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The Present

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Today’s Daily Prompt of PRESENT was a no-brainer for me to write about because hello! it’s the name of my blog!  The Presents of Presence.

It’s been a HUGE PRESENT to write to you, to make connections with you and to get to know all of you!  I love our friendships and I feel grateful and honored to know you all!

Because if we look around, precious moments are presents and they are everywhere.  But they can be fleeting when we are not paying attention.  You know what I mean?  When you turn around and wonder, what in the world did I do yesterday?  Or how did this past week fly by?

We have a limited time on this earth dear friends.  Connections can be fleeting or lifelong.  Either way, we must take each and every special opportunity to savor them.

May you have a blessed day and continue to shine your heartlights!

Shine On!

xo

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Past Experiences Do Not Dictate The Outcome Of The Present One

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When similar situations repeat themselves, sometimes we can go into a mind spasm.  We relive the past in the present situation, mindlessly worrying that the outcome of the present situation could be the same as the ending of the past one.  I know I’m writing generally here because frankly, the situation could be anything that you’ve endured.

But there’s that trigger, that Oh my gosh! realization that we’ve passed this way before in the past.  I tried to put it out of my reasoning mind, knowing that as before, I am doing the best I can with the resources I have.  But there’s that little worrisome thought that this time may repeat the last one’s ending.  Mindful of not wanting the same results, I pushed away the thoughts, trying to reason my way out of not manifesting the past again.  Because I don’t want what happened in the past to repeat itself.  Yet, I couldn’t shake the fear.

So I rechecked the facts, because my need for control, especially now, is fierce.  All seems well at this time which is good.  But in talking with a kind friend, I realized I was beating myself up internally for feeling as if the past could repeat itself and I was helpless to change what may be the outcome again this time.

When she parroted the situation back to me, as I listened to my own situation but in her voice (as if she were me), compassion filled my heart and I cried.  I realized that I needed to have compassion for myself and for my own feelings in this situation.  I understood that pushing off the absurdity of the situation repeating the past with the same ending wasn’t a ludicrous thought that I had to push away.  I understood that it was a natural thought process that if all lined up as it had previously (which is certainly possible), the ending could be the same.  I struggled with the thought, talking back and forth with my friend as we processed the scenario.  When we were finished talking, I realized what I already knew.  I can only do my best with my own resources and it’s in God’s hands.

I have to be content with that knowledge and find peace within me.  Because at this point, the situation is stable and not showing signs of further chaos, but the threat is real.  It’s just a question of if it’s here or not.

I think perhaps PTSD may be in varying degrees something that we endure over a lifetime when repeated similar situations occur.  Fear and past knowledge often make it difficult when we feel helpless.  So how do we overcome those aching worries?

We need to find compassion for ourselves for even going to that dark place of fear instead of tamping it down and turning away from it.  When I exposed the fear to the light with the help of my trusted friend, I cried and released some of the traumatic fear I was holding for the present situation.  With the tearful release, I was able to ground myself again in the knowledge that I am doing the best I can and only time will tell the actual results.  That gave me a small dose of peace for which I’m ever grateful.

Finding peace is precious and priceless as we endure stressful situations.  We all experience life lessons in different ways.  What I’ve found is that in being love, sending love, and wrapping us all in love, we know that love shines our heartlights into the darkness of fear based thoughts.

I’m not bringing that fear into my thoughts anymore.  I know I can flow with whatever may be on my path as long as I continue to stand in the light and not in the darkness.  Please keep shining your heartlights dear friends!  I can see them and they give me great comfort!

Shine On!

xo

Two Weeks

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Last night, I watched the movie Two Weeks with Sally Field.  While I hadn’t ever heard of the movie before now, I found out that it’s been out since 2007 on DVD as it’s one of those Indie films which I had somehow missed.

For those of us who have aging parents and relatives, this movie poignantly touched me in many ways.  The complexity of family relationships is evident here along with the reality that we all face when we pass away and when we come face to face with grief when a loved one passes away (especially a mom).

Honestly, it’s not a movie I would feel compelled to watch again as I have with others.  But I tend to watch movies about relationships and people dealing with real-life situations.  Grief seems to bring out the stark reality in relationships and this one does just that.  If you’ve endured a similar situation, this may hit too close to home.  But I think it does just that, in a good way.  It showcases the conflicted emotions that we endure when we are faced with the death of a loved one.

