Thursday, August 25, 2005

My Spiritual Awakening - part 1

Working with patients who are dying, I have become acutely aware of my need for a sense of spirituality in my life. This work can be emotionally challenging. Engaging with patients who are facing their mortality and who are grappling with finding meaning in their lives, I am frequently faced with these same existential questions with regards to my own life.

My chosen line of work - or my calling as it were - undoubtedly gives me a sense of purpose to my life. But my occupation, although a largely encompassing passion, is not all of who I am. My answer to the question 'What is the meaning of my life?' is not as simple as "I am a palliative care nurse." I am also a woman in a relationship with my partner; guardian to my four beloved pets; a friend to many; a daughter; a sister; and a life interacting in this world on a moment-by-moment basis.

Walking home from therapy today, I practiced walking meditation. My therapist has encouraged me in this practice, which I first learned at the Zen Buddhist center near my home. I realized something today: a huge benefit from walking meditation is that it forces me to slow down. I noticed the feeling of the cool breeze blowing my hair. I felt the warm sun against my face. I felt the firm, solid ground beneath my feet with each step. I let my thoughts meander without clinging to them.

I've been beating myself up for not committing to going to the Zen Center every Saturday. But today I was reminded once again that I don't need an organized religion to have a spiritual practice. Every moment can be a spiritual experience if I am present and open to it.

Although I am still uncomfortable with the word "God," I thank Him or Her and the many friends (including my blogger family) who have been supporting me through my recent difficult times (essentially ever since my grandmother died in March). Together, you have helped open me up to the infinite sense of peace that has been buried inside me. I finally felt connected with that peace today.

Thank you.

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