Jan 31, 2014

Importance of Laughter

Laughter has been proven to lessen stress, improve relationships, strengthen abdominal muscles, and improve our moods.  It may very well be the best possible medicine.  I have a good group of friends and family members with whom I am safe enough to be myself and laugh.  We never laugh at each other or anyone else.  We laugh at the folly of life.  I love to laugh.  It is important to laugh every day.  For caregivers we may need to create the opportunities to laugh, because humor seems to be something that gets lost along the way with dementia.  Movies are a good source.  I happened last night to watch a bit of a late show, in which the host's opening comments were very funny.  What can you find to laugh about today?  It is the last day of January, another day closer to spring in the northern hemisphere, or to fall in the southern hemisphere -- a good day to laugh.  Let us find people with whom we can laugh,

Jan 30, 2014

Time Spent Caregiving

"On average, caregivers spend 20.4 hours per week providing care. Those who live with their care recipient spend 39.3 hours per week."  caregiver.org 
It is amazing how much time is spent caregiving.  Today I left my home at 7:20 a.m. to pick up the care receiver and take him to a 9:00 a.m. dental appointment.  The dental appointment was 2 hours long, making it too late to take him back to the assisted living facility for lunch, so I took him to lunch.  It took him over 1 1/2 hours to eat 1/2 sandwich and a cup of soup.  Over 6 hours.  And, that is just one of 4 recent medical appointments.  
On days like today, it is even more important to not lose our enthusiasm about life.  

Jan 29, 2014

Reality of Caregiving

"Alzheimer's disease is a boomers' disease.  And young people should care about Alzheimer's because they're going to end up taking care of their parents -- financially, emotionally and physically.  At the rate of every 68 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer's."  Maria Shriver

Shriver is, of course, talking about Alzheimer's Disease, but the cost of caregiving applies to any of us providing caregiving for someone with dementia. The same emotional, physical and financial cost applies to caregiving for someone with Lewy Bodies Dementia, which is the second most-occurring form of dementia.  And, it does not even have to be dementia.  It can be physical illness or disability that causes the need for caregiving.  Most of us are going to be doing some aspect of caregiving in our lives, and most of us will receive some type of caregiving. It is wise to plan ahead.  Unless you are at the upper or lower ends of personal assets, it is prudent to have longterm care insurance.  Very wealthy people can afford to pay for the care themselves, and people in the lower economic ranges can qualify for financial assistance.  I also think we need to be realistic about whether we want to provide the care or pay for the care.  I have done both.  I exited my professional life to provide caregiving for over five years.  I also tried paying someone to come into our home, which was met with extreme resistance by the care receiver -- so, I was left with the choice of letting the caregiving kill me too or placing him in an appropriate and caring facility.  These decisions are very personal, and - in my opinion - need to be made very consciously -- out of loving kindness toward ourselves and the care receiver.

Jan 28, 2014

Positive Self Regard

"In loving ourselves, we love the world.  Yet, how do we love ourselves?  I can only say that loving yourself is like feeding a clear bird that no one else can see,"  Mark Nepo

Loving oneself is a prerequisite to loving others, and it seems a very difficult thing for humans to do.  Humans seem to range from too much bravado (which is actually not self love) to self-defacing.  The goal here is pure self regard:  to care about oneself as much as one would a dear, dear friend.  That means no more negative comments about our physical bodies or our behaviors.  It means treating ourselves gently, eating food that is good for us, doing exercise that strengthens our bodies, practicing thoughts of positive content toward ourselves.  This may seem selfish, but it is not.  It is only in loving ourselves in a healthy way that we can also love others.

Jan 27, 2014

Seeing The Possibilities

"Every particle of creation sings its own song of what is and what is not.  Hearing what is can make you wise; hearing what is not can drive you mad."  Ghalib, Sufi poet

Even centuries ago Ghalib knew that if one looks at what is right in the world, one is more content -- and, being more content, more pleasure naturally occurs.  It is such a simple, but not necessarily easy, task: to orient oneself to what is going right in the world, rather than what is going wrong.  For every act of terrorism, there are countless, undocumented acts of kindness.  For every illness, there are countless who are well.  For every injustice, there are many acts of justice.  The people who teach that how we think and feel magnifies and brings into our life more of what we are thinking and feeling seem to be right.  The more I see what is very, very good about my life; the more goodness appears.  It is simply a matter of orientation.

