The Soul Midwife Sofa
On Monday 6 May I open a new service. Based at Waltham House Studios, the new and emerging Arts and Wellbeing Centre here in Bognor Regis, I am starting the Soul Midwife Sofa.
This is what it is -
The Soul Midwife Sofa
- A super hero. A soul midwife cannot fly in through the open window and shoot rays of power from her fingers. She can't zap baddies, whatever and whoever they may be, across the room and pin them against a wall
- An oracle. A soul midwife can't tell the future though she may have an opinion based on observation and experience. She has no mystical powers to foresee things, nor can she predict the date and time of a death.
- A Diva. She won't want to make a grand entrance with her hand on her heart and an expression of pain and grief on her face. She will not identify so deeply with her clients' pain that she needs to sit down and fan herself with a copy of this month's Saints Weekly.
- Mary Poppins. A soul midwife cannot come into a situation and magic it all better. She cannot make the room tidy itself, pull medical equipment out of her bag, and sort everyone out
- A push over. She isn't able to take on everyone's negative emotions and make herself responsible. She isn't there to take whatever is happening personally, and make herself ill.
- Jesus. A soul midwife can't make anyone better, can't heal anyone so that they get out of their beds and go for a run. She also doesn't have a hot line to any deity, and can't work miracles.
I have been a bit of all of the above at some point or other over the last ten years, that is why I know it doesn't work. That leaves what a soul midwife is. She is, I am, aspiring to the following -
- A listener. A soul midwife listens deeply, carefully and attentively. She listens with her ears and her heart. Often what is being said is being conveyed without words. A soul midwife learns to listen and keep herself out of the way, and really hear what is being said at as many levels as she can.
- Boundaried. Having porous boundaries creates confusion and resentment. A soul midwife will not want to become involved in another's pain if she can help it. Her wise detachment will mean she is stronger in her support, and she will know it is not her story. She knows her limits.
- Compassionate. A soul midwife is compassionate and practices empathy and patience. She knows that the people she is working with will take this journey that they are on in their own way, and sometimes, they may be in great pain. She does not tell them to snap out of it, she engages her compassion and works from the heart. Sometimes fear and distress make a client angry and confrontational. She will work out how to deal with this with compassion and boundaries.
- Healthy. It takes energy to sit with clients, and a soul midwife will be aware of her own health and need to rest and live in her own world too. She will try never to become a wet dish rag.
- Honest. Soul midwives can say that they don't know when they don't know the answers to questions. She may be asked about how an illness is progressing, she may be asked about powers of attorney, she may be asked what happens after death. She can say she doesn't know, and if it is appropriate to find out, she may help with that. A soul midwife is tactful, and if asked the question Am I going to die? by someone who is on their way out, she finds a way of answering truthfully and taking into account the client's ability to hear the truth.