I like chatting with the participants through e-mail or participation forms before my sessions. One of the topics I might call common is fear or uneasiness accompanying the feeling of curiosity while going over the topics like illness, death or grief.
You are not alone.
The fact that we are mortal and that death could be knocking at our door any time is too overwhelming for us to face alone. Looking at this reality in a community we feel a sense of belonging and supported encourages us and, at the same time, help us to remember the wisdom in our common subconscious as humanity.
Our lives are fast. Sometimes we come across with unexpected situations and try to keep up with the speed in this fast pace upon encountering changes. Nevertheless, the course of spirit is slower. Our souls need some time to understand what’s going on, grasp and be at the same level.
The thing we call healing or recovering happen in those slowing moments as a matter of fact.
It is no doubt that our experiences related to illness, death or grief. It is impossible to talk about a pattern fitting everybody. However, we could talk about slowing down.
I have mentioned above a community to which we feel a sense of belonging. Even realizing that we are not in such a group and being able to see the consequences of this depend on slowing down.
What I mean is, naturally, inner slowness. Walking with baby steps inside of us while running outside or creating a five-minute or ten-minute breaks for ourselves in those “busy” lives of ours. I have thought so much about it that slowness has transformed into a human being with flesh and bones for me and started to remind me of itself whispering into my ear whenever I tend to forget its existence.
It is taught to us at school that one of the most important reasons for psychological counselling transforming into a profession is people’s migrating to cities with the industrial revolution, and thus, leaving the places they were born into i.e. the communities they belonged to. As you see, people we don’t know have been trying to do the task for the last two centuries in a situation where they are stuffed into rooms what a village tried to do previously. Which task? Listening to each other and keeping a space. The only way to realize the lack of the dialogues developed in the natural life flow of a community, practices doing good for humanity giving us a hand in our difficult times or rituals, whether or not they were interrupted by the industrial revolution or in any other way, is, first of all, to slow down.
Hold on a second. Ten seconds.
Stephen Jenkinson talks about the difference between the words “human” and “humane”. The same difference exists in Turkish, too. Human and humane are not the same in terms of meaning. In order to be humane, being a human is not adequate. That’s why, the word humane derived because of that. It emerged out of necessity. As a human, we have some needs like eating, drinking, and housing whereas other notions/needs are involved while defining something peculiar to human or worthy of humanity. Being listened to, seen, accepted with your joy as well as your sorrow, finding support when you are in trouble…All of them are in that little “e”.
That’s why, I care about rituals because they slow me/us down, and they stop me/us. A ritual also keeps space for the energy jammed in us. And because it helps me to have contact with wisdoms I am not aware that I have forgotten. What I mean by ritual is not tens of candles, full moon and White clothes. Even closing my eyes and listening to my breath for ten seconds could turn into a ritual. Trying to feel water in the glass I am holding and thinking about through what source and how the water reaches me could turn the act of drinking water I do tens of times every day without thinking into a ritual. A ritual gets me through life slowing me down, taking me out of the time I am used to.
I declare slowing down as the super power of humanity. It is possible for us to be super humans. Just look at the doors it opens: getting me through wisdom I have forgotten, remembering my humane aspects, deepening my ties with life, keeping space for myself and others, changing my perception of time.
Drink a glass of water you drink today by slowing down like this.
I have mentioned death and grief and old age and now I am here. As a matter of fact, I haven’t digressed. I am still in the same place. What do you think I am accompanying when I call myself Death Doula (Companion) and ritualist? Just the ones about to die or their families? No, including myself, all of us are mortals.
That tiny “e” grows in meaning and swallows me up.