heartreach

Giving and Serving Through HeartFelt

“ If, when contemplating your life purpose, you find words and concepts coming to mind such as service, sharing, compassion, loving, empathy, or kindness, you probably will not be truly satisfied until a goodly portion of your life is involved in giving and serving."

John-Roger, D.S.S. from Serving and Giving: Gateways to Higher Consciousness

 

 

Giving and Serving Through HeartFelt
by Romo Gonzales
 


     Two and a half years ago my decision to move to Austin, Texas was largely based on the strong MSIA community in the Austin area. When the opportunity to serve as the HeartFelt rep for the area was presented, it was very easy for me to accept, as I knew the community here would be supportive in all efforts and events. This past August, HeartFelt participated with two local organizations to help with much needed services and donations in the community: SafePlace women's shelter and ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless). 

     As the population in the Austin area increases at a very fast pace, unfortunately so does the homeless population. I've noted that at almost every major intersection in the city, there is a homeless individual or group asking for money. Some of their signs are creative, like "$0.50 for GOOD KARMA," and the times I have felt compelled to donate I couldn't help but wonder what that donation would be spent on. South/ Central Texas is known for it's long HOT summers, and I began to wonder if many of the individuals I see on a regular basis were getting sufficient hydration. As the air temperature highs passed the century mark for days and weeks in August, HeartFelt teamed up with ARCH to collect and distribute bottled water to these individuals. ARCH also has refill stations at various locations, so individuals are encouraged to keep the bottles and visit these locations. However, many of these individuals do not live near the center or the refill stations, so I also dedicated a day to driving to areas throughout the city that are distant from the center but where many of these individuals live. I was able to take the water to them and talk to them about services available. With the help of the MSIA Ministers and community, HeartFelt was able to make a generous donation that was greatly appreciated! 

     Another area of HeartFelt service in Austin is SafePlace. SafePlace's mission statement "is ending sexual and domestic violence through safety, healing, prevention and social change." Every summer SafePlace has a back-to-school drive, collecting school supplies for children in need. With generous donations from the MSIA community, HeartFelt participated in collecting hundreds of dollars worth of school supplies for SafePlace in August, just in time for the start of school! Minister Hesperia Blackburn was very active in this, and she and I ended up doing a second and then a third donation of other items like women's clothing, kitchen appliances, etc. YAY!!

 

Thank you for the beautiful sharing, Romo.
God bless you Austin HeartFelt.


Sent with much Love and Light,

Skyler Maryl Patton HeartFelt Director and Paul Kaye HeartFelt President

Please feel free to email feedback or your stories of service you'd like featured in an upcoming HGN article to serve@heartfelt.org

Global Circle of Light

Many people find acceptance just before they die. They let go. Nothing bothers them. They find peace, and love shines from their eyes. It's a blessing just to be in their presence."

John-Roger, D.S.S.

We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to share this month's HeartFelt Global Network (HGN) Bulletin with all discourse subscribers as it presents a new service, Global Circle of Life, being offered through HeartReach.

 

 

Global Circle of Light


 

     HeartReach is pleased to announce that Circle of Light has now been expanded to include Global Circle of Light. While Circle of Light is the sacred process of holding the Light physically with a person transitioning, Global Circle of Light is done remotely and globally. Anyone trained in Circle of Light is invited to participate.

     This past month we introduced Global Circle of Light in conjunction with Circle of Light for the first time during the transition of a beloved minister living in the USA. It was a wonderful way for loving Light to be held 24 hours a day by our family around the world during his transition.

     How did it work? Global Circle of Light was initiated at the same time as the physical Circle of Light. The request went out by email to everyone around the globe who was registered as being trained and willing to participate in Circle of Light. For those of you who were not able to participate, here is a screenshot of a portion of the completed Global Circle of Light schedule for the transitioning minister:

     Within just a few hours of the email notification, all 72 one-hour slots were filled. When it was extended for 2 more days, and people became familiar with the process, the signups were filled within minutes. So many joined in holding Light during this sacred process. There were many more volunteers who also participated but whose names were not shown, as only the first to volunteer for each hour is shown. Note, there is also a spot for a small loving message below each volunteer’s name.

     Many who participated in Global Circle of Light were moved to comment on the experience. Here are a few representative experiences:

 

  • “This has been the most beautiful experience I have ever had. I just can say THANKS for the opportunity of being useful for one who is coming back to God's Heart, and to be part of that magnificent moment. God blesses us so generously.” -M.A.

 

  • “I was holding the light in mediation this morning and it was a powerful experience for me. I am glad that you had let me know. I will be happy to participate in the future as well.” -J.O.

