Gordon Creamer, creator of The Mission Bridge, has vast experience in healthcare at various Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Hospice communities. He is passionate about facilitating spiritual retreats and workshops for participants to explore and enhance their spirituality and well-being through different means. He is also a trained end-of-life doula. Gordon imparts his knowledge and experience to MysticMag.
How did your career start out and what inspired the creation of The Mission Bridge?
The idea came about when I was in grad school, the first time round, in 2000. My thesis focused on creating a Spiritual and Pastoral Care Program for individuals who lived in long-term care facilities who no longer had the opportunity to engage in their spirituality as they were able to do when they could drive or had mobility and before moving to the nursing home. My goal was to create opportunities and resources as a bridge for those in need. This became my mission.
However, I only created my Mission Bridge about 8 years later, by which time I had started working with other groups (mainly adults) and journeying with them on the spiritual path as well as members of the LGBTQ community. These three groups tend to be the main focus of my vocation nowadays.
What exactly do you offer your clients?
Through the Mission Bridge, I offer a variety of different services. Primarily, there is an emphasis on spiritual retreats and workshops which cover a breadth of diverse topics and concepts. This includes anything from spiritual practices around detachment and contemplation to journeys with Mystics and Saints within particular religious traditions. I love creating interfaith opportunities where we take a few beliefs, rituals and practices from Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, for example, and recognize where they all overlap and bring people together. The retreat offering is pretty regular for me. I offer these at different retreat houses and spiritual wellness centers.
Another aspect of my work is spiritual companionship where I journey one-on-one with each person in the presence of the Spirit, or the Divine, however that person understands it. Most of the time I see my clients in my own home and have a meditation room dedicated for this purpose.
I have been trained and am currently in the certification process of being an end-of-life doula. After my coursework, both my parents arrived at the end of their life and I was able to be their caregiver. In effect, they were my baptism by fire so to speak. To be certified, working with the family is not accepted so after having come through my own grieving process, I am now reconnecting with the opportunity to become certified as a doula. It is something that I feel I have been created to do; to help people while at this sacred threshold of death and grief, and to journey with them while offering a loving presence along that way.
How do you go about enhancing the spirituality of others and what is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal and the approach are one and the same. The ultimate goal is to hold a sacred space with someone else while inviting and empowering them to realize that they are a spiritual being on a human journey, in a greater way than being a human being on a spiritual journey – that it is part of their innate self, to tap into what is meaningful about their life. Spirituality and meaningfulness are equivalent.
The approach is to hold that space first, but within that space it is really about accompanying this person as they realize the greater possibilities of their highest good and that this is interwoven in an intimate way with what is at their very core. It is the shifting of awareness. If I can journey with someone and be their companion in a spiritual way, help them find that greater meaning in their life, then I feel my mission has been fulfilled.
In your experience, how does an end of life doula contribute to the dying process?
This goes back to what I mentioned about spirituality and meaningfulness. I can’t imagine my parents leaving this earth and moving on to where they are now without the person-centered, intentionality-focused way that they died and, in part, because of the gifts they gave me which allowed me to take care of them in such a holistic and ritualistic way.
It is also a way of helping a person to create a legacy to leave behind. I was able to do this for my parents. Another aspect of the work is regrouping with the family a few weeks after the death of their loved one to authentically process how the death occurred. Our culture does not cultivate dying or grieving well. The end-of-life doula work is that sacred inbreaking of awareness and practice that can help people transition from this life to whatever they believe the next one to be.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Albeit difficult to say, I think it has to be designing retreats, and facilitating them in the Spirit with folks who are hungry to really connect with that which is ‘greater than’ – so with the Divine, God, or the Beloved One as I affectionately call this reality. To connect in a way that places them on a path of transformation so that whatever trauma, malaise or hardship they may have in their background, they are able to recognize and are motivated to do something about as they have this innate connection to the Divine. This could be around certain teachings or sage figures but they themselves become a compass as they chart a course, and as they move through their trauma or grief to come through to the other side.
If you would like to find out more about Gordon Creamer, visit https://www.themissionbridge.com/