Screbere Jussit Amor

Screbere Jussit Amor

 -Ovid

Love Has Commanded Me To Write

Have you noticed that there is a movement afoot that is bigger than many of us realize?  A movement that will counter the most visible, terrible turn of events making history in our world today?

As a child of The Cold War Era, I remember our instructions in school.  In case of emergency (a bombing), we were to get under our desks and cover our heads with our little arms.  The present political atmosphere around the world is feeling unsettlingly familiar.

The good news is, there are signs all around us that the number of people interested in real world-wide peace is growing exponentially.  And it’s growing at the grassroots level, too.  The Internet and cell phones (technology) are a blessing, juxtaposed to being at the same time the curse, that may save humanity from itself.  Man creates and, hopefully, he is creating for good fast enough to overcome what would otherwise destroy him/her (us).  Our means of connection across continents with people we would never reach in all of past history, seems to have arrived in just the nick of time.  Coincidental?, I don’t think so. The Universal collective mind knows we’re on the brink.

I believe one purpose of humanity is to create as much love in the world as possible, as much kindness and joy as one can spread. Hence, love has commanded me to write.  There is a responsibility to do what one can when faced with a problem, as a Caregiver and as a Citizen of the World.  Even if it is just to give Hope.

What is happening that gives Hope?  People are standing up against the bullies, from the one next door to the dictators around the world.  We’re doing it in peaceful ways.  We’re developing a sense of awareness, relying on our own instincts, self education and sharing experiences on the internet that reach individuals all across the globe.  We’re recognizing that the differences between our cultures does not make us enemies.  Where do I see this?  Among my own generation, the Baby Boomers, to begin with. Some of the most socially intelligent influential leaders of our time, in business, science and spirituality are turning 70 years old about now.  Generation X has lead by bringing awareness of the doom we face if we continue on destructive paths and are designing avenues for change.  People of all ages are interested in technologies that can provide high quality water, food, shelter and medical assistance for people in the most remote corners of the world.  Young people always seem to be more inclusive and their ideas are being recognized and implemented.

Creativity abounds.  Foundations are being created to help people in nations worldwide to live more safe and healthful lives.  Here is a list of just 20 of the leading organizations working for world peace.  Look beyond the 6 o’clock news and the 24/7 cable news channels and you’ll see a completely different world out there.  The Movie and Entertainment industry has been producing consciously aware product since the sixties.  Books and educational videos are a wonderful source of inspiring information. The Internet brings people together.

What I’m really getting at is that there is every reason to have hope for planet Earth. Leaders in science, religion and spirituality around the world are coming together, if at  least in conversation, in an attempt to find common ground for the good of humanity. People are reaching people through the Internet and commerce.  We’re not singing Kum by yah yet, but we’re witnessing Quantum Mechanics proving much of what ancient Eastern religions have espoused for thousands of years.  Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims are joining with Secularists to find common ground and understand that we haven’t walked in each other’s shoes but many are willing to try.  When we work together we accomplish miracles. This is spreading Hope.

Our own lives are a microcosm of the larger world around us.  My wish for you is that your life is full of hope for your own future and you are inspired to spread love, kindness and joy wherever you can.

Hugs,

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Moment to Moment

Imagine how wonderful it would be if you could live your daily life without thought of past or future, paying full attention to just what you’re doing at the moment. Because if you could, there would be no fear of the unknown, no adjusting what you’re doing to fit what you think is expected of you by others, no fear of judgement to keep you restrained from creating to your full potential. There would be only the present moment with all its freedom to create with the full force of your joyful self. You do remember that joyful creative self, right?

Imagine what you could accomplish by focusing fully on anything you do. All your talent would arise because you would be out of your own way, out of your mind, so to speak! You would be free to feel the joy of pure inspiration. It would be reconnecting with the self within you that once knew such freedom. Like when you were a baby and the discovery of a new taste, like applesauce, sent chills through you and brought a big smile to your sweet face. We see innocence in babies and forget that we were once that baby. That innocent child who hasn’t yet been conditioned to worry about what others will think of their spontaneous reaction to pure pleasure.

It’s not easy to live in the moment, at first. It takes practice. Most of us have gotten into the habit of living in our minds, playing those old recordings of “our story” over and over and convincing ourselves that our future is limited to what our lives look like compared to those around us. I’m inclined to think it would be a much better world if we were taught in school to live in the moment, The Power of Now, as author Eckhart Tolle writes. We should be taught, at a young age, to protect ourselves from the conditioning of our own societies. To keep our youthful enthusiasm for life.

In my last blog, I wrote about purposely taking the time to be silent, even for just a few minutes a day to feel the connection we have to all life. When you live in the moment, it is that connection to all life that you are experiencing and it is the silence that will allow your creative self to poke it’s head through the door that may have been closed for a long, long time.

Just for fun, what if for just a moment, you pretend that you are someone else? You could even make up a short new history of “who you are”. You could come from that place if you need to and dare to create something new using a nom de plume, if you like. Something that’s just yours! Who cares what others think. I’ll bet you’ll feel good about it. Because who’s more important than you in this moment?

