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#Quotes of Wisdom 21 The #Healing Gift of Presence

posted Jan 29, 2018, 8:39 PM by Bonnie McKeegan

“What we suffer, what we endure…is done by us, as individuals, in private.” ~Louise Bogan

Yes, ultimately, suffering is truly an intimate and private experience. We endure loss as part of groups we are in, such as with natural (or man-made) disasters and war, but essentially alone within our skin, our bodies and minds. There are commonalities of experience through loss from illness, death, disabilities and injuries, relationships, financial hardship, lack of shelter, brain disorders (mental illness), lack of dignity and respect, aging changes, racism, and more.

Those common experiences can bind us together as friends, families, communities, countries, and ultimately, as the human race.  Or they can divide us.

I think of empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another; to see someone’s suffering from their perspective as if walking in their shoes – as the glue that binds us. Without the glue, we are painfully divided, and our suffering as individuals increases.

While we cannot walk in the shoes of another sufferer, we do know the pain of our own suffering. With that intrinsic knowledge, we can offer something our pets instinctively do well. Just being present.

Okay, well, pets are often furry, cute, entertaining, and cuddly (and sometimes a bit slobbery!) but, if you are a pet lover then you probably get the point. If you are not a pet lover, it’s okay. You probably still understand by observation of those who do have pets.  Their unconditional loving presence is comforting and alleviates some of our pain. They can often be highly sensitive to our suffering as well.

For those suffering, our presence and empathy can make all the difference. Along with solving problems that can be solved, i.e., providing food, shelter, clothing, and medical care, our simple, quiet presence can be the greatest gift for someone who is suffering mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically

At our core, we have the ability to move through our pain and grief process and grow deeper in our understanding of what it is to be human. We experience the light and the darkness in cycles, just as the seasons of summer and winter circle back around each year.

It is not an easy thing to do, just to be present, to witness suffering while being helpless to change the situation.  Most of us have a strong urge to try to “fix” the situation or solve the problem.  That urge can be a form of denial, an inability to accept that some things are just what they seem – awful and unavoidable.  That urge to do or say something, or offer an idea that might help is powerful and often driven by our own discomfort.  I know that urge. I’ve experienced it gazillions of times. I am as guilty as the next person for allowing my discomfort to get in the way of just being present.

Our empathetic presence can be the key ingredient that helps to alleviate another’s pain.

 Feeling alone while suffering increases our pain.

While we cannot change many situations for others, we can do something else on a very human and intimate level.

Just be there.

The feeling of being alone adds to our suffering. 

The feeling of being heard and understood adds to our healing and feelings of well-being.

This is why “talk therapy” can change a person’s life.  But, I am not talking about therapy.

I am talking about just being humane in our everyday lives; striving to be empathetically present with others.  Our friends, families, communities, and each person we meet or stand next to in line at the grocery store are all enduring their own private suffering.

I am ever-so-grateful when I feel the empathetic presence of others. There is a huge presence in my life. And I thank you!

In many ways, this and all of my posts, are reminders for myself.  Thank you for tagging along.

From Wikipedia: Louise Bogan (August 11, 1897 – February 4, 1970) was an American poet. She was appointed the fourth Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress in 1945.

The Poetry Foundation notes that Bogan has been called by some critics the most accomplished woman poet of the twentieth century. It further notes that, “Some critics have placed her in a category of brilliant minor poets described as the “reactionary generation.”

*featured photo from cocoparisienne-127419/ on Pixabay

*Quotes of Wisdom – a Friday at 9am (Pacific Time Zone) series offering Wisdom, Feel Good, Inspirational and Thought-provoking Quotes. Sometimes with links and most likely, with too many thoughts of my own included.

As always, thank you for visiting! To get these posts directly in your inbox, come visit me over on my blog at 


Understanding California's End of Life Option event hosted by Full Circle

posted Jul 31, 2017, 12:07 PM by Bonnie McKeegan

Community Education Event: Understanding California's
​End-of-Life Option Act 

Do you believe you would never
use Medical Aid in Dying?

You have the right to control your own dying process. Every end-of-life experience is personal and unique. Some people die peacefully and naturally without medical help.
If you have a terminal diagnosis you have the right to palliative care and the help of a medical team.
With a terminal diagnosis you have options.
Medical Aid in dying is an option in California.
You also have a right to voluntarily stop eating and drinking to manage your own death.
Even if you think you would never choose these options, 
come learn and understand why a friend or family member might need Medical Aid in dying.

Presentation and discussion.
WHEN: Sunday August 27, 2017 2-4pm
WHERE: Chapel of the Angels
250 Race Street, Grass Valley, CA
Free Event! Donations happily accepted. 
Details Contact: Akhila (530)432-6929

Zen and the Art of Dying film showing August 13 2017

posted Jul 30, 2017, 7:32 AM by Bonnie McKeegan   [ updated Jul 30, 2017, 7:33 AM ]

Click here to go to Full Circle Living and Dying Collective's website to view the trailer: 

SCREENING: Sunday August 13, 2017 4
671 Maltman Dr, Grass Valley, CA
SUGGESTED DONATION: $5-$15 (You may use credit card below)

Zen & the Art of Dying is a portrait of Zenith (Zen) Virago, Australia’s premiere ‘deathwalker’. From her origins as a young mother in the UK, to her present day identity as a lesbian, activist, and self-described deathwalker in the idyllic seaside town of Byron Bay, Australia, Zenith (Zen) Virago’s personal and professional experiences quietly challenge our core assumptions about life and dissolve our fears around death. Zenith is co-founder of the Australian Natural Death Care Centre, an organization that provides end-of-life decision planning and DIY funeral alternatives to residents of Australia’s North Coast. Zenith's work models a grassroots international Natural Death Care Movement that is gaining momentum as Baby Boomers begin to retire and are demanding more personalized, empowered, and meaningful choices around end-of-life matters, just as they did with the natural childbirth movement. Her example, and the willingness of Byron Shire’s citizens to join her cause, invite each of us to reexamine and reclaim a more active role in how we live, love, and die.

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