ANOTHER LEAP INTO THE SKY

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here that I took the next step in my hospice training. I did bereavement training a few months ago–sort of my current “major” in hospice work. My brain and heart continue to expand.

I still love my hospice work. I just felt called to explore the next steps–what comes when a client’s journey is done, and the survivors are left to pick up the pieces of their lives. My supervisor Lorraine says, bereavement support kicks in “when the casseroles stop coming.”

I’ve joined a drop-in bereavement group at local hospice facility as a volunteer assistant facilitator. This group of people have been through so much pain and distress. They soldier on, sharing their grief with others who are on the same journey. I am humbled in their presence.

Last week I was asked if I’d be interested in facilitating a grief journaling support group. I could almost feel my heart leap as I exclaimed, “Oh, YES, I’d LOVE to do that!”

And of course, within ten minutes, I was paralyzed by the responsibility. I…can’t…..do…..this!!!!

I’m implementing my standard strategy of trying to ignore my absolutely bonkers left brain (committee/critic/commentator) and begging my right brain (faith/hope/intuition) to step in.

So today I’m sending frantic emails to my poor bereavement supervisor, who is trying to be on vacation this week. I start each missive with an apology and a note to just let it sit in her in-box until she gets back, followed by a list of ideas, thoughts, questions.

And of course, I worry that she’s already regretting asking me to do this.

I’m researching grief journaling, sending away for books on poetry-writing.

And as always, I’m trying to remember my friend Quinn McDonald’s advice. When I’m frantic, I take a minute to see where that’s coming from. Hmmmmm….the fear this experiment won’t be perfect. Which makes it….about me. And this work is definitely not about me.

I am astonished how tied up this all is with my artwork. The themes of healing and connection, of what it means to be human, of what binds us together and sets us apart… All currently a big ball of soft, tangled yarn in lovely, shimmery colors.

And as my little diamond dove Malchik wings his way around my studio and lands on my shoulder, curious to see what the frantic clicking noise is I make with my fingers on my keyboard, I think of that haunting poem by Rumi:

The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there
is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings.

— Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

The workshop runs in February, once a week for a month. Wish me luck. Send me your thoughts & suggestions, too.

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5 Comments

Filed under art, creativity, hospice, lessons from hospice, writing

5 responses to “ANOTHER LEAP INTO THE SKY

  1. Hoping that someday I can be as brave as you are. You continue to inspire me and make me laugh and cry.

  2. All you have to do is be present. You can do that. It will be fine. Everything you have done to this point in your life has prepared you for this.

  3. Kate Dean

    Luann, what a great idea, to extend your positive persistence to hospice clients and their families. I sometimes give talks on poetry as a healing tool, and would be happy to share my experience. I have especially enjoyed Julia Cameron’s books about writing. The National Association for Poetry Therapy is another useful resource, though their focus is more on using existing poetry than writing new ones.

  4. As long as you are doing what you love, you will be happy. And maybe sometimes you need to explore something new to be really happy with what you love. Take time to enjoy the little things. Continue to explore because that is what you enjoy. I envy you, you are able to explore other things….maybe someday I will, too.

  5. Seems to me this would be the perfect next step for you on this journey. Your history and experience in the art world make this something you can offer that not everyone else can, and something that they will be able to take home with them (literally and figuratively) to help sustain them when they are working on their own. Take a deep breath, write up a game plan, and it will all be just fine.

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