Drawing of aloe plant
Image by Madelyn Koff.
What draws me to movement chaplaincy is the prospect of building spiritual resilience in my community. To me, this looks like becoming "a point of care" for those around me. Importantly, this role is not static. In the process of thinking about what I would do for this final project, I continued to reflect on Jordan Kennedy’s wonderful contribution on self-keeping.


She writes, “The self-care paradigm often sees us as getting stressed and then going to self-care in moments of heightened stress, rather than integrating things for our joy and restful well-being along the way. In my head, I see self-keeping similar to how I see my indoor garden. The plants need sunshine and water consistently. Sure, I can let them wilt a bit but it takes them longer to bounce back when I finally give them what they need. If I take care of them a little each day, they thrive. We're like that too, I think. I keep myself as whole as I can by trying to integrate a daily spiritual practice into my mornings, where I reclaim the earliest point of the day as something holding rest for me rather than the beginning of another long day.”

Over the past two years I have slowly built up a small indoor garden. Waking up and taking care of these plants by meeting their different, individual needs has been an everyday ritual that helps me feel grounded. I have been working on practicing this course’s lessons on rest and joy in the midst of finals, work, and family commitments. I am passionate about dismantling systems of oppression and as someone who is recovering from burnout, I need to continue to practice self-keeping to achieve liberation, justice, and healing for all. Cultivating practices in my life, like my garden care ritual, is a wonderful start. On that note, here is a drawing of Kombucha (my aloe!) that was joyful for me to create!


Madelyn Koff
Madelyn Koff is a recent McGill graduate from Vermont. She is passionate about social justice and baking chocolate tarts.

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