A PEOPLE PLEASING NON CONFORMIST

Life is a tightrope for Caregivers!

Taking great care of our loved ones is so much more than just showing up each day. Great care means we have to use our hearts, minds and intuition when making decisions which are critical to the well being of those in our care. We’re taking responsibility for another persons life and the attention we give that responsibility is a testament to our own character. When all is said and done, will you be able to honestly say to yourself, “I think I did a good job because I did what I thought was right at the time”?

If it helps, there really is no “right”. There’s only the best decision that could be made with the information and circumstances you had at a given time. Isn’t that true for all of life?

Whoso would be a man must be a non conformist.
He who would gather immortals palms must not be hindered
by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Self-Reliance

Perhaps you look back and second guess yourself often. We all do when we’re in the throws of playing Doctor, Lawyer, Merchant, Chief and, also, for years after when we’ve had time to reflect. But it’s our tendency to look outside ourselves for approval that keeps the second guessing rolling in our minds. We hope for the approval of family, friends, doctors, society and our loved ones. There’s a lot of pleasing to do. They’re going to have “opinions”.

It’s natural to be easy to get along with when things are going well. It’s often hard but necessary to be a non conformist when a situation warrants. Especially if your loved one is suffering. Its really okay if you’re not liked by everyone. Even by doctors or administrators. We’ve been beaten into submission by society to think that we have to take a no when we need a yes. If you do your best to put your point across as nicely as possible, if doggedly, I’m sure you’ll get respect eventually even if you’re an inconvenience at the time. If not, who cares? You’ll have done your best.

My husband passed away in March seven years ago. I’m remembering the very irritated look on his doctor’s face when I showed up at his office without an appointment, my husband in his transfer chair in tow. I was getting no where over the phone and I needed help now. My husband was blind, deaf, suffering from congestive heart failure and had extreme anxiety. The anxiety and the various medications all his doctors had him on manifested into a frightening schizophrenic behavior that showed up each evening at sundown. If you’re not familiar with Sundowning Syndrome you can read a previous blog post here (click the following links to read Sundowning Part I, Sundowning Part II). His visions of men in trench coats with machine guns pointed at us were now showing up in the day time. This unwelcome office visit got the ball rolling and it took a couple of weeks to get insurance approvals, but we finally received the care needed. The doctor is a fine man, he was just too busy to really get involved in each individual case. It wasn’t personal, there was just no other way I could get what we needed without pushing as hard as I did. Upon my husband’s passing, he was the only doctor who called with condolences.

As a people pleaser most of my life, I credit my years of Caregiving with the lessons necessary to toughen me up. All my life I had been proud of the fact that I could get along with most anyone. As a child I was praised for being a pleasure in the classroom in school and at home for being easy to raise, I’m the oldest of four girls. We generally live up to what we’re praised for. But life has a way of rolling over us if we don’t find a balance.

I want to encourage all Caregivers to be who they are and expect to be respected for it. Those around you who matter will recognize your truth. And those in your care will be best cared for. Keep pursuing what you need to have the best life for yourself and those you love.

I wish you love and the courage of a non conformist.

 

Hugs!

Patricia

As always, please email me with questions or comments at: patricia@caregivingcornerstone.com. I’ll get back to you promptly.

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BELIEVE AND IT WILL HAPPEN! HOW’S THAT WORKING FOR YOU?

nurture-your-mind

Fascinating how life works, we’ve got to use our imagination before anything we want can happen. We have to imagine (think) we can pick up our cup of coffee before our hand will reach for it. We have to imagine ourselves putting the key into the ignition before we start the car to take us to the job we imagine we’re supposed to go to each day.  A baby has to imagine himself walking before he will take that first step. All this imagining (forethought) happens so fast every moment of everyday that we take it for granted.  We just ASSUME.  We forget that imagination is involved at our most basic level of functionality.

We could move onto bigger things like Edison imagining his inventions before he created them, or Tom Brady imagining winning Super Bowl 51 with the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.  You creating the life you would find most desirable at this moment in time. I want to make the point that if we’re already doing what we need to know how to do to create the movement and basic function of our lives, then we already know how to create what we want but don’t yet have.  Most of us are just not consciously using our skill to manifest what we desire in our lives.  It’s at this basic level where we just know so clearly that a thing will happen (if you reach for the cup you will pick it up if you choose to) that the magic comes in.  It has to because we’ve willed it and know without question that it will.  We don’t have to think about it.  We just do it. This is Jonathan Livingston Seagull style of knowing!  We all have the ability if we can shed the layers of conditioning that causes us to think we’re limited.

