Mar 31, 2013


"Only my condemnation injures me.  Only my own forgiveness sets me free." A Course in Miracles

How very true.  People sometimes say that it is hard to forgive -- perhaps because of the gravity of the offense against them; but, in my opinion, we do not forgive to free the other person (although I think that does happen), but to free ourselves.  Holding grudges is like being bound by a cord to the other person.  The grudge holds too much of our attention, too much of our energy and thinking.  Only by forgiving can we be free.  If that is true, then how do we forgive?  By making the decision to forgive.  The other person does not even have to know or be involved.  If we make the decision to forgive the other person, or institution, or group, then the process of forgiveness starts - beginning the process of regaining our own freedom.

Mar 30, 2013

Hospice Care

"Hospice care is for a terminally ill person who's expected to have six months or less to live. This doesn't mean that hospice care will be provided only for six months, however. Hospice care can be provided as long as the person's doctor and hospice care team certify that the condition remains life-limiting."  Mayo Clinic

For those of us who are caregivers, it is important to remember that hospice might be an option at some point in the caregiving.  It is worth checking around before it is needed, as a reader has told me that the services varying considerably in both cost and delivery.  Dementia is a terminal illness, but it may take years before progression gets to the "six months or less to live".  Still, it is good for us, as caregivers, to know the options for dignified support during the last months of life. 

Mar 29, 2013

Courage to Change

"Often we give up our right to renewal to accommodate the anxiety of those around us."  Mark Nepo

How very true.  When we change -- and change we must -- for our overall health, it causes anxiety for those close to us, because we are "showing up" different in the relationship, which is unsettling.  At the point of noticing the discomfort in others, we have two choices:  Stay the same to accommodate the other person's anxiety; or - Have the courage to change and grow in the ways we are being shown.  We can take a lesson from the snake in this regard:  when the old skin becomes too tight, it is shed -- trusting that a new, better-fitting one will develop to take the place of the old.  What might need to be shed by us?  Old ideas, suffocating ways of thinking, ways of relating that no longer serve us, the image of ourselves that no longer holds true, beliefs that no longer support us.  There are many ways in which we humans are called to shed what is old and step out in trust to build what is new for us.  Sometimes this is called forth by painful circumstances in the outer world.  In those cases, we are being changed from within and without -- if we have the courage to actually experience the painful circumstance.  In what ways are you being called upon to change? 

Mar 28, 2013

Seeing the Beautiful

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is a fine quality to develop and nurture:  that of seeing what is beautiful.  Yesterday, I was shoveling yet more snow (yes, really).  And, I took time out to enjoy the warmth of the March sun on my face, the sounds of the birds enjoying our bird feeder, the beauty of the snow on the trees, the sound of the creek as it tumbles down our canyon beneath patches of frozen ice, the blue sky.  All so beautiful.  Earlier I had been at the assisted living facility while a nurse did yet another evaluation of Dwane to see if his needs are best met in this setting, or if he needed more support.  Talk of wheelchairs, physical therapy services.  Afterward, I took him out for an ice cream cone, and we enjoyed the outing and treat.  On my way home, I bought two more puzzles for us to do together.  It is hard to find the 300-piece, large piece puzzles that we need now; so I got the two that were available.  That will give us something to do together on Easter Sunday.  Life is very good in many respects.  It is so beneficial to remember that.

Mar 27, 2013

Proaction versus Reaction

"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.  The past is closed and limited; the future is open and free." Deepak Chopra

It is so easy as humans to get caught in the same-old behavior patterns, and the people around us know where we are vulnerable -- which buttons to push.  Even someone with dementia can still push our buttons.  It is easy to forget about the disease process, and it is easy to take actions personally.  Recently, at a physician's office, my spouse ranted about me to the doctor, about how I would not "let" him come home.  The doctor and her two interns were obviously unsure how to respond, and I had to remind myself that several physicians, a neuropsychologist and nurses have evaluated him and agree that he needs more supervision than can be done at home.  Given this moment to reflect on that, I was able to act newly --by giving no reaction.  It does not help a situation for us to enter into the belligerence or - in our case - even to try to reason.  The situation is what the situation is.  Period. Not his fault, and not my fault.  We are living within the circumstances life has presented us, and my intention is to do that as graciously as possible. 

