“Beauty Sufficiently Charged”

Caregivers go through tremendous upheavals in their personal lives, especially after years of not thinking of themselves enough. We could all spend more time getting to know ourselves and getting to know what we believe is important about life and our place in it. My hope is that my writing will inspire you to feel solid and good about taking care of yourself first. About searching for what has meaning to you and brings you peace. Your peace and contentment will be your new best gift to others.

The famous philosopher and author of the classic book “A Sense of Beauty“, George Santayana, is quoted often for his insight into human nature. He said, “Is it indeed from the experience of beauty and happiness, from the occasional harmony between our nature and our environment, that we draw our conception of the Devine life.”

To recognize the absence of beauty in my life was a great surprise to me. I thought I had a good life. I was surrounded by the obvious beauty of family, friends and the home I had created. But, after my husband passed away in 2010, my unrest caused me to pull away from my roots, my comfort zone. I was forced, by that unrest (which I now consider to be a soul searching for a reason for living) to reevaluate my life and go in search of what would truly bring me peace and contentment. It’s been an eight year trek, with big highs and very deep lows. I don’t say it’s over, it will never, in this lifetime be over. There is so much to experience and learn. It’s part of the joy, to keep learning.

The trek is, however, on the incline. I’m feeling and seeing the beauty daily, in different ways than before. With a sense of wonder and awe at what I’ve been missing all my long life. At what I’m able to create with such ease. After reading hundreds of books and endless hours of studying and soul searching I’m seeing results. There’s a natural connection between everything that is and happens. The serendipity in what once looked like coincidence or luck is at all our fingertips. I recognize the thunderous karma that follows out of sync (against the laws of nature) behavior. And am benefitting from my new found sense of expecting miracles and knowing that everything I need is at hand. Some of us come to it the hard way.

To find your place in the world, on your own, with no one to take care of and no one to take care of you seems daunting to most, I suspect. I’m loving it! Living what I’ve purposely created and bucking up my courage for the next big adventure. Just me and the Great Creator.

I saw three dear on the side of the road grazing on grass as I was driving this morning. An awesome sight for a city girl. Life is good, simple and beautiful. My children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are in good places in their lives. My family is solid and friends true. I’m surrounded by lovely, generous, kind people daily. What was missing is a knowing, that everything is perfect, just the way it is. Who or what appears difficult at the moment is a gift. It’s meant, by Devine natural law, to challenge our ability to be loving, generous, kind, understanding and patient. It’s our job to create our own best lives and we can definitely do that if we approach everything from a place of love and compassion. Have faith and confidence in that Devine natural law, it never deviates.

My cell phone beeped an alert at me today. It was plugged into the charger. I looked at it and read “BEAUTY SUFFICIENTLY CHARGED.” I blinked and read it again, BATTERY SUFFICIENTLY CHARGED. I think that was a Devine message. Don’t believe it? That’s okay, patience.

I wish you love, patience and Beauty Sufficiently Charged!

Hugs,

 

 

 

P.S.

If you’d like to share some thoughts or tell me your story, please send an email to me at patricia@caregivingcornerstone.com or go to the “Send a Message” section of my blog. I’ll get back to you promptly.

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Living Life on Kairos Time

Cup of coffee with view on Vesuvius mount in Naples | The Caregiving Cornerstone | Kairos

KAIROS is an Ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical, or opportune moment. The ancient Greeks had two words for time: CHRONOS and KAIROS.  The former refers to chronological or sequential time, while the latter signifies a proper or opportune time for action…per Wikipedia.

Caroline Myss, a teacher I respect, sees KAIROS time as vertical.  Vertical as Universe time, GOD’S time and CHRONOS as chronological, earth time.

This vertical, timeless, view of life has been a gift beyond measure to me so I will do my best to share what I hope you’ll find interesting and helpful.  Yesterday and tomorrow are not significant if time is vertical.  Living in vertical time means having your thoughts focused on NOW.  Nothing to the left (your past) and nothing to the right (your future) exists on a vertical timeline of NOW.  Many of us have heard about living in the NOW (read: Eckhart Tolle).  Its a way to find peace in your life that I and millions of people around the world are extremely grateful to Mr. Tolle and others for sharing with humanity.

If you learn best using visuals, as I do, the vertical concept of living NOW opens up a whole new world.  Not only can we live a peaceful life through acceptance and surrender as Eckhart Tolle teaches, but by releasing our past and truly not worrying about our future, we open space in our thinking for the intelligence of the laws of nature to come through. We unblock the opening through which inspiration and inner guidance comes. There’s room for new ideas when you let go of old issues and do not fear your future.  Room for solutions to situations to occur to you.  Room to breathe and dream and be inspired by your own genius.  You know how when you’re trying hard to think of something and you let go of it and move on, it suddenly pops into your head?  It’s like that. You made space for your thought to materialize. It’s just a law of nature.

The old saying CARPE DIEM (Seize the Day) suggests that opportunity is always available to us. When you’re thinking vertically,  serendipity has the opportunity to play in your life and miracles that come out of nowhere start to feel natural. People come into our lives that we never imagined would be there to help us with our needs. You don’t even recognize it at first.  It’s often after the fact that we say, aha!  That was the Universe at play.  Nature taking its course.  The hand of God.

All events show up at the perfect time in KAIROS time. Even the difficulties and challenges become obviously for our own good.  Its the challenge you must learn from as your humanity grows.  Sometimes that takes awhile.  Caregiving can be a great challenge.  Love and understanding help give us patience. Practice letting go of the past and not thinking about the future.  Focus on NOW, putting one foot in front of the other as honestly and truthfully and lovingly as you know how.  Serendipity will play, miracles will happen. Be more patient than Job. You’ll be rewarded.  You can’t outsmart nature. You only slow it down. It’s like being able to start over, only being smarter this time around.

I wish you the perfection of a KAIROS time life!

 

HUGS,

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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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