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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WITHOUT JUDGEMENT

When we go about our day, making a judgement at every turn, isn’t it easy to think we should have an opinion on everything?  We are constantly making decisions which require an opinion to lead to a judgement.  We judge how much time we need for our tasks of the day, how many layers of clothing we need for the temperature outside, how much distance is safe behind the car in front of us on the road, what we should plan for dinner tonight, where should we go on vacation this year, who we should vote for in the next election.  Decision, opinion, judgement.  It’s a way of life and quite necessary much of the time.  If you’re a caregiver, you’re often making important judgements on behalf of another who is in your care. 

We acquire confidence in judging as we take on responsibility in life.  We judge our own actions and those of others.  We need to make judgements in our daily work.  It seems we’re expected to have an opinion about everything that goes on in the world, too!  About everything we hear in the news 24/7. 

May I suggest that the judgement maker in us can use a break.  We can choose to not have an opinion, occasionally. It’s not always necessary to make judgment on every subject. In fact, no opinion can feel wonderfully liberating. How on earth am I supposed to have an opinion on what someone in the news, you or anyone else should do as you conduct your daily life?  I’m not you.  It’s not my business.  No more than I can judge if the European Union was a good idea, or not, for most Europeans.  The answer lies with the individual who is directly involved.  Its their business not mine.  And I have no idea how to fix global warming, excuse me, climate change. 

People expect others to have an opinion, they expect to be judged on their own opinions and love to argue them.  They feel like others will think they’re not informed if they don’t have an opinion and can’t make a judgement off the top of their head on every topic so they can post it on Facebook.  Or, chime in on Twitter.  You must have an opinion, society says.  Decide and judge or be judged as less!

When I was a young wife & mother and my whole focus and pleasure was on homemaking and family, I had little interest in what was going on in the broader world of national and international affairs.  The six o’clock news was enough for me.  This was before the Internet and reading magazines and newspapers was how people kept up.  I was behind the times and reminded of it when around people who were discussing important current topics.  I couldn’t participate because I had no opinion and no points to argue.  I just listened and felt boring.  I was judging myself.

Later, I went to college, became an avid reader of history, ran my own business, and became obsessed with the politics of the day.  I eventually had way too many opinions on way too many subjects. Caught in the vicious circle of unconscious living, my ability to judge was stunning.  And who was I impressing?  Only myself, I think.  More than likely, I prevented others from feeling free to express their opinions to me, if they differed.  A great way to close off communication. 

Things come full circle!  It has taken a BIT of work to get to a place where I can say, “I don’t have an opinion on that.”  It feels great, really.  Jaws sometimes drop.  Age is a great teacher and liberator.    

I wish you all the freedom to be who you really are and the grace to allow others to be who they are WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.  Love and understanding allows others to be comfortable expressing themselves honestly.  What a wonderful gift to give and receive.

Hugs,

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Peace Be With You

winter house mountain

Every Holiday Season brings lovely wishes of Peace and Joy for all.  How wonderful it would be if we could all have real peace in our lives.  Joy would surely automatically follow. 

If we could each live in a constant state of peace within, we would be so calm, healthy and brilliant.  We would have clarity of purpose, be creative and kindness would flow from each of us toward all others.  We would give our attention to the important things that are right in front of us everyday.  We would have no concern for what has passed that nothing can change. We would have no worry about a future that is not here yet and will be fine as long as we live for the best for all today, including our planet.

Peace, that’s the answer.  Finding inner peace and living it may be the biggest individual challenge in our world.  But, what a worthy goal.  Change ourselves, change the world.  Might be easier than trying to change everyone else! 

It is possible to find peace, some people live this way.  You see it occasionally, it radiates from smiling relaxed faces.  There’s a powerful magnetic energy in peaceful people.  I’m on the lookout for them now.  I want to hang out with them.  I want to learn from them.  I bet they’ve had some interesting challenges in their lives, maybe overcome tremendous adversity.  They know something about which others are not yet aware.  They seem to accept everything for what it is in that moment.  They don’t judge others and seem untroubled by the past.  They are somehow aware that the future will unfold in due time, in better form, if they just mind what’s in front of them today. 

The best gift I can think of to give to you, my readers, is to wish for peace in each of your lives.  Have a lovely Holiday Season.  I look forward to hearing from many of you in the New Year. 

I wish you blissful Peace.

