Rewiring the System


Service For You At The End Of Living In This Body

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on October 29, 2009
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Have you spent time with someone very sick and/or dying?  If so, please describe briefly:

While still on the east coast, in the late 1980’s through the 1990’s I worked with two other servers. We created a program for a group of residents at a Radnor Pennsylvania Senior Housing to broach the subject of the end of their lives.  I developed art and nature projects to proceed the circle conversations. We did this for two cycles of sessions. The one leader died suddenly and I read to his body and served his spiritual transition. I also served at another transition of a founder of the Kimberton Waldorf School.

I have served two people here in California, a woman and a man.  They both wanted to talk about their lives and what to expect in the last moments.  I spent almost a year with the woman before she died. We worked ever so slowly about the joy of her life and the quiet container at the threshold.  I read to her, every visit, from a book she choose or from the Bible, ‘John’.

The man had many loose ends of his life before he could step easily across the threshold.  I helped him think about what he wanted in a prioritizing manner and get these in order.  Then we went together to attend the matters and would have lunch and talk.

Everyone I talk with about the end of this life seem to be shivering and shimmering with fear.  It is fear of the unknown as well as fear of the repercussions of their actions. So many people have horror stories from the words and actions of their friends, family or clergy which cause both concern and fear. The most important part of my work is creating a container of quiet and caring which can be filled with these and to listen to the stories.

I have served two people here in California, a woman and a man.  They both wanted to talk about their lives and what to expect in the last moments.  I spent almost a year with the woman before she died. We worked ever so slowly about the joy of her life and the quiet container at the threshold.  I read to her, every visit, from a book she choose or from the Bible, ‘John’.

The man had many loose ends of his life before he could step easily across the threshold.  I helped him think about what he wanted in a prioritizing manner and get these in order.  Then we went together to attend the matters and would have lunch and talk.

Everyone I talk with about the end of this life seem to be shivering and shimmering with fear.  It is fear of the unknown as well as fear of the repercussions of their actions. So many people have horror stories from the words and actions of their friends, family or clergy which cause both concern and fear. The most important part of my work is creating a container of quiet and caring which can be filled with these and to listen to the stories.

The Berkeley Zen Center and Green Gulch are a home for my heart. There is a practiced solemnity at the Zen centers that are carried into every thought, feeling and action by the community out into the world.   I feel personally imbued with the beauty in the Fetzer Institute Training,  especially the work of Parker J. Palmer who works to help bring the power of love, forgiveness, and compassion to the center of individual and community life. I met John Marks Templeton at a Harvard symposium, ‘Spirituality Healing in Medicine with a special emphisis on Death and Dying’, (Dec 12/14, 1998) and read his wonderful book, Discovering the Laws of Life.  I have been fortunate to have been a patient and a (beginner) student of Dr. Yeshi Dhonden thinking about the origins of healing, hot and cold core illness, urine,facial forecasting, working both from the inside thoughts and feelings and outside actions.

I feel a special responsibility and caring for the transition as a service to the body, heart, mind and spirit of the one who is in my care.  So many people from every strata of society end life without the attention of a trained person. I have great reverence for the connection that brings us together. I have a good resume and a wonderful letter from Losang Samten, yet I need some ‘American’ certification so that my job search will be fruitful. I am looking for a part time position.  I am ready and willing to do this work. Somehow it does not disturb me or overwhelm my emotions.

In my life I hope to learn how to remain centered no matter what stresses are going on around me. I hope to bring this centered quality with me as I care for the spiritual aspect in the dieing process. I want to practice this training for the benefit of the sick and dieing.

In 1980 I had a serious illness and actually died in intensive care after the surgery.  It became a study in the brain biology of the near death experience at the same time lifting up the fabric of ‘self and other’ in a miraculous manner. My single pointed meditation strengthened and my heart became inflamed with the living truth of Infinity.

Grief is a process of spiritual and chemical proportions that effect the entire human body.  This process has a time line that can be understood.  Understanding death of a loved one takes about 3 years to traverse through the process. The patient does not need to know the facts but can be guided through the process using both the truths from their religion and the steps of current science of brain biology.  I have made an investigation of many religions so at least to have a stepping off point.  I met a Yoruba woman and we talked about the circle cities and the reverence for the meaning given to the mud. This made her smile and she started to reveal her pain.  It is true that grief serves a wonderful self healing with tears washing away the internal dross. My personal experience have made me both sad and glad.   Sad that the body of a loved one will no longer be here to hug and glad that the light spirit returns to the ocean of wisdom which is all form in various densities.

About 10 years ago Losang Samten gave me, in an un-ceremonious ceremony, his meditation robe that his uncle gave him when he went off to the Monastery at age 16. He had worn it every day since that beginning. I would never want to cause him any embarrassment that he chose to give me this responsibility. I have lead meditation at conferences, public centers and private homes. I do not charge for meditation instruction or practice. I feel I am able to be paid for Hospice work and I really need a job.

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