Day 1

Disclaimer: The following post are a trail of my thoughts going as roots go.

Driving to the hospice sanctuary where I volunteer - mid swipe from the windshield wiper of my car as it was raining moderately in the Bay Area - an awareness of being a witness of where I was at: mentally, physically, and emotionally came into view. 

The witnessed feelings of nervousness and excitement. 

Witnessing of when I was breathing in my chest vs. belly. 

In that pause - I was in a state of grace, of “welcome everything, push away nothing.”

Compassionate presence.

Being here. Now.

It dawned on me how this “compassionate presence” could be cultivated in other areas of my life.  

Here I was, setting clear boundaries on what time I needed to leave and what I needed to accomplish leaving today to volunteer.  

A moment where a light switch was turned on in a dark room.

The moment of Aha!

And in that moment my neck tilted to the side [an adorable comparison is a dog tilting their head when they look… you know what I mean.] The look of wonder and curiosity all rolled into whatever shape it takes for you. 

The intention created the space. 

I asked myself, “How can I increase moments of “compassionate presence?”

The answer of course, was in the pages of the volunteer hospice training manual - it was titled: Basic Communication

  1. Sit - Sit with the resident side to side “let me see from your point of view”
  2. Actively Listen - What is your message? What are you really saying vs. what I’m interpreting as what you are saying?
  3. Breathe - It’s one of the things that keeps us alive (a major thing really). It’s amazing how much we can voluntarily and involuntarily control our breath. Example: I feel tense, I notice that I am hold breath, my shoulders get scrunched, eyes open wide, looking at blank space. Then I take in a deep breath to relax (several times really) and often - if I’m beside my husband, he would ask, “You alright there?” Because he knows. Everyone human being has visited that state. 

The answer is simple and deep as these three practices: Sit, Listen and Breathe.

That’s the meditation.

That’s the practice.

That’s the work.

That’s the universal key.


Alan Watts would say, “You’re it.”