2020 - July - Gazette - What Fills Your Soul?
What Fills Your Soul?
I love French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s quote, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” I love it because it conceives of spirituality as a part of everything. Spirituality is what brings us fully alive and fills our soul. Imagine toddlers so full of excitement they could burst – that is being fully alive. Now imagine the same toddlers feeling sadness in every cell of their body – that is being fully alive too. Spirituality encompasses both those experiences and everything in between.
After I received my Master’s degree in wellness, I was drawn to learn more about spirituality and the spiritual dimension of wellness. Some say the spiritual dimension is the most important part of wellness and has a part in all the other wellness dimensions - emotional, occupational, physical, social and intellectual. This yearning led me to three years of training in spiritual direction with Oasis Ministries where I learned to welcome and listen to others’ souls.
As author and educator Parker Palmer says, “the soul is like a wild animal.” It is shy and needs others in a safe community to quietly and patiently wait for it to appear. When it does appear and is honored, it can be transformative and healing. Much of my work with Koch Funeral Home is about creating these safe communities. And for me, spending time there fills my soul.
People often think of dying, death and grief as morbid topics they want to stay as far away from as possible. I have learned just the opposite. Conversations about loss and end-of-life are immensely spiritual, help to fill our souls, and bring us fully alive – they address what matters most in life. Sometimes we’re fully alive with these darker emotions of grief, fear and despair, and other times we’re full of lighter emotions like love, peace and comfort.
I’ve had the great privilege of being present for many loss and end-of-life conversations and have been amazed by the wisdom, authenticity, and courage present in the participants. And in these days of social distancing and its many consequences, I’ve seen and heard stories about how, as Palmer says, “the soul is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient.”
I’ve seen families come together in-person and remotely to honor a loved one. I’ve seen hospice patients connect with their families through video conferencing. I’ve seen immensely personal sharing in virtual grief-support break-out rooms. I’ve also seen Death Café conversations that filled souls, retirement community visits through windows, and virtual remembrance circles that brought healing to family relationships.
Please understand that soul sharing does not need to be only about dying, death and grief to bring us fully alive. As I said, spirituality is a part of everything. My soul is also filled when I look into my family members’ eyes, go for a morning walk with my husband, go for a hike in the woods, and in any moment when I am fully present.
What fills your soul? I encourage you to notice and bring more of those experiences into your life, especially when you feel the weight of our current societal challenges. In addition, I encourage you to find safe communities that welcome your soul.
We welcome you and your soul to the following upcoming gatherings:
- Monday’s Moments Virtual Gathering – “What fills your soul?” on Monday, August 3 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. on a video conferencing platform. Please RSVP by July 30.
- Virtual Death Café, Monday, August 17 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on a video conferencing platform.
Additional information can be found by visiting the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the website. To RSVP and receive the online link invitation, email Jackie Hook by using the cotact form below, call 814-404-0546 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page
With a practice of presence, we hope you find what poet, David Whyte, said, “Beauty is the harvest of presence.”
Jackie Naginey Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula. She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College. For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.