“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. “
– Lily Tomlin
Always too much to do and not enough time in which to do it!
Seek and you will find “Seizing The Power Of Joy”
Don’t take life so serious, seriously!
Train your thought life, worrying is a waste of a perfectly good thought waiting to blossom… “My friends, count it all joy when you fall into various trails, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 Do I have worrisome thoughts yes! I am a work in process…….
Gratitude is easiest of all the things on this list to achieve, why? Because gratitude breeds contentment. And contentment breeds clear thinking, and productive ideas which leads to solutions. Find something to be grateful for, yes really!
“Gratitude secretes joyful endorphins and supports your soul to rest in contentment.”_B. Miller
Discipline your MOUTH! Speak encouragement to yourself and to others! If this is not possible say nothing at all… This one is tougher because it is easier to say nothing to others, not so much to yourself, because we are always in our heads… “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21 The tongue can be used as a weapon to cause harm or as encouragement to heal.
Release Forgiveness!!! Forgiveness is “The breaker of chains” unlock the chains that bind and free yourself. – Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also mustforgive. Colossians 3:13
Slow down give yourself a multitasking break, be kinder to yourself. “A busy life does not always equal a productive one.”
My mother has always told me and my siblings to “keep looking up.”
Most of us know the story of David. He was a great king but he is also famously know as “A man after God’s own heart.” Most if not all of us can relate to David’s story because he is also know as a “man of many miseries.”
God our father in his infinite time and wisdom was constantly raising David up from his many afflictions. David kept looking up even when his head was bowed in shame. But David says to God “you are the lifter of my head” David understood the weight of being parented. Psalms 3:3
“Love and discipline are a double-edge-sword. And when you are a single mother parenting three children and the father has abandoned his position you are left carrying the total weight of the sword.” ~B. Miller
“A praying mother is more precious and valuable than all the riches in the world.”
Take heart through his trials and choices David teaches us that the same hand that disciplines is the same hand that strengthens.
Thank you mother for your double edged sword that often cut deeply, but also Christened us with a healing balm to strengthen us as we continue to navigate life and learn from the highs and the lows.
Today I am grateful for this precious gift our mother gave to us to keep looking up no matter what. My sister Audrey says of our mother whenever we are reminiscing about our upbringing that “she was not perfect no one is, but, she was perfect for us.”
We love our Mother!
Barbara, Audrey, and, Liz (her grand daughter). And our dear departed brother Reginald whose unconditional love and laughter we miss everyday 😘
“What is your life but a journey? Some journeys are short while others are much longer. Our earthly stopover is to return better people than when we arrived. To live unselfishly and do good work. Joyful journeys rest on giving and receiving Grace, whenever the opportunity arises give and accept it freely.”
Throughout history the world has been endangered with plagues and pandemics. I won’t use this post as a history lesson but rather as a reminder of the impermanence of our existence. In this time of Coronavirus we have witnessed the medical community transform death into a human endeavor by communicating with families about the progress or lack thereof concerning their loved ones by utilizing technology such as zoom, phone calls, FaceTime, Skype or other media platforms. Those on the front lines are laboring to establish humanness before a patients final transitional moment. Families cannot stand in the same space that their loved ones struggle to survive in during this time of Coronavirus. Medical professionals are the last voice or face many patients will hear or see before the final goodnight. They are the last connection, “one human being to another standing in the gap where the will to live or the inevitability of death is not always open to a desired outcome.” (Holstein, 1997)
I write this post from a place of heartache for my daughter who lost her father, my ex-husband, during this time of forbidden comfort. The reassurance that arms will circle you, and shoulders will be available, waiting to catch you as you weep silently, or wail out loud in grief are forbidden. The comfort that generations of families have been ordained to offer through the years is suddenly without warning, gone. And until you are standing graveside you will not understand the pain and unfairness of it all.
I stood beside my daughter both donned with PPE but not quite six feet apart, a bit closer, and softly, with my arm barely touching her waist. Irresponsible l know but what would you do if your heart of hearts was breaking apart at the seams… and now I wait to see if “love in the time of Coronavirus” will supersede this killer of family consolation. There is much that was left unsaid between them lost in the complexities of the father daughter bond. That is a post for another time… so, she is left with the guilt of not having had the opportunity to have one more chance at “girl dad” bonding. I was communicating with a friend this morning about the heartbreak of it all when she reminded me of something that I heard growing up “guilt and death go hand in hand.”
Research shows that “time is the most valuable commodity.” James brother of Jesus said “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” My daughter grieves for the loss of her father’s life but she also grieves for a mother who is getting on in age. She said I have loss so many people lately. Her father and two of his siblings transitioned within what feels like months of each other. We lost my brother, her uncle, in June. A guy she was dating, and, a friend gone, vanished…
As we talked I rejected the notion of sugar coating the moment. The history of death is as old as time itself. But with a mothers heart I listened and responded to her wounded soul when she said that she is afraid of losing me. I am a realist so even in her grief I had to say the hard thing “one of us will lose the other someday” but selfishly I pray that time is a long ways off.
