Understanding perspective

If you understand this you are luckier than most!

We are all animated skeletons. We are just walking around doing things like they matter. 150 years from now everyone currently on this planet will be dead.

Have you seen this poem by Linda Ellis?

If you happen to look at an old family photo album or watch an old home movie in which family members have passed, when you think of their lives, do you remember them running around doing tasks, working all the time, stressing over every little thing, being angry and anxious? Or were they at peace, enjoying life, sharing, kind-hearted and full of joy?

Do you see how a life lived in stress is a sad waste of time? I’m not judging anyone here. We all have our own path to walk, our own journey, and it’s not a race.

How do you want to be remembered?

Better yet, how do you want to spend the rest of your life?

I, for one, have been seeking peace within. I’m trying to create a life of contentment where I remain in the present moment.

There is a part of myself that recognizes that the ways of the world aren’t necessarily the right way to live. At least it doesn’t feel right to me. I’m talking about working to pay bills then die, which, sadly, is still a way of life for many people. A constant struggle for something unattainable.

I don’t want to wait until I’m diagnosed with a fatal disease or on my death bed to realize what’s truly important in life. I want to LIVE what’s important NOW.

I was a hospice nurse for 6 years. The story I heard over and over again from the person dying was that what they thought mattered really didn’t. They made mountains out of molehills. While I would sit with them and absorb their infinite wisdom which came to them sadly so late in their lifetime, their family members would inevitably be running around doing things like they mattered, sometimes arguing over what mattered more and who would do what or stressing over trivial things like how many ounces their dear family members drank that day. I plan to write more about the lessons I learned from my hospice patients. Those six years were life-changing for me in so many ways.

The next time you think you’re upset about someone or some event in your life, remind yourself that whatever it is, isn’t worth wasting your time over.

By “nature” (or upbringing) I tend to be a worrier. One day my husband said something to me that really made a difference. He is an artist. He talked to me about perspective.

He said that it is easy to focus on the details of a painting, to go over and over a minute piece of the work that somehow doesn’t feel right. It can become obsessive. However, as an artist, he was taught to not go that route but to make a point of continuing to step back over and over to look at the whole picture and see how everything fits together. So he does this every so many minutes even if he doesn’t think he’s dwelling. He’s made it part of the process. That’s what we all need to do in life.

Prioritize your life. If you’re feeling stressed about a perceived problem, step back for a moment. Realize what’s important. Perhaps it is taking care of your health, keeping your family together and safe, keeping a roof over your head and food on the table, for example. Then, if the issue has to do with those things work on it. If it has to do with something else, let that crap go!

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long in life to understand these simple concepts. I put this out there in hopes that someone who may be struggling with anxiety or is overwhelmed right now may benefit from these words.

With love,

What every care giver must know for their own health!

the following information comes from this talk:

When the body says no- caring for ourselves while caring for others. Dr. Gabor Mate

To summarize this fascinating talk as briefly as possible requires a short medical lesson. Bear with me!

At the end of our chromosomes (the strands that make up DNA) are telomeres. A telomere is a sequence of repetitive nucleotides that keep the chromosome intact)

Without telomeres the strand of DNA would unwind and become unstable. Telomeres are long when we are born and shorten over time. This is one of the key factors of aging and disease.

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Without a telomere our DNA would “unravel” causing whatever cell that happens to be to malfunction.

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It has been found that caregivers of chronically ill babies have shortened telomeres. They are prematurely shortened by up to ten years!

Even though they rate mortality by different diseases, I always thought it strange that the focus wasn’t on stress. Stress really is the number one killer. What does it matter if it’s cancer or heart disease or something else? You’ll be dead as a result of any of them which are all ultimately caused by some form of stress. Stress on the body…perhaps from the mind.

For example: Instead of focusing on lowering cholesterol by restricting what we eat, if one focuses on stress- relief and being happy I believe the body will reduce its own cholesterol.** I will be posting a lot more about this with links and resources in the future.

I’m trying to post encouragement and ideas for stress relief in this blog for caregivers of all kinds as well as parents of medically complex children. If you read the above text about caregiving, you might realize that we all do more caregiving than we realize. Having a family is caregiving. Looking in on your neighbor is caregiving. Running errands for elderly parents is caregiving. You might be caring for one medically complex child or caregiving for a lot of different people.

The rest of the talk is also interesting and goes into the importance of having someone to talk with for stress reduction. People who hold it all in suffer from shorter telomeres than people who share their feelings. Even when they both have similar situations, the ones who share their feelings are healthier in this way.

Please remember to take care of yourselves. Your own life depends on it. As a caregiver for seriously ill children, I have to consciously make efforts to incorporate stress relief into my daily life. I’ll be sharing a bunch of tips with you in these blog posts. I do hope this is an eye- opener though and really emphasizes the importance of self-care. I am one who is learning self-care later in life. After years of being a “giver” and feeling like a bad person if I wasn’t, my life is changing for the better. I’m getting back to true health slowly. Not just physical but mental, emotional, spiritual, family, relationships, work and total overall health.

Self-care is something I wish I’d learned about a long time ago. My hope is to help others become aware of its importance.

