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The Brain Amazes Me

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Some of us may find it challenging to be in the present moment especially when change is churning up the peace which we crave.  To find the gift of presence may sometimes feel so hard in our everyday lives.  I understand that all too well.  Then I found that some people live with even bigger daily challenges and I wanted to share with you what I learned.

Our brains have always fascinated me, but so much more in the last few years since I’ve had loved ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  I recently stumbled upon this interview while doing some research on the brain.  Because I have no prior knowledge of Multiple Personality Disorder, also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), I was intrigued by the interview (and no, I don’t have these illnesses nor know anyone who does).  I remember watching Sybil (with Sally Field) years ago so for me, only the Hollywood portrayals of Sybil and perhaps even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were the information I had about the subject.  But, that was all about to change.

The interviewer, Kyle Kittleson, host of MedCircle, had such an easy way about him that I figured I’d watch the segment for a few minutes.  Encina Severa, who has 11 different personalities living in her body, made me watch the entire hour.  The segment is called:  What It’s Like To Live With Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

I think what kept me watching was the way in which Kyle asked Encina about DID and the vulnerability in which she answered his questions and explained what she endures.  I found myself amazed by her courage in opening up on camera in order to help others to understand DID.  I don’t know if this topic interests you at all, but I will tell you that I stayed up past my bedtime in order to finish watching the entire interview and I was glad I did.

Have you had any experience with someone with DID or Multiple Personality Disorder?  Here’s the link to the interview in case you’re interested:  Click Here.

Shine On!

xo

 

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Picking Up The Pieces

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When life throws you a curve ball, you have to re-evaluate your position in life.  You have to pick up the pieces from what’s changed and put them back together in a new way.  You may even have to release some parts of your prior life in order to make room for the new chapter that’s beginning.  We have to embrace the change in order to incorporate it into our lives and not be stymied by the upheaval.

There are many defining moments in life that create change.  What we forget in times of fluidity and peace is that change is inevitable.  Few of us get out of this life alive without challenges, for those are what make this life school a life-long learning process.  If we were only to enjoy smooth sailing for a lifetime then we wouldn’t have a chance to grow.  By enduring these challenges, we experience change.  Life school allows us to connect with others who have endured similar situations in ways that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  Nobody can understand how devastating a cancer diagnosis is if you haven’t experienced it yourself.  Nobody understands the all-encompassing grief that comes with losing a loved one if you haven’t been through it.  Empathy comes when you’ve walked a similar path with compassion.

I confess that I would have preferred to not have endured many of the challenges presented to me.  I could have done without the trying times that threatened to drown me.  But I persevered and through faith, love and friendship, I am still here.

I’ve been through a plethora of life changes as I am sure you have too.  Some have been good changes, while others defined me in ways I never thought possible.  Breast cancer, deaths of friends, family and loved ones, divorce, financial difficulties, Alzheimer’s in loved ones, just to name a few of the big ones.  Through these defining moments of upheaval and life changing events, I have learned one thing for sure:  I can survive and remain who I am innately and even be improved by having endured the changes.  Challenges, failures and triumphs sprinkled with love, hope, faith and kindness make all the difference.

Keep shining your heartlights!

Shine On!

xo

Take A Lesson From Alzheimer’s And Dementia

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I’m a big proponent of passing along what I’ve learned through my various experiences.  Not to preach, but to connect with others who are enduring similar situations.  My blog is called The Presents of Presence which is all about being in the moment.  But as we all can attest, not every moment feels like a gift.  Sometimes we feel like we’ve been kicked instead.

With Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the lesson for me is clearly meant for my blog.  It’s in being in the present and finding the good in the now.  Finding the gift in connecting with others, no matter how brief it is, no matter how small it feels.

In my experience with my loved ones, I’ve learned that we can relax and just be and that this is, for the most part, how they now live their lives.  There’s almost like an amnesia from the dark past experiences that evaporates.  It is almost with childish simplicity that they live with the disease.  There’s not a lot of wondering what’s next or what happened before this very moment, except when sundowners hits.  It’s a focus on what’s right here that counts.  They live most fully in the now without reservation.

Think about that for a moment.  Can you wrap your mind around that?

What that means is no holding onto grudges, no revisiting conversations, no worrying about the future, no obsessing over the past, no self-criticism, no blaming someone else, I could go on and on.

It’s about, acceptance for the here and now in whatever form it takes.

