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Creating a Healing Atmosphere*


An Invitation

         Deep peace, a wonderful surrender, relaxing into a smile, into comfort and confidence: this could be you or a friend in bed needing healing. Healing of body if you are ill; healing of mind, emotions or

spirit if you or your friend is dying.


         Sometimes as a visitor, you may not know what to say or do, especially when someone is dying. Anxiety, lack of focus, chatting with other visitors about mundane events, takes you away from giving full attention to the one in bed. For this reason, I invite you to focus on blessing your friend in bed as you bring beauty, hope and quietude to the bedside, no matter how difficult the circumstance.


          The image of being on retreat sets the tone for focusing on healing for your friend and for yourself. You can make this room vibrant with love.

Walk Your Prayer

Walk Your Meditation: 


          If you are in a care home or hospital room for long periods of time, you may want to enjoy quieting your mind by releasing stress and anxiety with a simple, sacred walk. If you walk only a few steps in a cramped room with an intention of tenderness and devotion, you may find comfort, your peace restored.

          I experienced the soothing effects of this walk in a Thich Nhat Hanh meditation group. It became for me a prayer walk, breathing the prayer in and out with each step. During times of crisis, trying to pray or meditate may be difficult.  Depending on your faith tradition (or no tradition), 10 minutes of repeating a sacred word while walking may be your respite, your refuge. 

        Breathing in with one step, breathing out with the next or in any breath rhythm that arises, slowly, with tenderness, walk upon our precious earth. Listen for your own spontaneous prayer or meditation.


Here are a few samples:

          •With one step, breathe in: Abba/with the next step, breathe out Father:   Christian tradition

         •One step: Amma/ next step: Mother:  Hindu tradition

         •One step: Adonai/ next step: Echad: Jewish tradition

         •One step: Present moment/next step: peaceful moment:  Buddhist tradition  

         Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem, Peace is Every Step gives other inspirations for you to consider. One of them is:

         •One step breathe in the word, “fresh.” Next step,  breathe out the word. “joy.”   

Peace is Every Step [1]

Thich Nhat Hanh *

         Peace is every step. 

         The shining red sun is my heart.

         Each flower smiles with me. 

         How green, how fresh all that grows. 

         How cool the wind blows. 

         Peace is every step. 

         It turns the endless path to joy.


A Portrait

Proclaim the Goodness of Your Friend’s Life

        Akin to writing your own or your friend’s obituary, writing a one page portrait of the person in bed makes personalized care a possibility in care homes. It helps nurses relate to a human being and not simply another body. How would your friend or even yourself like to be known by others? Tape the written portrait on the wall behind the bed or on a board hung near the bed. Or laminate and put it in a conspicuous place. Know that by doing this, deeper connection, relatedness, and better care could be the result.   


Blessing Your Caregivers


         It is good to develop a heart of thanksgiving before needing caregivers. It may be difficult to express this later. When help becomes necessary, we can take this gratitude note with us. Gratitude may ease the stress of the strenuous work caregivers experience. Such work deserves our tender response. 


Gratitude for Caregivers

A Note of Thanksgiving


       Thank you for accompanying me on my journey and being willing to share your own. Together we grow as two trees, planted on earth and reaching toward heaven. In our heart’s core, heaven awaits us singing, urging us to wake up, know joy and the miracle that is now.


         Let’s journey together and help each other. Let’s learn how to love

even when loving isn’t easy. Let’s remember that Love is the center of

everything when our eyes see through the lens of tenderness and light.


         Be both of these for me and forgive me when I may not shine as

brightly as is my heart’s desire. Forgive me when I am impatient,

ungrateful, bossy and resisting.


         It’s all a passing shadow, a welcoming of clouds on our way to

clear blue: clear heart, clear mind ready to receive God’s Love.


 Joan Englander©2019                                           Top of page

 *Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr.

[1] From PEACE IS EVERY STEP by Thich Nhat Hanh, copyright © 1991 by Thich Nhat Hanh. Used by Permission of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

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