 

  • “The slots were filled when I went to sign up, however, I held the Light at various times of the day and night. What a blessing!” -C.D.

 

  • “What a wonderful outreach to have worldwide love and support.” -L.J.

 

     From now on HeartReach will make Global Circle of Light available for all in MSIA who request it. To initiate the Global Circle of Light process, it is preferred that your local HeartReach Rep who is coordinating Circle of Light contact HeartReach to set it up. If circumstances do not permit that, please contact us directly. Our intention is to make Global Circle of Light available to any transitioning MSIA person who requests it, regardless of whether a physical Circle of Light can be held for them or not.

     Regarding the physical Circle of Light, it is important to have a HeartReach Rep in your area with current names of those who are trained and willing to serve. Whether or not there is a HeartReach Rep in your area, HeartReach will do our best to help and advise.

     If you have been trained in Circle of Light and did not receive the notification to participate with Global Circle of Light but would like to be on the list of those willing to serve please sign up below so that you can participate in the future. 
 

Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone

 

   

     The HeartFelt Global Network (HGN) Bulletin goes out about once a month and is intended to highlight the ministering and good works our global communities so that we can all learn and expand from them. To subscribe to HGN please sign up below. If you have something you would like to share in HGN about a service project you have done or some way you have used your ministry to assist others, please write to me at: Skyler@heartfelt.org
 

 

    Some of you may not know about the HeartReach Bulletin which now goes out 2-3 times per month. The intent of the HeartReach Bulletin is to make you aware of our family members requesting Light for serious medical situations for themselves or their families, so that you can send the Light, or reach out to them if they’d like—via cards, seeds, emails, phone. Notices of transition and updates to prior medical situations are also part of the HeartReach Bulletin. If you do not receive theHeartReach Bulletin and would like to serve in this way please sign up below.
 

     Thank you for your participation in connecting and serving our global MSIA family through HeartFelt and HeartReach.

We are One in our loving for one another. 


Sent with much Love and Light,

Skyler Maryl Patton HeartFelt Director and Paul Kaye HeartFelt President

Hospice Interview with Arlene Stepputat

“ Is it possible to see God? Absolutely... Perhaps if you're loving and you're caring, you may see God in the loving and in the caring. When you are of service to other people, you may see God in the serving." - John-Roger, D.S.S.


Hospice Interview with Arlene Stepputat
 

The most recent Circle of Light workshop on March 22 (online through April 25th) was attended or watched online by around 850 people. The workshop featured beautiful and personal sharings by Leigh Taylor-Young Morton, Carol Jones, Patti Rayner and John Morton.

While Circle of Light focuses on the spiritual aspect of assisting our family as they make their transitions, this HGN article, focused on Hospice care, is in response to renewed questions about some of the general concerns of the dying and their families.

Below is an interview with MSIA minister Arlene Stepputat who has served extensively in the area of Hospice work for many years.
 

Can you tell us your background in Hospice work?

My work with hospice began when I had my first experience of death. At age 11, 4 days before my 12th birthday and 20 days before Christmas my father died of a heart attack while my mother and I waited at our church on a Sunday morning to be picked up by him. Needless to say, that event changed everything for me. I had many more experiences with death as a young person. At one point in my career, I was working with homeless teens for Covenant House in NYC at its beginning and through the height of the AIDS epidemic. Our kids got AIDS and I helped open the first program for teens dying of AIDS in the country. Later I did the same for babies dying of AIDS. I didn't really know the word hospice but I certainly knew about death and dying. I moved to Santa Barbara and heard a radio talk about a local hospice program for kids who had recently lost parents. They were asking for mentors for these children. You could only be a mentor if you had lost a parent as a child.  So I officially became a mentor for Hospice of Santa Barbara and then went on to also train and become a patient care volunteer. For the last 5 years I have worked as the Manager of Volunteer Services for Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care and learned all the processes and regulations of the hospice benefit. I also spent 3 years working for the Alzheimer's Association. Looking backward, I see how Spirit has been preparing me my entire life to work with those in transition and support those left behind.

 

What have you seen are the most prominent concerns of the dying?

Every patient is a teacher to me, and the process of getting a terminal diagnosis and taking that journey has many phases. I think most people initially are concerned with how much time they have and how the physical body will decline. For many there is at first a fear of dying in physical pain and that is handled for almost all. Then there is a concern for those who will remain and how they will cope. Many like to review their lives and also consider the legacy they are leaving.