Frankly, I’m in awe of other people’s stories. Hearing their experiences and how they dealt with challenges is inspiring. There’s a best selling book in each of us. Our own biography. How would you like yours to read from this day forward?

Of this I am sure, that life is not a matter of luck, but rather of being Awake to the innate potential in each of us to create our own stories. To change them if we’re tired of the old direction.

The practice of consciously living in the moment, with full attention on what you’re doing, like attending to a loved one in your care, or a simple task like dusting furniture, relieves you of the pressure of thinking of what may seem like “more important” things in your past or future. There is nothing more important than this moment. It’s the only thing we can be sure we have. Treasure it. Acknowledge it. Enjoy it. Your creative powers will blossom, the tangible energy of your life will make you smile. You may even feel the freedom of early childhood again. You’ll be inspired!

I wish you all the joy of finding the present moment and living there.

Hugs,

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Grounded in Nature

Today is one of those days! Good days. As I write this, it’s a full moon and this moon-child is reflecting on the many wonderful gifts she’s been given. I have in mind, especially, two wonderful friends that have each been my dearest of friends since the day we met. Yvette was my next door neighbor when we were twenty-four years old and Cathy since our daughters were in the first grade together. That’s 45 and 37 years ago, respectively.

Only today, after all these years, did it dawn on me that Yvette and Cathy, who hardly know each other, have something very special in common and perhaps it’s what makes each of them such loving and thoughtful women. They are both master gardeners. And, please excuse the pun, they are probably the most grounded people I know. Their connection to the earth, more than even they may realize, appears to have given each a perspective on life that is simple, honest and firm. As an observer, one who is curious about human nature and been studying, in recent years, the connection of all life on our planet, I’m very fortunate to be close to these two remarkable women who are naturally so close to nature.

Yvette does most of her own gardening to this day (even the heavy lifting) and you would not see more beautiful landscaping in Architectural Digest or Better Homes and Gardens magazine. A visit from Yvette means a huge bouquet of a variety of flowers in a lovely vase will be brightening my living room. Her roses and hydrangeas are magnificent as are all her flowers, shrubs and trees. Hummingbirds and butterflies are happiest in her gardens. And so is Yvette. The beauty of nature is her life’s breath.

Cathy owned a large organic vegetable/produce farm for much of her young life. She can manage a crew of workers, haggle with buyers and sweep you off your feet with her earthy, witty, sense of humor. Organic produce wasn’t in all the markets in the 80’s. Most of us know now that the most beautiful produce is probably genetically modified to resist bugs, etc., or waxed to look picture perfect. I remember her telling me, “Don’t worry about a few flaws in the lettuce, if it’s good enough for the bugs, it’s good enough for you!” Today Cathy is in high demand by people who know her by reputation for her expert advice whether they’re starting a new garden, putting in new landscaping, or just wanting their gardens to thrive. She manages to help them all with a smile and her sage Mother Earth advice.

Being grounded is a physical thing as much as an expression of a mental state. We don’t need to get into quantum mechanics to observe nature and notice that everything in life is connected and, therefore, precious. Looking out my window I see the blue sky, the sun and passing clouds that nourish life in all its forms. I see birds that connect from the sky to the trees. Trees and plants that are rooted in the earth and home to the birds and other life forms. The trees and plants give us oxygen and we, along with animals, give them Carbon dioxide so we can all live together. Underground and in our lakes, rivers and oceans the life is tremendous. When you look at the grass or the street or the floor in your home, the fabulous life underground is not obvious. It’s actually one miracle after another if we use our imagination and visualize what’s happening under there 24/7. It’s all connected to us, we humans who are fortunate to be able to recognize the beauty of it all.

Stop and smell the roses is just a beginning. Consider how that rose is connected to you and the beauty of it all. Makes you feel beautiful, doesn’t it?

You don’t have to be a master gardener to get grounded. You just need to take a few minutes, everyday if you can, and be still. Be quiet. Listen to the silence. If you can’t take a walk in nature, think of a tree. There’s silence there even when the wind is blowing, the birds are nesting and the earth it grows from is teaming with active life. The tree is silent. The tree is peaceful. You will feel peaceful thinking of the peace in the tree. That’s being grounded. Life is easier when you’re grounded. Makes you want to hug a tree! Can’t believe I said that.

Caregivers need to be grounded and peaceful.

I wish you peace and beautiful walks in nature.

Hugs,

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Sometimes a Light Comes On!

Watching a video about the benefits of meditation the other day, a reference to multi-tasking related to stress caught my attention. That morning, my older daughter had mentioned that she had gotten distracted from our conversation because she was multi-tasking. Synchronicity?  When a subject comes up twice my antenna goes up.  Was something telling me to write about Caregivers and focusing on the task at hand?

Then, as I sat down to write, A LIGHT CAME ON, oh my, I’m the ultimate offender.

