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  • Writer's pictureRita Lança

I have grown as a Doula and I recognised myself as a Doula

I believe that, when life invites us, it brings us what we need to follow the path. Being a doula permeates the whole of my life - whatever I do is integrated in me, an extension of who I am and expresses the personal, professional and training contexts, all these concrete experiences were the scope for the doula to manifest.

The doula that lives in me was shaped by the land and culture where I had planted deep roots - the Alentejo that sings. In the community experience, intimately of the earth, I have learned to look at life and death as integral phenomena of the repeating cycles that we share with Nature.

An attentive listener to the testimonies of so many people with whom I grew up, I was absorbing, in the stories told in the evenings by the fireside, the transformation that the fire of life brings about, observing and integrating it into the days, continuously.

What brought me closer to the reality of death

The curiosity that as a child brought me closer to the reality of death made space for involvement in rituals. Through the curtains of the night, watching over the dead, I saw the skilful silhouette of women who continue to weave life, touching the mystery that death reveals when we open ourselves to welcome it. It travelled through time, wide open, with an horizon.

This fascination that I experienced led me to look for different narratives, cultural roots that shape manifestations of the same transcendence. In contact with different cultural contexts, I composed a range of resources, perspectives and practices that merge, integrate and celebrate death as part of life.

Alentejo landscape, holm oaks at dusk

On a professional level...

In the professional sphere, in particular in the direction of a home support service in the Montemuro mountain range, I accompanied families in the context of their ageing, illness and end of life, helping to prepare for departure, organising funeral rituals in close collaboration with funeral agencies, with religious bodies, to provide support in the grieving process and normal practical bureaucracy.

I also delved into the reality of transitions, death and transformation in the Permaculture Design Course and internship, specialising in the area of ​​fermentation.

At the training level, I also took an End-of-life doula course, an international certificate in Contemplative Spiritual Care and in Organic Clinical Aromatherapy.

Inseparable from my training and professional paths is the deepening of my own path, my own experiential CV - the way I live, the specific choices that I seek to embody, namely the ethics that guide me, such as de-growth.

The core of the person I am is lived spirituality, which assumes different languages, mediators and manifestations. Ignatian Spirituality - seeing love in everything and in all things, gratitude as a source of love, living in discernment and for the greater good.

The basic contemplative spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism - helps me to be in the presence of suffering with compassion, to work with detachment.

The Vipassana meditation technique and philosophy of life through which I practice being with reality, whatever the circumstances, with the awareness of impermanence, in connection with everything and all beings. With Shamanism I deepen my connection with the language of Nature.

I believe that to live is to become what we are. I see this role of being a doula as something that has always manifested itself throughout my life, in the personal universe and what I have manifested in the professional universe - the call to be in intimate contexts, which services don’t reach, but taking the perspective and experience of one who knows reality from both the outside and the inside.

To paraphrase Afonso Cruz, breaking the eggshell of reality and seeing what sustains it, its bones, its heart, its flesh, because we want to illuminate everything.


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