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IRC Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2016
By: IRC Blog

Six Dimensions of Wellness: Spiritual Wellness

All of us search for meaning and purpose. Spirituality takes many forms, whether it means participating in an organized religious group, finding solace in nature or exploring spiritual concepts in discussions with others. Spiritual wellness is embracing core values that guide you, examining your beliefs and actively practicing those values and beliefs. Spiritual wellness brings peace and harmony to our lives.

Overall wellness consists of more than just being physically well. At the Ingleside communities, we promote Six Dimensions of Wellness that encompass Spiritual, Social, Emotional, Vocational and Intellectual as well as Physical Wellness. In this series of posts, we’re delving into each of those dimensions and how they are supported and practiced at each Ingleside retirement community. 

Connection is a key component of spiritual wellness at Ingleside at Rock Creek, says Chaplain Dana Olson. 

That means “connection with the divine presence, connection with the community and connection with oneself,” says Olson, who views her calling as “really being able to facilitate that connection and help people to connect with their faith and what might be meaningful to them or holy. In addition to all of that, it’s really caring for people and helping them to know they’re not alone.” 

Some of the activities at IRC emphasize contemporary connections: “whatever our faith background, making the connection between what we believe and how we behave and what we do every day,” Olson says. 

“I’ll be listening to the residents and staff to find out what they have been doing that they love and anything they’re hungering for,” Olson says. “It would be something simple, such as, maybe on a morning once a week, having a World in Prayer time—a prayer litany for what’s going on the world.” 

Olson recently took over the chaplaincy from Rev. Susan Fellows, who stayed on for a while to guide her as she began her ministry at IRC. 

“My definition of spirituality is simple: Having a sense of something larger, broader and grander than me as an individual—something beyond the human plane. Spiritual wellness is when you pay attention to that sense beyond yourself and become a better-centered person. You’re in a community, not isolated.” 

Being connected with one’s community and world “could be achieved through a particular faith position,” Fellows says, but people who do not subscribe to a particular position “also have sense of something beyond themselves that they perhaps can’t articulate. I still think there’s a spiritual side to them, just not in a theistic fashion.” 

Activities focusing on spiritual wellness at IRC include formal worship services. 

“We gather on Sunday mornings and sing all the hymns folks know and love,” Fellows says. A communion service is performed once a week in the Health Center. 

The chaplain meets regularly with residents in a program called Conversation & Contemplation, during which they discuss issues including violence in the name of religion, and Biblical studies such as how the term Israel was used in the Bible and in a contemporary setting. 

“We’ve currently been doing Understanding White Privilege,” Fellows says. “Many people don’t understand the assumptions we make from a Western European perspective.” 

Olson says she hopes to embrace connection with nature as well as continuing to explore residents’ connections with one another and the wider world. 

“We are surrounded by beauty outside,” Olson says. “We want to engage nature however we can. That might be as simple as using nature imagery in language, holding a leaf or just pausing at a window and appreciating nature.”



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