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Capacitar and Chaplaincy
Kitty O'Meara Jefferson, Wisconsin

I am a half-time staff chaplain at a large hospital and a participant in the 2009 CAPACITAR Training in Healing and Transformation program through The Center to BE. After our first weekend session I began to incorporate the practices we learned with patients, my coworkers and myself.

The major part of my days is spent working one-on-one with cardiac patients. I have adapted tai chi, finger holds, acupressure, and hand massage (which I have always done) to use with many of my patients. This is the work I do and why I wanted to integrate CAPACITAR Training with the spiritual counseling and other resources that I routinely offer. I will be serving people individually more often than in groups. I believe it can make a huge difference to empower them with ways to heal and to encourage them to continue to practice self-care.

Heart patients sometimes like to "blame" their poor heart health on genetics. Of course, there is truth in this. However, I believe it is more often the generational emotional and interpersonal patterns; the ways stress is anticipated, met, diffused, and handed down through families; the ways self-love and service are denied or modeled; and the choices regarding one's experiences of grief, loss and forgiveness rather than genes, that most influence a proclivity for heart disease. If, through my visits (but mostly, for me, through the grace of the Spirit), I can initiate any change in these patterns, reactions and responses and perceptions and orientations, healing may flow through the patients' lives and therefore their families' lives, too. Hearts can heal and lives can transform, and I believe my CAPACITAR Training can help them to do so!

I also am called to be with the dying and this is my passion. I have welcomed and integrated the finger holds, especially, with these holy experiences. On several occasions, I have shared these with family members, too, so they may connect with loved ones in their last hours.

My own disappointments, stresses, and worries have been assuaged by doing the CAPACITAR practices for myself two or three times a week. I take my own self-care very seriously (and playfully!) believing I am not authentically helpful to others' healing if I am not tending to mine. I am very grateful for this addition to my own spiritual practice.