It was reviewed as a dramedy which I think encompasses Two Weeks well.  It’s not all laughter nor tears.  It’s the enmeshment of life’s reality.  If you’re interested in seeing more, please click on the image below and it will take you to Amazon.

Have you ever seen it?  I would love to hear from you if you have as I’d like to know what you thought of the movie.  Please let me know.

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

 

 

 

When You Find Yourself Parenting Your Parents

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I have a few friends who are now entering a new phase of adulthood which is when you are now charged with parenting your own parents or elderly family members.  It happens to many of us as we reach middle age.  My friends are just at the beginnings of that journey and I am glad to be here to help them and to help anyone else who needs it.  Because, I know how hard it is to watch the changes that occur as our parents get older.  Sometimes it starts sneakily and at others, it feels as if the drastic changes happen overnight.  But not matter how it happens, it’s hard for all involved.

The reversal of roles from child to parenting our parents can be a rocky road to navigate.  Some parents have a tough time relinquishing control to their children and fight the aging process with acute belligerence.  I can imagine how hard it is to realize even a little bit that we aren’t as ‘with it’ as we once were, that we get confused at times and that our children are telling us what to do when that was our job.  It’s a slippery slope to navigate as a child who now needs to parent our own parents.  We must be patient as the changes occur and be kind, even when our best intended and even wise suggestions are met with disapproval.

It’s hard to realize that our parents aren’t as healthy, mentally and physically as they once were and that we cannot rely upon them as children anymore.  It’s a tough realization, but very necessary.  There’s a mourning that comes with that realization for ourselves and our parents if they can realize it.  Bumps in the road are certain as this next phase begins.

Perhaps you’re realizing that your parents are weakening mentally and physically.  They aren’t as spry as they used to be and need help walking or doing their normal routines.  Perhaps you’re noticing that they are getting a bit confused at times or forgetting what they once readily knew.  Or perhaps they are slurring their words a bit or not able to remember to pay the bills on time or to take out the garbage or to eat routinely.

Please, come from a place of love and kindness as you navigate this new phase.  Be helpful and try to keep your frustrations outwardly to a minimum.  Hold your parents closer than you may have in the past and give them love.  Let them know you are there to be helpful and not to take over entirely (unless it’s now truly needed).  Find ways in which to help them as these beginning stages unfold.  Keep a keen eye on things as it progresses and be aware that subtle changes can grow quickly into full on tragedy if not monitored.

I am not trying to scare you, but I need to warn you.  I have seen it happen.  Trauma can exacerbate the the changes more quickly and speed up the need to get more help for your parents.

You may even see personality changes occur as they decline mentally and physically.  Agitation is common as their frustration levels increase (and yours do too).  It’s normal, so please take care of yourself and them with kindness and patience in your heart, mind and actions.

I’m here if you need a friend.  I’ve been on this path for quite a long time with several family members.  It’s not easy, but when you understand that you are not alone on this journey, it helps to ease the pain.  Being supported by someone who’s been there helps and I would like to give back in honor of those who helped me through the journey, so I’m here for you.

Shine On!

xo

 

Sandwich Generation

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Have you ever heard of the sandwich generation?  It’s when you are a parent who takes care of your own children and your own parents at the same time.  Sandwiched in between the generations and responsible for them all at the same time.  At least, that’s my attempt at its definition.

I should know…I’ve been doing it for awhile now.

I have friends who are beginning the journey of helping their elderly parents and it’s hard.  Hard for the parents to let go and to allow their children to help them and hard for all to realize that life is imminently shorter than we plan for when we are young.  The changes that occur as our parents get older are sometimes unimaginable and hard for them and for us to fathom and navigate.  I mean, what parent ever wants to give up control to their children?  We are the parents after all. (said in the parental authoritative voice!)

But it happens.  If we’re lucky to still have our parents and our children be able to have a relationship (and if we still have a good relationship with our parents as well), please remember to feel blessed.  Because sometimes as the years go on, family difficulties interfere and our relationships deteriorate.

But in a perfect world, we may be blessed to take care of our parents as they took care of us.  This goes for anyone really in the older generations, the aunts and uncles, the older cousins, etc.