May you be happy and well!

*Credit for genetics photos

**I am not a medical doctor and do not diagnose or prescribe. These are my opinions only. Please see and follow your own physician’s advice, do your own research and form a conclusion for a treatment plan that is right for you.

What is a warrior?

We may all believe we are warriors in our own right, and maybe it is so for some.

But what is a warrior? A true warrior?

Here’s a modern definition I came across online:

Neither is he a “peaceful warrior of the spirit.” True, warriors can be peaceful, and they can certainly be spiritual, but they are also capable of inflicting injury and death on a real enemy in the physical and spiritual worlds. It is a warrior’s honour and code which tempers his actions.

Spartan Code

The Spartan Warrior was a true warrior. He was plucked from his family at a young age, taught to read and write, also to become nimble through dance and exercise. By the time he was 12 he was given less food than needed to survive so that he fend for himself through stealing. If caught, he would be punished, not for stealing, but for getting caught. He lived only with other Spartans. He had minimal clothes and no shoes as to learn to withstand the elements. He slept on reeds. He exercised and trained every day for many hours past exhaustion. He wasn’t allowed to go to the market or speak to others who weren’t Spartans until the age of 30. Trained for battle, his code was his life. His shield was used to protect his fellow Spartan to the left, not himself. Working as a team they shielded each other. Spears forward, shielded by each other, they concentrated not on their own safety (because they trusted each other) but the task at hand. The only rest a Spartan got was during an actual battle.**

Check out these shutterstock images:

I’m not justifying the ways of the Spartan as it was a form of slavery and brain washing without doubt. But I am amazed at what a human can do when pushed to the limits. I hope to never be in a situation such as they were.

I’m also bringing to light the true meaning of the word that so many people use these days.

Are you a modern-day warrior? Do you know a warrior?

I’m not a warrior. I do my part and definitely stand up for what I believe. My strongest attribute is advocating for my patients. I’m a fighter, in a sense, because I would never abandon my patients no matter how difficult the shift or task may be. Somehow I get through it. Even when I’ve had to do the unthinkable I do what has to be done. I trust and rely on my colleagues to help me when needed. I utilize every skill I have to save their lives.

I know our men and women in the military are sacrificing and have sacrificed a lot. Many of them sacrificed their their lives. Yes, they are true warriors in my book. Heroes.

I’ll tell who the true warriors are in MY world.

The true warriors are the mothers and fathers of medically fragile babies or children. Especially the mothers of these children. They get up every time their child cries, exhausted or not, fight for that child, protect that child. They do without many things for themselves. Tirelessly, they keep pushing themselves to learn more about their child’s illness, seek treatments, sit with their child through those treatments. They shield their children rather than themselves. They would sleep on couches or floors to be closer to their child, go without food or a blanket, let alone a shower, if need be. With “spears forward” they fight whatever setbacks they get along the way.

I feel for my pediatric patients, I do. It’s my job to care for them and keep them safe. Each one has a piece of my heart. I am rooting for each and every one of them. I worry about them when they have a surgery or procedures. How can I not? I’m with one patient 40+ hours per week. I clean them up after they are sick, feed them, change their diapers, rock them to sleep, play with them, as well as do my best to comfort them on those unthinkable bad days, in addition to all the actual nursing duties involving equipment and procedures.

But I feel more for the moms. They aren’t my patients and there’s not a whole lot I can do for them except to take care of their babies the best I can. I know that means a lot to them. What they go through, though, is horrendous. It’s unthinkable. It’s devastating and heartbreaking. Honestly, I can’t even think of a word to actually describe the pain that I sometimes witness in them because the situation is so awful. Most of the parents of the pediatric parties I’ve had have questioned at some point whether or not their child would survive. I know that with every fiber of their being all they want is for their child to be well, yet they have to see them sick and in pain, sometimes suffering. It’s hard for them to find any time for themselves. They are exhausted yet somehow always find strength. Too many days are spent with doctors, at hospitals having procedures or surgeries. I’ve had babies that have had 6 surgeries before their first birthday and more to come. Zero days are spent being a “normal” family. What is normal for them? They give medications and deal with medical equipment on a daily basis. They have nurses in their home all the time, occupational, physical, sometimes speech, massage and music therapists regularly coming and going.

This is not to say that their children do not bring them immense pleasure and joy because they certainly do. It’s just not the life they chose or ever expected. They were thrust into it and made to deal with it.

I wonder then if a warrior is ever a warrior by choice? It seems to me that we humans have a way of adapting far beyond our comprehension. The will to survive and protect what is “ours” is miraculous. The capacity to recover from loss is also remarkable. To go on despite it all.

After being a nurse for 21 years, I’ve often found myself saying, “I hope I never have to find out how strong I am.”

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If you happen to know a mom who has a medically complex child, why not bring her family a meal or offer to do some housework for them?

Count your blessings tonight. May you be happy and well. May all beings live their lives with ease.

Love,

*The source is a site called Angelfire. I do not recommend you go to it. It tried to spam me but I still wanted to include the quote because I like it.

**Interesting read