#4628 - Sunday, June 17, 2012
Nonduality Highlights: Issue #4628, Sunday, June 17, 2012
Ed note: This issue is dedicated to all who have ever been parents, have had parents, or perhaps are caring for elderly parents.
Ever since a child is born, from infancy through adolescence to maturity, a parent is primarily responsible for the development of a child's mind. Whether a person becomes a useful citizen or not depends mainly on the extent to which its mind has been developed. In Buddhism, a good parent can practice four great virtues to sustain him or her and to overcome the great frustrations, which are so closely related with parenthood...
Symapathetic Joy and
When parents practice these four virtues towards their children, the children will respond favorably and a pleasant atmosphere will prevail at home. A home where there is loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity will be a happy home... This is the greatest legacy any parent can give to his child.
- Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda, posted to DailyDharma
Conscious Caregiving: Am I a Caregiver or a Caretaker?
The word caregiver can be defined as: "one who cares for someone with a condition that challenges his/her ability to care for their own daily living needs. " The level of care taking varies from person to person as does the responsibility. A caregiver often awakes in the morning with a sense of a looming awareness of someone who is dependent on them. In a way, it can feel like having an additional child. How we approach that feeling of connection and viewing the experience as both at times a burden and a blessing, also becomes a choice of becoming a caretaker or caregiver.
To rise in the morning and resolve to consciously care for another requires thought and intention to maintain healthy boundaries. When the person we care for is a family member this choice becomes more difficult, but remembering that our own needs can't be consumed by another is essential.
A young mother once shared with me about her struggles in caring for a child with a special health need who was immune suppressed and had to remain indoors most of the day. This amazing mother said her life was becoming all about her daughter and she would wake every morning with such a depressed outlook that she could barely get out of bed. Once she realized her need to have her own life aside from her caregiving of her daughter, she made a decision to leave every day for "mom time."
After a few weeks of struggling with guilt over her decision to leave her daughter with a family member while she took a walk, or a drive or visited a friend, this young mom began allowing herself to enjoy this time. Her cup was being filled and she was becoming reenergized. She was more patient, more thoughtful, and ultimately better able to meet her daughters needs.
Often when we deny ourselves what we need in our own lives in sacrifice for another, the very intention of selflessness results in selfishness. We can't help but build up resentment if we martyr ourselves as caregivers. Then we become caretakers, expecting to receive payback for our caring vs caring unconditionally.
Establishing boundaries that define ourselves as separate and equally deserving of daily love, nurture and affection while we provide care to another is vital. We can still thrive in the midst of giving of ourselves as long as we don't lose ourselves. Exercise, eating well, time spent pursuing a passion regularly , and continuing our own relationships, allows us to maintain that boundary.
One of the greatest challenges in caretaking is time spent in a hospital. Preparation is important, having a "me bag" packed for unexpected last minute stays with a loved one makes a major difference. Packing a bag for ourselves is as important as what we pack for a loved one. Inspiring and entertaining books and music on tape allow us to put headphones on and escape. A pair of good walking shoes worn on long walks outside helps energize us after long hours of sitting. A bag of healthy snacks and a water bottle keep us hydrated and avoiding vending machines. Setting a watch or alarm on a phone reminds us on a regular basis to take walks, take breaks and return revitalized after a short time, better equipped to give.
Giving ourselves permission for this time can stretch our beliefs about responsibility and sacrifice and move us away from unhealthy conditional caretaking towards healthy caregiving.
Questions: am I overly connected to my role as caregiver? Do I wake with gratitude or resentment? Am I fatigued most of the time or do I find a way to reenergize?
1. Today I choose the following healthy choices for myself
2. Today I will choose "me time" throughout my day
3. Today I choose to observe the times I feel I am making sacrifices and discover blessings
- Katie Eastman
Learning to recognize our unmet real needs and nurturing ourselves from the fountain of Divine energy that is stored beneath our defense and negative intentions heals the habitual response to care take. Nurturance from the divine core, self-acceptance and self-love opens us to examine our lives, our choices and awakens our courage to bring forth creative longings. It may be the Key that unlocks the door to bringing our authentic potential into fruition and freeing our spirit to love and create unabashedly.
- Donna Evans Strauss from http://www.livingfromgrace.com/wpa/the-caretaker-within/
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.
- Lao Tzu from the Tao Te Ching
Stephen Levine with Jeffrey Mislove on Healing:
If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.
- Pema Chödrön
Within the great silence of the unborn, Spirit whispers a sublime secret, an otherwise hidden truth of ones very essence: You, in this and every moment, abide as Spirit itself, an immutable radiance beyond mortal suffering of time and experience. Spirit itself is the very heart of one's own awareness, and it has always been so.
- Ken Wilber, The Simple Feeling of Being: Embracing Your True Nature
... feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we're holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we'd rather collapse and back away. They're like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we're stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it's with us wherever we are.
- Pema Chödrön
People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That's not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn't understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you're given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.
- Pema Chödrön