I had planned to share the recipe for my carrot and fennel salad, and at the same time, write about the virtue of practicing mindfulness while mincing carrots. That was last night, during a tranquil moment in the kitchen, and before I went back to Hospice of the Valley for a second round of volunteer training.
Six hours spent learning about symptom management, and universal precautions, and hospice patients and their diagnosis, and death awareness, invited a strong emotional reaction that I could not ignore. Rather than sitting, I chose to take Bailey out for a long walk on the Stanford campus. My body needed a break after a whole day spent in the hospice's conference room.
Step after step, I kept being brought inside. First meeting what felt like anger, although I wasn't so sure. Hardly any thoughts. Only feeling, and breath, and tug from the dog. Lingering anger, begging for attention. Soon joined by sadness. Heaviness in the chest, tightness in the throat. Powerful stuff. Temptation to resolve with thinking, and interpretation. No, I knew better. Back to the breath, and each step.
Tonight, I feel grateful for this day at the hospice, being exposed to the reality of life, and death. And for the emotions that got stirred up as a result. Another door opening inside . . .