You may know that the UCSF Medical Center Meditation Room at Parnassus is being renovated and will re-open in November. But what you probably don’t know is that the renovated Meditation Room will have an interactive listening station! We need your help. Send us your suggestions for brief recordings of songs, prayers, blessings, meditative/relaxing sounds to include in the listening station. Thank you for your help in making the meditation room an inviting and inclusive space for patients, their loved ones and staff. Email email@example.com.View Post
As human beings, we are all extremely familiar with the stress, excitement, anxiety, and hope that transition can bring. We tend to think about transition like we would a story; every experience or season in our lives has a beginning, middle and an end.
I. The first stage of transition is actually the ending.
As T.S. Eliot noted:
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
If it wasn’t for the ending, we wouldn’t have to start something new in the first place! By recognizing that we are in the midst of an ending, we have a chance to address our feelings about the change and take care of unfinished business. We can acknowledge what we will be losing and what we hope to gain from the change.
II. The middle stage of transition is neutrality. As Lewis Carroll writes in Alice in Wonderland:
“Who are you?” Said the Caterpillar… “I- I hardly know, Sir, just at present,”
Alice replied rather shyly, “at least I know who I was when I got up this
morning but I think I must have changed several times since then.”
Many of us tend to rush right from one thing to another, without noticing that there is a subtle but important liminal period in between every end and every beginning. This can be as big as changing jobs, moving to a new place, or simply moving from one task to another during your shift.
III. The final stage is the beginning.
It is natural for us to want to celebrate or perform some kind of ritual when a baby is born and new life is brought into this world. Doing this helps to make meaning out of all the chaos and excitement. We owe it to ourselves to bring some kind of intentionality to our own beginnings! Some people like to do this with a blessing. As you listen to this blessing, think about what beginnings you have on the horizon, what you hope for, if you will need to ask for help, and how you will provide yourself with extra care during this time:
May you have support during this transition
May you have help to move through this next stage
May you be carried in arms of support, grace, and love
So that we all may grow as a community
So that we all may birth a whole new way of being together. May it be so.
Acceptance means seeing things as they actually are in the present moment. Sometimes, we focus on what is wrong and what needs to change. Once I lose 10 lbs., I will buy those pants and feel better in my body. Once my father-in-law heals, I will have more time to work on the house. As soon as I figure out work/life/family balance, I will call that old friend. The system is so unjust, if people could only….. I need a little more money, and then I will…. In our daily lives, we spend energy and create tension by focusing on what is wrong.
Acceptance does not mean we abandon our desire to grow and change, to be healthier and stronger or to fight for justice. It simply means that we are willing to see things as they are. Acceptance means we take a breath…. right here… in this moment…. and see what is happening. What would it feel like? What would it feel like to love yourself just as you are? Just for a moment….
What would it feel like not to be waiting for something else to happen? Just right now….
What would it feel like to let go of the tension, the crease in your forehead? Just for a moment?
Our tension won’t change the situation. Our constriction won’t help our bodies heal. Our negativity won’t make us feel better. Our judgments won’t make it different. We can’t change what is happening, but we can change our relationship to what is happening.
Take a breath, feel your feet on the floor, open your heart, and receive this poem if you will:
“Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the hospital floor in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. Peace is all around us – in the world – and in nature – and within us – in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.”
Modified Version of Touching Peace by Thich Nhat HanhView Post
The blessing reads:
“…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
This saying resonates with many people from many different backgrounds. It eloquently speaks to the challenge for dedicated health caregivers, to acknowledge that some things, even our ability to positively impact the lives of some people, are out of our control. We tend to care so very deeply about our work and patients that we oftenneed to reach out to someone or something greater than ourselves, to help us recall and discern what is in our power to change. That someone or something greater than ourselves could be our colleagues, supervisors, friends, family, or spiritual practice.
Some questions to consider:
What might you need to accept at this moment?
How would acceptance bring you peace?
What is within your power to change?
At this moment, who can you ask for help to discern this and for courage to change? Or where can you turn for help to discern this?
Where can you find the courage to change?
Open your hearts and receive this blessing, if you will:
May you have all you need this day:
Serenity, Acceptance, Courage, Discernment, Wisdom. May it be so!
There was a patient, who is a twenty-two-year old woman, now cancer-free, after being treated here at UCSF for eleven years. While she was an inpatient, she received communion daily from our Spiritual Care volunteers. One of the volunteers had a wonderful conversation with her, just before she was discharged, hopefully for the last time. The volunteer wished her well, “You have been through so much and it was so awful. May you be cancer-free forever!” The beautiful, young woman said, “Without suffering, there would be no compassion.” What wisdom from a twenty-two-year-old! Without suffering, there would be no compassion. This patient felt that her own suffering had taught her compassion.
What the patient didn’t know was that the volunteer had just lost her son to cancer. He was a National Park Ranger atYosemite. He was in his thirties and only married for three years. He had died four months ago. This was the volunteer’s first time volunteering for Spiritual Care Services. She was profoundly moved and inspired by this young patient, who was cancer-free at last. She said she received so much more than she gave in service to others that morning by volunteering.
Think for a moment about the times of suffering, which you have been through.
Has it made you bitter?
Or has it become a resource for understanding others?
Has it led to greater compassion and empathy for others?
Has it led to greater compassion, even for yourself?
Open your hearts and receive this blessing, if you will:
May you tap into that well of deep compassion in you, which helps you to understand the suffering of others.
May you companion patients, families and colleagues today.
May your work be deeply satisfying.
May it be so!
by Rev. Dr. Michele ShieldsView Post
Take a moment to simply focus on your hands and reflect on all they have done today. As you take a breath, clench your fists. As you clench your fists each time you take in a breath, extend your fingers and your palms as you exhale.
Breathing in… PAUSE. Breathing out… PAUSE.
Breathing in… PAUSE. Breathing out… PAUSE.
Now consider your hands and everything they have held onto today. Perhaps it was a gurney, a chart, a chair. Perhaps they turned doorknobs or pushed elevator buttons. Maybe your hands made beds or prepared medications. Consider all the moments of service your hands offered throughout this day. What are the things you held onto today? With your hands… or perhaps, in your heart or in your mind? What are the things you must let go of from today? Let them go now with your hands… with your heart… with your mind.
As you stretch out your fingers and palms and let go the moments of today, I offer you this poem:
LETTING GO TAKES LOVE!
To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization I can’t control another.
To let go is not to enable,
but allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself.
To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.
To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their destinies.
To let go is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future. more
To let go is to fear less and love more
To let go is to find peace
May you be open to all that is in store at this moment.