One of the key components to my therapeutic training has been my work in the hospice setting. Last month, in the post My Father’s Song, I wrote that the process and the time I spent taking care of my father in the months, days and hours leading up to, and after, his death was the catalyst for my offerings of holistic care. Before that time, I had been a minister, spending a great amount of time working with people of all ages in the spiritual realm, and I had also worked as a nanny, caring for the very young in many beautiful ways.
Although there were many blessings in both of my former roles, over the years, I found myself more and more attracted to spending time with elders and those needing end-of-life care. When I aided in my father’s transition time and then joined a small team which was providing home-based hospice care to people in the Portland area, I felt like I had found my part, my harmony in the Song of the Dancing Heart. No matter where I my life path has led, I have always found that my heart-based compassion energy flows freely.
Today, much of my massage work focuses on people nearing the end of their life’s journey. Most of my clients are either elders or people living with medical complexities. My touch is gentle, therapeutic and full of compassion and love. We breathe together, laugh together, sometimes cry together and simply experience the moment of connection. My massage and gentle style often brings pain relief, and alleviates many of the pressures that cause stress and anxiety, however, I know that I am not here to “fix” people. I do not believe that any of my clients are “broken”.
A person who has lived a long time has a body and a mind and a spirit filled with stories. Each fiber, each sinew, each cell has experienced life and stored memories in its unique way. The parts make up the whole, and the whole person — body, mind and spirit — is acknowledged and nurtured in my practice. Through massage, music, the creative arts, as well as through spiritual counsel and community circles, the whole person is invited to find their part or their harmony in the Song of the Dancing Heart.
No matter your age, when your body is no longer able to dance, something in your spirit unfolds like the flowers in the garden. Gentle winds and wings of compassion become apparent through the community and your caregivers. You are valued. You are cared for. You are whole. I am honored to be a part of the holistic compassion care that you choose in this time.
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