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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’


An essential part of my personal and professional practice is in hospice. Since 1978 I have worked or volunteered with the seriously ill and dying, providing support to patients and families. Every hospice volunteer or worker knows that the real gift is not in the giving of service, but in the lessons and love received. I  recommend this book to everyone, because we all will face the end of our days, and the days of many we love.

Thanks to Judith Keyssar, RN director of a hospice program in SF, for this marvelous read. “Last Acts of Kindness” tells the stories and lessons from the bedside of hospice patients, and just won a national award (to be announced in January 2012). Comfort, love, and hope on every page.

Last Acts of Kindness
by Judith Redwing Keyssar
LESSONS FOR THE LIVING FROM THE BEDSIDES OF THE DYING  www.lastactsofkindness.com

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A good friend is facing her first real surgery. She works hard to achieve excellent health and vitality, so when all opinions converged that surgery was absolutely, no doubt about it, a must, she was disappointed. It’s been marvelous to watch her float above that perspective and find the possible positives. “I’m not ‘jumping with joy’ about having surgery, but will be quite glad to have the cyst removed as it pushes against my stomach and causes discomfort. AND I’ve decided that I will program in my mind and body that with its removal, all anxiety will also be taken away. I won’t need all the herbs I take which will save me time and money. I will have more money to spend on pleasurable things and my body weight will be good for my size along with having muscle strength. The list goes on and on. Such a large amount of stuff I’m laying on this surgery.”

I loved this idea, of clumping wishes into little “mind pockets” and one change in behavior or environment will bring them all to fruition. I imagined one pocket holding the hope for less drudgery, more time to ask what is really important. Another pocket would be full of creative inspiration: at my beading bench, loveliness noticed, and my website redone with lightness and beauty. A little “change” pocket would be open to new experiences, encouraging me to abandon over-responsibility and crave surprise.

And it all came true last Friday. I found myself with four unplanned hours in San Francisco while waiting for my husband to have a medical procedure. No expectations, no companion to please. In truth, I was flummoxed for the first hour, balancing the standard questions: Go to a restaurant or a museum? Maybe a café in the museum? Then something rather wonderful happened. While wondering “what to do” I walked along Union Street, stores just opening. My breath was taken away by the modern Afghani rug colors, and the merchant said I was free to take photos with my phone, an idea that would never occur to me. And so I clicked away down Union Street, my pockets of beauty and inspiration and important goals and surprise emptied out along the way. Wandering into a rug store, a Tibetan jewelry shop, flower stalls, I found myself attracted to colors and patterns. Turquoise and white, subtle brocade patterns with bold images, popped out. Later, I sat in the sunshine, eating a salad from the hospital’s cafeteria, reading a magazine, and feeling inspired and refreshed and my pockets with new hopes and dreams, awaiting the next surprising change.

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