“Chef, From Your Kitchen, Create!”

It’s so inspiring when the Universe drops another pearl at my feet.  I get to share it with all of you. Maybe I should keep the source of my inspiration to myself and just pretend I come up with such wisdom on my own, from my intellect. But that wouldn’t be any fun. Pearls of wisdom are treasure. The fun is in sharing and enjoying, what I believe, is Universal wisdom.

This pearl, “CHEF, FROM YOUR KITCHEN, CREATE!”, came to me in a flash (a thought in my head) as I was contemplating the consequences of words I use when I say, “I am…” and, alternately, when I say, “I am not…”.

At the moment I received the words I thought of cooking, of course.  But, you can replace the words CHEF and KITCHEN with anything that you relate to.  “ARTIST, FROM YOUR EASEL, CREATE!” “SINGER, FROM YOUR VOICE, CREATE!”  “WELDER, FROM YOUR TORCH, CREATE!” “TEACHER FROM YOUR CLASSROOM, CREATE!”  In my case; “WRITER, FROM YOUR PEN, CREATE!”

It’s a metaphor that reminds me that life is about creation. We humans feel JOY when creating because that’s when we’re in sync with the source of all creation. JOY is the wonderful feeling we experience when we’re lost in our work because our work is what we love to do.  And when we’re feeling JOY, our life’s energy, our spirit is shining brightly.  More Joy leads to better health and more physical energy. CREATE and live life well.

Finding a way to experience more JOY is the best thing a human being can do for themselves and those around them. When we’re happy with our lives it’s contagious.  The energy around us changes the energy of others. Life becomes a pleasure.  Perception of our tasks and interactions with others is changed for the good.

For most of my life I didn’t know where my JOY was.  I thought we were each born to accomplish something important. Something society thought was important. Only I never figured out what that was for me.  Actually, I think our American culture pressures us to become SOMETHING. And not just something, but something IMPORTANT.  To be SUCCESSFUL.  And the proof of success, of course, is how much money can be generated from our efforts.  But, how often do we hear of the unhappiness of those we think have everything money can buy?

Rather late in life, I learned that the thing that takes our minds to a place where time has no meaning is where our JOY is.  The place where we forget to eat, where we work effortlessly and something just flows through us so naturally that we forget about everything around us.  I’d had those experiences since I was a child.  Drawing, painting and sewing to name a few, were my constant activities when young.  When I was older, reading and writing, which are still a passion. But, I never saw those passions as having a purpose of value. I guess I was having too much fun and didn’t see how I could make those things into something that would “pay.”  My values were misplaced. I can’t help but feel that I’m not alone in this.  The value was in the JOY!

Happy is the person who can lose themselves in the JOY of their work.  I am…a writer.  I am…an artist.  I am not…going to waste any more of my time on earth letting others make decisions about my life.  Love and creativity make life worth living. Life is short…CHEF, FROM YOUR KITCHEN, CREATE!  NOW.

 

HUGS,

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WHO HEARS YOU WHEN YOU SPEAK?

With your hand on your throat (where your voice and power arise) and a response from your heart (where the truth comes from), who hears what you really want to say? Only you? Only the pit of your stomach when it goes queasy and says to your mind: “I should have said no. Why can’t I say no? Why do they take advantage of me? Isn’t my time as valuable as theirs? Why do they make me feel guilty if I say no?”

Because I speak from experience, I know what a big deal it is to have no boundaries on what you’re willing to take on for others. It’s not an unusual Caregiver trait. I’m an expert. But, I’m a recovering expert and want to share with you how I discovered how to say “no” and be okay with that. No guilt.

First, I paid attention to how others handled it when they were asked to do something for which they said no. I observed that for some it was difficult. You could see it in their face and hear it in their voice. For others it was fairly easy. I’m guessing the ones it was difficult for were just starting to get their power back. The latter had practice.

Most people that have no problem saying “no” might tell you it’s not so hard, “just say no.” But, it is at first. It’s hard because we’re used to not telling the truth. We learn this at an early age if we don’t have strong roll models. We even think it’s okay because we see it as being a nice person. It’s like a white lie. But, a lie is a lie, no matter what color the ink is. Sorry, I’m being tough here, saying “yes” when you want to say “no” is not truthful. As a former non-truthful, no boundaries practitioner, I can HONESTLY say I’m recovering. And it’s empowering!