Mar 26, 2013

Courage to Leave

"We, like the birds, are meant to fly and sing -- that's all -- and all our plans and schemes are twigs of nest that, once outgrown, we leave." Mark Nepo

In a professional setting a friend of mine, who was requesting some changes in the work environment, was told by his supervisor that sometimes a person just has to have the courage to leave an untenable situation.  That is true.  We can try to change things to be more positive and supportive, but - if we are unable to do that - the next thing for us is either to accept the situation as it is - or leave.  It is true in professional settings, it is true in relationships, and it is true in social settings.  People spend a lot of time trying to change and mold other people to their desires.  That is an impossible task for everyone involved.  Sometimes a person might choose to remain in the situation; and, if so, it is important that the person accept the situation and the persons in it.  Other times it is important to walk away.  We may have outgrown the situation. 

Mar 25, 2013

Challenges as Gifts

"It is easy to love life when things are going well.  However, our greatest gifts often come when we struggle with challenges, allowing us to emerge on the other side stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.  We discover sensitivity, strength and conviction possessed only by one who has walked through the fire."  Jane Beach

This is the premise of the Twelve Step programs which help people with addictions and family members affecting by addictions.  Also called the Wounded Healer, people who have come through adversity do have something to offer the world.  It is as if the adversity rubs off the rough edges of one's personality, and the beauty and strength of the real personality can shine through.  What gifts have you gotten from being a caregiver?  Gifts could include finding a nurturing side of you, finding your strength to implement decisions unpopular with some, finding the strength to take care of your own needs within the caregiving responsibilities, finding the need to re-prioritize your life and what is important, taking time out of the world to help someone else transition out of this reality.   There are many gifts.  Which ones have you discovered?

Mar 24, 2013

Preventing Dementia

"Although more research is needed to definitively prove which Alzheimer's prevention strategies are effective, some possible strategies that promote good overall health include:
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits and lean protein, particularly protein sources containing omega-3 fatty acids
  • Being physically and socially active
  • Taking care of your mental health
  • Using thinking (cognitive) skills, such as memory skills (source:  Mayo Clinic)

It is good to know that general good health habits also promote good cognitive functioning and may prevent dementia. 

Mar 23, 2013


"Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants.  Man's happiness really lies in contentment." Mahatma Gandhi

Contentment seems elusive and beyond the reach of many humans for too much of the time.  We have Gandhi's quote above and similar advice from the Buddhist tradition:  avoid both attachment and desire.  In our consumer society, this is not the norm.  It seems that the more we buy and possess, we are told by advertising, the happier we will be.  But, we can look around at those of significant fortune and see that money and possessions do not equate happiness.  Can we be content without consuming beyond what we need?

Mar 22, 2013

Increase in Dementia

"A new report showing one in three older adults dies with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is raising concerns about the disease's "pervasive" scope and the spiraling costs of care, the authors say. Deaths from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia have increased 68% from 2000 to 2010, according to the report being released today by the Alzheimer's Association, an advocacy group. Meanwhile, deaths from heart disease, HIV/AIDS and stroke have declined." Medicare and Medicaid reports.

If you, as caregiver, do not have longterm care insurance and you have less than 1-3 million dollars in assets, then it might be a good idea for you to consider buying longterm care insurance.  If you do buy longterm care insurance, obtain quotes from more than one insurance agent, as there can be considerable different in the cost of your premiums from independent agents versus agents representing a religious entity - such as Thrivent for Lutherans.  We can do nothing to prevent the dementia in the person for whom we provide caregiving, but we can take action to help arrange our own care.  Be part of the planning of your future.  Check into your options for paying for longterm care, should you need it.

