Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Sister Trish Dick works as a spiritual counselor at Shodair Hospital in Helena, Montana. The hospital serves children who have undergone extreme trauma.

Every day when I walk through the doors of Shodair Hospital I face a new day full of unknown adventure and ministry. I am not too sure what “normal” looks like at Shodair Hospital and frankly no one does. Change and flexibility are two major ingredients of my day.

I introduced mindfulness to our adolescence unit during their community gather-up and meeting. I brought my Tibetan bowl and began with some deep breathing exercises. Over a space of time, I proceeded with some guided imagery. Although they love the deep breathing exercises they do not like the silence or guided meditation exercises.   One patient finally told me; “Trish, when you tell us to go to our place where we are safe – we don’t have one.  And all this silence brings up memories that we don’t want to be reminded of or remember.”  So we are working on mindfulness exercises such as getting to know your questions and building community. I am now quickly trying to learn mindfulness exercises which involve skilled movement and play in order to accomplish my goal.

 Yet at every community meeting, one of patients rings the bell and does the deep breathing exercises. Some do the breathing exercises way too fast for my liking and I want to jump in and do it myself or autocorrect them in ringing the bell. It’s all I can do to extend my patience, loosen my judgment and wait for my turn to lead and model “the right” form of mindfulness. I have come to the conclusion that success is not about the “right” way of mindfulness but knowing these adolescents are being exposed to mindfulness and learning the concept of using their breath to calm themselves.  It’s a lesson, too,  about the value of being  mindful in our waiting, as we trust the process and wait for the Light to shine.


Trish Dick, OSB


1 comment:

  1. Have you tried mindful walking? It may provide a distraction for trauma feelings.