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Edinburgh West Chaplaincy Newsletter

Total Pain

Elements of Spiritual Pain

· Sense of hopelessness or despair

· Focus on suffering rather than pain

· Feelings of guilt or shame

· Unresolved anger

· Inability to trust

· Lack of inner peace

· Sense of disconnectedness or fragmentation

· Sense of powerlessness

· Feelings of emptiness

· Feelings of pointlessness

· Feelings of abandonment

· Feelings of injustice

· Loss of identity

· Loss of opportunity

· Loss of ability

· Loss of accessibility

· Loss of independence

Edinburgh West Chaplaincy Newsletter

A new hope in your story

“You have already borne the pain.

What you have not done is feel all you are beyond the pain.”

Saint Bartholomew (One of the Twelve Apostles, 1st century AD)

When Dame Cicely Saunders first used the term “total pain” in the early 1960s, she gave to medicine and health care a concept which emerged from her unique experience as nurse, social worker, and physician—the remarkable multidisciplinary platform from which she launched the hospice movement. It also reflected her willingness to acknowledge a person’s spiritual suffering, and to see this in relation to physical problems. Crucially, total pain was tied to a sense of narrative and biography, emphasizing the importance of listening to the patient’s story and of understanding the experience of suffering in a multifaceted way. This approach sees pain as a key to unlocking other problems and as something requiring multiple interventions for its resolution. Total pain incorporates physical, psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual elements.

You may not be a “patient” at the moment, and certainly not in a Hospice. But as a Workplace Chaplain, I am here to listen to your story of wherever you’re at, and whatever sort of joy or pain you may be in; but especially to explore with you the elements of Spiritual Pain listed on the right, which you may be experiencing. Reflecting on her hospice experience for a few years, Dame Cicely described chronic pain as “not just an event, or a series of events but rather a situation in which the patient is, as it were, held captive”. If you feel somehow held captive by a form of Spiritual Pain then perhaps now is the time for freedom, which comes as you share your story. You can then slowly enter into the life beyond the pain, which is the hopeful message of St Bartholomew in the quotation above. [Thanks to David Clark, PhD, www.ampainsoc.org]

Spiritual Exercise and PrayerPassing it on

Think of a time recently when you heard a “bad news” story. Perhaps someone in the press was described as a “monster”. How did you end up thinking about that person? Why did you react in the way you did? What emotions did the story stir in you? What do you learn about yourself from your reaction?

Next time you walk into a room, make sure you smile. Watch for the reaction from those who are there. Note the effect it has on them. Our presence is contagious, even if we think we are insignificant, unimportant. You are not; your presence is sacred. If this is the effect we can have by simply smiling, how might we effect the world by living truer and more deeply?

A Company Prayer

God, we know you are with us today in this place.

Open our eyes, open our hearts, teach us to know and feel that we are not alone, that you are with us in all we do, embracing us with your love and care.

We pray for our business, for our partners and teams.

We pray for wise management decisions, for mutual respect, honesty and integrity in our business at all levels.

We pray especially for our overseas work and network; for the influence this firm is having in places around the world. We lift our hopes and fears to you, longing for a world in which violence is at an end.

Help us all to work for justice and peace with integrity and compassion. Amen.

Candice Blackwood, lawyer

NewsNotes from the life of a Workplace Chaplain

This is still a time of great turmoil for many, and not least my colleagues across at the HSBC contact centre and in branch, where restructuring has puts livelihoods into question. I know from talking with folk at HBOS and RBS that they are well aware of these pressures already. If you would like more personal support through a time of transition, please get in touch.

Revd. James Stewart

C/o Corstorphine Old Parish Office,

2a Corstorphine High Street,


EH12 7ST

07980 162788 0131 334 7864

[email protected]


Registered Scottish Charity S041857

 It was a real joy to visit Strathclyde Fire & Rescue centre of excellence at Cambuslang. Going round the training facility really brought home just what situations fire fighters face on our behalf. We were able to hear first-hand what the planned amalgamations of services will entail, and hammer out a service-level agreement to offer Chaplaincy across Scotland at a time of unsettling change. It’s great to be working with an organisation that really “gets” chaplaincy and values it as part of the bricks and mortar of working life.

Our thoughts are also still with all staff at the Airport, as the sale by BAA goes through to finalisation.