On Lending Our Bodies

Frank Ostaseski

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© Anna Kaufman MoonWhen we are caring for someone who is sick, we lend them our body. We use the strength of our arms to move them from the bed to the commode, and we can also lend them the strength of our mind. We can help to create a calm and accepting environment. We can be a reminder of stability and concentration. We can expand our heart in such a way that it can inspire the individual who is dying to do likewise. 

We use mindfulness practice as a way to help people explore their pain and shift their relationship to pain in the weeks and months prior to someone's death. Sometimes the mindfulness goes like a laser to the very heart of a sensation. But not always. Here's an example: there was a fellow in our hospice named Carl. He reminded me of my father. I had great affection for him. He was exploring mindfulness practice. One day he had tremendous pain in his belly, and I was using a guided meditation to help explore the sensation around the area of pain. It was . . .

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