Change: The Only Certainty

By Grace Maselli

Eleven

by Tanya Markul

The pain
that made you
the odd one out
is the story
that connects you
to a healing world.

An abrupt (or slower-to-manifest life change)—whether because of a major move, job loss, natural disasters, or perhaps the most difficult to adjust to, the death of someone beloved—can feel unimagineable. It can feel to the person going through the experience of quantum shock that the “me” he’s known for many years is gone, replaced by a phantom. It can take months or years, sometimes, for confusion to turn to acceptance, or trauma to subside. For some people, acceptance of changes large and small can be more or less difficult; this may depend on how attuned a person is to this mortal coil’s impermanence.

In her beautiful book, Wake Up Grateful, The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted by Kristi Nelson, the author poignantly writes, “Getting comfortable with impermanence allows us to more deeply appreciate all the things we do not want to take for granted—our body, emotions, relationships, and mystery. There are few things more certain than the fact that we will experience change and loss in many aspects of our lives and, ultimately, loss of our own life.” The reference to mystery, and the idea that nothing in this life is promised to us, is particularly moving.

“Stop thinking of change as interruption to a story; the story was always going to change, many times. It was never guaranteed,” says Maggie Smith in, Keep Moving, Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, adding, “In fact, only change is guaranteed. Expect it today, and from now on.”

Sometimes acceptance of what’s in our control to manage and what’s completely out of our control can be a way to deal with overwhelming change. When change feels unmanageable, reaching out to support systems, TBT friends or people throughout the Florida Timebanks network, can make the difference. There are moments when a connection to someone willing to spend quality time listening deeply to our pain can tip the balance in the direction of our ability to endure difficulty.

It’s what Markul’s poem Eleven aims to express. You don’t have to run from the pain of change and the humanness that allows a person to feel.  Sharing grief with others holds the promise of what can “connect you to a healing world.” And as Kristi Nelson writes, change, and the grief that can often attend it, “is the cost of loving and respecting life, our Earth and all its inhabitants, and our values of fairness, safety, justice, love, and dignity…The more we love, the more we courageously commit to walking through life thin-skinned, bound to the full range of how much the heart can feel, break, and break itself open—ultimately into even greater wholeness.”

 

Free Online Tai Chi and Qigong Classes (That’s Thousands of Years Worth of Mind-Body Health!)

By Grace Maselli

Tampa Bay Timebank Leadership Team member, Dr. Robert McGinnis, has once again done one of the things he does best: Bring community together on behalf of TBT. This time, Robert has brokered an amazing partnership to advance preventive health and pain management; it comes in the form of complimentary online classes in an ancient Chinese martial art and body-posture and movement practice that together are Tai Chi (know colloquially as “shadowboxing”) and Qigong (meaning “energy work”). As the flyer Robert put together indicates, the practices “promote mind-body health, immune system [strength], nervous system health, and chronic disease prevention.” Find a copy of the downloadable brochure here: Tai Chi & Qigong for Health & Pain Management.

Tai Chi and Qigong classes will be taught by Jeff Belton, Certified American Tai Chi and Qigong Association instructor and current provider of Whole Health Tai Chi and Qigong and Qigong Walking at Tampa’s James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital.

Classes are available to all at no cost including to our military veteran community partners, Seniors in Service of Florida, Inc., OVC AmeriCorps Members and Community Volunteers, Tampa Bay Timebank members, and members of our affiliates through Florida Timebanks.

Classes start Friday, June 4 and again on Friday, July 16 from 11 AM to 12:30 PM. Join by Zoom Meeting link at:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88342357332?pwd=dlk4SGJQaTEvQTQwU2tLSkJRMFBSUT09

Passcode: 637311

Pre-registration is NOT required. Just show up, click the link, and enter your name. Voila!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grief and Loss: A Way Through

By Grace Maselli

The Tampa Bay Timebank took on the subject of grief and loss in its Third Tuesday of the Month member and guest meeting on Tuesday, October 20. Psychotherapy and hospice-trained experts from the TBT leadership team—Nancy Wolf, Christina Bellamy, and Judith Rose—guided about 25 participants in a Zoom meeting to recognize and honor the various faces of grief. The tender examination of loss and its effects included disruption to mourning by Covid-19 and people forced to be separated from loved ones infected or killed by the virus. Grief was discussed in the context of the profoundly unsettling absence through death of someone loved and the painful adaptations necessary before adjustments can be fully integrated.

Giants in the field of grief and loss were invoked: psychiatrist, humanitarian, and hospice pioneer Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her five stages of non-linear grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance, and leading death educator and grief counselor, Dr. Alan Wolfelt at The Center for Loss & Life Transition.

Grief can cause a broad range of symptoms both emotional and physical, TBT’s presenters reminded us—from forgetfulness and detachment to everyday life, to fatigue and chest pains.

The discussion, inclusive of a small group Zoom breakout session, extended to the significance of rituals and their power to comfort people in deep emotional pain. Even within the context of Covid, family members, friends, and neighbors can reach out, safely drop food off for grieving families, and be present to another person’s pain with attentive, compassionate listening. Rituals can demonstrate that even in active mourning, we can still be surrounded and cared for by people who remain in our lives. With presenters drawing on Dr. Wolfelt’s work, we understand this can arguably happen (even now using masks and social distancing) through “companioning” with a person who has experienced a loss, being present to another person’s pain—going into the deep wilderness of the soul with another human being—and honoring the spirit, not the intellect.

Grief and its stages, our TBT experts offered, are ultimately a natural and adaptive response to deep loss. The experience is singular and personal and does not follow a prescribed path to reach a given level of adaptation.

The presenters also shared community resources. Following is a partial list of Tampa Bay Area organizations available to assist individuals and families:

 

 

 

“Hello, from My Heart,” Gary Really Means It…

By Grace Maselli

Timebankers helping people. That’s what it’s all about. Spring Hill FL Timebank member Gary Schineller cares about community. Founder and CEO of the nonprofit Hello, from My Heart, Gary’s mission is “To measurably create happier, healthier, & more peaceful communities,” which includes Gary’s healing energy work; a sampling of the modalities he uses includes Reiki, kinesiology, transactional analysis, and meditation.

* Rapid Eye Movement

Healing Arts and Community Connection

By Grace Maselli

We chitted and chatted. Hobnobbed and ate yummy food. All thanks to members’ and  friends’ generosity and kindness. We also welcomed new faces and had an engaging demonstration of holistic healing and energy work led by practitioner and new member, Janie Ambrose. It all happened at this month’s TBT Third Tuesday gathering at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center where about 18 people came together on Tuesday, March 19our monthly rendezvous: A gathering otherwise known as TBT’s member-and-guest meeting and orientation where we also welcome interactive presentationsincluding samplings of what our members offer in timebank exchanges. Janie is a woman who’s skilled in the healing arts and metaphysics, just to name a few of her impressive competencies. You can read more about her background and practice details at, “Amazing Healings by Janie”.

Membership in our Florida Network of local timebank groups is definitely growing! In addition to Tampa, motivated members from Spring Hill and New Port Richey, among other local environs, are getting the word out through faith-based organizations, Meetup groups, at libraries, and in their own homes. The energy is strong. And every day we’re building more momentum. The gratitude is equally palpable. For a quick download of information to share with friends, neighbors, and co-workers, check out our TBT flyer. And stay tuned!