Mar 21, 2013


"Discernment is an essential spiritual quality that allows us to separate thoughts based in love from those based in fear." Ed. Townley

Discernment is a wonderful quality to develop.  It can help us make the right choice, take the right action, take the right path.  It is very separate from ego or human judgment, which is always focused on getting what we think we want or blaming someone for something.  Discernment is a higher functioning, and it leads to more maturity.  Yesterday was the first day of spring, in this season of rebirth, let us develop our discernment.  To do that, we consider what God or the Divine, or whatever word you are comfortable using for the Unifying Power of the universe, -- what that benevolent source would want us to do.  Because, we can trust that Benevolence always has our best interest in mind -- even when we do not know what that might be. 

Mar 20, 2013

Caregiving as an Addiction

"I have been learning that the life of a caretaker is as addictive as the life of an alcoholic.   In truth, caretaking, though seeming quite generous, is very self-serving, and its urgent self-centeredness prevents a life of genuine compassion."  Mark Nepo

A harsh thought, and perhaps not true in all cases of caregiving, but probably many.  Nepo says that caregiving relieves the caregiver, "briefly numbs the worthlessness" within the caregiver -- just like a drink briefly numbs the worthlessness within the alcoholic.  I think there is a lot of truth to this.  As I extricated myself from being the primary and only caregiver, I found that it was like withdrawing from an addiction.  Being a caregiver is all consuming.  There is no time to think of oneself.  All energy is posited in anticipating and filling the needs of another.  To be needed that much can be addictive.  For all of us who are caregivers, let us be sure we are doing it for the right reasons.  And, let us be sure not to lose ourselves in the process. 

Mar 19, 2013


"I've started to realize that waiting is an art, that waiting achieves things. Waiting can be very, very powerful. Time is a valuable thing. If you can wait two years, you can sometimes achieve something that you could not achieve today, however hard you worked, however much money you threw up in the air, however many times you banged your head against the wall. . ."
--The Courage to Change by Dennis Wholey
We, who are caregivers, also spend a lot of time waiting.  Waiting in doctor's offices, waiting for the care receiver to get out of the chair, waiting for the care receiver to get the jacket on, waiting for the care receiver to accept life's new reality.  One of the things that caregiving is perhaps teaching me is to wait.  It has never been natural for me.  I read recently where a woman said her mind and her body were not often in the same place.  That can be true for us humans.  Rather than relaxing into the waiting, our minds can be racing ahead to tasks needing accomplishing, things needing done.  Perhaps there is something powerful in the waiting.  It is worth considering.

Mar 18, 2013

Preventing Falls

 "More than 33% of adults in the U.S. who are 65 or older fall each year. And nearly 1/3 of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries. In addition to physical injury, falls can lead to limited activity and loss of physical fitness, as well as long-lasting emotional health issues. It's important to understand and deal with fall risk before it affects your quality of life."  Falls Prevention Learning Center, AARP Health and Wellness, 2012.

It was falls that precipitated Dwane moving into assisted living.  Within about 3 weeks he had three falls and one run-into an open door -- which caused a long laceration to his forehead.  He has not fallen since moving into assisted living -- because the facility is set up for safety; whereas, the world outside such facilities is not.  These falls were not in our home, although bathroom falls are one of the highest sites for falls; they were on normal excursions on dry ground.  Falls are a part of dementia, particularly those involving parkinsonian aspects, like Lewy Bodies Dementia. 

Having dementia only increases the risk of falling; there is a risk for any of us who are getting older. This winter I know of several people in my age range who have fallen on icy surfaces or elsewhere.  One woman in her early 60's fell in her bathroom and broke three ribs and bones in her foot, so significant she had to have surgery.  It is important to protect ourselves AND our care receiver from the devastating effects of falls. We can start by making our home as risk-free as possible by  making sure all pathways are clear, by having pathways lighted at night, by having good night lights in bathrooms and on the way to bathrooms, by not moving furniture so it is unfamiliar to the person with dementia.  These actions can help all of us be safer in our homes. 

