|"By being who we are, we not only experience life in all its vitality, but, quite innocently and without design, we help others to be more fully themselves." Mark Nepo|
I agree. It is surprising how many people talk about becoming this or that, but it is only in the actual becoming this or that -- that we have an impact on our life and the lives of others. In fact, it seems the more someone talks about something, the less likely they are to demonstrate that quality in their behavior. It is our behavior, our actions, which count. Our words count, then, when they are congruent with our actions.
Mar 31, 2016
Mar 30, 2016
|"I have no choice about whether or not I have Parkinson's. I have nothing but choices about how I react to it." Michael J. Fox|
I have admired Michael J Fox's open and accepting acknowledgement that he has Parkinson's. I think that will help others who have it. Most of the time we have choices. The exception may be when the brain is in the grips of dementia, mental illness, or depression. But, most of the time, we have choices about how we will react to what life serves us. What is your choice today?
Mar 29, 2016
|"You must become as little children to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 18:3|
What might it mean to become as little children? I took a long, slow walk with my daughter and granddaughter recently, and it was so instructive. We stopped for every dandelion, every bit of snow to eat or throw as a snowball, she turned playground equipment into a plane -- taking us off on an adventure. It is so important for us to stay in touch with our own inner child -- the part of us who delights in small things and can use the imagination to soar.
Mar 28, 2016
|"Such a simple secret: by letting things out, we also let things in." Mark Nepo|
Nepo is not referring to venting, but he is referring to crying when we feel like crying, being sad when we feel sad, being angry when we feel anger -- by doing that, we also let in the healing, the joy, the contentment.
Mar 27, 2016
Mar 26, 2016
|"If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we'd be happy with more?" anonymous|
Gratitude is such an important attitude. There are always at least two ways of looking at something -- we can look at the problem or we can look at available solutions. If we focus on the problem, that gets us nowhere. If we focus on the solution, we move forward in life. Or, as Einstein said, ""We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them"
Mar 25, 2016
|"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." Rumi|
Ahh. So, then the only problem is to remember what a person really loves. As caregivers, there is a good chance that what you love has been left along the path -- as the responsibilities of caregiving became increasingly overwhelming. Think back. What can you remember loving to do?
Mar 24, 2016
|"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." e. e. cummings|
It does take courage to become who we really are, and, surprisingly, many of us have been conditioned away from who that is. Because of the criticisms of others, many of us have hidden who we are and tried to fit in by showing parts of us that are not really us. It is a dilemma, but, I am convinced the world will be a better place when we support each other to become who each of us really is.
Mar 23, 2016
|"The world seems smaller as years go by." author|
The world seems smaller than years ago. With the touch of a few strokes on a keyboard, we can know the answer to virtually anything. Where we once poured over books for research, now we google, copy and paste. Does this make us feel more or less significant? Perhaps both.
Mar 22, 2016
|"Spring has at last come, at least according to the calendar." author|
Spring arrived over the weekend, although some parts of the world were gripped in snowstorms. Spring always brings me a sense of hope, of new beginnings. What new beginnings can you look forward to in your life?
Mar 21, 2016
|"To let knowledge produce troubles, and then use knowledge to prepare against them, is like stirring water in hopes of making it clear." Lao Tzu|
How many of us think and plan and scheme -- getting ourselves into jobs and relationships which are really not good for us, and then we use that same brain power to try to solve the problems. Folly. Better to become still and listen to the inner voice of guidance -- the source of true wisdom.
Mar 20, 2016
|"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." St. Catherine of Siena|
We have heard this advice before. Oprah says to not try to be her, but to be ourselves -- but do most of us know who that is?! I took my granddaughter to see Kung Fu Panda movie, and that was the theme in the movie. The more the characters were encouraged to be fully who they were, the more power they had. That is true for us too. What brings you delight? What do you really like to do? Doing the things we like helps us find who we really are.
Mar 19, 2016
|"I have been learning that the life of a caretaker is as addictive as the life of an alcoholic. Here the intoxication is the relief that temporarily comes when answering a loved one's need."|
I have found this myself. It is something I have to watch in myself with loved ones --- I need to be careful to not anticipate what I think their need is and then try to fill it. This filling of others' needs may seem honorable, but in an addiction, it is about soothing ourselves. Let us be loving toward one another, but not to relieve our own sense of emptiness.
Mar 18, 2016
|"I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me." Einstein|
If one of the greatest minds known to humans found more truth in silence than in his own thinking, what does that tell us? There is a truth beyond our thoughts with which we can get in touch - through silence. Meditation, walks in nature, silence with the intention of reaching beyond our own thoughts -- these practices have many, many benefits.
Mar 17, 2016
Mar 16, 2016
|"More than intelligence, persistence or connections, curiosity has allowed me to live the life I wanted." Brian Grazer|
I have always been a very curious person, and people in my life have led me to believe this quality was a detriment -- so, it is so good to read that it is not only a blessing, but according to the above author, the most important quality. I choose to enjoy my natural curiosity.
Mar 15, 2016
|"You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well." Lewis B. Smedes|
We all have people who hurt us. Some intentionally and some not. And, we have also hurt other people. Forgiveness is so important, and it is a decision.
Mar 14, 2016
|"For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness." Ralph Waldo Emerson|
How true. I have found it is important for me to avoid anger in any form. For me it is usually mild irritation over something that I must avoid. The minute I entertain irritation, it is as if a train in my mind is set in motion, and I am taken along for a ride. It is not that I ever lose control of myself, except in my thoughts, which will take the mild irritation and reinforce it. It is very bad for my health, so I avoid getting on the train. I decline the invitation to be irritated.
Mar 13, 2016
|"If you don't know the nature of fear, then you can never be fearless." Pema Chodron|
Some say that there is really only fear and love. If we are not acting out of love, then we are acting out of fear. It is important to know that fear is a human experience, so that we can then be fearless. We become fearless by showing up in life.
Mar 12, 2016
|"Meditation is a microcosm, a model, a mirror. The skills we practice when we sit are transferable to the rest of our lives." Sharon Salzberg|
Meditation is a good way to see the content of our minds. Another technique is to notice, at any given time, what your thought content is. I have heard it said that what one thinks about most is their God. If that is true, it behooves us to think thoughts that are supportive of ourselves and others.
Mar 11, 2016
|"Caregiving is intense and stressful. Self care is imperative." Author|
I was talking with a health provider yesterday who did caregiving of his wife for only a few months. He said that while his wife was at Mayo, someone there administered a brief memory test for which he was present and participating silently; and he was shocked that his wife performed better on it than he did. He told me this to confirm to me how very stressful caregiving is. I realize that I am still not functioning at optimal cognitive level. If you are caregiving, I would predict that you are not either. So, we need to be gentle with ourselves, be extra careful with details, and put in systems to help us function and remember. Written lists help me, as does keeping a calendar in
which to schedule.
Today is my deceased husband's birthday. Another first holiday for me to handle.
Mar 10, 2016
|"I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival." Audre Lorde|
Amen. I have come to believe that too. I am still feeling the effects of the stress of caregiving, now at 6 months past his death. Some nights I have extreme difficulty sleeping. My cognitive processing is still not optimal. As caregivers, we must remember: according to the Roslyn Carter Institute, 1/3 of caregivers die from the stress of providing caregiving, 1/3 damage their health beyond repair because of caregivin, and 1/3 come through the experience better people for having done it. We need to practice self-care to survive caregiving.