I made peace with death a long time ago. I have never been a drawn-out griever and I don’t want to be grieved for in lengthy despair. Why has no place in the discussion of death, why, because it just is? As for me when the light comes (counting on a light) I humbly grant permission for a simple service of my cremated remains, the people you leave behind need the closure…
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
~Hunter S. Thompson,
Did I do some things I’m not proud of, hell yes I did! But my hope is that the good I did was valuable to the family I choose to take this journey with, and, to the fellow travelers I met along the way.
I wrote this poem and sent it to my daughter after learning of her fathers crossing-over…
Empty streets, fewer people, less pollution. Mother Earth is healing! She is silencing and slowing her vibration, why? Because of reduced human noise. There is a lesson to be learned in this valley of forced slowing down. We are in earth’s school and this lesson is pass or fail. You cannot run away from the lesson, unlearned lessons manifest themselves again… often more savage than the last because of disrespect for the first, or, the last depending on where you are on the journey. Do not despair or run away from your boredom. The people of earth have caused a state of forced nothingness. And the domino effect has caused Mother Earth to still and slow her vibrations, God ordained, science verified.
We did this, we slowdown the chaotic vibrations of earth by being in a state of nothingness. Make no mistake the spirit of the earth is still vexed by the harm caused at the hands of those that Father Mother God gave charge of the earth to. We the humans have this tremendous opportunity before us “to do better, why because we know better.” Tread lightly as we dive back into the the busyness of our lives, remember this lesson, and walk in the truth that what we do and how we live effects the planet on which we live. Do not take the stillness for granted, this hollow space in time that stopped the world.
“Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it.” Isaiah 42:5
What a Blessed Assurance that when we lie down to sleep we can rest knowing we don’t have to control this act of pause from the hurried and busy activities of daily life and from the dialogue in our minds. Resting in the knowledge that God is in control is warm milk and honey. This verse tells us that the Lord will sustain us in this time of turning off, and, tuning out the day at hand, the sorrows of yesterday, and the anxiousness of tomorrow. It’s not easy but try if you will to turn it over and relinquish control. I will be joining you on this journey for I too am learning to let go and let God take the night as I journey to respite.
“As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”
_ James Allen
The Menopause Reclamation
When I was a young girl I happened upon a book with companion cassettes on top of the stereo that sat in front of the picture window in our living room. The book was “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen the first copyright by the way was 1903. I was born in 1956 so around the time I read it during my middle school years the book had been in circulation 53 plus years. And yes you read it right my middle years; I was a bookworm and a nineteen sixties version of a nerd with pink cat-eyed glasses, no waist, long legs, and high-water jeans. Sitting here writing and reminiscing I am realizing it was really kinda cool that my mother purchased or was gifted a body of work such as this. A not so new age way of believing as Allen penned “dealt with the power of thought, and particularly with the use and application of thought.”
“I never asked my mother where the books or cassettes came from, and, I don’t remember the two of us ever discussing it. In fact now that I sit here celebrating this long ago memory I realize now that this type of book was oddly out of place in our home. And quite out of character for my mother to have in her possession let alone read and believe. But life as her carer has revealed much about her I never knew. I recollect reading the book and listening to the tapes often. I recall a feeling of fascination when I read this unfamiliar teaching. It was contrary to what I new about life up to this point in my life; but it also felt hip to have this knowing, as if I possessed a secret not everyone I knew was privy too. The power of thought could influence the trajectory of your life, go figure, it would not be long before I would abuse before embracing this idea.
I would grown on to experience lakes of tears, bitter disappointments, and occasional wins before I would be able to truly understand and practice the truth of what I had read as a girl on the edge of puberty and change. I do credit this early teaching with my ability to adapt to change. Throughout my adult version of life more young I dealt with a lot of dissatisfaction triggered by negative thinking. I didn’t think very highly of myself a series of events, and, things unspoken, buried but not forgotten led to some very tough self-taught lessons. Lessons I would return to time and time again before this grasshopper would finally have the courage to claim her own heart with all diligence and not relinquish control to someone else. “I have often placed the blame on my high tolerance for pain, the need to please, my insatiable curiosity, and, the vigorous blood coursing through my veins; so high the tolerance it became a obstacle to learn from the lessons always before me.” And as unfortunate luck would have it this led to a ten car pile-up of negative thinking. Of course no one knew except my mind, my heart, and God. For the most part no one was the wiser, I was funny, I made people laugh, but, those pesky “tears of a clown when there’s no one around.”
