray for me in all of this.
EER: Alright (I hold hands with her and her husband and start praying, the nurse spontaneously joins us halfway through the prayer and the prayer circle got bigger. By the time, the prayer is finished, the patient is sobbing but trying to hold it back. It’s coming out in chokes. The nurse puts a cool wet facecloth on her forehead to calm her down a bit.)
Jane: You know, I do believe in God…
EER: I’m sure you do…
Jane: I just don’t understand…we wanted these children so much… (The husband starts to softly cry now and puts his head down on the bed)
EER: What we want and what is often asked of us isn’t always the same thing…
Jane: (nodding) That’s right.
EER: And we sometimes need to make our peace with that, but at the same time we need to have faith that Something or Someone is walking with us, right beside us, even during these times …
Jane: (nodding) That’s right.
EER: And I know this makes no sense to you right now, but one day, not today, not tomorrow, one day in the future, you’re going to look back on this and maybe understand things a little bit better…
Jane: That’s right, I know you’re right, I just don’t feel it in my heart right now…
EER: Maybe you don’t now, but it ‘s really true that time heals all wounds, and when the time is right, you’ll feel it and understand it…
Jane: That’s right.
EER: In matters of the spirit, anything is possible.
Jane: (Nodding. A very long silence follows and she continues crying silently, I wait until it passes a bit. I feel like I’m at a complete loss and have no idea what to say or what to do next.)
EER: You can try talking to those two souls and ask your questions to them, when you feel like it, they may even reply you in your dreams, prayers or meditations…
Jane: (Nods) I believe you, I’ve heard of stories like that happening in my own family, it’s not foolishness, I will, when I’m ready.
EER: It’s just a suggestion, do things in your own time…we’re here for you if you need anything.
Jane: I know…thank you for coming, you don’t realize how much this means to me. (She squeezes my hand hard one last time and lets go)
I think the overall theme of this visit was that patient was struggling with the loss she was about to undergo. She just was not ready for it and it was clear to me that perhaps she just needed to have someone sit with her in her sadness.
I sat there with her and held her hand and because she did not let go for a second. I got the distinct impression she wanted to feel that there was someone there for her besides her husband and the nurse, although it was clear she had a close relationship with both of them. I think she really needed to hear that there was a spiritual presence there for her during all of this.
I myself am not a mother so it was difficult to identify with the extent of the loss this woman must have been feeling for a planned pregnancy such as this. We are both female, around the same age and not Euro-American. I think that may explain why she opened up and started to cry freely in front of me and felt comfortable enough to do so. I was not there to judge her or perform last rites or anything like that. Rather, I got the impression it was one woman trying to reach out and ask for acknowledgement/help/presence from another woman. The nurse was busy doing medical stuff, she needed someone to simply be there for her. Since our conversation was punctuated by long silences and that was what was involved in most of the visit, I hope that was what I was able to give her.
I think she was one of those cases where she really needed someone to hold her hand and comfort her. That was how I saw the relationship between us. In addition, this is the patient’s first pregnancy, and a planned one at that. The grief was no doubt also compounded by disappointment. I did not think it was the time to try to give her hope or encouragement to counterbalance the disappointment. I decided to focus on being present.
My main concern as a caregiver with to comfort her as best I could. I think I did because she said at the end that the visit meant a lot to her. Despite this being a scenario I could hardly relate to, I did stay with her a long time and offered her something to think about, namely to communicate with those two departed souls when she was ready. Clearly this is something not from the Christian tradition and I know about it from the Islamic one, where there are certain passages from the Koran which can be read out loud with a question in your mind and the answer comes through in a dream during that night. I did not know what else I could offer her but I wanted to give her something that was of comfort to her.
The interaction between us was very gentle. Clearly both husband and wife were suffering, I decided to stay on a bit longer than usual. I took my cue from the way she was holding my hand and wouldn’t let go afterwards. My initial guess was that she needed spiritual assurance and not feel that she was completely alone in this.
