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Clearing space …

So I’m a day late (and a dollar short, as my dad would say), but I celebrated today by being on my own and doing things for myself. I’m realizing more and more how sadly lacking is balance in my life and that I must make every effort to reclaim it. First, I did a few chores around the house, generally tidying and cleaning a bit and getting rid of stagnant energy. This afternoon I went to a support group sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Society. It’s led by a woman I truly admire and respect, and even though I’ve attended these sessions before, I love hearing her stories and thus always get something out of them. She is certainly sharing her gifts with the world!

I had a huge box of old bills and receipts from years ago, plus another box of old mail, old bills, receipts, flyers. ALL GONE. I feel terrific. There’s a large black garbage bag sitting next to another large box of already discarded papers, all awaiting my trip to the shredder in a couple of weeks. (I have more to do, but only two more shopping bags plus another box that’s already been sorted once and needs putting away–or not.) The more I have them, the more I love purging parties. 😀 When I’m done–hopefully by the end of tomorrow–I’ll smudge, and welcome the new energy back into my space. Cleaning. Clearing. Calming. BALANCE.

And so in this time of rebirth and renewal, I’m working on renewing myself. I feel as if I’m coming out of a long, deep, stultifying sleep, as if I’m awakening from hibernation. Every day I’m feeling a little more connected to myself again. Certainly this is a time of changing cycles, isn’t it?

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Stop Trying to Fix Me

STOP TRYING TO FIX ME. LOVE ME INSTEAD.

Please, don’t try to fix me. I am not broken. I have not asked for your solutions.

When you try to fix me, you unintentionally activate deep feelings of unworthiness, shame and failure within me. I can’t help it. I feel like I have to change to please you, transform myself just to take away your anxiety, mend myself to end your resistance to the way I am. And I know I can’t do that, not on your urgent timeline anyway. You put me in an impossible bind. I feel so powerless.

I know your intentions are loving! I know you really want to help. You want to serve. You want to take away people’s pain when you see it. You want to uplift, awaken, caretake, educate, inspire. You truly believe that you are a positive, compassionate, unselfish, nice, good, kind, pure, spiritual person.

But I want you to know, honestly, friend, I feel like a steaming pile of shit when you try to ‘love’ me in this old way. It doesn’t feel loving to me at all. Quite the opposite. It feels like you’re trying to relieve your own tension by controlling me. Under the guise of you being ‘kind’ and ‘helpful’ and ‘spiritual’, I feel suffocated, smothered, rejected, shamed, and completely unloved. I feel abandoned in your love! Do you get that? I feel like you don’t actually care about ME, even though on the surface it sure looks like you care! But deep down it feels like you are holding an image of how I should be. Your image. Not mine!

It looks like your love but it feels like your violence. Do you understand?

Yet as soon as you stop trying to ‘help’ me, you are of the greatest help to me! I stop trying to change to please you! I feel safe, respected, seen, honored for what I am. I can fall back into my own power. I can trust myself again, the way you are trusting me. I can relax deeply.

Without your pressure, your demand for me to abandon myself and be different, healed, transformed, enlightened, awakened, mended, ‘better’, I can better see myself. I can discover my own inner resources. I can touch my own powerful presence. I feel safe enough to allow and express my true feelings, thoughts, desires, hold my own perceptions. I no longer feel smothered, a victim, a little child to your expert adult. The courageous adult in me rises. I breathe more deeply. I feel my feet on the ground. Loving attention drenches my experience, even the uncomfortable parts. My senses feel less dull. Healing energies emerge from deep within. I feel light, free, liberated from your fear. I feel respected, not shamed. Seen, not compared to an image.

You help me so much when you stop trying to help me, friend! I need my own answers, my own truth, not yours. I want a friend, present and real, not an expert or a savior.

And do you see, when you are trying to save me, you are actually abandoning yourself? You are running from your own discomfort, your own unlived potential, and focussing on mine? I become your ultimate distraction. I don’t want to be that for you anymore.

