We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

Thich Nhat Hahn

The art of listening …….

I have had the honour of listening to some incredible stories. From hearing how vision and hearing impaired people navigate the landscape of ever changing technology for work with Media Access Australia ( Australia’s only independent not-for-profit organisation devoted to increasing access to media for people with disability) to the unimaginable challenges and often unexpected rewards of being a carer for a loved one who was dying for an ongoing project with Life Circle ( a social enterprise focused on the social, emotional and human aspects of dying) Bupa.

In listening to people’s stories and then having the precious job of sifting through to try and reach the heart and soul of the matter for each project I have worked on, I have found that despite fundamental differences that always emerge, a common element of humanity  always shine through. I feel that by uncovering that, examining it and letting it shine, that the heart and soul story emerges and I can help the team I am working with feel just a little closer and less separate to those they are trying to help.

I am passionate about this as my soul purpose in my Social Research work.

The art of connecting …..

When asked what is the greatest challenge facing our century,  the Dali Lama proposes it is that we are raising a generation of passive bystanders. As a concerned citizen and mother I am determined to play my role in ensuring that this is not the case.

I believe we are currently facing mental health epidemics at opposite ends of life; an epidemic of increasing loneliness and depression in our elderly in aged care facilities and an increasing epidemic of mental health issues in our youth. I believe fostering intergenerational empathy and connection can improve mental health and wellbeing.

I have designed a program that aims to connect groups of different generations with Elders through ARTS BASED STORY TELLING programs to foster & regain a sense of community, increase well being and help encourage inspired & soulful lives across generations.

I am passionate about this as my soul purpose in my Intergenerational Program work .

The art of interviewing …..

My role as a social researcher is very much centred around empathetic and responsive listening, and with an interview for a Life Story the process is much the same. One of my most important tasks before getting to do an interview is always around figuring out the right questions to ask! That will always come down to the aims & objectives of the life story interview, the desired output and of course, the intended audience. The primary task of me, thus, as an interviewer is to help the interviewee create and convey meaning around the story he or she would like to tell. This involves well-considered prior preparation so the conversation can flow as naturally as possible on the day of the interview.

These are all things that are important to think about as they will help determine whether together we are capturing more of a simple ‘chronological (his)tory, or more of a deeper reflection, that touches on areas such as positive and negative influences, personal ideology, fundamental beliefs and values, reflecting back on a theme for your life story.

Both physical and mental health benefits have been shown to be derived from forming a story about one’s life experiences. Essentially, at it’s heart, sharing our story can help strengthen our sense of identity, remind us of our purpose and let us assert our true, authentic self to the world.

I am passionate about this as the soul purpose of working with people on their Life Stories.

The art of helping …..

I’m a serial helper. It’s ok. I’ve been to Helpers Anonymous and come to the great realisation that I couldn’t take on everything on my own 😉 So  a few years ago I started writing a blog with little ideas I would find on how you can help change our world. Ideas that don’t have to cost you a lot of money or even time. Ways to help as varied as sending a charity e-card to a friend, to knowing who to call if you encounter an injured animal. The idea is simple. Just to take a few minutes from the rush of life to really stop and read about some easy ways to help you world now. If that sounds like something you’d like to do, I hope you enjoy the ideas at howtohelpnow.

So, in a nutshell, that (along with raising my 3 beautiful children with a husband I love) is my present soul purpose for the blip of time I am part of this incredible universe. If you want to chat about yours, I’d love to listen.

Sam

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