After enrolling on the Foundation course my thoughts immediately began to turn to the training, as I wondered how on earth I would be trained to become an End of Life Doula. Little did I know this training was going to change the direction of my life.
Throughout the course of my varied career I have embarked on a wide variety of training courses, some more interesting than others. Always coming away from them having learned new skills and information – with the vast majority of them being useful, interesting and informative. None however had taken me on a life changing journey, but that is exactly what has happened since I began the Doula training. The more I learn about life’s least talked about subject, death, the more I learn about life.
Learning to be comfortable in this fascinating aspect of life is hugely liberating, people have asked me if the course is morbid and full of sadness, I am tempted to laugh as nothing could be further from the truth. It is life affirming, deeply interesting and incredibly rewarding.
We have covered a huge variety of subjects, from family dynamics, to building trusting compassionate relationships, to the benefits of touch, massage and complimentary therapies. We have studied: death rituals around the world, embarked on lots of self reflection, looked at how the body dies, the diversity of peoples beliefs, discussed concepts of soul, the possibility of an afterlife and the beliefs of atheists. These are just a few of the many topics we have discussed, studied, discovered and shared our feelings and thoughts on. The learning takes on many different formats from working in small groups, a whole group or working individually. It is meaningful, fun, creative and informative.
The unexpected joy has been the transformational journey I have found myself on since I started the course; I have grown existentially as a person. I have discovered how to improve my communication skills, practising true empathy and active listening, plus how to instigate and hold extremely difficult conversations around death and dying.
I have met and connected with lots of like minded people from all walks of life and professions from all over the UK and beyond, all willing to open up and share stories including what brought them to the role of the Doula. This has led to a feeling of belonging, something truly unique and an exiting sense that a beautiful movement is being born in order to help us as individuals and society as a whole to live well and die well.
I have just completed part two of the training in the very beautiful Yorkshire Town of Hebden Bridge and am now confident enough to volunteer at my local Hospice at Home Service and my Local Hospital Trust. Words cannot describe the feelings and fulfilment from giving my time to people who are coming towards the end of their lives. This for me has been the ultimate reward, the life changer, since I have started my training; my life has become richer, deeper and more rewarding. I am very much looking forward to the third part of my training.
If the role is calling to you I would highly recommend the Foundation Course which is a fantastic opener into the whole subject of living well dying well.