(San Antonio, TX) For Spiritual Care Week, the Reverend Lisa Easterling, BCC, authored the following reflection, which she has graciously allowed us to share with all those working as spiritual care providers. Thank you for all you do in whatever role or venue you may serve.
“Whatever you and/or your colleagues do this week, I encourage you to schedule some self-care time for yourself. Robert Allen M.ED., M.DIV., MC.HML., BCC, Chief of Chaplain Services at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, says people need to be more aware of that which “fills your cup” and carve out time to do that. And this includes us as professional spiritual caregivers.
“We need to identify what fills me, but also what drains me,” he said, noting that friends and family we love – as well as the work for which we have a passion – can also be draining. “You need to come into a balance where you are being poured into as much as you are pouring out.”
That is just one facet to Allen’s prescription for self-care, which he lays out in his book, Self-Care: Let’s Start the Conversation.
Allen advances four pillars of self-care:
* Retreat: “Simply get away,” he said. “Take ourselves out of whatever the chaos is so that we can finally breathe.”
* Reflect: “Take a step back and think, ‘What worked well? What things do I need to change or adjust?'”
* Replenish: “Whatever fills your cup in your most needful space, which means self-care is progressive; it is not stagnant. What you needed in your 20s is different than what you need in your 30s, 40s and 50s.”
* Restore: “After you have retreated, given yourself time to reflect and refilled your cup, now you can move forward … and implement things that you’ve learned about yourself.”
As Thich Nhat Hanh noted, “At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.”
We at Fletcher Seminary wish you all peace, rest, and renewal as we celebrate Spiritual Care Week.