MARITAL STATUS: Recently married
RACE: African- American
RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: Baptist
ADMITTING DIAGNOSIS: Complications to her pregnancy, the baby’s heartbeat is low and irregular, the blood pressure is also low. Betty was advised to spend the last month of her pregnancy in the hospital.
NUMBER OF VISITS: 2
WHICH VISIT IS THIS? : First
CONSULT PLAN: I was called in by the nurse, it was an on-call visit, and the nurse simply said that she thought that this patient might benefit from a visit. I thought, going in, that I was there to talk to the young woman about whatever issues she had at the time.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (FAMILY, MEMBER STAFF, CHARTS)
Betty is a 20-year-old mother-to be, she and the father of the child got married a month into her pregnancy. They had been seeing each other for a year before that. Betty has completed a year of college and wants to become a primary school math teacher. She is quite articulate and very intelligent. Her unplanned pregnancy and surprise wedding has delayed her plans. Also, her husband is a soldier stationed in Virginia and may be deployed any day now into Iraq.
The room looked very inviting, there were many cards, balloons and flowers on display. It was also well lit with a large window. The TV was on and there was a stack of videocassette films. I immediately got the impression that Betty is being visited regularly by a group of persons or at least someone is seeing to it that she is as comfortable as possible. Betty herself seemed like someone who has a natural, cheerful disposition. She was very friendly and inviting.
I started the visit by introducing myself and asking Betty a few questions about herself and her family. She asked me a few questions about myself and I said a little about myself. When she understood I was brought up Muslim, she really seemed to brighten up as members of her family (some cousins and aunts) had converted to Islam and her exposure to the religion was positive. We started with small talk, she told me something about herself. This led to her talking about her life, this pregnancy and her quick marriage.
EER: When you were going out with your boyfriend, was marriage with him something that you had thought about beforehand?
Betty: No, not really, we had been going out for a year….and then I fell pregnant suddenly…Gosh! My mom was mad. She wanted me to have an abortion, she didn’t think it was a good idea to have a child.
EER: What did you think?
Betty: Well, I think abortion is wrong, I wanted to keep this child and Vince supported me and my decision, and a month later he proposed, he felt it was the right thing to do, to bring this baby up in a family. He’s really good in that way.
EER: Do you regret anything or the way things have turned out?
Betty: You know…with all these problems that I’m having with the baby…I’m just scared for this baby all the time…somehow I feel like God is punishing me for something (tears are starting to roll slowly).
EER: Punishing you for what?
Betty: Punishing me for having sex before marriage…ever since all this started…I’ve been feeling guilty for what I did and somehow these problems with the baby is God’s way of saying how He disapproves of me (starts crying freely) …everyone else has also been judging me…my mom wasn’t happy… then I found out the people at my church have been gossiping about me… many of the people were folks who I thought were my friends… then the pastor at my church was also very disapproving, he doesn’t even want to talk to me anymore…and when Vince offered to marry me, I didn’t want him to think that I wanted to trap him, he said he understood how I felt but he really felt strongly that the baby should have a father around. I just haven’t felt any peace for the longest time…
(We were quiet for a long time together, she cried a bit more; I waited till she was a bit calmer)
EER: You consider yourself to be a Christian, right?
Betty: Yes ma’am.
EER: Which means that you believe that God once took a human form?
Betty: Yes ma’am.
EER : Then why would you want to worship and love a God who doesn’t understand what it’s like to be human, to have weaknesses and needs? Wouldn’t you want to worship or love a God who understands you and sees you exactly for who you are and knows what’s really inside you?
(She really started to cry hard now)
Betty: You know that’s the first time someone has said something to me in months which has given me comfort…
EER: I don’t think you need to feel guilty or ashamed or dirty about being human…
Betty: (Nodding) I really love Vince, he’s such a good guy and when I was with him, it didn’t feel wrong at all… I feel like this child is going to be a blessing, I just don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t see it.
EER: Well, there isn’t much you can do to change the way other people think or look at a situation… maybe in time they will change their minds. What’s important is that both you and Vince welcome this child and give it as much love as possible when this child comes.
(We continued talking for a bit longer about her plans for when the baby comes, what the new domestic situation will be like since she’s still living with her mother and her feelings about all the changes coming up.)
