Since this week is Spiritual Care Week, (October 25-31), I thought I would reflect a little on the concept of spiritual care. When I introduce myself as Spiritual Care Coordinator, people often ask what my role is and what exactly is “spiritual care.” Spirit is a term we use in different ways—whether it is the idea of lifting someone’s spirits with a kind gesture, team spirit (we’ve got spirit, yes we do!), in the context of a particular faith tradition, the idea of body and spirit and finding balance, in meditation and relaxation, spirit as the breath of life, and of course there are the spirits that people associate with life beyond this life. In my role as Spiritual Care Coordinator here at Hospice Simcoe, I guess you could say that at different times I am associated with all these areas of spirit. My role is somewhat of a quasi cheer leader/wisdom seeker who helps people reflect on and be fully present to their day to day lives and needs of body and spirit.
Spirituality is a broad concept with many interpretations, but no matter what culture, tradition, or part of the world we come from, we are all spiritual. In fact, the beauty of spirituality is that it is very unique to each individual. When it comes down to it, it is all about how each person interprets their life and how they make meaning day to day. It is both about going to a deeper level of reflection and being fully alive to the moment; to experience joy, sadness, positive energy…these are all to do with spiritual care.
Often when I ask people, what is spirituality to them? What gives them meaning and a sense of peace and fulfillment? I hear answers like: family, nature, walking, dance, worship, meditation, animals, cooking, gardening, yoga, painting, expressing gratitude, being near the water, prayer, laughing, music, creating happiness for others…and the list goes on.
So where do you find spirit in your life?
What gives you meaning and purpose?
How do you care for your spirit?
Another way to think of spirit is that part of us that is essential (as essential as our very breath, which is actually the root of the word spirit—“to breathe”). That part of us which we know will keep us grounded through even the most difficult times in life. Soul, courage, vigour, energy…It is that part of us that we can often neglect because we’re too busy or because we’re caring for others or because we are managing many different responsibilities, worries or the stress in our day to day living.
To be aware of our own spiritual needs and the needs of our loved ones and friends is to be able to ask: “what matters most?” It is about finding balance, setting boundaries, making choices that give love, peace, respect, and understanding a priority.
So, to start off this week of Spiritual Care, I want to ask you the question: what gives your life meaning? What, when you make it a priority, makes your spirit soar, makes the troubles fade away even for just a few minutes, gives you perspective and makes you feel better about who you are and your life-purpose.
And then, when you have made your list, work at prioritizing these essential aspects of living and give them a time and place each day this week. Whether you need to go for a walk every day, dance up a storm in your kitchen, kiss and hug your children or pets, smile at neighbours and passers by, or practice yoga with the sunrise…make time for it! It will make your path clearer. It will make everything else in your life sing.
Peace and love,
Lori, Spiritual Care CooridnatorBack to Hospice Spirit