Working surrounded by suffering is not easy. In oncology and palliative care, suffering is usually present in both patients and their families and health professionals must learn to live with suffering … that monster that we have been led to believe does not contribute anything good.
During the stage that I worked in palliative care, I began to get to know suffering better and I realized that it is not so negative, in fact I think that It is necessary to know each other better, to overcome the pain… The problem is that sometimes we lose ourselves in suffering, believing that it is a dark well from which we can never get out.
As I began to explore suffering more closely, I realized that fear, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, insecurity, and loss of self are actually hiding in it. Disease and death have that capacity … They show us everything that goes wrong, but they also teach us that when we stop being afraid of ourselves … Everything flows.
These bad times have enormous power within them and although we try to avoid them, in reality they confront us with ourselves, help us to know ourselves more deeply. When suffering accompanies us, spirituality awakens … asleep, anesthetized by daily life and its frenetic pace.
Disease and death have the ability to stop time, slowing down our life, our mind. In those moments where everything stops, we can only contact our essence and re-discover our spiritual nature.
You may be wondering … What is spirituality?
I believe that spirituality is both a feeling and a way of living life. Is a feeling which helps us to know that we are much more than our body and mind, confronts us with the idea that physical death is not the end, helps us face bad times because they hold important lessons inside, makes us feel complete and connected to something bigger than ourselves… to a loving energy that accompanies us wherever we go.
Spirituality too it’s a way of living life because it helps us to detach ourselves from the result of the situations we live in, it allows us to accept what life brings to us because we know that we live to learn and suffering keeps a great forgotten wisdom inside. Spirituality helps us to recognize that we are not alone, that in reality all humanity is linked by invisible threads, which creates a deep sense of unity and connection, transcending our body, transcending our mind, transcending our limitations.
In illness, spirituality has the power to protect us against the loss of autonomy, which helps to make sense of even the most difficult things. In death, spirituality helps us to detach ourselves from this world, from this three-dimensional reality, it allows us to detach ourselves from our loved ones, knowing that we are much more than this physical body that we temporarily inhabit.
Spirituality is a life partner that helps us to maintain hope, that fills us with strength and compassion, that reminds us of the unconditional love that lives within us. When you start to live from your spirituality, any person or event becomes a teacher, you yourself become a student and a teacher, you share what you have learned because you realize that wisdom is only alive when it is shared. And little by little your world changes … you feel the joy that comes from you … you feel the hope near you … you feel that enormously wise energy that guides you and that is inside you, but also outside of you.
For those who travel the path of illness or death, spirituality becomes a life jacket … it is what helps to give meaning to a lifetime, it is what helps them to transcend their pain and suffering, doing more simple task of detachment from loved ones.
Promote spirituality in your patients and their families … let spirituality also touch you and transform your whole life. Here are some tips so that spirituality is another professional companion, one more companion in life …
Check your life – What experiences have you had that you consider have made you who you are?Reconcile with life – Get rid of the blame … you are responsible for the decisions made, forgive yourself, forgive others.Re-order your vital priorities… What is really important to you in this life? Learn to enjoy the little things (breathing, walking, eating, listening and seeing, the love that surrounds you, the serenity that lives in you).Transcend everyday life – Is death the end? Are you just this physical body? Are you energy as well as matter?Keep the hope – Hope does not always bring you a perfect life, but it does help you accept what happens, knowing that you will face these situations from your inner strength.Connect with the world, the universe, and other people – Humans are not isolated beings, we are connected to others, to nature, to the universe … feel those deep connections that change your life.
The awakening of spirituality will help you discover your true self … beyond the ego … beyond the identity that you have been building every day of your life, opening yourself to a new way of living, where spirituality accompanies you at every step.