I admire the people I know who have the disease for the courage to accept and be with the present at all times as I think that would be a hardship for many of us.  Yet, by their freedom, they are role models for us all.  Yes, I understand that they didn’t choose this disease.  Yes, I understand how heartbreaking it is when our loved ones have it.  But there’s a choice to mourn the loss by the disease or to find the positive in accepting what we deem unacceptable with the disease.

For me, I’ve got to find the positive and if that means, I have to change my way of thinking to expand it to gratitude for learning how to really find The Presents of Presence in every part of life’s journey and not just give it lip service, then so be it.

Shine On!

xo

 

Rest in Peace – Molly’s Movement

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My heartfelt sadness goes out to Joey Daley as his mom Molly passed away recently.  If you are a caregiver or have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, please take a few moments to watch the video below and listen to Joey.  Molly had Lewy Body Dementia for ten years and through Joey’s chronicles, he has shown us Molly’s true courage and his as well.

There are so many inspiring people in our world.  Thank you Joey and Molly for being you!  A mother’s love and support never die and they stay with us forever.

Shine On!

xo

As Our Loved Ones Age

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Maybe it begins when you realize they are forgetting silly things that you know they well-know.  Maybe you notice when they aren’t as spry as they once were.  Maybe you sense that they aren’t following the conversations or involved in them as they once were.  Maybe you notice that the rituals (daily bed making for example) aren’t completed.  As time goes on, you realize that there’s a little hitch in your loved one’s routine, conversation,  eating habits, sleeping habits and such.

Many times we brush those moments off with the thought that hey, they are getting older.  But how many signs does one need in order to shake up our thinking and begin the growing alarm that our loved ones may need more help?

That is a personal issue for many people as we can easily explain away when we aren’t ready to deal with the issue at hand which is:  our loved ones are aging and need our help.  For some people, it’s a mind-blowing thought (especially if we are their children) when our loved ones have been people we looked up to, respected, revered and who took care of us.  To see them slide even a little can cause us to feel that tinge of panic or to altogether dismiss it because we can’t even begin to go there in our minds.

But let’s been honest – aging happens to us all, so we need to help when we can!  Because someday, it will be our turn.  So what do we do when we begin to notice more frequently, aging signs in our loved ones?

Tread lightly is my advice.  Know your loved one and approach the subject accordingly.  Some people welcome a little help.  Others vehemently oppose it.  Nobody likes someone else to point out that we are functioning at less than our normal ability so be kind as you broach the subject.  Be respectful.  Offer help in a non-judgemental way and allow the conversation to flow in a peaceful way.

Caveat:  unless you see imminent danger, then be proactive and respectful.

It’s not easy for your loved ones to admit that they are weakening or finding their normal routines more difficult.  Getting confused, losing objects and forgetting to eat are tell-tale signs that you need to step up your communication with them.  But do it in a non-threatening way.  Take more time with them when possible.  Encourage them to share with you how they are feeling and what they are noticing if anything.  Do it the way you would like ti done for you.

I have some friends who are noticing their loved ones showing signs of aging that are concerning to the well-being of their loved ones.  It’s not an easy task to flow into the parenting role of a loved one who is older than you.  It’s not always met with gratitude, but instead sometimes it is met with distrust.  It’s scary for your aging loved one to feel that they are not as strong as they once were.  Some fight it and others simply allow the aging process to flow easily.

My advice is to keep your eyes and ears open and to broach the subject with compassion.  Listen to your intuition too as many times we know, we just don’t want to see because it’s hard to think of our loved ones in that way.

I wish you well on this next chapter of your journey.  I’m here if you need a hand to hold as we’ve experienced this as well.  You are not alone.

Shine On!

xo

Gratitude For Eight Years On WordPress

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I got a note from WordPress today telling me that eight years ago today, I began my blog.  It doesn’t seem that I have been writing for eight years to you all, but I’m assuming WordPress knows what it’s talking about, don’t you think?  Ah, the benefits of blogging!

In eight years, much has changed in my life.  My initial focus was to help other women battling cancer, specifically breast cancer as I endured it myself and I am still here.  But as life developed, I have written about other subjects too including:  poetry, pets, children, parents, relationships, Mother Nature, horseback riding, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, holidays, angels, spirituality, religion, Rabbit, Rabbit, photography, SendOutCards, amazing books and movies, inspirational quotes, life in general and even death because I had first hand experience with all of those topics.  While I was enduring hardships, you were all there for me with your loving support and I am ever grateful.  I wrote to share my experiences in hopes that I would be able to help someone else along that path.

