Social Work

Tai Chi UniformsSo much going on this week. This afternoon I actually thought today was Monday instead of Wednesday! This morning My husband Steve had his brain MRI at 7 AM. Then we went out for breakfast. Then to the diabetes clinic where he learned all about diet and exercise and  how to poke his own finger. Then to lunch and a few errands. Steve felt great all day, which is very unusual. He even mowed the lawn this afternoon, without my permission of course! When we arrived home we meditated for about a half hour. Very rejuvenating. Then I went to Tai Chi this evening. I love it. It is moving meditation. I get physical, spiritual, social and mental exercise. It’s very grounding and healing. I go to class 3 days a week and hope I can stay on schedule. It’s a lot to learn, but that’s what I’m here for. Although I posted a picture here of another student and myself holding swords, I really don’t use a sword yet.

I’m realizing that socializing with other people is very healing for me, and is a good stress reliever. I am making friends at Tai Chi and there’s just something about getting to know new people. They are so supportive and welcoming. And last night I went to Relief Society (a women’s meeting at church) and being with other women just built me up. Two of my friends walked me home and we laughed and laughed. So light-hearted and uplifting. And now we have a big plan to go see Donny Osmond in September. Can it get any better than that??

Fatigue Fighter

fatigue clip artI am still experiencing quite a bit of fatigue. The way I have been dealing with it is to give in and lay down once or twice every day. Although it feels great to lie down, the fatigue didn’t seem to be getting better. I told my neurosurgeon I was fatigued and he said, “So am I.” He cracks me up. Anyway, Steve’s oncologist said that for chemotherapy patients, the way to fight fatigue is to stay active. So now I’m going to give that a try. Honestly, it seems to be working. The busier I am the less likely I am to lie down, and I do think I’ve got a bit more energy now. This is taking some commitment and courage, I must say. The couch calls to me. And I have to make sure I’m not overdoing it because self care is so important. It’s a balancing act but I think we are all doing that. I still practice meditation, prayer, essential oils, visualization, affirmations, etc. I’d like to add nutritious eating to this list, but I would just be lying.

Steve is feeling well today. I bought him his own phone so when he is at chemotherapy he can be reached. His first round will be 6 hours long so he may want to chat with someone.

Meditation

I get drowsy every day after breakfast so I usually lay down and rest. Then it occurred to me that I could take advantage of this time and meditate. I have meditated for many years, sometimes regularly and sometimes not. One summer I meditated every day for an hour and i must say that was the most productive summer I have ever experienced. Emptying my mind during meditation has always come fairly easy to me. I have now meditated for 5 days and I’m having a hard time being still and empty. Weird. Today I  used a mantra, “inhale, exhale,” which worked fairly well but I still can’t say I reached an authentic meditative state. I will keep practicing.

Tired of TV

Yes I am still bored and am getting so tired of television. I watch The View and The Talk and all they talk about is sex and celebrities and Kim Kardashian’s bottom. Enough already! I look forward each day to Ellen Degeneres’ show because hers is a bit toned down, but my favorite thing is to watch movies. Time goes by, there are no commercials, and they usually have substance that I can get engaged with. I do my best to get involved with other things like laundry and doing the dishes, but major household projects are beyond my reach at this point in time. Here comes the weekend – hopefully I can go to some movies. Yahoo!

Streamlining and Prioritizing

photo 1Every day is different. After posting a few days ago about The World Cup of Tiredness,  yesterday and today I took a walk with my son and his family after work and did yard work and am full of energy! Go figure. This morning I was extremely tired to the point I just couldn’t dry my hair and then style it.  I figured I might have the same issue after the neurosurgery, so I got my hair cut after work so it would be easier to manage. I’ve also streamlined a few other things. For example, I like to read scriptures every day but it has been hard to squeeze them in on my tired days. So now when I wake up in the morning, I grab my iPhone and read scriptures from there, before I get out of bed. It is quick, easy, and inspiring. I’m also doing more prioritizing. For example I’d rather go on a walk with my family than do housework or sit and stare at the TV and whine about being tired. So I go for a walk with my family. Really, who could resist walking with a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old? The bottom line is once again this tumor is here to teach me and remind me what’s important. And long hair is not on the top of the list.