 I meet many folks who want to live as well as possible and do what they can to eliminate their "bucket list". Most people are not concerned with what they did, but with what they didn't do and often reconnecting and reconciling is key. Dr. Ira Byock wrote an entire book about this, but in essence dying people want to say, "I love you," "please forgive me," "I forgive you," "thank you" and, additionally, to their children and grandchildren, "I am proud of you."

 

What would you like to share with other ministers around the globe who do volunteer Hospice work or would like to do volunteer Hospice work?

For people already volunteering with hospice, my request is to continue to model the teachings in the midst of sometimes challenging and chaotic times for families. Loving and accepting what is, realizing that each Soul has its own journey and process and truly holding in the Light is the best service we can offer. In addition, we can all serve to remind those around that this is sacred space.  We are midwives to the Soul leaving the physical just like midwives bring a Soul into the world as a baby.

For those seeking to be volunteers, explore options and ask yourself what is calling you to serve this way. Occasionally I have people who have ideas about "working with the dying" in the abstract but emotionally they are not quite ready or able to hold the space for this work. Sometimes people have not done their own grieving process, no matter how ancient the passing of a loved one, and thus need to attend to that first before they are ready to serve with loving neutrality.

There is a great misunderstanding about hospice that to me is also coupled with our cultural denial of death. The word hospice has its route in hospitality and in ancient days, in a more agrarian society when life and death were experienced by all, hospices sprung up for "pilgrims" and all were welcome to attend to those in transition.

Modern day hospice has two distinct meanings. One is the physical place, a residential setting where people go to spend their last few months or weeks of life. However, hospice is also a service. It is a benefit of Medicare for those over 65 and also of most insurance policies. I work for a Medicare certified hospice. What that means is we follow Federal regulations to provide the services that we do for patients and that we provide a full team including doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains etc.  There are places that provide housing and services for people at end of life with a loving homelike environment but are not usually staffed with medical personal. These homes often use a local hospice team to come in and offer the medical component of nursing and doctors to their residents.

Most people think that someone is ready for hospice when they have days left to live. What's true is that a doctor must provide a prognosis of 6 months or less for someone to be admitted to hospice and use Medicare or insurance. No one has a crystal ball and so there are patients who have continued to decline medically but have remained on hospice services for a year or even more.  When someone elects to choose hospice it means they have decided to allow a natural death and will not elect curative approaches. A patient can revoke hospice and pursue that at any time. It is always a choice.

Because people wait too long to choose hospice, I have seen people who come on service and die before our team has had a chance to help the patient or their family in any significant way.  Choosing hospice earlier allows for the maximum support of all. Hospice is not designed for someone's last day or two. It is designed to have support through the journey when treatment is no longer a realistic choice.

 

Santa Barbara has a wonderfully functioning Circle of Light team. Have you been also been involved with Circle of Light in Santa Barbara?

Yes, visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Santa Barbara also has a residential hospice called Serenity House that is a state of the art, 3 year old, amazingly beautiful haven on a hill in Santa Barbara.  Our Circle of Light ministers are quite familiar with it because in the last two years, three of our local ministers spent their final days there. It has been my honor to be part of the Circle of Light team for these Souls. In addition, it is interesting that many hospices have similar programs often called NODA: No One Dies Alone and I have been sitting with those in transition for many years. This is an exquisite opportunity to feel Spirit in the room.

 

Is there anything a Circle of Light ministering volunteer should be aware of that you as a Hospice worker would like to share?

I would like to remind all of us serving the dying of a few things. One is that hearing and touch are the last senses to go so it is extremely important to be conscious of what kinds of conversations might occur in the room with the patient in transition. I have observed families, friends and others discuss both the individual in transition as if they aren't there or have conversations that disrupt the sacred space the Circle of Light is holding. In a loving way, you can invite people to hold in the silence and have conversation outside of the room. Alternatively, speaking words of loving, gratitude, reading sacred texts, and singing are all ways to connect and assist the person to leave when ready.  

People in transition are extremely sensitive to emotions and energy in the room. Be sure to call in the Light before you enter the room so that you come in fully present in loving service. I think it is important to realize that each person's death process belongs to the individual. I have sat vigil for someone and for a brief moment the room was empty and that was precisely the time the Soul left.

Bringing loving without attachment to outcome or ministering as we are charged to do, regardless of situation, circumstances etc. is an important approach. Judgment of family, hospice staff, oneself and even the person dying do not serve. 