Jan 26, 2014

Developing Our Potential

"To throw the human self to the winds carelessly is not only an ignorant choice; it is also wasteful.  We are sorrowful when a child dies, because we think of all he or she might have done.  We, too, live in that same potential, wherever we find ourselves.  What else lies ahead for us to turn attention to?" Margaret Stortz

I listened to a webcast recently of Barbara Marx Hubbard.  She is author of Birth 2012 and believes, among others, that on December 22, 2012, there was the birth of a new consciousness:  one of peace, harmony, tolerance.  She says whether this consciousness manifests or not depends on us human individuals developing our consciousness to that higher level.  This is an extraordinary message, and what is even more extraordinary is that Barbara is 85.  She is still developing her potential and advising us to do the same.  A dear friend recently helped me see that developing my own potential and supporting others to do the same has always been a life passion and purpose for me.  What else is there for you to do?  We who are caregiving might think there is no time for anything else, but we are being called daily - in my opinion - to be more than we were the day before -- in whatever setting one finds oneself.  What is it you are being called to today?

Jan 25, 2014

Sensitive People

"Highly sensitive people are empathic; they feel and absorb the energy and emotions of others in a sometimes visceral way. Highly intuitive, they have a level of compassion and awareness that drives them to want to help others and be of service in the world." Jennifer Kass

I am not sure where Jennifer Kass gets her information, as she does not cite research sources; but she says that about 10% of the population are highly sensitive.  I have often been told that I shouldn't be so sensitive, but - after reading her article -- I see sensitivity as a gift.  Sensitive people are tuned in to their bodies and their surroundings.  We know intuitively if food and people and conversations are good for us.  Or not.  People who are highly sensitive do well to eat food that is directly from its source and to avoid negative people -- something I have learned on my own.  We also cannot abide violence.  Watching Downton Abbey recently where there was an act of brutal violence against one of the characters kept me awake for hours.  It is not that I am not aware the character and act are not real; it is just that seeing violence in some way is a violence against myself.  If you are highly sensitive, it is good to eat good food, seek positive people, and to monitor thoughts so that they are supportive and nurturing.  

Jan 24, 2014

Remembering Who We Are

"It is beautifully difficult to remember who we really are.  But we help each other every time we fill the cup of truth and hold each other up after drinking from it."  Mark Nepo

Nepo suggests that perhaps what Adam and Eve lost when kicked out of Eden was their ability to remember what is sacred.  It does seem that most people lose -- in some ways -- the essence of who they are as life buffets them around.  When I am around my beautiful granddaughter, I am struck by the exquisite essence of who she is.  That exquisite essence of who we are is what, I think, we are trying to remember.  Each of us is an exquisite essence.  Let us help each other remember that.

Jan 23, 2014


"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King's life was one of service.  So, too, is the life of a caregiver --- no matter how we carve out that caregiving.  We are doing tasks and making decision in the best interest of another individual.  Service.  We do have choices in this service.  For instance, we get to choose our attitude toward the service, ourselves and the person receiving the service.  We also get to choose to what extent we provide the service, but as caregivers, we are providing service.  Caregiving done with loving kindness and respect is service of the highest quality.  I was sitting recently putting a jig saw puzzle together with my spouse.  I have learned to buy the 300 large piece puzzle, as it seems the only one manageable nowadays.  It is still something we can do together.  Finding an activity that can still be enjoyed is one form of service.

Jan 22, 2014

Practicing Kindness

"There are many reasons to be kind, but perhaps none is as compelling as the spiritual fact that it is what we do." Mark Nepo

Practicing kindness benefits us and all others.  There is research that indicates that the level of happiness increases in people who even just observe an act of kindness.  There are many ways to be kind:  holding the door for someone is easy and can often present itself as an opportunity for us, offering to help someone with an errand -- the ways are countless -- the way we treat clerks and the other people in line at stores or other drivers in traffic.  Kindness can become a habit.  A primary place for us to practice kindness is toward ourselves.  Let us eliminate any negative talk or thought about ourselves.  Really.  Let's practice for 3 days eliminating all negative thought and talk about ourselves, and let's see the difference that makes in how we feel.  I predict it will make a positive difference.

