Enjoy this guest blog by second-year Prairie Jubilee student Carole Dufault…
I first learned of the Prairie Jubilee Program at a retreat with Carol Ann Gotch and David Walsh in 2009. During one of our daily gatherings, one of the program’s graduates shared her story of the journey with her dying mother and described her role as ‘Soul Companioning’.
I had a visceral reaction to the term and a deep desire to ‘companion’ (even as I type this out I get a feeling in my gut; a firm yet gentle pull….come…it urges me…).
The only deaths I had experienced in my life were struggles of the small self trying desperately to stay attached to the earth with all efforts being put into keeping the body alive, rather than in helping the whole person to die.
It was a shocking and beautiful concept to me that even in death we can choose differently! The next few years were busy for me – the discovery of chronic illness in my youngest child, the loss of a 21 year career, and the beginning of a partnership with Inscapes.
My attention was called to both the material and the spiritual realms as I learned to negotiate the medical system with my son, drastically shifted my career, and spent much time discerning “what I wanted to be when I grew up”. It took me five years to reorient to my new reality and somehow over this time, I lost contact with that visceral pull and began to see spiritual direction in a narrower light.
I enrolled in the program in 2014 but my first year did not go as smoothly as I had envisioned. I was unsettled and unsure if I had made the right decision. Fortunately, I was supported by my reader mentor and spiritual director to stay with ‘unsettled’.
There was something at the edge of my consciousness that was calling for a reorientation. In my second year I found a right relationship to the program and I have drawn tremendous support and inspiration from this group of fellow seekers.
One of the group in particular inspired me deeply with her practicum work at a care home, and her sharing reignited the feeling in my gut of ‘soul companioning’. After some months of listening, I have remembered fully that call from seven years ago and have begun the process of becoming an end of life companion with Hospice and Palliative Care Manitoba.
When I listen now, my heart sings with delight. I am enchanted. I am choosing to do spiritual direction ‘differently’ and am filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the program, gratitude for the love and support of those who journey with me and for the urging of my soul…come…