What holds you up?

I am tired, sad and struggling. I can’t seem to shake the tiredness left over from my cold and the stress of traveling and my husband’s surgery. I have a strange habit of not reacting physically to something when it is happening but it always hits when things are getting better. I guess I should have expected this.

holds you upI have mentioned before that I am blessed to have four dear friends. I know that it is rare to have four and thank God for it. They hold me up when I am down. At the moment two of them are having problems to deal with. Things that maybe can be solved and maybe not. I feel so much grief for what they have been and are going through. If only I could help more or take away some of the pain. Sometimes the only thing we can do is be present but it doesn’t feel like enough.

For the last month I have had to cope with the things in my own life and it has taken me away from being present more than I wanted. I hope that things shift soon and become more manageable.

I don’t know that any of us could possibly have coped without having a deep faith in a loving God. When things seem impossible leaning on God is my only recourse. Somehow I can sense his presence in the midst of all the chaos.  My friends feel the same and we all have the prayers of many to uphold us. At times is is possible to actually feel that support and love.

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I know there are people who don’t have this belief and that is their decision. I wold find it lonely and fearful without it. I hope that everyone has something that they can hold on to in the midst of life’s trials. May you find that thing that gives you peace and strength to hold on.

Change?

The last 3 or 4 months I felt as is my life was on hold. It now feels different to have my husband’s surgery behind us and move forward. In some ways I have put my life on hold. I haven’t done any mediations or scheduled any appointments. Now I want to get back to my life. There will be healing time and check ups but that can be managed.

It has been strange to plan little for myself and I miss it. I look forward to what I call “a new normal.” I have discovered that life is never consistently normal. We can go along for a while and this something changes our plans and our perspective. I have decided to call this “new normal’ and not expect to get back to the old one.

change is a process

Life is constantly changing. That is one thing we can be sure of. The trick is to learn how to deal with the changes. Also it is important to know that nothing will always stay the same. When we are young we hope for change—growing up and getting to do the adult things. When we have been adults for long enough we realize that it may not be what we imagined.

As children we don’t understand that with adulthood comes increased responsibility. We are the ones who have to make decisions about life altering things and we don’t always choose the easy path. It was a lot of fun when we weren’t the responsible one.

Change is one of the stressors that can set off anxiety and depression and we do have to learn ways to manage it. Some people love change but I am not one of them. It can be hard to let go of a calm and peaceful time and move through something that is not much fun. For me, acceptance that change is inevitable is the first step and then to imagine weathering my way through the storm. Finding any good that is in the change helps and picturing what life will be like on the other side. When change hits us suddenly it is harder to get through. If we expect it we can think our way ahead and do better.

new life loading concept on blackboard

Change is a challenge we can win!

 

Are we disposable?

Yesterday I wrote about too much stuff and today I am following that thought with this one. Have we truly become a disposable society?

Many places are working to become more earth friendly and recycle some of the waste we create. But we are not there yet. Too often when something grows old we just throw it away.

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When I was a child anything that was broken was taken to be repaired. It was considered too valuable to be just thrown out. Now we not only have too much but also don’t fix things. I know that the racing pace of technology makes keeping old phones, computers etc. impractical and no one wants them. That is where we are.

I do have a concern about where we can be headed and in some cases where we already are. How disposable are people? As a nurse my 20 years visiting the elderly made me lament their current life. So many of them were in nursing homes with no sense of purpose in life. You walk down the halls and they are just sitting in wheelchairs all alone. Many people who walk by do not even acknowledge their existence or see them as too senile to speak to them. This disturbed me greatly. I always spoke and offered a smile or a handshake. They were so grateful to be seen.

Are we putting them away out of sight? Are they disposable? Does their current life have any value?

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Somehow we have to find a better way. Nursing homes are trying to offer programs for stimulation but it is too little too late. We have to begin understanding that we are living longer and, hopefully, in good health. But sometimes we have run out of resources to pay to be in a better place, have better health options, and better care. Sometimes we are struck by illness that leaves us less than ourselves. What to do?

The earth is overcrowded now and we are living longer. Will we start recycling our elderly as food like in Soylent Green?

Too much stuff!

Today we are back from the Mayo Clinic with a successful surgery done. Thanks be to God!

stuffOn the car trip for some reason I noticed the number of storage facilities we passed. It made me thing about what a wasteful society we are. We have so many things that we have to rent storage containers to store the excess. Think of what good that excess could do.

When I was young in the 50’s and 60’s people didn’t buy things they couldn’t pay for. In the 50’s the only credit card I remember was American Express that was used by people when they traveled. Now there are so many that I doubt we could name them all in several days.

While watching the news it was said that 11% of people would be willing to go into debt to get the new Iphone. I think they said it is $1600. Amazing!