 

-In this NDH article (http://www.msia.org/newdayherald/archives/11798-a-necessary-love-affair) J-R mentioned this:

"I don’t know if I could assist in a hospice because I’m a crier. I probably couldn’t say anything because I’d be crying all the time. Somebody’s got to grieve with the grievers because they’re hurting as badly as the person who’s dying. In fact, the person who’s dying probably isn’t hurting that much; they’re probably glad to get out of the darn thing. But the people who are left behind—I think there should be something for them."
 

Any advice on dealing with family members of those in transition?

The dying person is probably not hurting on any level. The families and loved ones certainly are.  Hospices like mine provide free follow up care for grieving people for as long as needed but for a minimum of 13 months via calls and support literature. There is one on one counseling and groups to help work through the grief process. The grieving journey also has many phases.  It is important to follow up with people for several months. Many people need support throughout the year of firsts—first holidays, first birthday, etc. and often people forget that the person grieving may still need some outreach of loving.
 

Anything else you think ministers serving ministers should be aware of?

I encourage each minister to review our Ministerial Handbook for there is great information in it about working with death and dying. Also in Volume 3 of Fulfilling your Spiritual Promise (p.1269), he exemplified to me how to minister to those making the transition. In describing J-R caring for his mother as she was in the dying process, Pauli Sanderson wrote, "There was no anger, no sense that the illness was unfair, just hard work to bring to her the greatest chance for life (on this level or another) that was possible. He did not push his opinions or points of view. He honored her and empowered her to make the decisions, supporting her in every decision she made, loving her in every way. When she died, it was with grace and acceptance." Once again our Beloved Traveler is our Wayshower.


May God bless us all.

Sent with much Love and Light,

Skyler Maryl Patton HeartFelt Director and Paul Kaye HeartFelt President

Please feel free to email feedback or your stories of service you'd like featured in an upcoming HGN article to serve@heartfelt.org

Our Venezuelan Family

         Our MSIA family is a global one, and many people in MSIA live in countries where there are great challenges. This issue of the HGN Bulletin is focused on our MSIA family in Venezuela. Due to the delicate nature of the situation in Venezuela at the moment, names and faces are omitted but their story is important and your loving Light is requested.

           Venezuela has been beset by civil unrest, criminal violence, high inflation and scarcity of goods. Since the government is highly dependent on oil revenue, the recent drop in prices is exacerbating the country’s troubles. In the past six months alone, inflation has increased 50% over the past decade and the price of food has increased more than 2,000%. Prices are fixed, leading to distortions: a cup of coffee costs eight times more than a car's tank of gas.

           There are many issues facing our Venezuelan family. One Venezuelan minister has told us that there is a serious lack of personal security, which causes her as well as many others to self-impose a curfew after 6-7pm at night. They must also take great care where they circulate. They have access to a map of zones where they can circulate and should not circulate under any circumstances, but the areas where they are safe are very limited. 

            Fortunately, many of our ministers live in "safe" areas. Even so, they are facing immense difficulties with a proliferation of kidnappings and shootings occurring on a daily basis. One minister must also be careful walking anywhere simply because her hair color makes her a target for "express" kidnappings which happen all the time, as she says. And some ministers have been robbed at gunpoint- fortunately without injury- and one even kidnapped, and fortunately released without harm. 

           The local supermarkets have long queues when and if milk, coffee, masa (corn flour) (with which to make their delicious arrepas), cooking oil, rice, detergents, shampoo, and medicines are available. Toilet paper makes its appearance weekly or fortnightly or once in a blue moon. Diapers for babies and adults are almost impossible to obtain. Other products take respective turns in disappearing- and some never return! The biggest scarcity and most worrying is the lack of medicines. Also, every day it is more difficult to obtain dollars or any other currency. In addition to all that, the airlines have cut the frequency of flights to and from Venezuela by more that 60%. To find an air ticket one has to buy it outside Venezuela and with dollars (only very few can be found to buy in bolivars). 

           Last week dozens of people spent the night waiting in line to buy foodstuffs at an outdoor supermarket in north Caracas. It is typical now that people wait upwards of 3-5 hours in lines at supermarkets, being watched carefully by patrolmen with rifles as they rush to gather meats and pantry items. Many people make several trips to supermarkets far out of their way searching for necessities local supermarkets are out of.

           The student uprising was very active in our Venezuelan ministers’ areas. One minister had the National Guard right outside the building where she lives and even had tear gas bombs thrown into her lobby. “The scene looked like war,” she said- and this went on for four months. Roadblocks made getting in and out of the area difficult.

