Posted by: soulshinemoments | September 4, 2013

Meditation for Pain, Illness, & Death

“My interests are death and dying, the grieving process ,and therapy as it pertains to those issues. Once you get more involved with hospice social work, you will find what draws you, too.”  My supervisor, S. said to me as we walked up the sterile halls of the skilled nursing facility on our way to visit a patient.

I have been thinking about her statement for the past couple of days.  I have many “social work” interests.  Honestly, it is not just hospice social work that interests me.  I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at the homeless shelter last semester.  I am always begging Rinny to tell me stories about her internship which serves mothers who have lost their kids because of their substance abuse issues.  Sara, too, works at a hospital downtown in the Burn and ICU unit and I am extremely curious about her experiences as well.  There is not much social work that I am not curious about.  Macro social work, policies, and all the stuff that doesn’t directly relate to people is one thing that I have to try hard to focus on.  Otherwise, I am interested in many, many areas.

When the school’s administration was trying to figure where to place me for this year’s internship, they said to me: “It’s difficult to place you because you are so open!”

Hospice was my first choice, but I wasn’t completely and totally set on it.  There are many people in my program have it all planned out.  I’m not there.  I may never be! I’m drawn to it because my dad was in hospice for many months. I had personal experience with it.

Contemplating the words of my supervisor coupled with the pain in my back this weekend, I found this http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/painhelp.html Using Meditation for Pain, Illness, and Death and read every single word. I am, as I have probably mentioned before, fascinated with meditation, mindfulness, holistic healing. I want to do more research on how meditation can help those who are dying or in pain.

I told my supervisor a little about this article and about how pain comes with so much fear intertwined within it. Meditation helps ameliorate the pain by using the mind to take the pain in moment-by-moment increments. Also, living in the present moment really does dissolve a lot of fear because so much of fear comes in the forms of “what if” and projections of anticipating the pain becoming worse.

She said, exactly. She said that was a huge role of a hospice social worker…provide a calm and caring presence. This in itself reduces fear and aids in discomfort.

Hospice social work is deepening my compassion for the human condition in a way which I never imagined. The human spirit is incredible!

Another thing my supervisor said today that I took with me: “We all have the right answers within us. Our job as social workers isn’t to tell a patient what to do or not to do, but to encourage them to speak what’s already in their hearts.”

Yesterday, I went to only one of my three classes. There was no way that I was going to test my back in approximately six hours of lectures. Everyone in my cohort was so kind and compassionate to me, though. Damn, you gotta love social workers!

Also, I scheduled a “medical massage” for myself for the end of the month. I found a coupon for it in my Groupon App. It’s the first time I’ve used groupon, and when I saw the coupon pop up for 56% off, I figured I would give it a try. I figure after a couple weeks of healing and rest and then a massage, then maybe I will be able to implement yoga and walking back into my life. This medical massage place is also a yoga studio and the therapist specializes in alignment. So I am feeling hopeful! I’m going to take is slow, practice meditation, mindfulness, etc. I have faith that I will be back to yoga in no time though.

Peace & Blessings,
O

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Responses

  1. Hi!

    I admire you for exploring hospice work. I’ve not done that, though I remain curious about it. I, like so many, am afraid of death and dying, but rather than shy away, I want to learn from these brave people. What better way to lead a more complete and fulfilling life right now?

    Craig

    • Hey there! I’m happy you found my blog and I can’t wait to read yours! I feel like hospice social work serves me in more ways than I serve it. I’ve already learned so much from it…including appreciating all of life’s moments and not sweating the small stuff. Again, look forward to reading your blog. Peace and Blessings!

  2. Social work is so interesting to me and the many areas you can work in. My aunt after being a lawyer turned judge became a social worker for people who are about to go to jail for substance abuse. She’s told me many fascinating and inspiring stories.

    • So true! By the way, I finally filled out the questions for the Liebster award 🙂

      • Just read them, awesome! 🙂

      • I guess I am not allowed to re-nominate you, but I would still love to hear your answers to my questions, too 🙂

      • Ok, I’ll answer them when I have a chance. Xo


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