Sunday, 27 September 2015

Mindfulness for Missing

I was delighted to be asked to prepare and deliver a 'taster' of mindfulness at a recent Family Forum hosted by the charity Missing People.

If we can deeply understand the power of the mind; 
how we can both injure and benefit this world,
we see how practice is not a luxury, but an imperative.  
It returns us to ourselves, to our sanity, to our true capacity.
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold

I have yet to attend an event organised by Missing People from which I depart feeling anything other than very deeply moved.  Being in the presence of those left behind when a loved one has disappeared is a difficult pleasure.  

It is difficult in that it challenges me from the inside out.  Despite having been heavily involved in the development of the work the organisation does with families of missing persons in recent years, I have yet to develop any immunity from the shock that reverberates somewhere deep within me, as I contemplate what it means to find yourself living in limbo.

I am alive to the anguish this entails, but cannot say I comprehend its vastness.  It is a language in which I have developed a modicum of proficiency.  I have been helped in this feat in no small measure by the service users with whom I have come into contact.  Their fluency is all too real.

There are too few of us who, as professionals, speak the language of missing.  As a therapeutic issue, unresolved loss inevitably throws up more questions than it answers.  It is a bleak and inhospitable landscape, but one made all the more bearable when not journeyed through alone.

The workshop felt to be a testament to the thinking we have done about the benefits mindfulness based approaches offer to those who find themselves plunged into the dark depths of missing someone whose whereabouts they do not, and may never, know.

Sometimes, when one person is missing, 
the whole world seems depopulated.
Alphonse de Lamartine

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