Spiritual Care giving

6 Ways We Can Re-Boot

Reboot
A few random things have to go if we’re going to all go forward in any meaningful way.
1) Petro-dollars have to become a thing of the past. 

Go away.

Seriously. Because if petro-dollars go, that means annoying assholes like the Royal House of Saud will finally come down. Saudi Arabia only gets preferential treatment because it sells much-needed oil to Western democracies and that’s why it gets a seat on the UN Human Rights Council (what a fucking joke, the country with the highest amount of executions and beheadings, a royal family with literally thousands of members who act like douchebags where ever they go, keep women as sex slaves in their compounds and when women do protest, they get whipped.)
Carlos Latuff on Saudi's seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

Carlos Latuff on Saudi’s seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

I could go on and on about why everybody hates Saudi Arabians, how they were virtually penniless Bedouins before the discovery of oil, how they could only make money from Hajj pilgrims before petro-dollars, how within progressive, educated Muslim circles, in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Bosnia, Albania, central Asia and Palestine, “Saudi” is a code word for a lecherous sex pervert, of how these same petro-dollars is funding Saudi Arabia to spread Wahhabism, a radical form of Islam which was once a marginal movement and only located in Saudi Arabia and now it’s being exported everywhere at the expense of pluralistic, more open-minded forms of Islam (i.e Asian Islam, European Islam, Central Asian Islam). No thank you. End petro-dollars and maybe the alternative, renewable sources of energy (and its associated economy) may finally have a chance as well as giving millions of Muslims a chance to re-examine and reform their religion in a more progressive direction without fear of any form of retribution from Saudi Wahhabi psychos.
If you’ve never read any of Michael Pollan’s books or watched his videos, take some time out to do so. I first read Pollan’s books about 10 years ago and since then, he’s been featured on just about every documentary that talks about the food industry, GMOs and anything related. Basically what Pollan is saying is that the disease epidemic we’ve finding ourselves in, especially around obesity and diabetes, have direct correlations to processed food. The amount of ready-made and/or fast food we buy and eat, convenience-food people stock up on in super-markets either because they’re too lazy or too ignorant to cook, all of it is taking its toll on us. Bottom line: Eat whatever you want as long as YOU make it from scratch. If it has ingredients your grand-parents or great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize, don’t eat it (i.e fruit roll ups, heavy processed foodstuffs, carbonated drinks etc.). Learn to enjoy cooking.
I quite frankly find it meditative to chop veggies, scour vintage and thrift shops and find amazing discontinued cookware brands or beautiful dinnerware and glassware which I can then put to use.
Luminarc of France once made these wine glasses specifically for Alsatian or Reisling wines. They have long been discontinued and you can only find them on ebay or thrift shops once in a while.

Luminarc of France once made these wine glasses specifically for Alsatian or Riesling wines. They have long been discontinued and you can only find them on ebay or thrift shops once in a while.

Food still has a way of bringing people together and creating a sense of community. Usually when I invite friends over to dinner, I try out recipes for my slow-cooker like African Peanut Stew, Beef Bourguignon, Punjabi Lamb Shanks or Butter Chicken. I come home from work, pick up a baguette for a roasted garlic spread,  a bottle of wine, fix up a salad  and you’re ready to entertain.
3) Make an effort and go along with the Global Awakening
Global Awakening
David Icke has been saying in the past 10 years or so that the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 are the pivotal years which will determine the path planet Earth and humanity will take. Do we end up in a world which to paraphrase George Orwell, is a boot stamping on a human face forever, or one in which the citizenry and population are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and brimming over with awareness, emotional intelligence, freedom and personal empowerment and keep banksters, corporations and elected officials in their place. It’s your choice. It can happen at the ballot box, whether you check off names like “Bernie Sanders” or “Jeremy Corbyn”, or if you decide to join activist groups in your community to make energy providers more accountable and halt the deployment of smart meters, the spraying of chem-trails or becoming a gonzo journalist. Film everything weird happening around you, or record incriminating conversations even if it’s on your phone, upload it on the internet and let the world know how corrupt some elected officials and their henchmen are. You can do all that kind of stuff anonymously now. In that case, I’m a big fan of exposing assholes.
4) Be an anti-consumerist. 
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Stop buying crap you don’t need just because you saw a TV commercial for it or because all your friends are buying it. Even stupid magazines like “Real Simple are full of it since they’re basically encouraging you to buy even more stuff.
Save your money and invest in having experiences instead. Renew your passport or apply for one if you never had one. Get out of your comfort zone and go to a country where no one speaks your language. Bonus: Many of these countries are super-cheap and your Western currency will take you further along. Sign up for classes which interest you (cooking, stain-glass making, making mosaics, knitting, beer-making etc.) instead of hanging out in bar or online dating sites like OK Stupid if you want to meet new, interesting quality folks. Go to speaking events or lectures of famous writers or activists if they show up in your neck of the woods.
From davidicke.com