Jan 21, 2014

Being Who We Are

"In effect, the cost of being who you are is that you can't possibly meet everyone's expectations, and so, there will, inevitably, be external conflict to deal with -- the friction of being visible.  Still the cost of not being who you are is that while you are busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside." Mark Nepo

What a lovely way to frame the friction we can often feel in the external world as people strive to get us to do what they think we should be doing.  As caregivers I am sure you have encountered this.  Countless opinions of how you should do the caregiving ---- voiced most vigorously from those who are least likely to help with any aspect of the caregiving.  We must be true to ourselves.  It is important to consider what is in the highest and best interest of all people involved, but, ultimately, we must make decisions that are true to who we are --- regardless of what other people think.  If we also make sure that our decisions are made from a place of love and kindness, then we can be assured we will not go astray.

Jan 20, 2014

Saying No

"There have been many times when I have said yes when I meant no, afraid of displeasing others, and even more afraid of being viewed selfish.  But long enough on this journey, and we come to realize an even deeper aspect of all this:  that those who truly love us will never knowingly ask us to be other than we are.  The unwavering truth is that when we agree to any demand, request, or condition that is contrary to our souls's nature, the cost is that precious life force is drained off our core."  Mark Nepo

Sometimes in life it is imperative we say no -- or, perhaps it is better said that we say 'yes' to ourselves instead of to others.  I just read an article in Psychology Today that tells of the research depicting how damaging to the brain the word "no" is.  But there are times we must say the equivalent of no to something or someone, and say yes to what is our own journey.  This comes up in caregiving.  The demands of the care receiver can be very wearing.  Perhaps a way to cope with this is to think of it as saying yes to ourselves when we must -- for our own body and soul health -- say yes to what we want, which is the equivalent of saying no to what someone else wants us to do.  This is not selfish.  We must be guardians of our own truth and life path.  If we are not, who will be?!

Jan 19, 2014

Addiction to Sugar

"If you think you are addicted to sugar, you probably are.  The average American consumes a whopping 23 teaspoons of added sweeteners daily." Greg Hottinger, MPH, RD

Wow.  23 teaspoons of added sweeteners?!?  He goes on to say this is people who drink a mocha frappuccino in the morning, eat a pastry later, and have a soft drink to stay awake in the afternoon.  It even includes those people who consider themselves healthy eaters who consume dark chocolate, honey drizzled on muesli, and eat flavored Greek yogurt (which has sweeteners).  Greg Hottinger says that it is as easy to be addicted to sugar as it is to alcohol, nicotine or cocaine.  The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6-9 teaspoons daily of added sugar (6 for women and 9 for men).  High sugar intake adversely affects day-to-day brain function, in addition to adding weight.

Hottinger recommends these 4 steps to eliminate sugar:
1.  Understand that sugar is addictive,  You build a tolerance for sugar (as you do other addictive substances), which means you need more and more of it to feel good.
2.  Make a clean break.  You can restore the dopamine receptors in your brain by stopping the eating of refined sugar.  He says it takes 3-4 weeks to detox.
3.  Boost your brain in natural ways, such as, eating healthier, exercising regularly and practicing stress reduction.  Meditation also can help restore brain function.
4.  Let 80/20 work for you.  Make at least 80% of your eating and drinking choices healthy; leaving 20% for some wiggle-room splurges.

Jan 18, 2014

Protecting Our Memory

"There are two types of Alzheimer's disease -- one that starts relatively early, around age 60, and one that starts much later in life, between ages 70 and 80.  Early-onset Alzheimer's has a major genetic component.  The more prevalent Alzheimer's starts later in life and has minimal genetic determination."
Shlomo Breznitz, PhD

That is a relief for those who have had relatives with late-onset Alzheimer's disease and who have worried about being genetically predisposed to the disease.  There are things we can do to protect ourselves from the late-onset Alzheimer's disease, that has less genetic determination.  Sleep 8 hours every night.  Exercise 30-60 minutes every day.  Eat 3 servings of fish a week.  Some health food sources also recommend taking 100 mg phosphatidylserine twice per day. Also, as we get older there is less need to learn new things, so our brains may become inactive.  To offset that, do things that really enable us to think again:  such as, going to a new location and orienting oneself with maps, learning a new language or musical instrument, reading interesting books.  Stress has a very negative impact on cognition, so eliminating stress and learning how to better handle stress are important.  Meditation and yoga and exercise help with this.