I am ever grateful for the loving connections that have evolved through our blogging community which we have grown through our writings and by reaching out in kindness, generosity and always with a loving heart.  Friendships have blossomed through our writings that have cemented many of us soul to soul in miraculous ways.  From WordPress comments to emails to actual phone calls, I can count many deep friendships which span the world now for which I am honored to be a part of in this lifetime – and yet, we have never met face to face.  But the love is there, without ever being in each other’s physical presence.

It’s so interesting to me that I have yet to meet anyone face to face that I met through blogging and yet I count many of you as true friends.  What a gift this Presents of Presence has been for me!  I pray that you feel the same way – that my writings, my comments and my love for all of you shines its heartlight and helps to raise the energetic vibrations of this world’s energy to encourage peace, love, compassion and understanding along with connections to all.

May your heart be lifted today and may your heartlight shine for all to see, for I see you out there dearest friends and I am ever grateful, as always, for our connections.

Shine On!

xo

Leave The Past Behind

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Sweet friends, it’s challenging when our parents get older and we begin to take care of them.  Sometimes the past relationships get in the way of our thinking and it gets harder to be patient and kind.  Few grown children don’t carry some reminders of injustice or hurts that they sometimes unwittingly carry into adulthood and that can spill over into the present day relationships with our parents.

I understand.

But dear friends, it’s time to let go of the past and focus on the present.  This can be a hard task to accomplish, but I have faith in you and I am willing to hold your hand while you walk this path.

Guilt, shame and frustrations build when we are tasked with parenting when we are still holding on to hurts from the past.  Also, parents can do the same so that the relationship can be hard to navigate, especially when you, their child, is now in charge.

Why can’t he/she be nice?  Can’t they see I’m trying to help?  Why do they act that way?  I’m tired of this!  This is not my responsibility because they did x, y or z to me when I was little, a teenager, an adult….this list of complaints can go on and on.

And yes, I agree that this is hard for you (and for them).  My heart goes out to you all as I’ve been there and I have felt similarly to some degree.  I get it.  So you may be asking, How the heck did I get into this place of peace?

I let go baby!  I rose above the hurts to a place of peace in my heart.  I did it for them and I did it for me.  I love them innately and I see them as human beings doing their best, just as I am.  I love from a place of understanding, of forgiveness and with peace in my heart.  I go into the day with prayer for patience to help me throughout the day and to help them.  I get out of my own head and try to see things from their perspective and then it dawns on me, how they’re feeling.  I come from a place of healing hearts and simply trying to make all of our lives happier.  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t.  So then, I ask for forgiveness, to myself and to them and to God and I just begin again.

When you don’t feel like you’ve succeeded or when it’s been a really hard day, let go of the bad and just hang onto the good.  Let the hard times fall away from your thinking and hold onto that kernel of goodness.  There is some goodness every day.  Sometimes you just have to search a bit to find the blessing, but it’s always there.

Allow the past to have no power over you.  Live solidly in the present and allow the future to take care of itself.  Be present with loved ones and find the joy in connecting with them.  Role model love, kindness, caring and joy.  Innately you are a healer so use your gifts wisely.  And if you need to throw up your hands in frustration, by all means, do it in privacy.  Give yourself a time out to recoup before exploding with negativity.

Remember, your parents/elderly loved ones aren’t necessarily trying to make it harder on you.  They are simply doing what they can at this time.  And even if you don’t believe that or you think I’m full of Pollyanna hooey, give them the benefit of the doubt and give it to yourself when it comes to doing your best.

We are all on this journey called Life.  Lessons come to us in many forms to deepen our understanding of love.  Because let’s face it, love is what this life is all about and sometimes love and forgiveness walk hand in hand.  It take a lot of love to be someone else’s lesson.  Perhaps that thought will give you peace in your heart.  Your parent loves you enough to teach you a life lesson, whatever the lesson my be.  Be grateful for their love and for the lesson.  Hold them closely.  Forgive and forget.  Heal yourself and others.  You are more than capable to choose the high road and now’s the time.

Don’t do it simply because I suggested it.  Do it for yourself.  Raising the love vibrations in this world helps us all.  And it starts with you, dear friend.  Shine your heartlight.  I believe in you.

Shine On!

xo