As an adult sometimes it is difficult to see the funny side of life and it takes the innocence of a child to lighten us up. Recently I attended the interment of the ashes of someone close – not a happy occasion at the best of times, but there was laughter and amusement.
It has been said that “laughter is love” and that was certainly evident as a small group of people gathered to pay their final respects.
Yes, there was sadness, but there was the delight of children as they released balloons to symbolize the letting go which was a pleasure to witness and certainly lightened my heart. Their involvement in the proceedings was simple and it was delightful to observe their pleasure in participating.
The universe also cooperated with a fairly spectacular sunset which I felt made the proceedings a little spiritual. The view from the graveside was peaceful and whilst other attendees were grieving in their own ways, I felt some sadness, yet I was quite at peace and was able to go with the flow of energy from the environment.
Often the simplicity of children is overlooked and they can be remarkably straightforward. Uncluttered by emotional baggage, not making mountains out of molehills observing children in a situation such as this gives much food for thought.
What if we could easily set that baggage down and simplify our lives….leaving the clutter of the past behind?
It was an odd Monday afternoon a while back.
The weather was about to change from hot to a thunderstorm and I had just had a conversation with an old (long time) friend when I was suddenly overcome by a wave of sadness.
It was similar to a feeling experienced when I was walking the labyrinth one Sunday morning – the sadness coming like a roller coaster wave that dumps you in the sand. On returning home to the city we discovered that the aging cat had died in her basket. She was still a little warm, so she must have crossed that rainbow bridge around the time that I felt that sadness a few hours previously.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone I knew had died, but refrained from voicing my concern as I am still familiarizing myself with intuitive feelings and didn’t want to alarm anyone.
Then on the Tuesday afternoon the news came through. An acquaintance in another state had passed away over the weekend and the feeling of sadness suddenly made sense.
As I finally spend more time on a regular meditation practice and teaching more Reiki, I find that I am more “in tune” with events and emotions around me.
A recent workshop that I had the pleasure to deliver was about Boundaries – Personal and Professional. 30 people were booked to attend and a fraction of that actually attended, which I found interesting given the topic.
The attendees and I mused that it may be fear of missing out on something better or because it was free of charge to them and they didn’t value what the presentation might give them. (I got paid to present regardless of how many turned up) Those who did turn up were volunteers and prospective volunteers and from all walks of life. As someone who volunteers on a regular basis, I feel it is important to recognize and set boundaries, as volunteer “burnout” is all too common.
I’m not going to bore you with the actual presentation that I prepared, but one thing that I felt was an important message to get across, was to recognize WHY one becomes a volunteer and WHO is benefiting from the volunteering.
Is it therapeutic to the volunteer or the client?
By asking these questions of yourself, you can then start to identify where your boundaries start.
I’m a visual learner so I created a graphic to help me to look at the different elements to consider. Discussion led on to Cultural boundaries and making sure we learn about cultures we work with so as to be respectful in our interaction and how boundaries can become blurred. Too often we read in the newspaper about a therapist or carer who has crossed the professional boundaries with a client.
As a volunteer you can be friendly with a client, but establishing a friendship is quite a different thing and may well cross professional boundaries that should be in place. This not only applies to the volunteer/client relationship but should be considered in peer to peer relationships in any workplace.
There is often over disclosure of personal information within the workplace.
It is far better to find a trusted person, usually a counselor to disclose to if there is a problem.
The organization should have systems and protocols in place that educate employees and volunteers about personal, cultural and social expectations and boundaries. Ideally there should be a structure in place for the volunteers to “download” or supervision process, so that they don’t burn out emotionally.