Songs

Art is a medium by which we relate to each other. When we look or read or watch art and say “I understand it,” we are really saying to the artist “I understand you, understand. I’ve been there. I know what that’s like. I get it.” This is incredible.

We created the first of many lists of songs that pertain to loss. We hope you listen and, by at least one of these songs, feel understood.
If there’s a song or musical artist that has helped you feel understood, send us the name and we will include it in our next song post. While today’s list is Country-heavy, we are open to all genres and hope to develop a good balance.
1. On suicide: For Blue Skies by Strays Don’t Sleep
2. On saying goodbye and processing a loss: Crying for Me by Toby Keith
3. Oh, Death by Pearl and the Beard
4. Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney
5. On loss of a grandparent or parent: If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away by Justin Moore
6. On loss of a child (you saw this on our Facebook page): My Time on Earth by Billy Gilmam
Watch out for a post in the future featuring songs suggested by our teen group!
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And, of course, we’d like to remind you about helping us win The Big Give! Read more on our post about it here:  http://thechristicenter.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/the-big-give/
By Lana Baumgartner

A Practice in Love: Animal Therapy

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One can’t argue against the prominence of animal love around us. Between well-supported charities and the number of dog-friendly establishments in Austin, animals are obviously well-received. However, did you know that research is finding that keeping animals as company can be therapeutic? For both physical and emotional therapy, animals are proving again and again to help.

There are both obvious and more subtle benefits. Walking a dog, of course, leads to more exercise and more time spent outdoors. Additionally, animals can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine which leads to a decrease in loneliness and anxiety, which in turn can reduce blood pressure. Caring for an animal can give you a sense of purpose and instill nurturing feelings. Even the added structure and routine to a day from caring for an animal has shown to help people simply by giving them something to do and something to hold them accountable for being responsible.

This piece goes more in-depth about the benefits of animal therapy and how to choose the right animal for you and your household: http://www.helpguide.org/life/pets.htm

All this being said, one doesn’t need to adopt a pet to spend time with animals. Organizations like Austin Pets Alive!, Austin Humane Society, Emancipet, and various rescue groups have a huge need for volunteers to bottle-feed kittens in the on-site nursery, walk or run dogs, help socialize shy or scared animals, photograph animals, get to know the animals to then write about them, and so many other opportunities. For those who want to take an animal home but are still nervous about the responsibility, fostering is another option. When you foster an animal, you take them home for a limited amount of time until they are ready to be adopted. Especially in Austin, there are many ways to be around animals without taking on the responsibility of permanently adopting – there are more than enough furry friends in town to go around

 “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

― Charles M. Schulz

Photos and post by Lana Baumgartner

The Big Give

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Christi Center community,

We are happy to announce our participation in The Big Give. The Big Give is a competition hosted by I Live Here, I Give Here among participating non-profits to get feedback from donors and, based on that feedback, win a prize of 5000 dollars! We need all past donors to participate, but the best part? It doesn’t cost you anything but five minutes of your time. All we ask if if you’ve donated, fill out a quick survey about The Christi Center. The more surveys filled out, the higher chance we have of winning and the more we know on how we’re doing.

The Big Give is a great opportunity for us to get information on how to be a better community while potentially raising needed funds. Help us!

Link to the survey:  http://www.ilivehereigivehere.org/voting/big_give

Thanks for the support!

On Remembrance

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”
-Frederick Buechner

Though these words aren’t necessarily about loss, they touch on the curious way in which someone can be gone but not forgotten. Oddly, some have been told to forget, or even simply “move on,” but that’s unimaginable. To forget is unnecessary, not to mention impossible, and doesn’t do justice the wonderful qualities of the person we’ve lost that make us love and miss them so much. We are all part of life’s ebb and flow, and every positive influence we will carry with us. So, instead of forgetting, let’s explore remembrance. When every grief journey is unique, there are countless ways to remember someone.

Continuing the Use of A Loved One’s Belongings
     Especially a loved or favorite belonging. Some have found that loving something the way a loved one loved it can keep a piece of their spirit and energy alive.

Join a Cause
     Many find this to be a proactive and social way to celebrate the memory of a loved one or to see that loved one’s passions and qualities live on in us. It could any cause, a cause related to the death or a cause the loved one supported or would have supported. Additionally, it’s easy to find a way to volunteer that suit you (whether it be running, creating, public-speaking, etc) since there are so many opportunities in Austin. This may help: http://www.austin360.com/news/entertainment/night-life/volunteer-opportunities-6/nRzsj/

Create Art
     The words “art” and “therapeutic” go hand in hand. Art (in any form: writing, painting, dancing) is the space you create for yourself in which there exists no judgement or limitations. You are free to let your feelings be just as they are and take time to simply feel them and, if you so choose, deal with them in a gentle manner. You can make art for or because of someone, and oftentimes you might find that someone else relates to it or you.

On Birthdays
     Doing something that person would’ve enjoyed and, if possible, making it a time to celebrate their life and how their qualities are still alive in us.

The Christi Center
     At The Christi Center, we try to provide many ways and opportunities to remember those we have lost depending on what suits your needs and the time of the year. Check our website and calendar for details: http://fortheloveofchristi.org and http://fortheloveofchristi.org/calendar/

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you feel as if you have ways to remember someone that really keep their spirit alive for you, please share with us and TCC community via Facebook or on the comments here!

By Lana Baumgartner