“What did I do to Deserve This?” How our questions influence us forever.

cropped-garden-of-the-gods.jpgWe were driving home from a very frustrating doctors visit, with a doctor who knew little about dementia or how to deal with a dementia patient.  I was looking for assistance with home health for bathing and medication for her anxiety.  Instead, I came away with paperwork on cooking for a patient with high-blood pressure… sigh.  My mother-in-law had already forgotten about the traumatic visit and was distracted by the huge cumulus clouds banking all around the sky.   Suddenly, the sky opened up to a huge downpour. The rain was so heavy and strong even the wipers on full blast could not keep up. It was a bit terrifying for me, who loves storms, trying to see and keep on the freeway.  She was in quite a panic.  Then she asked, “What did I do to deserve this?” Continue reading ““What did I do to Deserve This?” How our questions influence us forever.”

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First Things First

10525916_781390441881524_13519433434744531_n[1]When life gets busy and crazy with a never-ending to-do list usually I tend to roll up my sleeves and get on the treadmill and keep going and going and going.  It takes a while for me to realize I have gone too far over the edge.   Yesterday, I thought about working out.  Hmmmm how long has it been?  Over a week…No wonder I am feeling lethargic and tense. Really, I know the fact is, the busier I am, the more I need to be aware of what it takes to keep me functioning – physically and emotionally.   Just like I need to set up routines in my life to make sure the dishes are done every day and people have food to eat, I must have some routines in place to keep me balanced and energized.   Everyone is different.  For me I need to do these things every day!! Continue reading “First Things First”

Living With Dementia

Titus and his Great Gram!
Titus and his Great Gram!

All things considered, it could of been a lot worse.  The transition of moving my MIL to my home went very smoothly.  I took her out shopping and eating while hubby and the kids worked hard and recreated her apartment in my former master suite.  On bringing her home we just showed her, her new home.   She keeps forgetting where she lives and we have to bring her into her room over and over again.  Repeatedly, it is like she is seeing it for the first time and is happy with it and very thankful. Continue reading “Living With Dementia”

Good Grief (even when it doesn’t feel good)

Good GriefJanuary marks an anniversary of my father’s death.  It is not marked on my calender and has been over 25 years.  Sometimes I don’t remember or acknowledge it, but this year it came into my mind. I am writing a Middle School curriculum on The Vikings and a High School study on the book Kon Tiki by Thor Hyerdahl (one of his favorites).  It was one of those moments where I thought “OH wow, the movie Kon Tiki is on instant Netflix, I need to call my dad and tell him.”  Of course, the next moment realizing I cannot do that brings a wave and sadness and grief to my heart.  Thankfully, as I go ahead and say it to him aloud and enjoy the movie and my  heritage, the grief passes and I can rejoice in life as it is today.  This has not always been the case.  The very strong emotions I felt after his death were the most intense I had ever experienced.  Granted I was pregnant, had a preschooler to care for and was exhausted from his long illness.  At that time it  was all completely overwhelming, so I just responded by stuffing those painful emotions down as far as possible.  Of course the result  was a crazy horrible depression t hat lasted for too long of a time.  Digging out of that pit and learning to deal with all these uncomfortable emotions was a difficult journey and also a gift to myself and to everyone around me.  I am so thankful for those lessons learned.  When my mom passed, I was able to deal with the strong painful emotions and come out on the other side quicker.  While I still miss them, I honor the memory by living my life fully charged and with purpose.

This experience has led me to focus on helping grieving people in my coaching. Losing a loved one is hard and painful.

One exercise I have found very helpful is to write a letter to your loved one.   Explain to them what you are thankful for, then what you are angry about and finally how you wish things could be.  These items take you through most of the emotions of grief and sharing them with your loved one helps to acknowledge them and validate them.  After this tell them you will remember and hold on what is good and then say goodbye.  This is a hard step.  People often say, “But, it has only been one week, …or month …or year….!”  consciously saying goodbye is accepting reality.  It takes you out of denial and allows the grieving process to work within you.  This may need to be done more than once and even years later.

