Being with Pain Series
Professional Group Track Learning Guide
Lesson One: Unattended Pain
-The first step is ACT ONE. This interactive form section will give you an opportunity to delve deeply into the concepts behind our lesson and reflect on how they connect to your life and your role as caregiver. A critical element for the success of an ACT Learning Group is to provide some time and space for personal reflection and journaling.
-After completing this step, ACT TWO is a period of group discussion and reflection. All participants must be given a safe space to express themselves during this time. This portion of the interactive form is filled out with insights gained from your community exploration.
-Next, your group will move on to ACT THREE, the Best Practices, real-world habits, ways of thinking, or behaving that can increase personal well-being. Goals to incorporate best practice suggestions can be made on the group or individual level and support systems can be developed during this time.
ACT Step One: Individual Reflection
ACT Step Two: Group Discussion
ACT Step Three: Best Practices – (Choose at Least One)
1. “Self-awareness is an innate psychological function that may expand one’s range of choices and allow for more creative responses in any given situation. In times of stress, self-awareness may collapse into a constricted view of reality and more reactive patterns of behavior, but self-awareness can be actively fostered and strengthened.” – (Self-care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life: “Being Connected . . . A Key to My Survival”)
A key to good self-care is “self-awareness”, which means knowing oneself well enough to recognize when one is stressed and needing to take remedial action on the one hand and to appreciate what makes one happy and is replenishing on the other. Make a list of the signs that you are feeling stressed or experiencing unattended pain. Take note during the week to see if any of those signs are manifesting.
2. “Each of us might consider how we could integrate practical and effective moments of self-care into the fabric of our working day.” – (Self-care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life: “Being Connected . . . A Key to My Survival”)
Make a “self-care inventory”. On a blank page make two columns. Title one column “What gives me life outside work?” and the other “What gives me life at work?” then fill in each column, notice what comes up, and commit to making one positive change in each column. Let the following questions guide your process:
- In what aspects of my life do I feel most awake, alive, connected?
- What do I already to cultivate self-awareness (mindfulness & self-knowledge) in my life?
- What do I already do to align myself with life-giving aspects of my existence?
- What else could I do to cultivate self-awareness and align myself more with life-giving aspects of my life?
- What makes me most awake, alive, connected?
- What brings me into a sense of lightness of being?
- What brings me peace of heart?
- What brings me into gratitude?
- What brings me into a sense of deep belonging?
- What awakens in me a longing to care for all beings, especially the most vulnerable?
- What healing connection practices are already part of my life?
- And what healing connections practices could I make part of my life?
3. “Two methods of enhancing self-awareness that have empirical data to support their effectiveness are mindfulness meditation and reflective writing. . . Different ways of practicing reflective writing have been suggested. Spann described one simple method as, ‘Keep the pen moving; welcome everything; don’t worry about errors; let the subject choose you; write for your eyes only; feelings, feelings, feelings; and details, details, details!’ ” – (Self-care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life: “Being Connected . . . A Key to My Survival”)
For one week, dedicate 10-15 minutes a day for reflective writing. As described in the quote above “Keep the pen moving; welcome everything; don’t worry about errors; let the subject choose you; write for your eyes only; feelings, feelings, feelings; and details, details, details!”
“Overcoming our resistance to experiencing our pain can become the source of compassion for the world and other beings.” – Joanna Macy