That was then this is now, let’s fast forward to somewhere around perimenopause the beginning of a different kind of change which felt a lot like puberty in reverse. By the way I am now in the evening of my life commonly referred to as post menopause. Menopause, aka “the change” was a battle for me. It was a season ripe for complaining and negative thinking. The battlefield was littered with pieces of me exhausted from the loss of life giving estrogen but I kept getting up. There were times it would have been easier to throw in the towel but I was too busy using it to mop up the night sweats and hot flashes. Now comes the part where I rise up like a phoenix, somewhere in the crossing over something changed, get it changed. My body and mind were under renovation a rebirth of sorts a maturation that demanded attention, and, nurturing. It was often traumatic this rising up an re-birthing; during this reverse puberty my body and mind under went an intense amount of stress however; I wanted to survive these new more hellish mental and physical metabolic changes that were occurring in my mind and body. The breaking down, the unraveling would not undo me. Acts one and two had produced a full life, but not an easy one.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” _ Ernest Hemingway. And so it is I became stronger at all the broken places, enter act three. Right thinking and ongoing positive affirmation practice produced healthy mind fruit. I am a miracle in the making. I stood on the truth of thought and the hard work of right thinking became my devotion to myself. James Allen’s truth was born from biblical truth found in the book of Proverbs 23:7 “As a man Thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Both books “that will help you help yourself.” During this passionate time of “life interrupted” try to remember “you really are what you think all the live long day.” Despite the upheaval of a mind always in motion remember they are only feelings (but the night sweats are real) and feelings are fickle mind games and cannot be trusted so resolve to think rightly this change in life is easier for some more than others, but, “Right thought is Mastery.” This is my story, I wish you peace and cool nights on your journey, be Blessed!
“Turn within slow your heart’s spin listen in hear it tell you to begin.” __ Colleen Kavanaugh
Modern day alchemy is the art of transformation, Paulo Coelho author of The Alchemist writes that “real alchemy is the ability to manifest personal change.” The ability to change is necessary to survival and good mental health. Meditation is a means by which transformation/change can occur to create a more grounded life as you navigate life less young. And really sometimes you just need to give your mind and mouth a rest and just be.
Move into a quite space, focus on your breathing, allow your breath to flow like a slow slow dance. Concentrating on a word, a short phase, or a stationary object are a few techniques I use to make my practice more grounded. Yes your mind will wander, after all the mind will do pretty much whatever it wants to do. Be careful not to judge your thoughts, practice bringing your wandering mind back to your breath start over as many times as necessary. Be gentle with yourself, practice really does make perfect…
Easy ways to start the practice of mindfulness:
· Memorize a scripture repeat repeat repeat
· Make peace with aging; aging is as necessary as breathing
· Pause before acting
· Respond don’t react
· Pay attention listen to others
· Be available in your here and now
· Tune out and tune inward
· Be grateful for enough “Enough is a feast.”
· Exercise the mind with positive affirmations “I am getting stronger every day.”
According to a post on Aging Today by Lucia McBee “Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) offers family caregivers a mind-body approach toward their personal health and healing. MBI coaches caregivers by giving them coping skills for conditions that affect older adults dealing with chronic illness.” “Mindfulness in caring allows carers of older family members to live with what cannot be changed, and improve their mental health.” Hurley, Patterson and Cooley, published in Aging & Mental Health (18:3, 2014).
Where do you go for ?
A Good starting place is to practice the fruits of the Spirit:
Meditating on the “fruits of the spirit” brings peace and quite to the soul as you go about taking care of the activities of daily living yours, and, theirs. Caring for an elder parent is both rewarding and challenging. The role reversal is uncomfortable it will make you both feel strange and often times will put a strain on the closest relationship. I lean heavily on scripture and faith and even heavier in times of seemly hopelessness. Everyone is having a hard time dealing with this new relationship dynamic.
The “fruits of the spirit” listed above are my waking walking meditation focus words. Meditation does not always involve sitting in a criss-cross applesauce position. There will be times when the demands of life and exhaustion will not allow you to rise early enough to engage in a quite practice and ground yourself before the activities of caring begins for the day. Focusing on one or several of the fruits as you go about the business of caring will help to keep you calm and grounded. Take this practice for a spin my hope is that this practice will help you to respond fruitfully instead of reacting in frustration.
“Caregiving is the art of living in the moment, the ability to improvise in a split second. Improvisation in caregiving is a skill that requires a spontaneous honest work of the heart. Enter stage right give it your best efforts until the final curtain call.” Barbra Miller
Parenting your aging mother or father is a delicate balancing act. It is ever changing. It requires tapping into your creative side in order to maintain trust and nurture your relationship. Forget winning arguments, you are not 16 and they are not your once younger parent trying to guide you to safe adulthood.
Their journey is filled with so many things to fear, they are afraid of losing their independence, becoming a burden on loved ones, being taken advantage of and relinquishing control over their lives.
Be patient with yourself. Caring for an older parent will both empty you and fill you up all at once. Everyone can’t do it, no judgement here, it is tougher than you can possibly imagine. Be flexible tap into the creative you it will help to relieve the stresses of which there will be many.