Betty: Thank you for coming, what you said really means a lot to me.
EER: I don’t think you need to be so hard on yourself just because other people are.
Betty: Thanks EER.
EER: You’re welcome.
I think the overall theme of this visit was that Betty was feeling deep guilt or shame for engaging in premarital sex and that the complications to her pregnancy was some sort of divine punishment for having done so. I think what she needed to realize was that she didn’t have to feel shame or guilt for what she did, she may or may not have done something “wrong”, that’s ultimately up to her to decide on. She needed to realize that she’s human, and if what she did was a mistake in her mind, that’s part of the package of being human. That was how I saw the dynamics between us. I think in Betty’s case, being young, black, female, unmarried (at the beginning of the pregnancy), she felt her family, her friends and her church were judging her.
My main concern as a spiritual caregiver with Betty was to make her realize that she wasn’t being punished, her guilt was understandable, given her background and upbringing, but it wasn’t helping her and that she needed to talk about this guilt.
I also wanted to make her realize that the judgements that were being thrown at her weren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of who she was as a human being (i.e. a “bad” or “dirty” person) but was probably a reflection of something in those persons throwing them at her.
Theologically, I think this is a girl is feeling an overpowering sense of guilt because she did something which goes against her religion, her church and the beliefs of her family.
My interaction with Betty was positive. She was initially surprised that I was a young woman, but because there wasn’t much of an age gap and I wasn’t condemning her or judging her, we were able to talk freely and a good rapport was established. She was willing to open up to me but I also think Betty’s inherent nature is quite open and trusting. I did not get the impression at all that she was holding back. I also think perhaps the fact that I was a woman, not that much older and a non-threatening presence may have helped. I’m not sure if Betty would have opened up so quickly and readily if the chaplain was, say an African-American male of similar religious background.
With respect to inclusiveness, when I asked Betty about her religious background, she mentioned that she had attended the Baptist church her whole life but she was seriously thinking of leaving that particular church because of the problems she was having with the pastor and the gossip surrounding her. I understood what it felt like to be judged by people who have no idea about who you are, what you’re going through or what you’re all about. I related to Betty at that level.
This is the first of a series of encounters I will be posting up from my time as a hospital spiritual caregiver/chaplain. I had hundreds of encounters in the wards and in the trauma bay over a space of 2 years while I attained certification with the ACPE but I’ll only be posting about 20 of the encounters here. I won’t be posting them up all in a row or else that would really be a downer. Instead, I’ll still be posting my other stuff as well as topics pop up.
Names have been changed for obvious reasons, but all the encounters were real and not made up. I made mistakes at times and I realize people may have dealt with these situations differently. As I wrote before, I’ve sat on these stories a long time and think it’s time to let them go in the hopes that maybe others can also learn something from them, how to connect to others in an authentic and genuine human-to-human way, beyond differences in race, class, background, religion and nationality.
DATE OF VISIT: December 25, 2003
RACE: African American
MARITAL STATUS: Single
RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: Baptist
ADMITTING DIAGNOSIS: Renal complication (HIV-related)
NUMBER OF VISITS: 1
WHICH VISIT IS THIS? : 1st
This encounter happened during one of my cold-call visits. It was Christmas Day and I went up checking my various units asking the nurses and clinical managers specifically for patients who were NOT expecting visitors that day. The nurse suggested visiting a patient in Bed B, when I went in to look, Bed B was fast asleep so on my way out I said “Hi” to Bed A and we ended up talking instead.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (FAMILY, STAFF MEMBER, CHARTS)
The patient is a former drug addict, and the addiction was a part of her lifestyle. She did prostitution for many years to support her habit and essentially lived off the streets.
I saw the patient earlier before the visit, while I was visiting the other patients I saw this patient walking along the hallway with her IV, getting some exercises so her muscles would not become atrophied. My guess is that she had been bed ridden for a while. She also had many, many marks on her forearms including what looked like really ugly cigarette burns. This turned out to be correct as she later told me.