Mar 17, 2013

Vitamin D

Preserve your brain with vitamin D.  It helps maintain better cognitive functioning and could protect against Alzheimer's disease.  Many experts recommend taking a supplement with 800 - 1200 IU, although the recommended dietary allowance is 600 IU."  Health magazine April, 2013

Several doctors have told me that any of us who live in the northern hemisphere (and, wouldn't it make sense for those who live in the southern hemisphere too -- if they are too far from the equator?) do not get enough sunlight for our bodies to produce sufficient vitamin D.  Doctors have checked my levels, and they were initially very low, and I was put on 50,000 IU's for three months.  After that intervention and after taking only the recommended 600 IU daily, my vitamin D levels again plummeted.  So, I am on 2600 IU's daily.  My sister who just underwent radiation for breast cancer was told that low levels of vitamin D were contributory to having cancer of the breast. I have also read studies where sufficient vitamin D is necessary for feeling happy.  So, for good cognitive functioning, avoiding cancer, and feeling happier, consider having your blood checked for vitamin D levels, and then take as a supplement what is an appropriate amount for your well being. 

Mar 16, 2013


"Adults caring for aging parents, spouses, or other loved ones with debilitating diseases can find information online on how to hire a nurse, navigate Medicare, or answer any of hundreds of other questions."  Andy Cohen

I read about this website and checked it out.  It is pretty impressive.  I live in a rural area with low population, and yet, this site had a list of all the assisted living facilities in my area.  It also has online support groups:  one for Alzheimer's, one for cancer, one for caring for one's spouse.  There were a lot of free resources, good information and helpful information.  It is a great resource.

Mar 15, 2013


"Do not resist!  This does not mean we remain in abusive or dangerous situations.  But if we turn away without judgment, and allow ourselves to be guided to our good without seeking to strike back, we lift ourselves out of combative situations into perfect peace."  Rev. Ed Townley

Very good advice.   Too many times we get seduced into "fights" that are not worth our time, energy or effort.  These conflicts are often the result of people wanting us to do something they want us to do.  The conflict arises when we do not acquiesce and do what they want.  Conflicts are often the result of people wanting other people to do something other than what they are doing.  It seems a good idea to just walk away.  Do not respond to the gauntlet thrown.  Stay in our own good, forgive, and by doing that we lift ourselves out of the conflict and offer harmony to all. 

Mar 14, 2013

Woman in Action

"It may be that solving the problem of fade-out in women's potential is enough of a mission for Sandberg, at least for now." Belinda Luscombe, Time Magazine, March 18, 2013

The person referred to above, Sheryl Sandberg, is COO of Facebook and has written a book (Lean In) and created a website to help women reach their professional potential.   Notable is that Sandberg had as a mentor Larry Summers (World Bank).  It seems the world would be a different place if every woman had a man who would mentor her into the intricacies of the higher echelon of professional life.  It is also notable that Sandberg is reported to have both a high IQ and a high EQ (emotional intelligence), but, don't we know a lot of women about which that is true?  It is a tribute to Sandberg that she is using her power at the top of professional life to share with other women how to do it.  Good for her, and good for us all.

Mar 13, 2013


"Health workers are using music to treat a long list of conditions:  depression, Tourette syndrome, Huntington's disease, autism, Parkinson's disease, stroke, brain injury, cardiac disease and dementia."  Sally Abrahms

Music for many diseases.  It is not surprising.  Over the weekend I had the pleasure of hearing someone play a Celtic harp, which she said has the most beneficial vibration of any musical instrument for healing.  A health care worker found she could sing to a person with Alzheimer's disease and communicate; whereas, speech was no longer possible for the person with the disease -- she could sing in response.  As caregivers we can find ways to integrate music.  CD's and radio are options even if we do not play an instrument ourselves. 

Mar 12, 2013

Optimism in Action

The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with a strong and active faith.  - Franklin D. Roosevelt

We have just had the change into daylight saving time in the U.S.  The springing ahead in the spring is harder for me and a lot of people -- as we 'lose' an hour.  Perhaps this 'losing' of an hour can be a metaphor for us --- we can 'lose' our doubt and pessimism as easily as this hour was lost.  Strong action, after careful consideration, is the basis of a mature life.  Too many times we allow doubt -- or its other name:  fear -- to keep us from taking action that will dramatically affect our lives.  Moving forward with a strong and active faith is what life is about.  Be aware of our life circumstances, take into consideration all relevant details, and then move forward. 