Let’s break this cycle together! Let’s stop trying to fix or save each other. Let’s love each other instead. Bow to each other. Bless each other. Hold each other. As we are. As we actually, actually, actually are.

– Jeff Foster

Photo: Lisa Bonet

WILD WOMAN SISTERHOOD

Embody your Wild Nature

Deep women are often misunderstood because they are extraordinary. They are once in a life time kind of people. Deep women are different. And what makes deep women different is who they are; their big hearts, intelligent minds and kind Spirits.

Their depth itself. People aren’t good at understanding what’s different, they’re not great at embracing it and most importantly, they don’t know how to keep it.

Deep women are misunderstood because they are unusual. They are not like most women out there who give a shit about what people think of them.

They are not afraid of speaking their mind; they are strong-headed, bold, brave.

Deep women are comfortable in their skin. They Love who they are and they own it.

They are self-aware of their strengths and weakness so they are always evolving to better versions of who they are. People might think they would change their essence for someone but the truth is that they are open-minded; open to change, compromise, and personal development.

They have a heart of gold. They don’t judge people and accept them for who they really are. They don’t jump into conclusions about people they’ve just met or people in their life. They believe in second and 99 chances. Deep women don’t give-up on people instead they fight for them until the end.

They see the beauty in people. They fall in Love with their flaws. And because they see the best in people, deep women are called naïve. Their eyes see beauty in what is broken, their hands feel tenderness in what’s damaged.

They feel everything. They feel pain and pleasure. They feel happiness and sadness. They feel confident and they feel insecure. They feel calm and anxious. Deep women are empathic because they feel other people’s feelings. People’s energy becomes theirs. People’s problems become of their own. And because deep women are connected to those around them in such a delicate way, they are seen as “sensitive”,” too emotional”, “too much”.

Deep women are passionate and love life. They adore kids. They are crazy about animals, food, travelling, music and the little things. Their passion for love is mistaken for desperation because they are committed. They pour their heart in everything they do. Their eyes are always glowing. Their positive attitude is often taken as being too enthusiastic or just plain fake.

They are thoughtful. They think about the little and the big things. They feed on details. They look for what is below the surface. They search for the magical side to people that they lock away. Deep women remember everything you tell them because they pay attention not because they want to have some sort of leverage on you when the opportunity presents itself.

They notice things about you that you don’t notice about yourself. They know your quirks like no one else does. They know your favorite things in the world by heart. Deep women are told they are complicated because they over-think while in fact they’re just complex.

Deep women are one of the best things that could ever happen to someone because they present to you a different level of life. A deeper one, a more meaningful one.

They help you fall back in love with who you are and reconnect to the world as a whole. They show you what really matters in life and why it does.

We need more deep women in this world who make life more than a journey; a lifetime dream worth fighting for. Deep women should be celebrated. Their depth should be praised and recognized.

-Farah Ayaad

WILD WOMAN SISTERHOOD
Embody your Wild Nature

The blessing of the snow

Truly, I’m enjoying the snow. It’s magical and beautiful and makes me happy. Walking in the silent snowflakes under misty streetlights is mysterious and a time to connect with the essence of Nature. Since I’ve been so stuck lately, this has been a perfect time to cocoon and hibernate and spend time with myself.

I’m using this time for me: sleeping when I need to, eating what I want when I want, reading or not, writing or not, watching TV or not, talking to others or not. I’m finding a bit more time to meditate each day. (Thanks again, L Gail Ludwig for Shores of Earth and Spirit’s Nutshell Meditation “Forgive”.) I’m appreciating the Snow Goddess (surely there is one!) I’m clearing out some clutter–sorting and filing last year’s stuff to make way for the new. Smudging. Making mango jam and cupcakes. And slowly but surely I’m finding my way back to myself. This silent, snowy solitude has created a place to hide and heal, to lick the wounds of life and freeze away the pain of disappointments. A poetess I know wrote and posted,

“Just when I needed it
snow came
blanketed homes
and the surrounding streets
with a light-infused calmness
noises vanished
I stopped rushing
darkness disappeared.”