C1: (walking past her bed on my way out and making eye contact) Hi, looks like she’s sleeping (motioning to Bed B) , I’ll come back later.
P1: (Standing by her bed, fiddling with the portable IV) Who’re you so I can tell her when she wakes up?
C2: I’m one of the hospital spiritual caregivers here and I was just checking up on her since it’s Christmas day and all…
P2: Like a chaplain? Oh, how nice of you! (Her face softens up considerably) Mmm-mmm (shaking her head) God is good, God is good, I know that for a fact, I’m only alive because of God.
C3: (I get the feeling that this woman has a lot more to say so I stop and walk over to her) We all are, really.
P3: That’s right, but I tell you, ever since I’ve turned to God, I’m more peaceful about this.
C4: Could you tell me more about this peaceful feeling?
P4: Well, you know, I’ve lived through some really bad things, I mean real bad… I had a bad drug habit for years (she showed me her arms and there are heroine scars on the inside of her elbow from shooting up as well as what looks like some rather deep cigarette burns) and I had a man, who was my pimp, he used to bust me up pretty bad…for so long I was far from God and when I got infected, it forced me to look at my life and I had no one else to turn to but God. And the moment I did, I felt like I was returning home for the first time in years. (Her eyes start welling up with tears but she’s smiling at the same time) So I tell you… God is good.
C5: (I intuitively get the sense that this discovery of faith has some sort of redemptive element here for her) Do you think you found your salvation?
P5: I know I have, I haven’t felt this peaceful, happy and…excited (with emphasis) in such a long time. Now I want to work for God, I want to go out there on the streets and talk especially to women and girls.
C6: Do you?
P6: Mmm-hmm (nodding) I think that’s where the real work needs to done, out there (points out the window).
C7: Sometimes before we need to work out there, we need to work in here ( I point to my heart).
P7: That’s true too, I wouldn’t want to do this work if I wasn’t ready.
There’s just one thing which bothers me.
C8: What’s that?
P9: Well, I met a social worker about doing this sort of work and she said that I had to be based with some church.
C9: That’s usually true.
P10: Well, you see now, I haven’t belonged to a particular parish in years, I grew up Baptist and I’m not really sure if that’s for me anymore. How do I know what’s the right church for me?
C10: You’ll feel it. You’ll just know. It might require some shopping around on your part, you might need to sit in on some sermons and visit various churches and talk to some people. It really depends on how open you are. Some people have hang-ups about not going to specific churches, but I say use what works for you. Go with what feels right and where you feel comfortable. If you find a Baptist church you like, then that’s it, if it’s non-denominational, Episcopal , whatever.
P11: (She looks very thoughtful) You know, it wasn’t no coincidence you came here today…I’m so happy I met you….Jesus is good since he brought you here today (sighing, she starts tearing up again, she looks at me and asks) Is it alright if I ask for a hug?
C11: No, of course not. ( I go over to her and give her a hug, we remain quiet for a moment)
(A few thoughts run through my mind, she must be awfully alone in this world, she’s starved for genuine affection and connection instead of relationships based on sex, money and drugs, she looks at me as some sort of agent of intercession)
P12: Thank you.
C13: You’re welcome.
P13: Are you here a lot?
C14: Well, I’m here today, I won’t be tomorrow but I’ll be back on Saturday. Will you be here then?
P14: I’m not sure, the doctors say my swelling has to go down so maybe.
C15: Alright, when I come back, I’ll check in on you if you’re still here.
P15: Oh, would you? Alright.
C16: OK, so I guess I’ll see you on Saturday.
P16: Yes, and thanks again for coming. (I checked up on her on the following Saturday and she had been discharged the day before.)
I experienced this visit as an exercise in being at the right place at the right time. That I met her was by pure chance and coincidence since I went in trying to meet someone else. As the visit progressed many theological themes popped up. Finding a sense of the holy, rediscovering religion and spirituality, valuing and reassessing things presently in life and finding what your life’s work may be. Clearly this patient has gone through a lot in life. A life on the streets as a prostitute in the seedier sections Washington DC in order to support a drug habit cannot be something most people would take pride in but, rather would most probably be a source of shame. This patient seemed to be past that (with me anyway). Instead she had somewhere along the line found an anchor of peace which is helping her keep afloat. I think what made it easier was that this woman was very forthcoming with me, almost immediately and that made the visit easier. I did not have to do too much digging to speak of.