Jan 17, 2014

Seeing the Bigger Perspective

"The pain of life is pure salt, no more, no less.  The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.  So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things  . . .  Stop being a glass.  Become a lake." Hindu teaching story

The above quote is about a Hindu Master who became tired of the complaints of an apprentice, so he had the apprentice put a spoonful of salt in a glass of water and taste it.  Then he had the apprentice put a spoonful of salt in a lake and to taste that water --- to demonstrate that the salt quantity remained the same; it is by putting the salt in a larger container that minimizes the salt.  For pain too, it helps us to remember that the pain of life is not personal.  Everyone has pain.  By keeping our eyes on the bigger perspective --- our whole life and the goodness of it --- are we able to better tolerate the pain.  

Jan 16, 2014

Retaining Our Own Memory

"Everyone forgets things occasionally. Still, memory loss is nothing to take lightly. Although there are no guarantees when it comes to preventing memory loss or dementia, memory tricks can be helpful." Mayo Clinic Newsletter

Mayo Clinic staff suggest these things to help us retain our own memory:
1.  Stay Active:  Both mentally and physically.  Drive a different route, do crossword puzzles, learn a new skill.  Physical activity is also very important.  Establish an exercise routine that is fun for you and to which you can commit.
2.  Eliminate distractions:  While multi-tasking can be useful at times, in order to better remember, it is important to eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand.
3.  Socialize regularly:  Friends and positive social interaction can be a blessing to our health in many respects, to include memory.
4. Get organized:  We are better able to remember if we write things down, have a system for the things we need to remember to do --- such as appointments.  Write them down, freeing up your brain to remember and think about other things.
5.  Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables.
6.  Manage any chronic health conditions you have, and remember to get preventative screenings and immunizations.

Jan 15, 2014


"Fear gets its power from our not looking, at either the fear or what we are afraid of." Mark Nepo

Nepo goes on to say that this fear can be of love, truth, or even death.  I have found fear to be something I feel in regards to caregiving.  Fear he will fall, fear he will not be lucid, fear of his significant confusion.  In a recent talk he was so confused and not in reality --- there was fear that this might be the new norm for us, but it turned out to be a particularly significant period of not being lucid.  As Lewy Bodies Dementia progresses, probably these periods of not being lucid will become more severe.  Perhaps.  And yet all we have is today, and all we can do is face what today brings.

Jan 14, 2014

Knowing Who We Are

"The Universe reveals its abundance most clearly when we can be who we are.  Mysteriously, every living creature has its unique anatomy of being which, when given over to, is more than enough."  Mark Nepo

Another reminder to be fully who we are.  For most of us, people, institutions and circumstances have discouraged us from being who we fully are.  How many of us have heard, "Who do you think you are?!" when we try to live beyond who we were before.  Quantum science tells us that not one cell in our body is the same as even a few days ago, so how can we be the same in personality and appetites?!  There does seem to be an inherent personality within us, and that personality changes and develops over time -- or it stagnates.  It is important for us to hang out with people who allow us to be fully who we are.  Those people are treasures.

Jan 13, 2014


"A belief is nothing more than a chronic pattern of thought, and you have the ability—if you try even a little bit—to begin a new pattern, to tell a new story, to achieve a different vibration, to change your point of attraction."   Abraham

I have been considering beliefs lately.  There has been considerable recent research that tells us we are governed by beliefs, of which we probably are not even aware.   Beliefs that we downloaded, without knowing it, from our childhood families, churches and education settings.  Most of us do not believe enough in our own worthiness, in our own abilities.  Today let us begin some new beliefs:  ones which know the best is possible for ourselves and others.

Jan 12, 2014

Long-term Effects of Laughter

"Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:
  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier."  Mayo Clinic
What makes you laugh?  Is there a movie that always makes you chuckle.  It is important to find things that can help us laugh.

Jan 11, 2014

Laughter and Stress

"A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress." Mayo Clinic
So, let us create time every day to laugh.  Especially those of us who are caregivers, laughter helps us deal with the stress.

