I had the honor and pleasure of attending a meeting of hospital and hospice chaplains in my area earlier this week where I had an opportunity to listen to folks who to the work of ministering to our sick and dying in our greater community. They were asked to reflect on several questions designed to get them to look at how they reflect, refresh and thrive in doing the work they do which in my opinion takes a very special breed to do. I was invited along with several others who have been a part of a ministry education program for people interested in providing volunteer hospital pastoral care ministry.
We were challenged to ask ourselves several questions I’ve paraphrased here. How do you take time to reflect? What do you do to facilitate reflection? As part of reflecting ask yourself why do you continue to do what you do? Why are you here as a hospital or hospice chaplain? What is live giving in your work, play and personal time? What are the values which allow you to do what you do? What is your purpose, your passion, your calling? What accomplishments, events, or areas of growth in the last 12 months fill you with gratitude and self affirmation?
Secondly, how do you create time to refresh? What is the thing that keeps you grounded which enables you to show up each and every day to do the work you do? How do you cultivate time for life giving activities, for reflection, and for family? What is the one thing you could do over the next 6 months that would have a significant positive impact on your life, your well being, and your spiritual life?
Thirdly, how do you take time to thrive? What are a few things, tangible or intangible, large or small you would be thrilled to achieve over the next six months? How do you cultivate resiliency in yourself? How do you engage in your life and your work with purpose and commitment? How are you able to stay true to your authentic self and engage with purpose and connectivity to your calling, ministry or mission? And my favorite question – how do you stay connected to your internal GPS?
GPS is a global positioning system which uses satellites to beam information about our locations to a GPS or phone. It guides us by providing instructions to turn, change directions, make u-turns, shows us routes to travel, and when we find ourselves completely off track, recalculates based on our current position. When the facilitator asked this question I had one of those “aha” moments. I believe we all have an internal something which guides us and if we pay close attention we are able to navigate the twists and turns and detours of our lives.
How we stay connected to that internal guide was the question of the day for me. Through meditation, prayer, reading scripture and the writings of spiritual writers I connect to my inner guidance system. I also remain connected when I see nature through the lens of my camera and create a slice of time in a well thought out shot. I am connected when I blog or write in my journal or collage with images or color mandalas. Purposely being aware, being mindful of moments is another way I connect to that internal guide. Last but certainly not least, I connect to my own internal guide with help from trusted spiritual companions, a peer group, and a spiritual community which encourage me and give me life.
How do you stay connected to your GPS? How do you thrive? What gives you life? What do you think are the qualities of a thriver vs. a survivor? What does it feel like to survive? What does it feel like to thrive? Are you surviving or thriving?
I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on these questions and others which may arise. You may want to reflect on these questions over several days. Journaling your responses will give you an opportunity to revisit them later.
Finally, I would be honored to companion you on your journey if that is something you desire. I believe we are meant for so much more than simply surviving this life. We are meant to thrive.
Thank you for reading and for your prayers and good vibrations. May you be filled with passion, compassion, humor and a little bit o’ style! Namaste.
P.S. Several years ago, I was introduced to the music of Casting Crowns, a Christian Rock group and discovered several songs which resonated with me. One is titled “Thrive”. You can listen and watch the video here Casting Crowns “Thrive” Live (I also recommend “Just Be Held” from the same album.)