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.”
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
- Sit - Sit with the resident side to side “let me see from your point of view”
- Actively Listen - What is your message? What are you really saying vs. what I’m interpreting as what you are saying?
- 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.”