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“Healing presence is the condition of being consciously and compassionately in the present moment with another, believing in and affirming their potential for wholeness wherever they are in life.” ~ James E. Miller in “The Art of Being a Healing Presence”
Learning to be a healing presence is key to making a profound difference in your own life and the lives of others. Through Grace, most of us have been blessed with spontaneously being a healing presence for someone. We recognize the experience through our feelings of being in the right place and doing the right thing at the right time, while ironically feeling a sense of timelessness. All of us are qualified to have these experiences.
When you are a healing presence, you stay calm, centered, and open to each moment without engaging in drama. You see yourself and others as equals in every way that really matters. You may even be blessed to see others as yourself. How can this be cultivated?
Notice: You can not be a healing presence by focusing entirely outward. It requires balanced attention inward and outward, like in a dance. And you can not be a consistent healing presence on your own. To practice and build this skill, you need interaction and support from like-minded peers and mentors.
Being a healing presence is simple, but it’s not always easy. To be a healing presence on a consistent basis requires conscious intention and practice. Trustworthiness, heartbreak, compassion, empathy, and self-care are five experiences that can help you develop your healing presence.
"To become capable of love, we must learn to participate in the world. . . . Participation means trust, resolution of fear barriers, overcoming prejudices, and throwing back the bolts with which we have locked our hearts. To become capable of love, we must develop a system of life in which real trust between people arises and grows. It is this trust that opens the heart, dissolves the body armor and heals the soul." ~ Dieter Duhm, sociologist, psychoanalyst, author, and cofounder of a peace research center in Portugal
Do you know how it feels to count on someone doing something, then experience the consequences when they do not follow through? If you want to be a healing presence, it’s essential that you do what you say you will do. In other words, be trustworthy.
Yes, things come up that make it difficult or sometimes impossible to keep a commitment. But often if we take the time to make an honest self-assessment of our abilities and seek to know our blind spots, we can avoid failing to follow through.
In our self-assessment, the first step is to identify and respect our own authentic feelings, needs, and boundaries so that we only offer to do what fits us. Otherwise we may subconsciously sabotage our commitments.
In addition to honest self-assessment, being trustworthy also requires that we only make promises we can keep. Sometimes it’s the way we agree to something that winds up creating problems. Examples of honesty in making agreements include clear Yes and No statements like:
When we say No to a request, people might be disappointed in the short run, but they will know in the long run they can count on us to come through if we say we will.
"Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." ~ Teresa Trull
If you are reading this page, you sincerely want to be a compassionate friend, parent, coach, or caregiver. You want to help the other person feel peaceful, loved, and comforted—not heartbroken, angry, or overwhelmed.
The difficult truth is that as adults we sometimes need our heart to be broken open so we can realize what doesn't meet our needs and appreciate what does. Heartbreak gives us an opportunity to release limiting beliefs and expand our perception to experience love, compassion, and gratitude more completely.
The major losses in life, such as losing one's health, abilities, or loved ones, provide precious opportunities to experience the profound grief, gratitude, and soul growth that matures us into people who are fully aware of the value of life and our effects on it. Like the way children are shaped by the family and people who support their growth, so adults are also shaped by the ways they are supported to learn and grow through their challenges.
Who supports your growth when your heart is breaking? Do your family and friends practice the skills to support each other to live, love, and leave this life fully ripened in wisdom and experience?
Birth, illness and death are messy business. Rather than create romantic expectations and be disappointed, we can choose to invite truth and love (compassion) to be our allies.
Compassion for our self is just as important as compassion for others. As nurses and healers, it’s often easier for us to focus on caring for others than for our own needs, but this makes things off-balance and hurts everyone involved.
In contrast, being truly loving is living in a willingness to intimately BE with yourself and with another, with your heart open, feeling joy, anguish, and all your authentic feelings— without adding drama and without pressuring yourself or the other person to diagnose, limit, correct, or fix themselves.
Being a healing presence is simple, but it’s not always easy. To be a healing presence on a consistent basis requires conscious intention and practice, beginning again and again.
If you would like more information about becoming a healing presence for your patients, feel free to complimentary Holistic Nursing Success Call with Sharon.
You might also enjoy the post "Holistic Nursing: Introduction & Guide for Nurses".
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