From davidicke.com

For instance, Ickey is on some kind of world tour in 2016, I already bought my ticket for the New York City gig since I’m not sure he can make it to Canada. I’m also waiting for George Galloway, Norman Finkelstein, Robert Fisk, John Pilger and Seymour Hersch to show up in Montreal. Corporations are only powerful because of the money YOU give THEM. Stop giving them your dollars and falling for the hype and spin and they’re suddenly vulnerable. Look at McDonald’s, changing consumer tastes now mean that they’re practically on their knees.
5) We need to Re-Examine our Collective Past and Accept it and Come to Terms with it.
Gobelki Tepe is a bit of a time capsule since the entire site was deliberately buried and was therefore left untouched from later historical periods.

Gobelki Tepe is a bit of a time capsule since the entire site was deliberately buried and was therefore left untouched from later historical periods.

I have been a huge fan and supporter of the works of alternative history researcher Graham Hancock for years now. Graham’s latest “Magicians of the Gods” is quite the bombshell, if you don’t have time to read it or watch and listen to this 3 hour talk he recently gave on the Joe Rogan Show, here it is in a quick nutshell. The Earth has been subjected to cataclysm after cataclysm during its billions of years of history. Most of it is NOT recorded because it predates human life (i.e the meteor which hit the Yucatan peninsula millions of years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs).  With the discovery of pristine megalithic sites like Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, it looks like our human civilization is much older than we thought. Hancock shows that the most recent meteorite hit it may have been as recently as 12 000 years ago, which would jive with stories about the Great Flood, the disappearance of Atlantis and Mu and many other “myths” and legends around the world. He also shows why North America was never the site of any “great” primary civilization like Egypt or Babylon or India or China, mostly because it was North America which got hit by these meteorites most often, and the very sudden and violent Earth changes, wiped out everything in its way, time after time. Whatever survivors there were, were lucky enough to live on afterwards.
This is not entirely correct.

This is not entirely correct.

I personally believe Hancock’s hypothesis is correct. If he is, all of human history needs to be rewritten and we’re going to have to accept that new narrative, even if it pisses off academia and the powers that be who want you to believe only their version of history.
6) Get Real with Yourself
I belong to the school of thought that sometimes you just have to get yourself out of your own way. There are way too many people who are walking around broken and unhealed in some way. That brokenness comes out in strange and unexpected ways, like anger, denial, projection, depression or even personality disorders like Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is no shame in admitting you might need some help along the way sometime. There are therapists out there now, that don’t prescribe meds that mess with your brain chemistry, that follow spiritual paths of their own and use mostly talking as a form of therapy. Shop around until you find the right one, just don’t take the first therapist which you cross paths with. I’m not talking about psycho-babble either. I’m talking about realizing certain patterns or certain types of people seem to be following you or are in your life constantly and putting an end to these unhealthy patterns once and for all. That realization comes from you and only you. Patterns like having friends who constantly back-stab you or finding yourself only getting the attention of members of the opposite sex who are already taken or always finding yourself in jobs with a boss who is psychologically abusive. The only common denominator is you. The outside world won’t ever change unless your inside world changes first. That’s a given.
I know a lot of people in the progressive and New Age community are leery of therapists and think that by just doing yoga, or becoming vegan, or constantly praying or having organite in the house, or “not having a problem” is enough or that they alone can solve their own problems without anyone’s help when they’re not even trained professionals themselves. It’s not and it won’t. Sometimes you need that extra pair of unbiased eyes and ears to help you get out of the forest.
Categories: Ascension, Ch-ch-ch-changes, Politico, Pop culture, Spiritual Care giving, This is why the planet is screwed up | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Verbatim #4: “We should Live for and in Beauty”