Mar 11, 2013

Napping is Good for Us

"People who nap 90 minutes a day learn and retain new skills significantly better." Sanjay Gupta, MD, Emory Clinic in Atlanta

Who of us has time to nap 90 minutes a day?!  I would think it is unlikely that most of us, who are caregivers or anyone who works or provides child care, have time for any nap -- much less 90 minutes.  But there are ways to improve our memory.   Dr. Gupta says that it is normal for our memory to slow down a bit as we age.  Sleep is one way to improve our memory.  Physical exercise also improves memory.  We may not have time for a 90-minute nap, but we can find time for deep relaxation or meditation -- even 10-20 minutes a day is beneficial to reduce our stress, which also helps us remember better. 

Mar 10, 2013

Exercise in the Morning

"Exercising in the morning may offer a simple way to accelerate results while boosting your mood and energy levels throughout the day." Bari Lieberman

I love to exercise in the morning -- because then I know I have done it, and it will not get squeezed out of my day.  Mollen Clinc gives other reasons for exercising in the morning.  It will make you feel invigorated.  One study at Mollen Clinic showed that morning walkers were more likely to stay active throughout the rest of the day.  You may be better at work or any other area where you want to be sharp; as regular exercise increases production of a neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which boosts mental acuity.  Doing exercise first thing in the morning makes you more likely to exercise before the distractions of the day that are out of your control - such as work, family responsibility, caregiving - get in the way. 

Mar 9, 2013

Sleep Well Tonight

"Research shows that regular aerobic exercise, such as a brisk walk or a heart-pumping Zumba class, can make it easier to fall asleep." Jenna Bergen for Prevention Magazine

Another reason to exercise!  According to this article in the March 2013 Prevention Magazine, exercise can even make good sleep possible after menopause.  I agree that exercise helps with getting a good night's sleep, and so does peace of mind.  There can be so many aggravating things about being a caregiver, and - in preparing for a talk I am giving soon on gratitude, I was reminded that the practice of appreciation is one way to have peace of mind.  When one looks for what to appreciate about any/all situations, then one is turned from frustration to what is right about the situation.  One cannot be both appreciative and unhappy.  So, what is there about your caregiving situation that is right?  It can be simple things, like:  the way he or she smiles occasionally, the way I got to sleep in a bit this morning, the way that outing went okay, that he or she has not fallen today.  What is right in your life?

Reality and One's Belief

“The reality you experience is a reflection of what you believe is most possible.” ~Bashar

There is within Buddhist thought the idea that we should be infinitely grateful for the gift of having been born a human, as there are many other forms into which we could have been born.  If we live in a country of relative safety, with enough food and shelter, then we are better off than many.  Perhaps in considering how fortunate we are, we can build upon this appreciation and create an even better life.  If the reality we experience is a reflection of what one believes is possible, then it behooves us to consider more grandly.  The key perhaps is to perceive more grandly for us all.  In what ways could your life be improved? 

Mar 8, 2013


"Often, to be free means the ability to deal with the realities of one's situation so as not to be overcome by them.  It is the manifestation of a quality of being and living that results not only from understanding one's situation but also from wisdom in dealing with it."  Howard Thurman

Very much like the serenity prayer.  We need and ask for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know what those things are.  And, we are at peace within our situation.  Freedom is a state of mind, as Viktor Frankl demonstrated for us within the confines of a concentration camp.  Being a caregiver for someone with dementia is also imprisoning.  We lose our opportunity to think only of what we want, go where we want when we want.  We are now responsible for someone else.  Within those responsibilities, it is imperative that we preserve our freedom.  Our health depends upon it.  So, let us make a daily practice of dealing with our situations realistically without being overcome by them.  To do that may mean we bring in more support for the care receiver.  There is no honor in doing it all alone to the point of damaging our own health and well being.  What we have a responsibility for is the safety and well being of the care receiver.  We do not have to give all the care ourselves.  Even if society and others might tell us that.  