I don’t turn my phone off when I’m meditating. That’s ridiculous!  I get one or two calls often, early in the morning, and a text or two.  No wonder I’m always frustrated that I can’t get my meditation done early enough.  And what would the quality of that meditation be if I didn’t always have the thought in the back of my mind that I may be interrupted at any time?  There’s voicemail for heavens sake.  Ok.  That’s it.  Phone off from now on during meditation.  It’s a new day.  Namaste ;)

Caregiving, like any other important task, requires concentration and focus.  After all, we’re often dealing with medications and medical procedures.  We shouldn’t be cooking and doling out medication at the same time.  Even dressing someone or serving them meals could be more creative and pleasurable with full attention.  Tasks that become mundane could be less so if we were paying full attention instead of thinking about all the next things we have to do and becoming overwhelmed.  We would have less stress and frustration.

It’s just a thought.  If you’re a multi-tasker and life works well for you and those around you, that’s great. Keep going.  We’re not all the same.  However, if any of this discussion hits home, maybe it’s time for a LIGHT TO COME ON.  Maybe life could be more peaceful and enjoyable.

One aspect of this subject that I happen to be working on lately, with visibly nice results, is paying more attention (full attention) to the person with whom I’m speaking. I must admit my mind often wandered and I could feel less than interested in a subject someone else wanted to discuss.  I would often be thinking about how I would be able to solve their problem instead of just listening.  Sometimes people don’t need to have anything solved. They just need to be heard.

There is real pleasure in knowing that someone with whom you’ve engaged in conversation is enjoying being heard, maybe for the first time in a long time. Their eyes sparkle when they know their words are received with interest.  Putting other tasks aside to focus on another human being is most rewarding for all involved. I think we then go on to our next task ready to do a good job, by focusing on it.

It’s Spring, enjoy the season.

Hugs,

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A People Pleasing Non Conformist

Life is a tightrope for Caregivers!

Taking great care of our loved ones is so much more than just showing up each day. Great care means we have to use our hearts, minds and intuition when making decisions which are critical to the well being of those in our care. We’re taking responsibility for another persons life and the attention we give that responsibility is a testament to our own character. When all is said and done, will you be able to honestly say to yourself, “I think I did a good job because I did what I thought was right at the time”?

If it helps, there really is no “right”. There’s only the best decision that could be made with the information and circumstances you had at a given time. Isn’t that true for all of life?

Whoso would be a man must be a non conformist.
He who would gather immortals palms must not be hindered
by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Self-Reliance

Perhaps you look back and second guess yourself often. We all do when we’re in the throws of playing Doctor, Lawyer, Merchant, Chief and, also, for years after when we’ve had time to reflect. But it’s our tendency to look outside ourselves for approval that keeps the second guessing rolling in our minds. We hope for the approval of family, friends, doctors, society and our loved ones. There’s a lot of pleasing to do. They’re going to have “opinions”.

It’s natural to be easy to get along with when things are going well. It’s often hard but necessary to be a non conformist when a situation warrants. Especially if your loved one is suffering. Its really okay if you’re not liked by everyone. Even by doctors or administrators. We’ve been beaten into submission by society to think that we have to take a no when we need a yes. If you do your best to put your point across as nicely as possible, if doggedly, I’m sure you’ll get respect eventually even if you’re an inconvenience at the time. If not, who cares? You’ll have done your best.

My husband passed away in March seven years ago. I’m remembering the very irritated look on his doctor’s face when I showed up at his office without an appointment, my husband in his transfer chair in tow. I was getting no where over the phone and I needed help now. My husband was blind, deaf, suffering from congestive heart failure and had extreme anxiety. The anxiety and the various medications all his doctors had him on manifested into a frightening schizophrenic behavior that showed up each evening at sundown. If you’re not familiar with Sundowning Syndrome you can read a previous blog post here (click the following links to read Sundowning Part I, Sundowning Part II). His visions of men in trench coats with machine guns pointed at us were now showing up in the day time. This unwelcome office visit got the ball rolling and it took a couple of weeks to get insurance approvals, but we finally received the care needed. The doctor is a fine man, he was just too busy to really get involved in each individual case. It wasn’t personal, there was just no other way I could get what we needed without pushing as hard as I did. Upon my husband’s passing, he was the only doctor who called with condolences.

As a people pleaser most of my life, I credit my years of Caregiving with the lessons necessary to toughen me up. All my life I had been proud of the fact that I could get along with most anyone. As a child I was praised for being a pleasure in the classroom in school and at home for being easy to raise, I’m the oldest of four girls. We generally live up to what we’re praised for. But life has a way of rolling over us if we don’t find a balance.

I want to encourage all Caregivers to be who they are and expect to be respected for it. Those around you who matter will recognize your truth. And those in your care will be best cared for. Keep pursuing what you need to have the best life for yourself and those you love.

I wish you love and the courage of a non conformist.

 

Hugs!

 

 

 

As always, please email me with questions or comments at: patricia@caregivingcornerstone.com. I’ll get back to you promptly.

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