You, like me, may have read every book and heard every motivational speaker out there trying to get a hold on that one tiny little clue that turns our switch on and suddenly says, YOU’VE GOT IT!  WOW, THE ANSWER TO LIFE IS IN OUR HANDS!  It’s going to be a dream world now, like it is for those who tell us they know how to do it.  Do they really know?  To tell you the truth, I think they do.  They’ve found how it works in spite of their own individual experiences and in spite of societies conditioning. I think it’s reverse conditioning.

I think those who consistently function at that highest creative level and demonstrate it by example, have come to that knowing in different ways. Mike Dooley of tut.com is one of those people. He taught himself how to continually create his fabulous life.  He really lives what he has learned. He and others are trying to teach the rest of us, collectively, how to use our innate gifts in order to have the best experience possible while we’re in this life. It’s unbelievably complicated because we each come to the class with a different set of life experiences.  And, unfortunately, most of the 7 billion of us on our planet don’t have a clue that life could be wonderful.

I’m not forgetting about the seemingly impossible odds against a better life that many people are born under.  The suffering and oppression in the world is overwhelming to say the least.  That’s what I mean about how complicated this subject is.  How can it be possible to make something happen that seems like a miracle when overwhelming evidence to the contrary is before ones own eyes? But, that’s what I think I’m starting to grasp. You have to go beyond what is before your own eyes that see through your level of conditioning. I’m hoping more and more people are and the world is on the verge of a tremendous shift in consciousness. It all comes down to imagination, believing something is possible and having unshakeable faith that a thing can come to pass.  One organization I’m aware of that’s bringing healing to Veterans and others around the world is The David Lynch Foundation, davidlynchfoundation.org.  A big miracle!

This subject is much too complicated for just one blog post, but I’m seeing in my own life and the lives of others around me, that small miracles, events that involve the shifting around of fewer circumstances and other peoples lives, appear to happen faster than big miracles.  Today I call all positive things that happen miracles. For so long it was just uncool to say you believed in miracles. Today, when caring about being cool is so uncool, I enjoy watching miracles happen and am intrigued by the speed at which they often do. Having patience while we let the Universe process all the details necessary for the big miracles to happen is easier when we make an effort to grasp the complexity.

I’m always thinking about Caregivers and how their lives are restricted in ways that causes time to seemingly move slowly.  Slowly, in the sense of them being able to get on with the things that need to be done for themselves.  I wish I had known what I know now about creating changes, small miracles and large ones, in my life when I was caring for my loved ones for sixteen years.  I would have been consciously creating more and feeling a lot more patient.

Expect a miracle, they happen everyday!

 

HUGS,

Patricia

 

Feel free to send me an email with some of your creative ideas. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer your emails. Our FAQ section answers a few common questions and my bio will give you information on my professional background in case I can help you in other matters.

 

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I Better Say It Now Before I Chicken Out!

Eek, January 2017!  Is it a typical human stage?  An aging Boomer grasping for last ditch meaning to her life?  Am I alone in this?  Why is everything so hard right now, but really great in some ways?  Was it that damned poem I read as a young teenager that resonated with me so strongly? I’ve remembered it for over fifty years.  Did I “optimistically” shape my whole life around a frigging poem?  Was that really my defining moment? Dear God!

untitled-1

My last blog was about Reflecting on our lives during the Winter Season, taking stock. I’m taking stock big time.  I know we’re just past the holidays and maybe I should be writing something innocuous and cheerful.  Frankly, that’s not where I am right now and if my blogging is to be worth anything maybe some readers who really could use some commiseration will relate to me and some good will come out of this for all of us.  The rest of you “cheerful ones” don’t need me now anyway.  Make your New Years resolutions and keep them.  I wish each of you the best year of your life!  Don’t forget to express your gratitude!