Mar 7, 2013

Wheel of Life Exercise

"The big moments in life tend not to be the ones that wear us down.  Even great tragedies sometimes brings out the best in us.  What wears us down is the day to day and hour to hour." Father Richard Veras

I am not sure I agree that the big moments in life might not have a very stressful impact, but I do agree that it is the tediousness of day to day and hour to hour that can become wearing -- especially if those day to day and hour to hour contents are stressful.  There are glimpses of fun and joy in caregiving, but - let's be honest - those glimpses tend to be overshadowed by the stress.  The stress of too much to do.  The stress of dealing with a difficult personality.  The stress of addressing the needs of the care receiver, while also dealing with the details of our own lives.  That is why it is so important to have good supportive practices:  eating the right amounts of nutritious food, adequate sleep, time for fun and relaxation, exercise daily, time for important relationships, prayer or meditation.  The practice of determining the level of satisfaction in one's life can be done using the "Wheel of Life".  I do not know who first started this idea, but there are many options on the internet.  The idea is to look at one's life as if it were a wheel with spokes, dividing the wheel like a pie cut in pieces.  The pieces of pie have categories, usually:  Personal Growth, Fun and Recreation, Family and Friends, Health, Finances, Business/Career, Physical Environment, Romance.  The idea is to determine your level of satisfaction in each area by thinking of the center of the wheel as 0 and the perimeter as 10.  You draw a line across the segment, marking your level of satisfaction in that area.  The purpose of this exercise is to see if you have a well-balanced life, which is thought to be important for the overall satisfaction one has with one's life -- in both the everyday and the longterm.

Take a few minutes, consider your level of satisfaction, and draw a ling across that segment -- thus making a new outer perimeter for yourself.  You will see in which areas you are satisfied, and in which you have room to increase satisfaction.  (image from

Mar 6, 2013

Longevity Personality

"Having certain traits or even tweaking your behavior to fake these traits could add years to your life." Patrick Hill, PhD

Here are the three characteristics, cited by Dr. Hill:

1.  Elderly people who are the most optimistic and easygoing live the longest.  One way to practice this characteristic is to write down daily at least one thing for which you are grateful.

2.  Having strong social relationships can raise survival odds by 50% (Brigham Young University study).  If you are not naturally outgoing, join a book club or get together with a couple friends for lunch.

3.  Be on time.  Conscientiousness -- which means being detail oriented and responsible -- is consistently associated with longevity.  One way to increase your conscientiousness is by making and completing to-do lists. 

Mar 5, 2013

Eating for Happiness

"For the happiest eaters in a brand-new study, produce, fish, and healthy oils were the recipe for joy." France's National Institute of Health and Medical Research

The results of this latest study from France are complemented by one recently released by the U.S. Institute of Health.  The Mediterranean diet is the key to good health of one's body, and - now it turns out - one's emotional status.  The Mediterranean diet also includes poultry and nuts, with an emphasis on produce.  Living alone now, I have returned to my own eating habits, which include lots of vegetables and some protein.  Most days I have a salad with lots of different vegetables, perhaps some blueberries, and a source of protein.  I knew I was eating well for my body, and it is a wonderful bonus to know I am also eating well for my emotions.  It appears that the ingredients in these diets supports our brain's chemistry and promotes well being.  With all the adverse news one can catch in the media, this is one way to counteract that negativity -- eating well and practicing gratitude.  Two proven habits to support overall health.

Mar 4, 2013

Sleep: Getting Enough

"Most people don't realize that 'sleeping in' can actually contribute to insomnia.  I also keep all electronics, tv included, out of the bedroom, and I write a to-do list before bed so I don't stay awake worrying about the next day's tasks."  Travis Stork, MD

