healing haven

September 26, 2009

My Gratitude Flower

Filed under: appreciation,Gratitude Legacy Journal,healing,Hestia,hospice — by thalia @ 8:18 am

 

For the opening of the hospice workshop this year on Gratitude, I asked everyone to fill in a gratitude flower I had created.   The petals of a sunflower seemed like an appropriate way to express gratitude since the petals allow for individual items and the sunflower is associated with sunshine and good feelings. I drew large petals surrounding the inner circle and made copies for everyone.  Each person was to fill in the items he or she were grateful for, and then paste their picture that they brought along for this purpose, in the center of the sunflower.  The finished project became the first page in their new Gratitude Journals that would be worked on throughout the day (for another see Timeline Goals in A Hestia Project).

 

My Gratitude Flower-filled in-cropped. 

This was my page which I then added my picture to.  I have since put it in my Gratitude/Legacy Project, but am not sure where it will wind up since it has to do with general categories I am grateful for rather than about specific people.  I do plan to then take this same sunflower outline and put in the names of people I am grateful for, probably having to add more petals to make this work or to break down the people into specific categories for each sunflower.  Perhaps then even use one sunflower per person with their picture or name in the center and listing the various aspects of them I am grateful for.  Since this is an ongoing project, there is no telling where or what this will develop into.

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September 19, 2009

My Medicine Bag

Filed under: appreciation,healing,Hestia,hospice,Temple of Solace — by thalia @ 7:26 am
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All those years I wandered over our 25 acres in the Ozarks, I carried a medicine bag with me.  It was more practical than esoteric.  The outside material was made of bleached and faded out old denim, in a pattern of light and dark blues.  It was about 10 inches square, with a flap of the same material secured by Velcro to keep out bugs and leaves that might otherwise fall into in. There was also a long strap made from the same material so it could be slung over one shoulder, thus allowing my arms free range to move bushes aside, or to pick some delectable wild green. 

Within was a material divider: on one side were various sizes of plastic bags to use for placing various foraging items I would come across.  On the other side were a small knife to cut off leaves or flowers suitable for eating and a small field identifier book for those items I found that I still did not know. 

 sorrel-cropped

 I would spend hours foraging through the woods and the meadow looking for tasty possibilities for supper salad: various greens, perhaps a mushroom or some wild persimmons, or violets growing by the stream for putting into cookies or scones.  In the fall there were also plentiful persimmons, only to be collected after the first frost so they wouldn’t sour your mouth and before the turtles and other critters got to them, wild passion fruit and wild grapes.  In the spring were new sprouts of poke, cardoon, dock, chickweed and dandelion greens, as well as mulberries and wild strawberries.  And in the summer prickly pear cactus were to be found and the more mature greens like sorrel and even dandelion flowers and rosehips.  Winter might find nuts or acorns for the deer but also great for making muffins or cakes after rinsing off all the tannin and then drying them out to make into flour.

Those were my practical years, when we were attempting to live off the land as much as possible and be self-sufficient.  Hard years, but with many wonderful encounters with the natural wildness of the land and its inhabitants.

Now, my medicine bag would contain different items, many of which would be hidden from the physical eye.  I use this medicine bag when I am with people who are sick or dying, sad or depressed.  It is partially the aura or soul cape that has developed around me.  Just the other day the hospice chaplain came in and asked if he could “set a spell” – he needed “some serenity.”  I know from people’s reactions and comments there is something carried around that others find healing.

Another item in my medicine bag is a listening ear (which conjures up an interesting picture.)  Most people do not have people in their lives to listen to them.  If we all did, we would not need any psychiatrists.   Listening is a gift I received from my mother that I can pass on to those who need someone to do nothing more than to let them know they are important enough to be listened to, who takes the time to listen.  With everyone in a rush, no one wants to take the time to listen.  And with everyone so into voicing their opinions as if it is “The Truth” – no one wants to listen, all want to talk.  So a listening ear is a very important item.

Hands that comfort are another part of the healer’s medicine bag.  Touch is so important for everyone, but permission does need to be asked for first.  You can’t assume everyone will benefit from a hug since so many people have been abused in their lifetimes.  Yet we all need touch, particularly when we are sick or dying.  So many people back away at those times that a person can feel very isolated, maybe even shunned.  A touch, a hug, a hand relaying concern, hands massaging another’s under the guise of putting lotion on dry hands and feet, a pat on the back, rubbing someone’s neck and shoulders – all are ways of using touch to communicate connection.