I experienced the visit as an exercise for myself in the mysterious powers of coincidence and timing. It just served to remind me that the universe will send you where you’re wanted in unexpected ways and places.
I think the visit was good for the patient in some ways. As stated earlier she saw me as some sort of agent of intercession as in her opinion, she seemed to say that somehow , it was not a coincidence that I was brought to her room and this was some sort of blessing from Jesus. With respect to inclusiveness, the patient and I are both members of visible minorities. The patient is also female. The patient is suffering from some sort of renal problem related to her HIV. I have never had the illness. The patient is a Baptist, however she is not in her church or faith tradition. I consider myself more of a secular non-observant Muslim. I’m not sure exactly why she opened up as quickly as she did but she really opened up immediately when it came out that I was visiting people for Christmas. Maybe she read into something there and that allowed her to open up and trust me.
My main concern as a spiritual caregiver was to listen to the patient and be present with her. As the conversation between us developed, I was able to see that this woman had found some sort peace in all of this with her recent discovery of spirituality. The interaction between us was very easy and trusting.
I think something positive was present here for this patient in some of the realizations that she has made as well as the fact that she’s fully aware that she’s still on a journey of sorts and no doubt some more realizations will most probably be on the way for her.
Something really is afoot and it is coming from the grassroots level. According to Carl in this video, the cosmic winds are such that the astrological forces are now in place to facilitate a mass-awakening , so much so that Carl says “sheeple are going to become an endangered species”.
The choice is yours, Folks. Accept and embrace change gracefully and ride the wave or stay rigid and hold on to the old ways and old visions. The conditions and mechanisms are in place to help those who want to change.
To those of you who don’t know me personally, there was a time when I was a spiritual caregiver at a very busy hospital in a very violent city in the United States. Once upon a time they used to call it pastoral care but since the term “pastoral” has a very Christian connotation to it, they decided to call it spiritual care-giving instead in order to be more inclusive of other faith traditions and paths.
Now, I’m going to tell you about Spencer.
You may think you’ve waited a long time. But let’s face it, so did I. I was thirty-three.
It seems to me I discovered what “I Love You” really means. It means I put you and your interests and your comfort ahead of my own interests and my own comfort because I love you.
I love you.
What does this mean?
We use this expression very carelessly.
LOVE has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and you cannot help giving. If you are very lucky, you may be loved back. That is delicious but it does not necessarily happen. It really implies total devotion. And total is all-encompassing – the good of you, the bad of you. I am aware that I must include the bad.
I loved Spencer Tracy.
He and his interests and his demands came first. This was not easy for me because I was definitely a me me me person. It was a unique feeling that I had for Spencer. I would have done anything for him. My feelings – how can you describe them? – the door between us was always open. There were no reservations of any kind. He didn’t like this or that. I changed this or that. They might have been qualities which I personally valued. It did not matter. I changed them. Food – we ate what he liked. We did what he liked. We lived a life which he liked. This gave me great pleasure. The thought that this was pleasing him. Certainly I had not felt this way with my other beaux. I was looking for them to please me. It is a very different relationship. It’s like a wonderful cocktail party. But it ain’t love….There is an enormous difference between “love” and “like”. Usually we use the word “love” when we really mean “like”. I think that very few people ever mean love. I think that “like” is a much easier relationship. It is based on sense. Love – a blind spot.
Katharine Hepburn has always been one of my heroes. She played the Hollywood game and beat it down every time, and in doing so, earned the respect of practically everyone there. She also lived her life according to her own rules and never settled or compromised to anyone else’s wishes.
I read the aforementioned book years ago and this quote, on Hepburn’s relationship to Spencer Tracy always stuck with me as something very insightful and true especially about actually meaning “like” when very often people say “love”.
