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wounded and enraged

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(Further to yesterday’s post) I smashed into grief’s cousin last night and its name is anger. It happened as a friend made an innocent comment about hospice work and we suddenly found ourselves in a nasty argument. I felt angry and defensive. Shortly afterwards, while  apologizing, I was able to locate a sense of woundedness near the core of grieving.

Much has been taken away: the easy intimacy with my coworkers, the frequent expressions of love between ourselves, the shared laughter and tears, the sense of belonging to a family … the extraordinary opportunity, day after day, week after week, of being able to ‘do some good’ by offering comfort to patients and their loved-ones. Our intentions, even if we didn’t use the quaint language of 7th Century India, were unequivocal:

For all those ailing in the world
Until their sickness has been healed,
May I myself become for them
The doctor, nurse, the medicine itself.

source: Shantideva. (1997). The way of the Bodhisattva. (Transl. from the Tibetan). Boston: Shambala, pp. 50-51. image: eatourbrains.com

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3 responses »

  1. Peter,

    Never having worked in a Hospice, I can only relate to those who suffer around me daily and I wonder if we can be doctor, nurse and medicine to them through mindfullness awareness and intention?

    Michael J

    Reply
    • yes and no and BOTH. it’s the intention that nudges me out of bed when i’d rather sleep in, and into the light when i want to hide in the dark. the intention “to save/free all sentient beings” as it says in the first of the Four Bodhisattva Vows.

      thanks for writing, Michael.

      Reply
  2. Peter
    I know alittle bit about how you feel as I just finisihed a stretch of shifts at Hspice and don’t have any shifts until Christmas now I am working at my regular unit tonight and I miss Hospice for all the reasons you said. It makes me feel so complete to be at Hospice.
    Take care, manuela

    Reply

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