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I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#80 Spirituality

We are three weeks into our volunteer training for Hospice in the Home and our last lesson was an enlightening, warm and comforting session on spirituality.

I was raised in a non-practicing Catholic family, next door to my Godmother Bernie, who took it upon herself to enlighten me/us (my sister too sometimes) to the traditions of Catholic mass on a Saturday night or Sunday morning, and my favourite, Christmas Eve. Despite her best efforts though, I think I decided very early on that I wasn't religious.

As I've gotten older however, my spirituality has grown and in fact, I find myself quite interested in the different religions with a distant desire to one day learn more about them all. As a part of my post-grad studies I even compared the impact of religion versus existential spirituality on the psychological adjustment to living with cancer. I think it was then that I learnt a definition of spirituality that sat well with me and that opened my mind and my life to the concept that the guilt I felt at not believing in God, could indeed be substituted by my belief in whatever I found meaningful and purposeful in my life.

That's why I enjoyed our lesson so much this week. Our instructor, a clinical pastoral care worker named Anne, helped us tease apart our thoughts about Religion Vs Faith Vs Spirituality. The differences in vocabulary that we chose for each category astounded me - words such as war and hatred were listed under 'Religion', while 'Spirituality' conjured only words like peace and calm.

We talked about the end of life, where people choose to die, who they choose to be with when they die, what brings them peace at the end and so much more.

Anne spoke of the ways she has helped people feel less scared at the end, and less alone. Comforted until after the very last breath.

I knew in part that I wanted to undertake this training in order to address my own fears of dying and I can honestly say, that in that room on Wednesday night, after that conversation, with every person in that room, I didn't feel a trace of fear at all.

I can't wait to see how I feel once the training is complete. I feel like it's already achieved my goal.

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