This was posted today at Philosopher’s Stone’s UK blog written by activist Julian Rose. I’m posting it here in its original entirety but I’ve added the visuals and links. For those of you who don’t follow global weather news, the UK in recent weeks has been hit with storm after epic storm causing widespread flooding and damage, no one has ever seen anything like this. The current flooding and battering the UK has been taking is not just literal but symbolic as well.
(I’d only add that the message here is not only applicable to Albion/Britain/England but I’d extend it to ALL colonial and imperialistic powers, past, present and future. Karma may stay quiet for a long time but it ain’t no fool and neither is Mother Nature.)
That is maybe a rhetorical question, so I will not so much ask as state ‘England is going under’. And while that may be taken metaphorically, I mean it more actually. Great swathes of the Country are slowly drowning under a relentless rainfall that is part and parcel of an almost continuous barrage of winter storms moving in off the Atlantic Ocean.
England sticks out into the Atlantic as if asking to be the recipient of an oceanic battering. The Country leans into the South Westerly’s as a sailor pits himself against driving wind and spray. She is an island in an Ocean, and one that is close to going under.
There are powerful karmic forces weaving their historical tentacles into this unfolding saga.
England once stood boldly out of this same Atlantic Ocean sending her great ships tacking across the high seas, seeking out new Continents and exploiting whatever treasures fell upon the way. Building empire across the globe in an ever-expanding push for power and glory, wealth and prestige. From this small island on the Western flank of Continental Europe, the sailing ships and crews set forth and those that returned, came with their holds crammed with the trophies of their plunder.
Kings and Queens applauded their exploits, planning and funding ever greater incursions into the territories they so indulgently sought to lay claim upon.
Invasion was followed by conquest. Conquest by slavery. Slavery by the rule of Westminster and the Palace. Rule imposed for the ever greater enrichment of the coffers of the State, its barons and hierarchical elite.
Soon England no longer depended for nourishment upon her own fertile lands and artisan skills. The peasant farmers were pushed unceremoniously off the land as Empire became the new provider and the landless British worker was yoked to the production line, becoming a tool for mass produced exports to newly conquered lands.
The demise of the British Isles was well underway even as its industrial revolution ground down the last native skills and seasonal rituals of a once bucolic countryside.
Now the barley barons and kings of industry reigned over our colonial wealth-bolstered island. While, almost unnoticed, the newly instated merchant banker moved deftly into the wheel house so as to decisively lay his hand upon the course of history and build a money empire to match, and eventually overtake, the acquisitions of the colonies.
The City of London soon stood solid and arrogant – the power house of this vast Empire.
And while the British initiated slave trade was finally banned by an act of parliament, the British people took on the mantle of slavery, bowing to the new citadel whose tentacles reached out into great swathes of colonial wealth – and steadily drank it dry.
Oh England, my England, so where is your soul today?
Two World wars then tore the last of your subtle spirit from its sanctuary of rolling hills and valleys where once King Arthur ventured on his mystic journey and Druid tribals camped among the ancient oaks and standing stones.
Where to now old island?
Now that the foolish men in dark suits shout their pathetic schoolboy jibes to and fro across the floor of what was once a shrine to an idea called democracy.
Now that the macadam motorway and sterile hypermarket have vanquished the ox cart’s winding track and breezy market stall – where to now?
Now that the spirits and devas are driven from the edge of once pristine tinkling streams, and enchanted copses have met their fate at the hand of the brutal chain-saw. Where to now?
Now it is your turn to be on the receiving end. The crimes of your past are catching-up with you, dear England. The arrogance and greed of your masters could not go unnoticed – could not pass-by unatoned for. Nor could the pacifistic stance taken by the greater populous when confronted with such frequent acts of national and international vandalism.
The karmic retribution could not be stalled forever.
Prepare your arks all those who can read the signs. Prepare yourselves for the deluge –whose first ferocious swathes are already upon the land.
Head for the hills and higher climbs and take simple tools to prepare the ground. A great cleansing is upon this island; a cleansing that will jolt befuddled minds into memories of great stories of other eras, when lands were swallowed by mighty acts of nature.