Jan 10, 2014


"e-cloths cleans with just water any hard surface and removes 99% of bacteria." www.ecloth.com

I do not normally endorse a product, but this product is great!  My daughter introduced me to it.  It is a pink cloth which cleans all hard surfaces with just water -- and in the process of cleaning removes 99% of bacteria on the surface.  There may be other similar products -- this is the only one I know of, and this one can be bought online or at specialty stores.  It is produced in England, and works like magic.  I washed all of my windows in minutes this morning -- with the wet cloth, followed by the dry polishing cloth.  The windows are clean and streak free -- without any chemical products!   It is worth trying, both to save time and to support a healthy environment.

Jan 9, 2014


"You have the choice of this clear, high, impersonal yet loving peace, or the storms of human existence." Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood

It does not seem to be a choice of whether or not we have challenges in life, but it certainly is our choice how we deal with those challenges.  Joseph Campbell when asked if life was difficult and had challenges, said something to the effect, "Well, of course, and you just have to be okay with that."  Yes.  We do have to be okay with the fact that life has challenges.  Stop taking it personally.  Everyone has challenges, even if as we look at their lives, we may judge that they do not.  Everyone has challenges in their life.  Our task is to see the overall picture, not get taken up in the drama, not to take things so personally, and to remain a loving and peaceful presence to ourselves and to the world.

Cost of Caregiving

"Imagine working twenty hours a week at a part-time job for five years -- and never getting paid. That's the average amount of time a long-term health care caregiver volunteers to care for a parent, spouse, family member or friend. This figure is even more startling because chances are, a lot of us will be a caregiver at some point in our lives -- 40 percent of all women 18 or older and 37 percent of all men 18 or older provide care for someone. The AARP has found that a caregiver 50 years old or older who leaves the workforce to look after a parent forgoes, on average, $304,000 in lost salary and benefits over their lifetime. These estimates range from $283,716 for men to $324,044 for women. Being a caregiver can hurt women especially hard."  pbs.org

Staggering.  Those who are not involved in caregiving might want to take notice of the financial sacrifice of those people who do provide caregiving. 

Jan 8, 2014

Being Free

"We are powerfully imprisoned by the terms in which we have been conducted to think." Buckminister Fuller

Amen -- I agree.  We are all products of beliefs and thoughts that we have downloaded from our families of origin, schools, institutions --- many of which we are not consciously aware.  Scientists believe that we each have 60,000 thoughts a day -- and only 1000 of those are new thoughts.  That means we recycle the same old thoughts and beliefs.  Unless we choose to think new thoughts.  For that we need to train our minds to stop recycling thoughts.  We cannot become more than we were yesterday unless we think new thoughts, and these thoughts must not be of resentment, anger, unforgiveness.  These thoughts must be based in love of self and others.  Today let us strive for new thoughts and new beliefs that better support ourselves and the world. 

Jan 7, 2014

We Are Enough

"blackmail is only possible if we believe that we have something to hide.  The inner corollary of this is that worthless feelings arise when we believe, however briefly, that who we are is not enough." Mark Nepo

It is universal.  We were all told by others while we were growing up that there was something about us that we should hide.  On the way to the lunchroom or the playground, others' remarks may have caused us to hide an aspect of ourselves.  But, today is a new day, and hiding anything about ourselves is destructive.  Oh, there may be environments in which one chooses to not disclose qualities or aspects of oneself, but that is very, very different from hiding something about ourselves out of shame.  You are enough --- just as you are.  Each of us is enough just as we are.  We can choose to release those messages from long ago.  We are enough.  We are loveable.  And so is everyone else.

Jan 6, 2014

Our Thoughts

"A great many people think they are thinking when all they are doing is rearranging their prejudices." William James, Psychologist

Psychologists estimate that every one of us thinks about 60,000 thoughts a day.  The staggering thing about this research is that they also estimate that only about 1,000 of those thoughts are different from the ones you had yesterday and every other day.  That means that 98% of our thoughts are just repeats.  That is like being a hamster on an exercise wheel --- having thoughts that repeat, repeat, repeat.  If our lives are not the way we would like them to be, we can take a look at the content of our thoughts.  I once read that if we want to really know who/what our God is, catch what we are thinking in a random moment:  that content is our God, and too often that content is worry, fear, resentment, not feeling adequate, etc.  Buddhist teachings say we have a 'monkey mind' that we need to train.  Consider today monitoring your thoughts and choose to think thoughts that will bring health, prosperity and well being into your life.  We all benefit when any one of us gets healthier. 

