Monday, January 7, 2013

Personal Reflection on Unit I

Clinical Pastoral Education has heightened my awareness of the value my religious heritage places on the Sacraments and my feelings about the significance of them.  Multiple experiences of death, the attributes of Euro American culture and the values of the Dominican charism have had the most impact on my personal identity. I have received the most feedback from peers and supervisors on increasing my emotional mindfulness, exploring my assumptions, developing pastoral response and receiving affirmation as well as I receive criticism.  The individual and institutional sides of my self sometimes have different responses to feedback that take time to sort out.  I like to make connections between situations in the moment and plant seeds for further exploration.  

I am grateful that the covenant we made as a group has helped us to be gentle with one another.  We have reached a point of familiarity and trust that will allow us to explore our theological differences more intentionally when we are ready to explore deeper.  A contemplative, non-defended stance will help me as I explore the nuances of my own spiritual traditions and develop pastoral authority that is humble and open. The basic skills of curiosity, attention, respect and empathy have been very helpful to me in pastoral practice with patients. Skills I have learned for grief ministry and end of life planning have also been useful. My relationships seem to grow in concentric circles and in branches at the same time. I enjoy a friendly collegiality with the members of the pastoral care team, nurses, social workers and case managers.  

The Dominican motto is “to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of contemplation.”  Action is followed by contemplation and contemplation is followed by action.  Cycles of activity are framed by periods of contemplation that give space for new connections and deeper meanings to emerge. I want to discover how patient’s stories evoke emotions and can help me develop empathic responses.