And yes, nature it is that once again rises up in defiance of all attempts to bring her under the control of those who would use and abuse her for their private wealth and make of her a platform for staging their profit driven foreign wars.
This oh so British ‘civilization’, once so proud to lead the way in matters of conquest, was always bound at some point to receive its retribution. So proud to turn away from nature and forge its industrial steel into the wheels of the brave new world of mass consumerism.
A world that left behind it all gentle arts that nature had so diligently taught.
But such is She that no man can turn his back for long upon Her simmering powers. No man can lay claim to having pacified and sold Her soul – because passivity was not on Her agenda, and Her soul was never for sale. And those who sought to profit from Her bounty will soon leave empty handed; for that time, prophesied of old, has finally come.
Not even the vicious technologically engineered destruction of our climate can suppress the rising winds of change that are upon this scarred and battered jewel called Earth. It can only increase their velocity.
So look now upon the rising waters and know what they are. Few Countries will escape the fever that’s upon this World. A fever for which the only cure is the unconditional metamorphosis of man himself, washed through and through, cleansed of that reckless hubris which has brought us to this tipping point.
The tide is turning upon mankind – and this England which juts out into the rising stormy ocean to her West, will shoulder a heavy price for its blinkered, stubborn occupants, who for so long turned a blind eye on deeper truths and refused to look upon the blood encrusted pages of colonial history.
Go under then.
But when the great healing is finally done and the storms abate .. recede; rise again oh beautiful island, greet the coming dawn in vivid celebration of all that’s sacred, true, profound. Set forth your green and glorious valleys once more, so the animals may step out once again, two by two, to greet the unmasked glory which calls to be reborn.
About the Author
Julian is a committed international activist, writer, farmer and actor. He is an early pioneer of UK organic farming methods and is currently involved in the front line of efforts to keep Poland free from genetically modified organisms. Julian is President of The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside. His book Changing Course for Life can be purchased onwww.changingcourseforlife.info. His latest book In Defence of Life – a Radical Reworking of Green Wisdom is available at Amazon.com or can be requested on http://www.julianrose.info/
“Surely, We have sent revelation to thee, as We sent revelation to Noah and the Prophets after him; and We sent revelation to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and his children and to Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave David a Book. We sent some Messengers whom We have already mentioned to thee and some Messengers whom We have not mentioned to thee …” (Koran, Ch.4 v.164, 165)
“Verily, We have sent thee with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and as a Warner; and there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent.” (Koran, Ch.35 v.25″)
It should come as no surprise to regular readers of my blog, that I was a pretty geeky kid and one who normally had my nose buried deep within a book most of the time. I was lucky enough to grow up in a neighborhood which has a municipal library which has the highest per capita use in all of Canada outside of a university, which meant their collection was excellent and I had access to some pretty nifty books from the get-go.
The past few days, I have not been able to shake off the feeling that *something* is about to blow. Don’t ask me what, why or how, I just do and if Carl Boudreau’s February astrological forecast is correct, something is about to be outed. I hope I’m wrong.
From Carl Boudreau’s Youtube channel:
“In February, the desire for change at the grassroots level intensifies. The speed at which personal values and attitudes are transformed accelerates. The acceleration can be very disorienting.
Expect a little more confusion in interpersonal communications, especially with Mercury retrograde most of the month. But it won’t be just Mercury retrograde. The planets are targeting our minds with transformative energy and it could very well affect the way our mind works. Trying to use your mind while the planets are working on it could cause “issues.”"
Stay grounded everyone, change with your heart, not with your mind.
(Note: NSFW links included below)
I’ve been watching the hit HBO show “Girls” and cannot get over how thoroughly disagreeable the characters in the show really are. Narcissistic, self-involved, entitled and shallow beyond belief, the show follows the trials and tribulations of a group of four young, 20-something girls right after college graduation in a post-economic recovery New York City (specifically Brooklyn) as they try getting their foot in the door of life, professionally, socially and romantically.