Also, vitally important is a compassionate heart: a heart that has known sadness and abuse, joy and love, frustrations and disappointments as well as fulfillment and success.  A heart that appreciates the differences in people and yet connects to the similarities.  A heart that finds patterns in life that transcend the individual manifestations of chaos.  A heart open to give as well as receive, for one must renew oneself if one is to keep on giving.  We can only give what we have: if we have money we can give money to others, if we have compassion we can give compassion, if we have time we can give time to others, if we have peace within we can give peace.

This medicine bag holds many other items that are available when needed.  But one of the most important is intuition, of coming from the heart.  We never know what may be pulled from us by someone’s need, but we should be open to the moment and trust in the process, and what might be contained in our subtle-medicine bag.

 sunset-cropped

 

 

September 5, 2009

A Hestia Project

Filed under: appreciation,healing,Hestia,hospice,memoir,SoulCollage — by thalia @ 7:00 am
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Many years ago, when I felt there was a possibility I might die within a year, I went to the store and picked out greeting cards that came the closest to what I wanted to say, to my husband and my children, and others I loved.  The cards came close – sort of – but didn’t encompass all I wanted to express.  I didn’t die, and when I came across those cards a few years later, I realized they didn’t express my feelings – just one small part.  But it was a quick, easy way to leave a legacy to my loved ones.

 Then a few years ago, I put together a much more involved Legacy for my family: children and grandchildren, siblings and their children.  I used the regular genealogy pattern for one page, with dates going back through the ancestors.   But then I added many pages of stories, memories and pictures going way back and bringing it all up to date with recent pictures.  I rested on that for a while, feeling I had left some good information and memories there along with other memoir items I had put together.

This year I was preparing for the annual Hospice volunteer Retreat utilizing the book A Year to Live, as mentioned in my blog writings (http://osbethsview.wordpress.com).  I decided that a section on gratitude flowed well from the Year to Live idea and so started researching ways to use for the usual collage/art section and exercises for our Retreat.  I always include art and writing projects so the volunteers can have some fun as they create and learn new ways of exploring and expressing themselves.  In the process I developed some work pages so that at the end of the day, each person would have the beginnings of a gratitude journal and a page of goals of what they would like to achieve or do if they only had one year to live.   And as always, I worked on my own pages so as to show the volunteers some possibilities.

 Timelaine - A Year to Live

And so my Annual Hospice Volunteer Retreat project morphed into something my Hestia/crone aspect loves.  I’m doing journal pages essentially, filled with gratitude – my gratitude for particular people.  I wound up doing individual pages for my loved ones, as things come to mind.  Right now I am keeping the individual pages in a loose-leaf binder with sections for each person so whenever I should die, in a month, a year or a decade, there will be a collection of things I wanted to share ready for each.

I also wanted to include little one-liners as they occur, i.e., “I really appreciated your call to share news of your engagement with me.  Even though I don’t see you as frequently as I would like (because of the great distances between us) I care about you and what is happening in your life.”   Using scribble paper initially, I at least get the thoughts with date down even if they are not in final form.

In order to further facilitate this, I am slowly putting decorative pages in the binder for each person.  I transfer what I might have scribbled already, and then write down thoughts of gratitude and love as they occur right on the page along with the date.  I may add collage, a poem or quote, drawings, paintings, colorings, frames I’ve made, pictures, clip art – who knows what – to decorate each page.  In time, no matter how much or how little time I may have, there will be a collection of reasons and pages as to why I am grateful for that person in my life, using words and art to convey my feelings – my legacy for that person.   And if there is enough time, I may have to separate out each person’s pages so there may be booklets for each person, containing their pages, a legacy from me – for them alone.  I am also doing pages for my deceased loved ones as things come to mind.  These pages will be a tribute to them and will also pass on to younger people the legacies of these people they might not have known.

Mike-raspberry page-cropped.Anne-apron page-cropped.

This project feels so right as it combines my creativity with my legacy, and further compliments the genealogy and memoirs I’ve already done.   And it is personalized for each person.  And it can be added to casually, rather than as a big project – in which case it probably wouldn’t get done.

And one never knows where it leads.  When I put in the two sentences related above to my niece, I found myself remembering another memory I had of her from when she was small, so I went on to include that on the scribble page since I don’t have a formal page for her yet.

These are my stories but they are focused on the other person and how I feel about him/her.  Whether there will be only one memory/gratitude or many when each receives their pages, they will have something personal for themselves.

This will be my Hestia Project for these next months and thereafter.  An ongoing art/writing project about gratitude: my abundant gratitude for the people in my life.  What right now is one art journal kept in one binder about the various people in my life will become, when the time is right, many individual art journals of gratitude for many people – the people I love and appreciate.

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