           In spite of all this, a ministerial project was held to help some of the street children and our beautiful sisters and brothers in Venezuela go to great lengths to help each other individually.  For the time being, our Venezuelan ministers are able to stay in contact with each other and support each other in this time of need. They are in touch regularly with the MSIA community through attending monthly Ministers meetings, which they take turns hosting at their homes. One Venezuelan minister has taken it upon herself to help out another minister (who was elemental to the growth of MSIA in Venezuela and Spain) who lives far outside of Caracas- picking her up at the metro station and taking her wherever the meeting is, receiving all of this minister’s correspondence from MSIA (be it postal or through e-mails) as there would be no way would it get to her where she lives and she doesn't have a computer and internet.  

           At the moment the Venezuelan ministers are able to freely communicate through e-mail with each other on subjects that are not political. Almost all the ministers and MSIA members in Venezuela participate in a daily WhatsApp MSIA group chat set up by one of the ministers where they can communicate between themselves and post info on MSIA activities etc. *(For those that are unfamiliar with WhatsApp, it is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows people to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS, instead using the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing.)

           Not all is hopeless, though- in fact, the Venezuelan ministers are extremely hopeful. One Venezuelan minister says: “I still manage to be hopeful that we will get through, over and beyond this and that we will become stronger, wiser and more considerate and loving to one and other and definitely more conscious that we need far less to be happy. The Venezuelan humor rises above constantly making jokes out of every situation but some say for that same reason and complacency we are where we are.”

           So, what can we do for our Venezuelan family at this time? Not much is needed aid-wise yet, our rep says. However, they do ask for you to please keep Venezuela and her people in a column of Light and in your prayers and hearts and, of course, our group of Ministers and the MSIA community. She says: “Just to know that you all are praying for us and sending the LIGHT will be of great moral support.” 

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Sent with much Love and Light,
From Paul Kaye HeartFelt President & Skyler Patton HeartFelt Director

35th Annual Holiday Service Project

Christmas Is All Around Us


      On Saturday, December 20, 2014, the HeartFelt Foundation celebrated its 35th Annual Holiday Service Project. This marked the last such event organized by Patti Rayner, Director of the HeartFelt Foundation before she retires. 3,000 of Los Angeles’s most at-risk children and their families attended the Christmas celebration on a private section of the Santa Monica Pier. Even though they live in Los Angeles, many of these children had never seen the ocean before, ridden a carousel or seen –never mind, touch –real farm animals.

      The families arrived at 11am and as soon as the gates opened the children raced to the toy tent to receive their Christmas gift. They emerged with toys and huge teddy bears, some as big as themselves, and with even bigger smiles on their faces. After feasting on tacos, hot dogs, popcorn, churros, cookies, hot chocolate and coffee (for the adults, of course) they scattered to enjoy all of the wonderful events hosted at the pier.

      With the help of some very friendly elves, Santa and Mrs. Claus welcomed the children and their families to take photos with them, sit on Santa’s lap, and receive warm hugs and a big “Ho, ho, ho!” On the other side of the pier a bunch of happy farm animals were waiting to be petted and fed snacks by the children- even a pair of fluffy bunnies that couldn’t wait to be held! There were little basketball hoops, and sponges to throw at volunteers sticking their heads out of snowmen and reindeer cutouts. Kids ran to get their faces painted with snowflakes, snowmen, candy canes, Christmas trees, and even super hero and cat masks! Spiderman showed up to make some amazing balloon creations while Elsa (from Disney’s “Frozen”) came to walk around and greet her admirers and even paint princess makeup on some lucky little girls. At the arts and crafts table the kids and their families could decorate ornaments for their Christmas tree, make holiday cards, put googly eyes and a fuzzy red nose on little Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeers, or just draw and color whatever they wanted. There were even Spanish dancers, a mariachi band, and holiday singers to entertain the families as they walked around and enjoyed their day, which also included unlimited rides on the carousel!

      My favorite part of the day was all the children who hopped up onto the entertainment stage with glee and charm and sang every Christmas song they knew with huge smiles on their faces. While it may have been their first time singing in front of a large audience, you can bet some of these very talented kids will be future American Idol contestants!

      Patti Rayner organized all of this wonderful day with the help of Neal Cohen, Kathy Grant, Karen Cicero, Michael Hubbard, Steve Shepherd, Anthony Cube, Jodi Improta, Sonia Trejo, Andreea Constantinescu and over 175 volunteers. What a blessed day for all involved!

God Bless and Merry Christmas!

If you would like to donate to the HeartFelt Foundation or learn more about what we do, go to www.heartfelt.org


Photos 

Click here for photos from the 35th Annual Holiday Service Project (December 2014)

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Videos
 

Click here for videos from the 35th Annual Holiday Service Project (December 2014)

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