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Meg Hegarty - Creativity and Dying: Communication in Caring for the Spirit at the End of Life
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Meg Hegarty - Creativity and Dying: Communication in Caring for the Spirit at the End of Life

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Meg Hegarty - Creativity and Dying: Communication in Caring for the Spirit at the End of Life

Meg Hegarty - Creativity and Dying: Communication in Caring for the Spirit at the End of Life

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  • To notes- finding meaning, letting go, simplifying, learning - ? ready and waiting, ? looking forward, ? struggle, ? grieving
  • Take a minute to think about how you express your spirituality.
  • Examples?
  • Story of Mick (Barbato)??? apol first for languageWords – stormy sea, deep waters, birds and butterflies at time of death – represent spirit of person who has died,Blackness, blackness” – sign of spiritual fearImages & stories from spiritual trad – John - Gethsemane
  • Honest struggle is part of an alive, maturing faith and spirituality,an engagement and dialogue with life, or God, in finding meaning.
  • Some experiences are too deep for wordsSilence – warm, rich with presence – not empty
  • Given our individual expressions of our spiritualities, there are common aspects of the expression and language of the spirit.Only a small percentage of communication involves actual words: 7%, to be exact. In fact, 55% of communication is visual (body language, eye contact) and 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, tone of voice). Ritual – alone or community – ways of saying saying thanks, I love you, goodbye, and of letting goWe need to Learn to hear and speak this language in our communication…Recognising shared and individual languages /meaningsunderstanding each other’s world & world view (And not presuming shared meanings among cultural or religious groups)
  • Companion on life’s roadListen ‘with’ …as the client becomes aware of the big questionsAs our small story is seen within a larger framework, the story of life itselfThe mutuality of human to human“Do you see what I see?”…a cry not to be left alone. It is a plea for recognition of our mutuality as human beings…. - Margaret ByrneCompanion on life’s roadListen ‘with’ …as the client becomes aware of the big questionsAs our small story is seen within a larger framework, the story of life itselfThe mutuality of human to human“Do you see what I see?”…a cry not to be left alone. It is a plea for recognition of our mutuality as human beings…. - Margaret Byrne
  • We “live the questions” - not needing answers
  • What this requires of us:Deep reverence for the wisdom and expression of the other’s spiritOpenness to possibilities (hope)Recognition of the language of the spiritWaitingKnowing our own language and doing our own spiritual / inner work (healing wounded healers)
  • Phrases we use, when we use words, are also symbolic and echo on many levels.

