Before my studies, I like to chat with the participants via e-mail or by means of participation forms. One of the comments that I can say common is the fear or uneasiness that accompanies the sense of curiosity when looking at the issues of illness, death or grief.
You are not alone.
The fact that we are mortal and that death can knock at our door at any moment is too great for us to face alone. Looking at this truth with a community where we feel belonged and supported is encouraging and also helps us remember the wisdom found in our collective unconscious as humanity.
Our life is fast. Sometimes we encounter unexpected situations at unexpected times, and when we encounter changes in this fast pace, we try to maintain the same pace. However, the course of the soul is slower. The soul needs time to understand what is happening, digest and come to the same level.
What we call healing or healing happens in those slowing moments.
Our experiences of illness, death or grief are of course different. It is not possible to talk about a template that will suit everyone. But we can talk about slowing down.
I just talked about the community we feel we belong to. Even realizing that we are not in such a community and seeing the consequences of its lack depends on slowing down.
Of course, what I’m talking about is an internal slowness. Walking with baby steps inside while running outside or creating five-ten-second breaks in our “busy” lives. I’ve been thinking about it so much that the waste slowness turned into a human being for me, and when I forgot about it, it started to whisper its existence in my ear.
We are told at school that one of the biggest reasons why psychological counseling has turned into a profession is that with the industrial revolution, people migrated to the city and left the communities they belonged to. So you see, people we don’t know have been trying to do what a village did before, stuck in rooms for the last two hundred years. Which job? The job of listening to each other and holding space. Whether the conversations that develop in the natural flow of the community, the practices or rituals that are good for our humanity and hold us in our difficult times have been interrupted by the industrial revolution or other conditions, the only way we can realize this deprivation is to slow down first.
Hold on. Ten seconds.
Stephen Jenkinson talks about the difference between the words “human” and “humane”. The same difference is also present in Turkish. The words human and human are not the same thing in meaning. To be human is not enough to be human. That’s why the word human is derived, born out of necessity. While we as human beings have needs such as food, drink and shelter, other concepts/needs also come into play when describing what is unique to humanity or what is worthy of humanity. To be listened to, to be seen, to be accepted with your sadness as well as with joy, to find support when it is difficult… It’s all the work of that tiny “i”.
That’s why I value rituals. For slowing me/us. For stopping it. Because it can hold space for the energy trapped inside us, and connect me with wisdom that I didn’t even realize I had forgotten. By ritual I do not mean dozens of candles, full moons and white clothes. Even closing my eyes and listening to my breath for ten seconds can become a ritual. Trying to feel the water I drink while holding it in the glass with my hands, even thinking about how the water reaches me from which source and what kind of journey can turn the act of drinking water that I do dozens of times every day without thinking into a ritual. Ritual connects me with life, by slowing it down. By taking it out of my usual time.
I proclaim slowdown as humanity’s superpower. It’s possible for us to be Superhumans. If you take a look at the doors it opens; to connect with the wisdom I have forgotten, to remember my human side, to deepen my ties with life, to keep space for myself and others, to change my perception of time.
Look at the glass of water you drink today by slowing down like this.
I said death and mourning, I said old age, I came here. Actually, I haven’t moved away, I’m always in the same places. What do you think I mean when I call myself a Death Doula (Accompany) and a Ritualist? Only to the dying or their families? No, we are all mortal, myself included.
That little “i” grows in meaning and draws me in.