You take baby steps, you buckle-up, armed with your weapon that is TRUTH. Once you realize you’re not the honest person you always thought you were, that will get you. Now that you’re aware there’s no going back. You’ll recognize your moment when you need your reinforcement, your HONOR. It will come out of the blue, someone will ask you something and you recognize that this is it. Do you respond with TRUTH or do you remain a liar and say yes when you want to say no? Are you willing to find your voice (it’s hidden in TRUTH) or will you go on for the rest of your life knowing that you could have been a more powerful and happier human being? You’ll slip, it’s okay, that slip will teach you how easy it’s been to be less than truthful much of your life. You’ll have another chance very soon. Don’t be hard on yourself unless you don’t start improving. It should happen quickly. It gets easier with each opportunity. The feeling of being empowered is intoxicating.


Anita Moorjani, author of “Dying to be Me”, is one of the people I admire most in this world. Her Facebook video discussion has been added to this post because she brilliantly addresses the significance of being able to say “NO” and has several suggestions for Caregivers that I hope you will find interesting and helpful in your own lives.

It’s amazing how your life just perks up when you live in truth. You’ve heard the saying, “The truth shall set you free.” You will finally understand the meaning therein. It seems like a little thing, saying NO. But it’s a huge Yes in your life when you have boundaries! It’s all you’ve ever lacked. Otherwise, you’re perfect and I love you.

BIG HUG on this one,

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Emotions Can trigger Stop Signs

stop sign

Especially as a Caregiver, we’re involved constantly in other peoples emotional states as well as our own. I’ve found that by taking charge of my own emotions, I give the upset person the space to release their frustration, but no ammunition to continue the fight. So often, what an angry/upset person seems to be saying is not conveying the real problem anyway. And they aren’t necessarily angry at the person they’re taking it out on. Sometimes they’re angry at themselves or life. It’s a waste of valuable energy to get into a struggle with an upset loved one. Saving yourself from the drain of your energy is a gift you can give to yourself.

I play tricks on myself mentally all the time. I have daily “alerts” on my phone that remind me to do things like “take a deep breath” and “Don’t make assumptions.” To keep out of arguments, when I realize trouble is brewing, I visualize a traffic STOP sign, mentally (it appears on the right side in the back of my brain). This STOP sign helps me pause long enough to decide to observe instead of react. It helps me to realize it’s them and not me. I feel sorry that they’re upset and know that the best thing I can do for them is let them get it out. If you listen calmly, you can deal with what they’ve said after they calm down, if it’s important. Otherwise, I find it best just to be understanding.

I know this might sound easier said than done. But, with practice, you’ll get good at it and use it more and more. Just see a STOP sign and take a breath. You’ll disarm the emotional person and gain their respect because they couldn’t rattle you.

Do something nice for yourself today!

Until soon, I wish you love and peace.

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Hugs,

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Protecting the Dignity of the Elderly

elderly

Part of feeling good about ourselves as Caregivers is to know we’re doing a good job. We typically take charge of the health and often emotional needs of our loved ones. We need to see that their dignity is respected, also. It’s easier to do when you live in the same home. But, some people are managing the care of a loved one who lives in an assisted or skilled nursing home. They can’t be there twenty-four hours a day.

Two of the three people I took care of over sixteen years lived in assisted living or dementia care facilities. It’s important to be very familiar with the staff at facilities. The management can be lovely people, yet not aware that a staff person doesn’t understand the needs for your loved one. It’s the Caregivers job to know that there is a good relationship with each of the staff people and the resident around the clock. I’ve been told by management that they really appreciate an involved Caregiver who visits often and takes care of some of the little things that it’s hard for a facility to do. Personal touches that make life more pleasant. And, it’s good that the working staff is aware that they are appreciated for doing a good job. Praising them to management is good. On the flip side, staff is going to be more on their toes if they know the resident is watched over closely.

The way I could tell that the dignity of my father or my friend wasn’t being respected was by their mood and attitude. If they’re unhappy when you arrive, or speak to them on the phone, you need to ask questions. They may have a hard time telling you what’s up because the memory may not be good anymore. They might not remember why they’re sad. But, you can say something like: have you seen Mary (the staff person) this afternoon? Was she here cleaning things up? She seemed like a nice person when I met her. How’s she doing? Between each question, listen carefully. It’s amazing what can come up. You can’t be a drill sergeant, of course, and you can’t believe everything you hear. Depending on the level of dementia, what your loved one tells you may not be accurate. But, there’s a reason they’re sad and you need find out how to fix it. It’s complicated. I’ve seen too many people dismiss a mood by chalking it up to old age. As if the sad person doesn’t count anymore because they’re old. Using good judgement, you can ask the staff person who’s been around that day what they think is going on. They’re used to being accused of a lot of things so you have to take them into your confidence looking for a solution, without accusation. But, if your good instincts see a potential problem, you can make suggestions for fixing the situation and stay on top of it. I think management only needs to be told if it persists and you can’t solve it on your own. Finesse is the key word here.

