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 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 then 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 will know that while you are giving you are building a better self. This is not selfish or self centered. Because of a shift in your outlook, suddenly life is better for everyone around you. How could that be wrong? “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. With no regrets. 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.
So…what does a leap of faith look like? 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?
Take the leap first, 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. I promise, do something for yourself everyday and it will lighten your heart and your load. You will walk with more grace in your step, and be happier for it. You will feel more powerful. That power will give you more strength. You will see the big picture and continue to observe yourself from afar. You will know that you’ve elevated yourself to a new level in life. You’ll be wiser and not need to dwell on the problems. You’ll just handle them as they come, one at a time because you know you have all the tools (ideas) you need. Creativity and grace.
This gives you the “Trust After.” Baby steps were easy to create when you looked at yourself from a distance.
P.S. You may think that you’ve read this post before and that’s because it’s one of the first to appear on my blog. Over the next few weeks, as we move through the autumn and winter months, I will be revisiting other posts that I hope will bring you comfort and insight during this time.