Gifts from the Frontlines...
For those who show up...however they can for love
Helping incurs debt.
According to Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, helping is very different than serving. When you go all Florence Nightingale on your beloved, it is hard to take. You want to help but this help is not helping—or you could help so much more.
It's messier. It takes a bit more time but serving is infused with respect...and trust.
ASK them if what your doing, needs doing, or is it helpful? Asking gives them control. It turns into serving—as a peer and an equal. When I fix, I am telling them that they are broken.
"We serve life, not because it is broken, but because it is holy." —Mother Teresa
They are not broken...they are just ill.
Good medical care is changing in a similar manner. State-of-the-art hospital are instilling empathy into their employees. Check out this Cleveland Clinic video. It is about being in the moment...respecting the person with dignity. Unlearning Certainty is a rule that is essential for empathy—that you can use to heal.
Dr. Remen further explains good health (for everyone) is about collaborating:
"When I fix a person I perceive them as broken, and their brokenness requires me to act. When I fix I do not see the wholeness in the other person or trust the integrity of life within them. When I serve I see and trust that wholeness. It is what I am responding to and collaborating with." Noetic Sciences Review # 37
Fixing is a form of judgement and it creates disconnection... and that's the last thing we want with our loved one.
Healthier for us, too.
When we collaborate with our loved ones, we have a better shot at the gold standard of caregiving—healthy resilience—than if we try to fix.
Promises, Promises, Promises...
If you are reading this new blog, it is likely you are (either my brother, Ted...) or a caregiver who as randomly found this post via search engine serendipity. Welcome.
I have been where you are—the stressed out caregiver who is just trying to hold their house (of cards) together for themselves and their ill beloveds.
You are hard to reach...but I am persistent (and clever).
I remember when it was so for me (so hard to listen...) and get any information because I was on 24/7 duty with too little sleep, and too many worries about how I was going to manage. I felt very alone—even in the middle of friends because I wasn't thinking, I could ask or really even deserved the world's help. Hey, don't be too hard on my hard head. I am from the Oklahoma prairie and (even having lived in The San Francisco Bay area for decades), the rugged individualism is a persistent taproot in my garden.
But the equally perennial and persistent question is how to use what I know—to support you?
I have taken what one of my gurus has recently posted in The Marketing Seminar:
"It’s about connecting the dots for someone, using the dots they know. " —Seth Godin
Seth is talking about marketing in the quote...but, as usual, his reach is greater. As a hospice chaplain and a long-time caregiver in the trenches of love, I know stuff.
I promise you, in this blog, that I will use all the (considerable) dots at my disposal to serve you. Which is very different than helping...or fixing, but that is the next blog post.
Best blessings on your day,