Getting Paid to Eat Cake

CakeI visited a college campus yesterday and asked some faculty members, “What’s it like to work here?” One nursing instructor said, “I love to come here every day. It’s like getting paid to eat cake.” I have never heard that term before. It’s a metaphor for loving your job.
Now that the New Year has arrived, perhaps it would be a good time to reassess our job satisfaction. Do you feel your job is like “getting paid to eat cake?” Why? Why not? What changes would make your job more enjoyable? Notice how you answer that question. Are you pointing fingers at others who can improve your job satisfaction? I’m thinking only I can affect my job satisfaction. I can’t change other people. So here’s a New Year challenge: Choose one thing you can do NOW to make your job get closer to feeling like getting paid to eat cake. Then keep making small changes until you love your job. Or find another job that is tastier. Good luck!

 

Surrender

Sky at SunsetI watched the CNN special report tonight called “To Heaven and Back” about near death experiences. I noticed a pattern in each of the three stories. Each survivor described a moment when they were dying when they decided to “let go” and not worry about the outcome, and let go of their fear. When they made that decision, everything seemed to change for the better, and they found peace. They all lost their fear of death and lived more peaceful lives. This made me think of the times when I have a challenge that I am furiously trying to overcome. As soon as I quit trying so hard, and just surrender to what is, the challenge seems to solve itself. Surrender is a beautiful stress management strategy. Let go and let God. Also, I truly believe that “what I resist will persist.”

Follow the Spirit

Clark HomesFor the past few years I have been spiritually drawn to visit the neighborhood in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I lived when I was in the 6th grade. Whenever I visited Arizona I felt strongly that I should go find Clark Homes, the housing development I lived in with my father and step-mother shortly after my parents divorced. Last week I had an opportunity to go to Flagstaff and spend some time exploring the old neighborhood. My friend Merlene was kind enough to drive me to Flagstaff from where she lives in Phoenix. I explained to her why I wanted to go, and she was happy to come along, without judgment. Well, we found Clark Homes. But it’s been 50 years since I was in 6th grade, so it really was not anything like it was 50 years ago. But we found it and explored the neighborhood. I expected something life-changing to happen, to explain to me why I was so drawn to going back there, but – nothing happened (that I noticed)! But I will say, I don’t have that feeling anymore that I need to go there. I am no longer drawn. All I can conclude is that sometimes, I just get to follow the Spirit without expectation, and call it good enough. Perhaps someday I will learn why I had such a strong urge to return to the neighborhood, but for now I am just happy that I followed the Spirit. Feels good.

No Friends Like Old Friends

ArizonaI just spent 5 days with some very special friends in Arizona.  i went with one friend to Flagstaff and Sedona and will blog about that later. I have known her for 25 years. Then I spent 4 days with 3 girlfriends I met in JUNIOR HIGH! Yes, we have known each other for about 45 years! We had a great time, just “being.” There is no friend like an old friend. One friend said that she loves when we get together because she can “say anything, and even if we disagree, we still love each other.” I am blessed with wise women for friends. Friendship in women has shown to increase longevity and decrease stress. Thanks to all my friends, men and women, whom I have know forever and just for a day. Friends rock!!!

Rejuvenation Collaboration

RCIV flyerThe benefits of taking care of others are well documented, including:
Longevity
Increased Oxytocin, which promotes cell repair, connection, and decreased “fight or flight” response
“Helper’s High”
Heart health
Increased immunity
With all these benefits, why do I sometimes feel so overwhelmed and stressed when I am taking care of loved ones or serving my community as a volunteer? I invite you to explore this question on October 21 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time at the Rejuvenation Collaboration FREE online seminar. I am the keynote speaker and I’m very excited about this opportunity to discuss the importance of self-care and share ideas about how to cope with the stresses of caregiving, and reap the benefits of caregiving. To get a daily dose of self-care,  register for the seminar at http://rejuvenationcollaboration.com/landing/rciv/