Sleep can be elusive as we get older, particularly with the demands and sometimes unpleasantness of caregiving.  We are going through another period where the care receiver is demanding to live at home, adamant no one else helps him anyway.  He can be very unpleasant and very unrealistic about the extent of the assistance he requires.  Of course, I know that this is due - in part - to his dementia; still, being human myself, it is upsetting.  That is usually what keeps me awake:  unpleasant conversations.  But, it can also be a list of things to do, and for handling that, Dr. Stork's recommendation is very good.  I tend to go to bed and get up at about the same time every day, and it had not occurred to me that sleeping in was counterproductive to sleeping well -- that is good information for people who tend to sleep in thinking it will 'catch them up' on their sleep.  I also do leg stretches at night, as restless legs can keep me awake for hours.  Calm, a powder of magnesium found at health food stores, also helps me be relaxed in body.  Whatever means you have found that support you are important because we do not cope well if we have not had sufficient sleep.  So, here's to wonderful nights of restorative sleep for us all.

Mar 3, 2013

Acting Despite Fear

"What would you do if you were not afraid?" sign at office of Facebook, reported to be COO Sheryl Sandberg's favorite sign

What would you do if you were not afraid?  It is a question worth pondering.  If you were not afraid of the reaction of the caregiver, would you make other choices for your life?  If you were not afraid of the financial repercussions, would you arrange more help so that you had more freedom?  If you were not afraid of other people's judgment and criticism, would you live your life differently?  Fear is a real feeling and obstacle that prevents us from living our lives fully.  There are those who say there is really only fear and love.  That may be true.  We either make our decisions out of fear.  Or, we make our decisions out of love.  From which position do you want to live?  A helpful exercise is to consider in whatever situation we are afraid:  what is the worst possible thing that could happen?  It is usually much less fearful than what we have imagined, and it is usually something we can handle.  This practice is an effective tool for handling our fear. 

Mar 2, 2013

Gratitude to Those Before Me

"Women can't have it all as long as they are doing it all."  Gloria Steinem

The above quote is Gloria Steinem's response to a reporter who is asking, rather incredulously, if Gloria really thinks women can have it all.  And, isn't it the truth, women, or men for that matter, cannot have it all if they are doing it all -- if they are doing the work outside the home as well as the work inside the home.  The Women's Movement shaped me, as it affected every other person on the planet.  While I was not out demonstrating, I was taking note of what was being said, and of the backlash from others with more conservative views. In watching the PBS program, "Makers:  Women Who Make America", it was interesting to remember what Shirley Chisholm said, that she suffered more discrimination from being a woman than she had ever suffered from being black. 

And, what does this have to do with caregiving?  We who are caregivers cannot have it all, either, as long as we are doing it all.  We cannot possibly have our lives and live them fully -- if our whole life and time and energy are given over to caregiving.  Caregiving is more than two jobs; it is three shifts around the clock.  It is humanly impossible to provide caregiving as the sole provider AND have a life.  So, let us take to heart Gloria Steinem's quote from above.  What kind of life do we want and how does caregiving fit into that life?

Mar 1, 2013


"If you're not thinking about a negative thought, your vibration is going to raise to its natural positive place."  --- Abraham

Abraham speaks in terms of vibration.  Psychologists might speak in terms of positive thought patterns.  Spiritual people might speak in terms of thinking thoughts of gratitude.  In my opinion, we are all talking about the same thing.  It is critical for our health and the health of the planet that we refrain from negative thoughts about ourselves and others.  We need to abstain from resentment, bitterness, anger, jealousy -- perhaps that is why some of these were listed in the original Ten Commandments -- God knew we would live better lives if we abstained from these negative thought patterns.  And, our neighbors would live better lives too because we do live in interconnected ways, and our thoughts do impact others.  So, actually, we have a responsibility to keep them positive:  as a service to ourselves and the world.  What is right about your world today?  In my life, what is right, is I got to spend some time with an enchanting four month old yesterday, and we had beautiful blue sky, and I found the Kombucha beverage I like in stock and on sale at the store, and I got to practice a new skill I learned:  Body Talk (about which I will have a blog), and I got my hair cut in what I hope is an attractive style, and my body feels good after a great water aerobics session, and I had a lovely dinner of salad and chicken and watched NOVA - a program on public tv that I enjoy.  I spent time with some people I cherish most in this world.  A very good day indeed.  What is good about your day?