Thank you, Lilija Valis. This is exactly right for me. Since I’ve stopped rushing, I am more aware of Spirit and Self again, and for the first time in a long time I feel more hopeful that my connectivity and creativity are not lost. They’re still there, waiting. They’re just in hibernation. And so I can share part of my own writing from today,

“As the snow melts
so will my indifference,
and, stronger now from living on this island of aloneness
I will step out into the warm wind,
holding my face to the sun.”

I’ve still got a way to go, but I know my feet are starting on the path once more. Perhaps it’s the Feast Day of Aphrodite on February 6–nothing wrong with a little self-love, is there? Or maybe it’s the thoughts of Spring, which surely is hiding, waiting to pop up in a few short weeks. Whatever. It’s all okay.

Another Caregivers Prayer

There are lots of these out there, and Heaven knows we need as many as we can find, every day!

This one was written by Carol J. Farran, DNSc, RN, and Eleanore Keane-Hagerty, MA, in 1989 and printed in The American Journal of Alzheimer”s Care and Related Disorders & Research.

12 Steps for Caregivers

Although I cannot control the disease process, I need to remember I can control many aspects of how it affects me and my relative. I need to:

  • Take care of myself so that I can continue doing the things that are most important.
  • Simplify my lifestyle so that my time and energy are available for things that are really important at this time.
  • Cultivate the gift of allowing others to help me, because caring for my relative is too big a job to be done by one person.
  • Take one day at a time rather than worry about what may or may not happen in the future.
  • Structure my day, because a consistent schedule makes life easier for me and my relative.
  • Have a sense of humor, because laughter helps to put things in a more positive perspective.
  • Remember that my relative is not being “difficult” on purpose, rather that his/her behavior and emotions are distorted by the illness.
  • Focus on and enjoy what my relative can still do rather than constantly lament over what is gone.
  • Increasingly depend upon other relationships for love and support.
  • Frequently remind myself that I am doing the best that I can at this very moment.
  • Draw upon the Higher Power, which I believe is available to me.
Reprinted from The American Journal of Alzheimer”s Care and Related Disorders & Research, November/December, 1989, 4(6), 38-41.

http://alzlive.com/spirit/well-being/the-caregivers-prayer/

Here’s to a happy, happy new year.  Using numerology, 2017 is a One year, a year to start something brand new, something that expresses our uniqueness, that uses our leadership abilities, that opens us to new perspectives. As we leave our old stories behind and write new chapters on the shiny new pages of the coming year, I wish you health, happiness, and an abundance of blessings.

And thus I start paying more attention to my blog … starting soon.  😉

 

Caregiving for a living

Caregiving for a living isn’t.  Living, I mean.  It’s tiring and draining and frustrating and horrible.  There are few satisfactions, few days when one feels as if something’s been accomplished with a feeling of happiness at the end of the day after falling into bed.  Generally, it’s falling into bed exhausted.  The unseen organizing and re-scheduling and challenges take their toll.  Every day.  Never mind the personal care and the planning and the shopping and the cooking and cleaning and dodging bullets and trying keep everyone happy.  There’s little thanks to be had in this sort of job; certainly no paycheque or benefits.  Sick days are an impossibility.  Vacations–even days off–are rare.

It’s not a job we actually apply for.  It just happens, insidiously, as one chore is added to another, piled on top of a great mountain called Need which becomes greater and greater.  And there’s no end in sight.

Caregiving is, as one friend puts it, “relentless, energy depleting, joyful, compassionate work … even more so when it’s Mums or Dads, because boundaries aren’t always respected.”  Amen to that.

Tired, tired, tired, tired.