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“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

FACT SHEET

LENGTH OF VISIT: 10 minutes 

AGE: 83

SEX:      F

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.

OBSERVATIONS

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.

VISIT

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)

EVALUATION

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.

Categories: Raise your EQ, Spiritual Care giving, Verbatims | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Verbatim 1- “Is it alright if I ask for a hug?”

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. 

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VARIOUS - 2003

FACT SHEET

DATE OF VISIT: December 25, 2003

SEX:      F             

AGE: 43

RACE:  African American

MARITAL STATUS:  Single

RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: Baptist

ADMITTING DIAGNOSIS:  Renal complication (HIV-related)

NUMBER OF VISITS: 1

WHICH VISIT IS THIS? :  1st

CONSULT PLAN:

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.

 OBSERVATIONS:

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.

VISIT

C: EER

P: Patient

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.)

EVALUATION

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.

Categories: Ascension, Raise your EQ, Spiritual Care giving, Verbatims | 6 Comments

Intro: A Baptism of Fire

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Tim Robbins after his escape from prison in “The Shawshank Redemption”

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 or chaplaincy 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.

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To call it a baptism of fire would be an understatement.
It was life and death literally every day. Dealing with the living who will shortly die either through cancer, HIV-related illnesses, or dealing with family members of those who died too quickly and too violently in the trauma bay, mostly through gun-shot wounds or drug-related violence. It also meant dealing with life, women giving birth under complicated situations, people who were struggling to live and for me, being present in the midst of that struggle and trying to overcome my own discomfort and projection in some of those situations, never mind how troubling or traumatic those situations could be.
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Sometimes it meant visiting patients the night before an important surgery and talking with them long into the night or it could mean just simply holding someone’s hand and say nothing at all. At times it meant accompanying shocked parents to the hospital morgue in order identify the body of a son who had died due to a bullet wound. At other times it meant being asked to be in the birthing room because a troubled teenager asked me to be there with her because no one else would. Sometimes, it just meant praying with someone, even a prayer from a completely different tradition from my own but it was one they wanted and needed to have repeated.
emotional-intelligence
There’s nothing New Age or conspiracy-related about these stories but I’ve sat on them for over 10 years now and I think it’s time to let them go. I’m sharing them because if through reading them, it can help someone, anyone learn about emotional intelligence, and how to connect to others on that level, even through some of my own mistakes and biases which I’ve documented…well that would be something. All too often in the “spiritual” scene, there’s plenty of talk about energies, frequencies and putting our thoughts and words into actions and deeds but very little about that intermediate stage between the physical and spiritual, namely the emotional, and honestly, that’s the real connector which many people forget about. How do you begin to resonate with another human being, so different from you and yet, still remain you? How do you reach another person whose beliefs may be so different from your own despite our own common humanity?
Emotional-Intelligence-Mind-Map-Nitya-Wakhlu
So the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the reports of my various encounters I had in the hospital wards. There’s nothing magical, yogic or supernatural about them so apologies in advance to my conspiracy-based or yoga-based readers. Sometimes they will be emotionally heavy to read  so I’ll completely understand if I lose a few readers along the way. But that’s Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and ACPE certification for you. There’s nothing light and fluffy or easy about the hospital wards where real human suffering is taking place. And even if that suffering is personal, the origins of much of that same suffering has to do with the world out there we are all living in, in a political and socio-economic reality which drives people to take desperate measures in their own lives or with the lives of others. All the stories are true, but the names have been changed to protect their identities.
Categories: Raise your EQ, Spiritual Care giving, This is why the planet is screwed up, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

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