Transcript

  • 1. Creativity and Dying: Communication in Caring for the Spirit at the End of Life Meg Hegarty Illustration: Michael Leunig
  • 2. Ageing & Dying Living fully and preparing for dying: -“the final career in life: moving towards death” (MacKinlay E, 2006) Time of transition: “in-between time”/ liminal or thin space
  • 3. Do we recognise and hear the language with which the person‟s spirit is speaking?
  • 4. Expressions of spirit(uality) Depend on personality, culture (social, religious & family), the times in which we live, life experiences and developmental capacities.
  • 5. Language of the spirit Whole person - includes head, heart, gut, spirit Embodied: dance, touch, tears, laughter, and physical symptoms
  • 6. Symbolic language “We forget that the strongest influences upon our lives are always symbolic. Contrary to common belief, we do not respond to the actual or the concrete; we respond to what each event, relationship or feeling means to us symbolically.” Reeves, 1999, p73
  • 7. Symbolic language • Metaphors – Physical: “Signs, symptoms and symbols of spiritual distress” – Heyse-Moore, …. – Verbal: Words, phrases, stories • John‟s story – Art, music, poetry, silence, beauty – Dreams
  • 8. Language of the spirit Whole person - includes head, heart, gut, spirit Embodied: dance, touch, tears, laughter, and physical symptoms. Symbolic – image, metaphor, story – meaning
  • 9. Ritual The place and healing creativity of ritual
  • 10. Prayer
  • 11. How do we see spiritual struggle? Or a sense of being abandoned by God, or what gives meaning?
  • 12. Silence Some experiences are too deep for words…
  • 13. Silence Silence is the language of God.” - Rumi
  • 14. “Dying people in particular are often in a purgatory of routinized communication, and they crave silence.” (Halifax J, 2009, p 109)
  • 15. “To be silent enough to stay with something… without feeling so uncomfortable you have to say something or do something or change something…The longer I stayed in palliative care the less I spoke.” (Nurse 3)
  • 16. Language of the spirit Whole person - includes head, heart, gut, spirit Embodied: dance, touch, tears, laughter, physical symptoms... Symbolic – image, metaphor, story – meaning Beauty, nature, poetry, music, art, literature… Ritual – celebration, letting go… Prayer / meditation - awe & intimacy Silence Values-holding in compassion, living fully Struggle AND peace, trust, letting go
  • 17. How do we hear and speak this language? Compassionate presence and Contemplative listening …often in silence
  • 18. Hearing the language: 3 Kinds of Listening • Diagnostic listening - listening for • Empathic listening – listening to • Contemplative listening – listening with (Byrne M, 2011)
  • 19. Contemplative listening: “the vulnerability of listening and having no answers” (Lunn, 1990) “living the questions…” (Rainer Marie Rilke, 1934) Shift from “fixing” to presence/staying with (Hegarty et al, 2010)
  • 20. We speak this language when: • We “live the questions” with people • We’re present with suffering, in silence often, contemplatively and compassionately, letting go of our need to fix things, so we can be fully present • We hear and use the dying person’s language • We facilitate simple, meaningful rituals • We respect & reverence struggles as much as peace • We remember that this language is of the whole body and person, and deeper than cognitive function.
  • 21. Enabling the gifts in dying creativity, resilience, hope, through being held safely, listened to, heard, reverenced.
  • 22. References Margaret Byrne, 2001, lecture notes in “Care of the spirit in palliative care” postgraduate topic, Flinders University. Fischer K, 1995, Autumn Gospel. Integration Books: New Jersey. Halifax J 2009 Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death. Shambhala: Boston. Hegarty M 2007 Care of the spirit that transcends religious, ideological and philosophical boundaries. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 12(2):42-47. Hegarty, M.M., Breaden, K.M., Swetenham, C.M. and Grbich, C.F. (2010). Learning to Work with the "Unsolvable"; Building capacity for working with refractory suffering. Journal of Palliative Care, 26(4 ), p.287-294
  • 23. Heyse-Moore LH On Spiritual Pain in the Dying. Mortality, 1 :297-315, 1996 Keen S,1990 To a Dancing God: Notes of a spiritual traveller. Harper Collins. Mackinlay E, 2006, Ageing, Spirituality and Palliative Care, p69. Mako C, Galek K, Poppito S 2006 Spiritual pain among patients with advanced cancer in palliative care. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 9(5), pp1106-1113. Nolan S, Saltmarsh P and Leget C 2011 (for EAPC Spiritual Care Taskforce))
  • 24. Rilke RM The Selected Poetry of Rainer Marie Rilke. New York: Random House Inc., 1987. Reeves P, 1999, Women‟s intuition: unlocking the wisdom of the body. p73. Conari Press: Berkeley. Savage, 1996, cited in Mundle RG, 2011, The spiritual strength story in end-of-life care: two case studies. Palliative and Supportive Care, 9(4), pp420-21. Pictures Michael Leunig - slides 2 & 9, Belinda Clatworthy – slides 14, 17, Meg Hegarty – slides 5, 12, 15, 19, 23
  • 25. Points for discussion What do we need to develop in ourselves to recognise and speak the language of the spirit effectively? How do we learn this?
  • 26. meg.hegarty@flinders.edu.au
  • 27. What do we need? • Deep reverence for the wisdom of the other‟s spirit • Ability to stay with, in the struggle • Ability to be silent, to cope with not knowing, not fixing • Own spiritual awareness and practice • Doing our own spiritual / inner work (healing wounded healers)
  • 28. Spirit • Essence • Energy / life force • Spark of the Divine / God (known by many different names) • Ground of Being, Deep Mystery • Higher Self / The Self • The Human Spirit • “One closer to me than I am to myself”
  • 29. „Spirituality is the dynamic dimension of human life that relates to the way persons (individual and community) experience, express and/or seek meaning, purpose and transcendence, and the way they connect to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, to the significant and/or the sacred.‟ - Nolan S, Saltmarsh P and Leget C, 2011 (for EAPC Spiritual Care Taskforce)
  • 30. Anam Cara “We live in the shelter of each other.” (Celtic wisdom)