Hugs,

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THIS HOLIDAY SEASON COULD BE EXCEPTIONAL

While thinking about what would make things different, add a little variety and more depth to the holidays this year, I was thinking that being grateful for things which are not usually given thanks for could put a different light on life around the holidays.  Perhaps open our eyes to gifts we don’t often recognize. 

For one example, as caregivers, we’re used to being on the giving side.  If we’re fortunate enough to care for people who can express thanks, we know we’re appreciated.  Hopefully, you’re one of these and thanks is plentiful for you. Many don’t feel appreciated or respected enough and that causes them to suffer greatly.  Suffering at any intensity is painful.  And that pain overrides the joy in life.  The need for love and being appreciated for who you are and all you do is basic human nature.  But, we don’t all get it from the source we think it should come from, often those we love and take care of or family members.

But, what if we, ourselves, appreciated the challenges we’re handed?  See them as a gift.  That could alleviate the need for recognition from others. Therefore, bring more joy into our lives.  I don’t know for sure what the reason is that life can be so difficult sometimes. During those times I have often asked myself, why?  And why me? And why at this particular time?What I have concluded thus far is that its my own need for personal growth.  It’s my responsibility to grow from my experiences.  The greater the challenge, the greater the lesson and the growth, is what I see in hindsight.  With growth comes wisdom.  It’s a heavy subject, too complicated and intricately enmeshed with emotions and attempted objectivity for a short blog.  But, just to start thinking about our biggest problems or the person/persons in our lives that cause us the most hurt or grief as a gift, could be the beginning of a solution or reconciliation that may never occur if not considered from a different prospective.  It, also, takes the onus off others to provide us with our sense of peace and happiness.  After all, everyone else is trying to manage their own issues and can only see things from their own prospective.  We are all handed our own special Gifts!

This holiday season, may I suggest being Thankful for your biggest challenges?  The small ones will take care of themselves.  When things or a person you love bring heartache, just throw love at it. Try to see it with as much love around the situation as possible and feel love for yourself, too.  Be patient, time and distance work miracles.  That alone brings some relief.  Not total relief, but it’s a start.  Knowing that you’ve given it a good start, things will work out for the best for all.  The feeling of love held around an issue or person can’t help but permeate, harmony will prevail. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!  I wish you love and joy this holiday season.  You are appreciated by me.

Hugs,

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Know Your Hot Buttons

May I suggest that the next time someone causes you to feel defensive, you make it a point to observe yourself and what button just got pushed. It can be an eye opener into your own personality and what’s important to you, sometimes very revealing and an opportunity for growth.

The irony is that what we feel we need to defend, ultimately, is only an illusion. No two people see the same thing in any given situation. When people say life is but an illusion, I don’t think they mean there’s nothing actually there, they mean, whatever is there is seen as something different by each observer. Unobservable by others, therefore an illusion. Everyone sees and understands things from their own perspective which is drawn from a very complex back story which is uniquely their own. Evidence of this is in our own personal experiences.

As one of four daughters in my family, I can say for sure that my sisters and I grew up in completely different households, even though we lived at the same address. We reminisce and compare histories and it’s often shocking to me how we saw our childhoods so differently.

Hot button emotional upset fizzles out when we allow for illusion. For example, in an effort to be as honest as possible with my readers, I have to admit that my biggest hot button is my self image. There, I’ve said it (not easy). When someone says something that causes me to recognize that they’re seeing me in a lessor light than I want to be seen, I experience mind numbing humiliation and irritation. How dare that be what they see or heard me say? What’s wrong with them? Can’t they see what I see?

No, they can’t. They can only see what they can observe through their own life experience and knowledge. I’ve spent a lifetime thinking that people were seeing a lot of good things about me because I received a lot of positive feedback. I’m grateful for that. But, the truth is, people were giving me feedback on what they saw, not on what I thought they were seeing. Because the feedback was mostly positive, I thought I was being understood. I wasn’t, I have no idea what they were seeing. I was just living in my illusion. Everyone is living in their own illusions, it’s just life.

So, what is the benefit of observing your HOT BUTTONS? In my case, self observation taught me that my self image is unimportant to anyone but me. A completely useless waste of life’s energy. What is important is how I live my life without needing the approval of others. Just do what I believe is right and good and let the chips (illusions) fall where they may. It has also caused me to be more generous and understanding of others. After all, what I’m observing of their lives is only an illusion of my mind. Not their reality. None of my business.

The great thing is, since it’s all an illusion, we can choose how we live life. We aren’t stuck in anyone else’s illusion!

 

Hugs,

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