For those who are ready for a heart to heart, please read on…

What began as a quest to figure out what I believed life was all about (a good thing you would think) has turned my life upside down and “appears” to be a disaster.  Some of my closest relationships are hardly existent now and I’m more than sick about it.  It’s all my doing, a consequence of my wanting to get the most out of life.  This isn’t mid-life crisis, it’s “THE THIRD ACT”, the act in a play where the big stuff we’ve all been waiting for finally happens and everyone lives happily-ever-after.  All I want is for my life to have a great THIRD ACT with all the people I love happily sharing it with me.  I don’t want to die with only the history I’ve thus far written. It’s too boring for me to bear!  I can’t be alone in this.  Don’t others want to dance, sing, take risk and triumph!  Ah, the risk!  It’s been much more than I anticipated.  Scary for me, too!  But I’m doing everything I can to handle it on my own.  I didn’t know that lifetime affection for me would change, if I appeared to change some.  I haven’t changed, I’m still here, this has always been me, I just didn’t have the opportunity to take risk when others were in my care.  Wouldn’t you think they’d wish me well?

I’ve been a Caregiver all my life.  Responsible, reliable, generous with my time and money (I don’t think anyone I know would disagree with that).  Since I was very young people came to me with their problems looking for balanced advice.  At one workplace the staff assigned nicknames, they called me Mom!  I thought I had a good handle on things and my conservative lifestyle seemed to prove that out.  Safe.  Secure.

But, things changed when I went in search of something more meaningful than life as I knew it.  My husband died in March 2010, I was, at 62 years old, for the first time in my life living alone.  No parents, no spouse, kids grown and on their own.  Some people would find that depressing.  I found it liberating and filled with nothing but opportunity. 

I had never been religious, couldn’t relate to organized religion and all its rules.  But, when I finally had time to think, it occurred to me that life had to be about something more than a superficial existence.  It was time to figure out if I could feel something spiritual.  I started by reading The Inner Tradition of Yoga, by Michael Stone.  It was an eye opener for me. Since then, over 6 years, I’ve read on average two books a week. Most of them on the subjects of the Universe, quantum physics, spirituality and the teachings of Christ, Buddha & Mohammed.  All these subjects come together for me in a lovely way that has given me what I was looking for.   A sense of being part of something much greater than myself.  Something wonderful and inspiring.  In this sense my life is better and I’m more optimistic than ever. 

However, my quest has shaken my stable, safe life to its roots.  So much is better, but so much is awful.  I can’t say I should have done it differently, I know that everything is as it should be for me to learn lessons like everyone else.  Life throws tough times at us to make us stronger and all that.  My objective self always tries to observe myself from a distance, less emotionally attached.  But it really hurts right now.  I’ve learned that these relationships were never what I thought they were. Me living in optimistic lulu land, I guess.   I hope I’m wrong (there I go again), maybe others are hurting as I am and there will be a time to repair.  And the relationships will be stronger than ever as a result.  How else can I look at it?  Give up?  Not in me.  Patience.  I haven’t hit the ground yet! 

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

 – Maya Angelou

Here’s to all my lovely readers, CHEERS!  LETS HAVE THE BEST YEAR OF OUR LIVES IN SPITE OF IT ALL!  THE THIRD ACT is just getting started.  I’m planning on three curtain calls!!

Please let me hear from you if you’d like to chat with me about this subject or any other.  Email me at: patricia@caregivingcornerstone.com

Hugs,

Patricia

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WINTER REFLECTION

Red cup of coffee and old book on wooden table
“…for experience, the only true knowledge…”
Herman Milville, The Confidence Man

Winter season, along with warm traditional Holidays, brings on the serious time of year, it seems to me.  Unlike Spring, Summer and Fall when we’re more distracted by happenings outdoors, Winter can be a time to curl up by the fireplace and take stock.  We gather the highlights, include the lowlights, recognize that we’ve another year of growth behind us and get ready to start afresh January one. No matter what transpired this last year, we’re coming into the home stretch of 2016 and we can chalk this and all our years up to “our” personal story. Our own precious history, always unfolding, full of the unexpected, rarely what we might have predicted it would look like at any point.

Having lived nearly seven decades, through some serious highs and lows, I could look back and say, “If I had the chance, I would change this or that and life would have been so much smoother or much easier.” I could, but I won’t.

I wonder how many Caregivers look at their current lives and say, “I’m really happy I get to do this.”  That’s a tough one.  When we’re in the midst of life’s challenges, few of us, I suspect, are stopping to say we’re happy about it. I remember saying to myself, “Why does it have to be so hard!?”  Caregiving is hard, it can be backbreaking and both mentally and physically exhausting.  No time for yourself or others you’d like to be connecting with. It seems to be never ending. But, you know you’re going to do it anyway.  You love those you care for.  You’re the best one for the job and you want it done right. But, HAPPY about it?  Perhaps GRATEFUL is the word.