My dad, who had Parkinson’s Disease, was always a sensitive man. When he cried for no apparent reason when I came in to pick him up one day, I could tell that his feelings had been hurt. He couldn’t speak well anymore so it was like a guessing game to figure out what was causing his sadness. After a few questions I learned that another resident at his table in the dining room was making remarks about him being anti-social. He spoke even less at the table because he was embarrassed by his difficulty. I asked if he would like to move to another table, he perked up and said there was a nice lady that he could sit with. I spoke to management and had him moved. Sadly, they would not have paid close enough attention to his mood to know there was a problem. That’s were we come in.

My father was a man with a certain dignity. He was nearly ninety and couldn’t defend himself anymore. I needed to protect him and his manhood. He had protected me all my young life. When he’d come for a visit and stay with my husband and I over the years, he’d check that every door and window in the house was properly locked before going to bed. He was still making sure I was safe. Now it was my turn to take care of him.

Until soon, I wish you love and fond memories.

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Hugs,

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THE DARK-SIDE OF CAREGIVING

With much love intended, can we shine some light on the dark-side of Caregiving?  Can we work through the tough stuff, for our own sake, and try to understand rather than fight and feel pain?  For many, there is a dark-side of Caregiving and it keeps wonderful people, unnecessarily, in a sad place.  It often leads to illness for the Caregiver.  It’s the reason support groups (like: daughterhood.org) are popping up all over the country.  When we’re in the depths of it, all we can think of is WHY.  WHY me?  WHY does it have to be so hard?  WHY doesn’t someone else stand up and help?  WHY am I in this position and HOW did I get here?

By the dark-side I mean when we’re exhausted, when our nerves are shot, when we’re feeling the effects of self-neglect.  When we’re frustrated with government programs, doctors and insurance companies- it goes on and on- we ask ourselves, “How can I keep doing this?  Isn’t my own life worth something?”

The byline of this website is:  “Set the Foundation for Masterful Care for You and Your Loved Ones.”  I’m here to encourage and support Caregivers, not coddle them. My mission is to help people who take care of other people become stronger,  more confident, more knowledgeable and compassionate for themselves, and, consequently, for those in their charge. My hope is to help as many people as possible be grateful they’re alive, to recognize that they have a gift and to know that when they face life’s challenges head-on, they come through with more power and are stronger than ever.  Your life is as important as everyone else’s. And you’re meant to have challenges like everyone else.

After 21 years of more caregiving than I ever expected in my life, I can tell you that, for me, the answer to WHY has nothing to do with things like: being an especially good person, that you always do the right thing or that you’re the only one who stood up (though all these may be true).  It’s not because you love those in your charge and want them to have the best care (also, may be true). It’s not even because you’re a doomed person, life for you has always been hard and always will be, as I hear from some.

The raw truth, in my opinion, is that IT’S SOUL WORK.  I KNOW this. How do I know this?  I can feel it in my aging bones.  I can’t prove it to you in any tangible way.  I can only say that if you look deeply enough, long enough, within yourself, you may be able to know it, too, like I do.  A lifetime of experience, observation, study, research and self-reflexion has confirmed for me what I never would have considered as a young woman. In our myopic society, where most believe only in what they can see with their own eyes, or what science/reason tells them, there’s been little room in the last century for something bigger.  Something timeless and fantastic.

My gut tells me that we’re here on earth to express the beauty within that magnificent little baby we each were at our birth.  As our DNA is revealed more and more, I hope one day science will join with the unknown secrets of life, revealing the mysteries of the Universe, completely. Until then, I can only go on faith and see the love which is at the root of all.

As we express our individual gifts to the world, some of us are here to give of ourselves more than others.  It’s okay, the others have their gifts, equally important.  Caregiving is the opportunity to express love under sometimes very difficult circumstances. The more difficult, the more rewarding, if we can only see it that way.  I do notice we caregivers have a bit of trouble receiving sometimes.  We need to allow others to give, too, in their own way.

We’re all connected on this earth.  We’re connected to everything and everyone.  Every plant, every wave in the ocean, every cloud and drop of rain.  Every speck of dirt, every animal and every human being is connected.  The earth is alive and we’re part of the way it functions.  In health, we have a natural instinct to love, protect and care for other living things. 

We’re Caregivers, it’s what we’re doing now.  Today.  We’re working out our destinies, with love and compassion. How bad is that? It’s written in our DNA, you got the Caregiver gene.  Flaunt it!  Adopting an attitude of accepting who you are and seeing the beauty in it can only be good for the soul and your health.  Love yourself and your gift ❤️

 

Hugs,

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