We are so terribly terribly wasteful. We throw away perfectly good food. Buy new versions of electronic equipment frequently trashing the perfectly good ones we have. We can’t continue this way. The glut of things that we have flows over into storage areas that we pay money to rent.

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What is wrong with us?

Meditation is worth the work

caroline-myss-quiet-mind-meditation-quoteMeditation can be a daunting idea. For most of us our minds are running full speed and we can even have difficulty turning them off to sleep. This is the most common complaint heard by physicians about insomnia….”I just couldn’t turn my mind off.”

We hear that meditation will calm us and release endorphins. We can listen to meditation tapes and find ourselves wandering from the voice’s instructions. Turning our minds off is a difficult task.

Our minds have been running like this for years. What makes us think that turning off the thoughts can be just a matter of sitting down and expecting it to happen. Just like anything else in life it is a skill that we have to learn. To learn it we have to practise*. I have friends who run marathons and they have to be consistent in their training. They can’t just go out and run without work.

The same thing is true of meditation. We have to retrain our mind. You can’t learn to shut thoughts off like snapping your fingers. It takes time, work and consistency.

When we start to learn this new skill we must have patience with ourselves. We try it and we can’t stop the mind and we think it is hogwash and a failure. It isn’t any more than trying to run a marathon by just deciding…”today I am going to run 26 miles.”

In the beginning the only thing that we may accomplish is just taking time to sit or lie quietly. This is not a bad thing in itself. It helps to just stop for a while. Paying attention to your breath and checking your body for tension is always good. The next step is to recognize the thoughts that are running through your mind. My first (and very best) yoga instructor told us to see that thought and mentally watch it slide across your mind and on out. Continue to do this with each thought that occurs. With practise* you will notice less thoughts intruding and by watching them go by you are not allowing them to really intrude.

meditation

Learn to take time for meditation. My yoga instructor said that when we are awake we are like a car in forward gear. When we are asleep we are in reverse. When we are in meditation we are in neutral. A good analogy.

Meditation is wonderful…learning it is a task worth putting time into.

*word press wants me to change practise to practice. Practise is the verb. Practice is a noun.

A Challenging time

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It looks as if we are coming to the end of a long journey. My husband knew his knee needed help August a year ago. He saw an orthopedist who scheduled surgery for January…quite a wait. The road to this surgery was rocky. As a nurse I think the physician did not want to do this surgery since for the next four months he came up with one hurdle after another. Feeling this was not the right path we cancelled and made an appointment with the Mayo Clinic. We had to wait until June for an appointment but since then things have gone smoothly and his surgery will be next Tuesday.

This has been a long journey for us both. The knee fix is complex and we are definitely at the right place. We have both had to endure stress, frustration and a worsening of my husband’s pain.

The year also posed some family crises and other stressful times. The good news is that, God willing, we are heading to some healing.

what will beThe other good news is that in spite of all the things this year put in front of me I got through it. There have been some times of anxiety and physical symptoms but each one was conquered and I was able to move on. Writing helped and I find that it is an outlet for the things that come up day to day.  It will continue to be my place for reflection and ideas. It is a joy to have others read and respond.

Now I will face the next week with the hope that all will go well. Then we can begin the process of picking up the pieces and moving forward.

 

Are there survivors?

Since this is suicide prevention awareness month I wanted to post it in a different way. I am thankful that I have never considered suicide but have been depressed enough that I understand how it feels to think that not existing is the only solution.

Survivor_Day_Postcard_Pic_t240I have been involved with families who have experienced suicide and have seen the result first hand. I am distraught by the number of suicides that we are seeing in young people today and the devastating impact on the families.

Suicide automatically leaves guilt behind for loved ones. The first questions they ask themselves is “what did I do wrong?” This is followed by “why didn’t I know?” Parents may want to place blame as a way of removing themselves from the equation. Sometimes one parent blames the other. Marriages disintegrate and families split apart. This result is sometimes called “suicide survivors.” Are they really surviving?

The impact on others is far reaching. Friends will also feel guilt and issues of blame arise also. “If only I had been a better friend.” “If only others had been kinder.” The ripples from suicide are like that of a stone thrown into a pond. Anyone who is connected at all is changed forever.

The long term effects can also be devastating. If my friend found that suicide could solve his problems maybe I can too. The rate of suicide in families who have had a suicide is much higher than the general population.

preventionWe have to find ways to end this epidemic. Non only for those who can see no other way out but also for the people they touch. There is much to be done as this epidemic is reaching pandemic proportions. Awareness is a beginning but as I have said before we must have more accessible help in a timely manner. Faster recognition of those with problems and better care.

We all must help and demand recognition of this problem!