Think of it as a poor-man’s “Sex and the City” with less-attractive guys and realistic clothes and much-less emotionally mature girls. The show has been gaining accolades for it’s “realistic depiction” of the lives of girls in this specific demographic group but also for the frequency which homely looking, obsessive-compulsive lead character Hannah (played by Lena Dunham, who also created, produces, directs and writes for the show) strips down completely and shows off her Rubenesque figure. Which is often. There’s also the more raw sex scenes and frank discussions of sexual play between the girls and boys. (For the record, I don’t think the nudity is the big deal here, in fact I applaud it because Hanna/Lena’s body is NOT a conventional Hollywood body but one which more women can relate to and accept and the public backlash from men in particular is exactly why there needs to be more of this kind body-acceptance instead of the constant showing of body-types most women can never relate to or have. My gripe is how horrible these personalities are.)
2014 has started off on a positively freezing note in my neck of the woods.
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There’s hope for all among those loved the most
There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner whom would hurt all mankind
Just to save his own
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there is no hiding place against the kingdoms throne
Well, another year gone and another opportunity to reflect on it.
First off, I want to say a deep and heartfelt “Thank you” to all of you who either started reading this blog when I first started it back in April 2012, to those who have only recently decided that they want to read my little scribblings and strange thoughts and to anyone else who drops by. That people are interested in anything I have to say surprises me in a good way, kind of like trying out a new recipe and discovering that the results were much tastier than expected :-).
When I first started it, I thought maybe of just posting up stuff about this energetic shift and how I see it being played out in the general culture. If others agreed, great but if no one else did, that was OK too. Since then it’s morphed into a bit of a spiritual diary, travelogue, and soapbox. I lost a few readers along the way and picked up others so it’s all good. We also unfortunately lost the amazing metaphysician, thinker and writer Stuart Wilde.
2013 to me is a year in which the shift really got underway.
Maybe there was no cataclysmic event with the end of the Mayan calendar back in December 21, 2012 but it would be very hard to dismiss the fact that more and more is certainly coming to the surface. Unprecedented demonstrations in Turkey and Brazil against corrupted governments, the secretive Bilderberg meetings having gone mainstream, the sentencing and imprisonment of Private Chelsea Manning, some yoga cult-like leaders like Bikram Choudhury being exposed for the damaged people they really, the exposure of the NSA’s inner workings and the extent of surveillance on the civilian population around the world thanks to Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald’s reportage, a full-scale war against Syria which never happened thanks to public outcry, the launch of The People’s Voice which David Icke and his crew managed to get off the ground from a well-spring of grass-roots support and a Pope who has finally signalled to the world that change is possible, and using himself as an example, it starts with your own actions, big and small.
History teaches us that ideas finally take root and revolution happens when you hit critical mass and you would be surprised to hear that critical mass is as low as 10%. Once you hit 10%, that’s it, game over, the snow-ball effect starts to take place and doesn’t stop after that. While I don’t think 2014 will be the year we hit the 10% mark, it will be a year when we get closer to that target. Here’s a hint as to how to get there:
I wish every last one of you a peaceful and serene 2014. I hope all of you get that much closer to your goals and dreams whatever they may be. The Buddhists teach us that the Universe is constantly in flux, that change is the name of the game, so with that in mind I hope you all hold on to your seats safely while you enjoy the crazy ride.
No Country for Old Souls by Soren Dreier
I’ve posted this before already, but I’m not a big fan of the Christmas holiday season.
From Carl Boudreau’s Youtube channel:
“January’s video is another surprisingly supportive chart. It is supportive to a surprising degree and in an unexpected way. It creates a hurdle in our individual and collective lives, but it offers a novel and truly transformative way to get over this hurdle, one that moves us all toward a new paradigm. “
The pyramid of power is starting to turn upside down, the 99% are gaining ground and it won’t be an angry or confrontational shift. Also if you imagine a complete lunar cycle as a complete cycle of breath, one new moon, one full moon, one inhale , one exhale, imagine January with a breath and a half. With a new moon on Jan.1st, a full moon on the 16th and another new moon on the 30th – that gives anyone some serious momentum to those who knows how to work with lunar energy.
Has this ever happened to any of you, where you find yourself reading something and somehow find yourself attracted to the mind and personality behind the words?