Jan 5, 2014


"Lewy body dementia, the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease, causes a progressive decline in mental abilities." Mayo Clinic

Readers have asked for an update on my spouse's condition.  He continues to decline, cognitively and in motor skills.  It is harder to take him on outings.  Even on level and dry ground, he fell recently.  I was the one who got hurt while trying to keep him from being hurt.  It sometimes takes two people to get him out of a chair, and he needs a walker to support him when he walks.  Like many with dementia, he wavers between being pleasant and angry and demanding.  Hallucinations are more frequent, as are the variations in lucidity and alertness.  Physical complaints, i.e. back pain, stiffness, abound.  It is easy for me to become discouraged, and his demands are hard to handle -- even when he wants something that is virtually impossible.  Perhaps the reason I do not write much about how we are doing is that it is discouraging.  But, that is a reality for those of us who are caregivers.  Despite the choices we are able to make within the financial constraints we may have, the role of caregiving takes a toll on us, unless we are very, very careful to prevent its damage by making sure we have adequate support.

Jan 4, 2014

Good Will

I will radiate love and good will to others that I may open a channel for God's love to come to all.
--Paramahansa Yogananda

What if all humans decided to radiate love and good will to all others?  What a different world we would live in.  Some Eastern religions believe that when the soul has evolved sufficiently, then a person comes back to be in service of others.  We all benefit from people who commit their life to be of service to others, and we can add to that benefit by choosing to radiate good will to everyone.  Even the person who cuts you off in traffic.  Barbara Marx Hubbard has written a book in which she states that as of December 22, 2012, humans have entered an era of possibility of new consciousness:  one of tolerance, good will, peace.  She states that we can all help bring in that era of consciousness by practicing good will.  So, from spiritual thinkers in the Far East to ones in contemporary USA, we are reminded of the importance of good will.

Jan 3, 2014


"We think longevity is probably about 70-75% lifestyle."  Angela Brooks-Wilson, PhD, geneticist

This research would indicate that only about 1/4 of our aging is based on our inheritance.  So, what are some ways to live longer and healthier?  Keep moving physically.  Do not spend a lot of time sitting down.  Eat real food -- versus processed foods.  Have an exercise routine, that you can count on for overall health.  Reframe what we accomplish by considering our age, versus comparing what we did when we were in our 20's.  Use and enjoy humor.  Laughter really does help us age well. 

Jan 2, 2014

Happy New Year

"It is important to note that being seen enables us to claim our lives, and then it becomes possible to pass the gift on to others."  Mark Nepo

This quote comes from text in which Mark Nepo tells of the way African Bushmen greet each other.  When they come upon one another, one calls out to the other, "I see you!"  The other Bushmen responds, "I am here!"  Both greetings are joyous and both recognize the personhood of the other.  We can do the same in our worlds by establishing eye contact (if your culture supports that practice), and by listening.  It is incomparable the gift we can give each other by acknowledging each other's presence in the world, and we can receive that gift from others.  Whose presence can you acknowledge today?

Jan 1, 2014

Changing Ourselves

"As I step more fully into my own power, I see that the only thing I can truly change is myself." Rev. Rebecca Simpson

As humans we try to change situations, other people, conditions --- but, as we mature we come to realize that the only thing we can change is ourselves.  I have seen people expend great amounts of energy trying to change the amount someone else drinks, eats, accomplishes.  It is futile, and - worse - it entangles us in ways that are destructive to our spirits.  Even with the person with dementia, it is impossible to change him or her.  We can set up environments that prevent some of the typical problems and dangers, but we cannot change the progression of the disease nor the person's handling of it --- which is often resistance and denial.  We can change ourselves.  We can stop expecting the person with dementia to be rational, to use good judgment, to think of us.  Dementia is a disease in which the person collapses into him/herself.  It usually does not leave room for empathy, so it behooves us to not look for empathy from that source.