A phrase has stuck with me for the last few days- “Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and trust after.” Learning to trust our basic instincts, I believe, has been conditioned out of many of us. I struggle everyday to pay attention to the thoughts and ideas that pop into my head, and act on many of them. This is new for me, and maybe for many caregivers. We’re often the cautious one in the family. We listen to our head and not our hearts so much. We’re so busy with what we think is the most important of things to get done, that we leave filling the “vase of our soul” till last. And, surprise, it’s often left empty, again. Maybe tomorrow you’ll get to it. Metaphorically, our flowers whither and, eventually, die. Our health suffers and depression often sets in. If, instead, we listen to our heart (our essence, really) as well as our head, it will tell us what we need to fulfill ourselves and how to best take care of the people we love.
If you look at your caregiving as a gift to another person, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. You know that while you are giving you are building a better self. This is not selfish or self centered. “It’s better to give than to receive.” We all know this phrase and we know it feels good to give. But, what if “it’s better” means better for your health, for your happiness, for accomplishing the mission that’s yours only in this life? “It’s better” because it brings joy to you and gives the person in your charge, the one who’s in this dance with you, what they need to fulfill their destiny. There’s growth for you both here, really great growth. If you can go about your caregiving with creativity and grace, then, I would say, you’ll come away from it with peace. Without regret.
So…what does a leap of faith look like? It’s like: “Build it and they will come.” “Pay it forward.” You start by stepping away from yourself as you go about your day. Quietly and mentally observe yourself, as if you were watching a movie. Would you admire that person? Would you want to be like that person if you were in their shoes? Can you see where there might be room for improvement? How could the main character go through their days with more grace and creativity? What would help them improve their situation?
Then you take the Leap First. Start with what will help you feel better personally. Start by spoiling yourself a little. Be creative, think about where the opportunity lies for you to steal a few minutes for yourself. It might be when your loved one is napping. Or, you might plan to take half the time you usually take for a certain task so you can squeeze in a half hour of reading or watching a program you’ve recorded. You might take 15 minutes to prepare a special snack for yourself, one that you’ve specifically planned for while doing your usual shopping. Exercise. Wherever your mind takes you when you ask yourself, “what would I do for myself if I had the time?” MAKE that happen like you make everything else that you think is important happen. And on a regular basis.
Give this a little time, maybe a couple of weeks. Then start observing yourself again. Notice how it’s easier to do your tasks. Are you a little more patient? Are you handling the unexpected with less stress? If so, you can Trust After. You’ve built the foundation and the payoff is that life is better for you and everyone around you. And that’s lovely.
There’s a wonderful movie that I highly recommend: ENCHANTED APRIL. I watched it on Netflix recently. It has caused me to notice “lovely” when I see it and want more of it in my life.
Until soon, I wish you love and lovely.
If you recall this piece, it’s because it’s a rewrite of one of my earliest posts. I’m “reSHARING.” I’ll do this occasionally for a short while. It allows me to concentrate on the final work for my first book, “Caregiving, A Love Story, ” which will be available just after the first of the year. Hopefully, it gives some a chance to catch up on posts they might have missed and it’s a reminder for treasured loyal readers. Thank you to all who are so supportive. I love hearing from each of you so please keep the messages coming. Love, Patricia
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