So can I give you a little advice especially now that Thanksgiving and the holiday season are arriving?

  1. Do your best to include them.  Make the effort to go get them to bring them to the family get togethers if they are close enough.
  2. Make them feel important.
  3. Watch to see how they are doing physically, mentally and emotionally.
  4. You are now the caretaker so be aware of subtle changes and if you see some, gently approach the subject.
  5. Get Mom’s favorite recipes now while she remembers them.
  6. Take pictures!  I can’t stress this enough!  Get photos of the family together.
  7. Video tape them telling stories or singing or whatever memory you want to keep.  Someday you may wish you could hear their voices again or remember how they sang their favorite song or danced the watusi!
  8. Be patient.  Getting older is not for sissies and they are doing the best they can.
  9. Role model kindness because your children they will remember how you treated your family.
  10. Be affectionate with them if that’s your family style.  There’s nothing better than taking that extra moment to hug a parent or family member.  They will appreciate it as will you.
  11. Tell them how much you care and love them.  During Thanksgiving you can give thanks to them for all that they did for you.
  12. Include them in favorite memories that showcase their love.
  13. Be aware that as we get older, it gets harder to remember, to move and to hear other people.
  14. Take the precious time to talk with them and to ask and to listen attentively to whatever they have to say.
  15. Try not to put them in the corner and out of the way if they don’t want that because keeping them actively involved helps them immensely.
  16. Be kinder as you won’t ever regret it later.
  17. Take it all in stride and be patient with yourself as well.
  18. Smile and know in your heart you are doing a great job.
  19. Count your blessings that they are still here to spend time with you.
  20. Enjoy each and every moment for life goes by in a flash!

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!  I am thankful for my Mom and for those in the older generations of our family.  Having loved ones pass away in the last few years has been hard and I pray that you will keep in mind that every moment spent together is precious.

Shine On!

xo

 

Night Bunny

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It’s All Saint’s Day today, along with the famous first of the month, Rabbit, Rabbit, White Rabbit, White Rabbit.  You knew I would remind you, didn’t you?  Quickly, say it if you haven’t already!

It’s also my Dad’s unbirthday (I just made that word up).  Unbirthday because he passed away five years ago, but in my mind, as soon as I hear it’s November 1st, I think of him.  Habit, reflex, nostalgia, and being connected with him even years after his passing makes it a significant day on the calendar for me.  I couldn’t help myself as tears welled up in my eyes this morning thinking of him.  Do you think of loved ones on their unbirthdays even though they have already passed away?

I know the veil is thinner at this time and I am praying for a sign from him.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I want validation that he hears me or that he approves of what I’ve done since he’s been gone.  I guess we never really release that approval piece from a parent or at least I haven’t.  Sad to say I guess, but true.  I want him to be proud of me.  I want him to know that I am trying my best under extraordinary strain at times.  I want him to hug me today even though I know he can’t physically.  I want a sign from him.  Even though I am middle-aged, I think sometimes I feel like a little girl.  Does that make sense?  Do you sometimes feel that way or is it just me?

It’s funny how once you’re middle-aged, we begin to parent our own parents too.  We take care of them as they grow older and are less able to take care of themselves.  I see it all the time with my friends whose parents are still here.  Nobody actually prepares us for the ‘sandwich generation’ piece of life.  We just somehow muddle through it with help from friends and people who have experienced it before us.

But that’s our job.  As the generations before us have done for centuries, we take care of the elder generations.  Parents, family members and such, we are their caretakers as they grow older.  Hopefully we do it with grace and dignity so that we are good role models to our own children, and the younger generations so that they can take care of us as well.

Oh what a tangent I’ve gone off on today.  I’m sorry.  My fingers have just been talking on the keyboard while my cheeks remain tear-stained.

But the other night, I went outside to look at the stars and my little bunny Clover hopped by.  He stayed with me for about 20 minutes before I went back in the house.  He even posed for me sweetly as he is wont to do.  You can see his eyes twinkle in the light of the flash.  He sat nearby and just ate the clover in the grass while I talked with him, pouring my heart out to him.  Isn’t it lovely that we have wildlife who care to listen?

Shine On!

xo