It’s only now, with sixteen consecutive years of Caregiving (for three different loved ones) behind me, that I can see the beauty of it all. That took time and distance.  Today, nearly four years after, I’m GRATEFUL.  I’m grateful for those days that were so hard.  That took so much tenacity.  I know how strong I am.  I can handle tough times, new situations and emergencies. It took a few years distance and a long history of living to recognize that each seaming period of life had its reasons.  All my experiences were absolutely necessary and came along at the perfect time.  From childhood to young adult, to wife and mother, to business owner, to Caregiver, to blog writer for Caregivers, was just what I had to experience in order to be able to handle my story as it continues to unfold. 

Life is never a-piece-of-cake for long.  How boring would that be?  Even during great times, you still have to figure out what to do everyday and how to deal with all the people and situations that surround you.

Experience is life, I hope as you reflect during this Winter season you’ll give yourself the gift of feeling GRATEFUL for your own unfolding unique story.  I’d love to read it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Patricia

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KINDNESS: Attempting To Walk In Another’s Shoes?

INDNESS: Attempting To Walk In Another's Shoes?

The word KIND has come within my purview several times in the last few days. Does it make sense to discuss kindness? I think it does. Will it change the nature of those who don’t understand that they are not innately kind? Probably not, it’s nature after all. What it might do, however, is soothe the hurt caused by those who are unkind. They often mistake kindness for weakness, or as a threat (people don’t like to be reminded of their shortcomings). Reinforcing that kindness is good and it’s right under any circumstances serves everyone well in the long run.

There’s no way to know if most Caregivers are kind. But, I’ll venture to say that most kind people are Caregivers. Kindness is akin to compassion, yet not the same. One who attempts to walk in another’s shoes and tries to provide what they think is needed for that person, with no benefit to themselves, is being kind (a type of kind that’s done when no one is looking). Interestingly, a kind person recognizes immediately when someone else is being kind, and they’re grateful. It’s the little things, like making sure another is included in a conversation. Or, that something they have accomplished is recognized by others. The instinct to notice that someone is being left out is compassion, doing something about it is kind.

In conversation with a close friend recently, I could feel his hurt that his children and siblings hadn’t shown up when he could really have used some help caring for his father. This is a man who shows kindness everyday in many ways, the ultimate Caregiver. He brings flowers to his wife regularly, just to make sure she knows she’s in the forefront of his mind. A sick friend gets chicken soup whether they want it or not, as soon as he’s aware they’re sick. When his brother needed him, wasn’t he always there for him? So why did his brother not offer to do something, even just be there for an hour so he could run some errands?

Who knows? Is it that the brother doesn’t get how hard it is, he just assumes that because you always take care of everything, you’d ask for help if you needed it? Maybe he’s selfish and just doesn’t care? Maybe it’s all of these. It’s too complicated, you’ll never figure it out. So how do you get past the hurt, the lack of kindness and compassion shown toward you?

In my experience, the best way to get past emotional pain is to recognize and greatly value your own freedom to be who you are and nurture it. Somehow you are that kind and caring person you would hope to be. Aren’t you the lucky one? Maybe you’re an old soul. Maybe the brother is a baby soul, just learning to crawl and has no clue yet that walking is the way to go. May I suggest that you do your best to let others be who they are. Let everyone be free to be who they are without your judgement; with its rewards, consequences and all. Everyone is living out their own lives as best they know how. It’s so liberating when you let go of being part of someone else’s actions!

Cherish freedom! Be happy you are who you are. This is what works for me when I feel hurt by someone else’s action or inaction. That is, after my heart hurts a little and tears start to well. We’re all human right?

Big Hug!

Patricia


 

PS:  Serendipity strikes again!  The day I wrote this blog about kindness, I received the NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSE below. If you would like to receive a personalized note each weekday, go to tut.com and signup. I’ve been receiving them for about seven years and they help me start my day on a high note!  I know Mike Dooley, went on one of his fabulous Adventure trips, the one to Italy in 2012. They’re cruising the Tahitian Islands in March!

NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSE

To touch someone with kindness, Patricia, is to change someone forever.

Heavy, huh?  That’s nothing.

Because for everyone you touch, you also reach everyone they will ever know.  And everyone they will ever know.  And everyone they will ever know.  And so, for the rest of all time, your kindness will be felt, in waves that will spread, long after you move on.

Muchas gracias,

The Universe

Don’t ask what happens on a bad day, Patricia. 

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