If you find yourself stuck in any of the stages or emotions of grief denial, anger , depression, bargaining-find someone to help you get out of it.  These stages are necessary and normal, but getting stuck in any one doesn’t help and the longer you stay , the harder it is to get out.  Working through grief is one of my specialties, primarily because I had quite a struggle with it when my Dad passed away and just couldn’t find the help I needed.

The process of grief is painful and challenging, however it can bring new strength and endurance to your life.

Thankful for this extra hour!!

sunrise
Good morning world!

Hooray for the time change!!

Last night I was ready for sleep at 6pm, but resisted until 9. LOl

Now, this morning, the dogs are up at 5:30 ready to play.  The good news, for my goal of getting up cheerful for the day, is this is very helpful!  Yes, I am up, walked, fed, dressed, music on and ready to write my blog!

A good example to me of embracing what I can’t change (unless I want to move to Arizona).  There are some battles to fight, change, adjust in my life, but this is not one of them and I can adapt and learn and grow.  There are so many areas where I need to release control, it can feel frustrating.  But really, in all situations I can choose to control my thoughts, beliefs and actions.  This is the place where I can choose life, goodness, blessings and joy!

Gratitude is a great place to start.  We overlook many opportunities for gratitude every day.   Are you alive?  Are you breathing?  Can you walk. or move your arms?  Wow!  A great day!    After living in Haiti and showering and washing clothes by hand, I was so grateful for hot water and a washing machine.  It has been awhile since I really appreciated this luxury.

Our habit for November is Gratitude !

What Can you be grateful for today?

Making Life Work Today!

op shop quilt

Dealing with the move of my Mother in Law this summer has been a great time of learning and growing for me. I have been amazed at my ability to have great compassion and patience as well as regretful moments of selfishness and anger.

It is such a balancing act for me (and I imagine all of us) to  keep up with all the roles we  are expected to play in our lives.   A few things I have come to terms with during this time have been very helpful.

1)Live in the Present-   One of the issues we have faced in this journey is sorting through and getting rid of many, many years of stuff. I am a collector too, so I am understanding that getting rid of things is torture. I do not totally understand why we feel that keeping stuff helps to remember the past, but it is a strong need. Then again, what if I might need it in the future? Somehow this misconception that clutter from stuff can bring me safety has to go. I know it is a gift that I move so much and had to face this over and over again and purge what is not relevant at this time. If I haven’t finished that quilt in 15 years, then I really don’t need to hang on to it as a reminder, and most likely I won’t get it finished in the next 15 . It is freeing to release it.  Others can use it or it needs to be thrown away. How wonderful it is to be free of the excess clutter and easily find what is needed for today.

Same with relationships. I need to deal with people where we are today, not how they were years ago or even last week. I have grown and so have they. I must grow with my children, respecting each stage of their lives and adapt to this, rather then hold on to what once was. It is always sad when good friends move away and relationships change.  I need to  release them and be joyful for them a in this new stage, and be thankful for the good this relationship has brought me.

What can you do to embrace the present in your life?  What can you get rid of
to make room for the now?

2)  Core Values!
Halfway through the week, I was wondering “Why am I doing so well.  This is hard, but I am having fun and life is flowing??” Then it hit me- I was totally walking in my Values!!!   Of all the emotional health processes I have done, working on these values has been one of the most impacting. In the past I have taken time to think through the situation and how I could make it work within my values. When I have done this in the past (for example, when I was caring for my mom on hospice), I have been able to balance my life and feel congruent in who I am inside and the me I am presenting outwardly. Life has flowed.  So, to find I was doing this unconciously and it was working so well was very exciting.  I will write more about values in another blog.  I really don’t like the name, but can’t seem to come up with a better one. Your values are the elements of your life that bring great joy.  The things you must experience in life that empower you toward your purpose. Just like with the clutter, we often cling to what we think is important when it is keeping us from going forward.  The process of developing our values, gives us a chance to evaluate what to keep and what to let go.

This motivated me to make plans for my Core Values Weekend- Nov 1-4.   I have done this before with other people, but am excited to do it on my own with my style!! See post on another blog for more info!!

What elements in your life bring you great joy and empowerment?  What elements do not and maybe need to be let go?

What do you suggest?  How can we embrace the present and enjoy it as a gift?

Patchwork quilt