NEW JOURNEY: The Fifth Step

I discover I’m not lost–I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

Awhile back, I wrote about a coaching session I had with longtime friend and life coach Quinn McDonald, of (I’m leaving out the links because WordPress does not seem to want to process my html coding today.)

During that session, I mentioned my odd desire to sign up for hospice training. Quinn said she didn’t think it was at all odd. After we’d talked, she said I was asking myself, “what are the values that are calling to you to be fulfilled in your life?” They’ve changed since I first started my journey as an artist. No better place to search for them, she said, than to look at what happens at the end of life.

I told a few people about my decision.

Some people said, “Oh, you’d be great at hospice!” I loved their support and faith, but I cautioned them, “I’m not even sure why I’m doing this! But for sure it’s not because I necessarily think I’ll excel at it. I just feel I have to do this.”

Some people pooh-poohed it, or looked at me like I’d given in to the woo-woo thing.

Other people I knew I couldn’t tell.

And most of the time, I just knew I shouldn’t talk about it too much. Sometimes, talking about doing something takes all the energy out of it. Like your brain mistakes the “talking” for the actual “doing.

So I just needed to do it.

Today was my first training session.

It was powerful.

It was amazing.

I cried like a girl. (Well, I am a girl, so that’s okay.)

I haven’t even begun to process everything that happened. And maybe I shouldn’t, for awhile, anyway.

I will say this:

When I first felt the desire to pursue this, I had no idea why. It felt irrational, crazy and self-indulgent.

But now, there is no doubt in my mind anymore.

I KNOW that this….

…this is exactly where I need to be right now.

It is exactly the right place for me to be.

That feeling alone is enough to make my spirit soar for the first time in ages.

I don’t really know much more than that right now. I’m just telling you, so if you have any odd urges or yearnings right now, it might behoove you to check them out.

And yes, behoove is a word.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

14 thoughts on “NEW JOURNEY: The Fifth Step”

  1. That is a wonderful story, thank you.

    I feel that way about learning Spanish (I keep taking Spanish 1, every handful of years, and never get far enough to function). I have not found a way to fit it into my life more than 2 terms in a row, but it feels very important.

    I’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, I do other things that also seem important… just not as important as Spanish.


  2. My Dad was fortunate to die at Hospice , a year ago.
    I didn’t know much about this organization ,until that time . They were angels. They took care of not only him , but us.
    I hope to some day Pay it forward . I admire you for your courage & desire to help people at the end of this journey .
    I found it was not only about ,saying good bye to my dad ….but he needed to say good bye also .
    Those last days are so important …even if they don’t seem to be conscience , they can become totally allert -right at the end .
    Dying , felt not only like a good bye – but , a rebirth . I found there is joy at the end …along with the sadness. It was very spiritual…dying wasn’t what I thought it would be .
    I am thankful for Hospice & the angels that work there , often. In fact , there’s prob. not a day that goes by , that I don’t remember their kindness.
    I can only think that you can grow from this experience …..and you will be a god-send in ways that you can only imagine .


  3. Valuable information for all of us. When you relayed what Quinn said about “No better place to search for them, she said, than to look at what happens at the end of life.” That statement reminded me of a similar one someone made to me over 10 years ago. This person had worked in nursing homes and she said you could see happy and bitter people there…depending on their life choices. That really resonated with me and still does.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your journey.


  4. LynnH, run out right now and get Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. You may be headed to Spain! (Or Puerto Rico…) :^)

    Peggy, your post moved me very much. I’m still very much a beginner, but what you’re saying echoes what I’ve been hearing already. You can pay it forward simply by telling people about hospice–we knew NOTHING about it til last fall. Spread the good news!

    Kathleen, your comments, too, are spot-on. We choose. It’s inspiring me to choose well.


  5. Thank you for this post, maybe it will get me off my duff to look into a calling I have had to work in the local senior center doing art things with them.

    Keep us posted on your thoughts on your calling.

    robin g


  6. If you think about it, we are all exactly where we are supposed to be at any given time…..sometimes we just experience pain, or confusion because we just haven’t realized it yet…but every path, every path leads to where you are, both positive and negative…and these destinations are all opportunites for growth…


  7. Good for you to follow your spirit and join Hospice. They do tremendous good for not only the sick but for the caregivers. My Mom had cancer (a rare form)and we never knew what to expect. When it became time for Hospice to come in, it was a Friday and that Sun. evening she passed. No one expected her to go this quickly. Hospice came in and helped me with everything and my gratitude 4yrs later is overwhelming still. It takes a very special person to help people when they are so vulnerable and in such pain. To commit yourself to such a calling I am willing to say you must be one of those special people. Follow the little voice of your spirit it will never lead you astray. Thank you for sharing your story and your compassion.


  8. Amazing! The exact same think happened to me in September 2007. At our first Animaterra rehearsal, Allison shared a dream she had of starting a Hospice Singing group. Something in me said “YES!” and I took the training offered by Beacon Hospice that fall, and the Pathways Singers was born in January. Then I moved to Maine. But, there is a Beacon Hospice here, and I have had one client for whom I did sitting vigil the last three days, what a gift! (to me), joined a newly forming Hospice singing group here, and have also done Chart-A-Life for three people (sort of a poster sized scrapbook page of an end-stage dementia patient’s life). I know I don’t want to use my chaplaincy program’s ordination to be a Hospice Chaplain, but I love the work I am doing. So, good for you for answering the call!


  9. Good for you, Luann! I am getting so much out of reading Steering by Starlight right now, and your realization is just one more confirmation of how these things can work out.
    I study astrology as well, especially in how it relates to finding our path in life, and I know from this that what we are truly meant to do is often so unfamiliar that it takes a lot to be able to recognize it and follow through without continually being pulled backwards into old, familiar patterns that don’t serve us very well.
    Thanks for sharing that, and good luck with it!


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