Wednesday, April 19, 2017

High Frequency ~ The Voice of Inspiration



"This is a new shape to create a Zentangle on. I had some anxiety about giving it a try, but I plunged in and it all worked out".


High Frequency ~ The Voice of Inspiration

When the calling comes to do something out of  our comfort zone, it may be inspiration knocking at our door. Inspiration may come when we're in creative mode and it may also come knocking when we least expect it.

After reading several books on how to be your 'best self' from the time I was a teenager (instilled by my parents), and reading multiple articles over the years, there is plenty of information to learn how to zone in on your creative energy/living your best life. We all need a reason to get up in the morning. A life without purpose becomes a grind or a life of going through the motions.

Our attitude, outlook and perception have everything to do with how we internalize life and move through life. Our circumstances may be out of our control, but our attitude, choices and free will are our ticket to a 'good life'. Living a life of inspiration does not necessarily drop in our lap. We must have a strong desire to find and live our best life for it to come to fruition.

What does a good life look like to you? What does peace of mind look like? As humans we do have much in common, but in our personal and professional life, we are all unique. If you're feeling ansty, unsettled, discontent or bitter, it may be time to look deeper into the changes you need to make to turn your life around. If you're in a great place, fantastic!

During the times when I was in full fledge Caregiver mode for my Mom, every single thing seemed out of control, because it was. The life I loved suddenly came to a screeching halt. Everything I knew to be true was suddenly transformed into an unrecognizable life. For a long time. And forever more.

I will never look back with regret that I chose to be by my parents side when they needed me most. I was glad to give back. I was glad I was a rock. I was so sorry my Mom was sick and I was trying with all my might to save her life, knowing on some level it was inevitable that Alzheimer's disease would take her, but I was still in denial until the bitter end. She seemed so invincible my whole life, even when she was sick.

Coming to terms with a dramatic change and carrying on in joy has been a process. I know for sure Mom would not want me to be sad and sorrowful the rest of my life. No, not at all. She wants me to sing, to fly high, to reach for the stars. She and my Dad are in fact my inspiration to carry on in the way I have. Giving, loving, supporting those in the throes of caring for a loved one(s) and living my life to the best of my ability, with gusto!

Love is a driving force. Love feeds us. Love fuels us. 'Love is the drug' that can bring us closer together, to be compassionate and empathetic to those that are in our personal circle. Love is the emotion that connects us and compels us in so many ways!

I am a silver lining seeker because what else is there? On the other side awaits bitterness, anger and instability. It may take time to find or discover a silver lining in our circumstances. If we're patient enough, the silver lining always shows up. It's a mindset. It's almost like tricking our mind into believing - out of this difficult or challenging experience - I will come out for the better for it and there are lessons to be learned.

When the chips are down, tune-in to your 'high frequency', your best self, the one that wants to find the silver lining ~ the one that will never let  you down ~ the one that will always rise to the top.

You are a Winner!!

Best Wishes,
Carole
cbrecht4@gmail.com



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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kirsty Porter ~ Special Guest



'Angel's Decent aka the Caregivers arrived!'
~I can hear the angels sing 'AL-L-L-L-LAY-LOO-YA, HalleLUya, HalleLUya...All-lay-hay-loo-hoo ya!~

Jan's Zentangle is a perfect fit for Kirsty's blog post. Suddenly, life turned on a dime for Kirsty and she had to act fast. Her instincts to help someone in desperate need kicked in and were in high gear. Read further about her experience working hard, at a moment's notice, to save a stranger's life. 

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Nurse, Blogger and Founder of The Umbrella Dementia Café, Australia


‘In Just 30 Minutes’

Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.
-Kevin Kruse-

My guest blog piece to you Carole, and your readers, was going to be a story of a heroic and determined community, working together to create self-sustainable dementia café events in Blackburn, Melbourne, Australia.  I was going to share stories with you celebrating our successes to deisolate elders living with dementia in our community, while at the same time bringing awareness and education to our children.  I imagined the blog to be an exciting piece, fashioned to enthuse people about the wonders of bringing together a community who are motivated to be a more connected and provide a dementia-friendly village.  

Something happened to me this week that changed this would-be story.  I had an unexpected role to play as an unprepared Caregiver.  And it began and ended in only 30 minutes, 30 minutes!

So, here is my blog to you, my lovely friend, Carole.  I am in awe of you and in all those who have too given so much of themselves to be a family Caregiver; some unexpectedly, most under-resourced, and many reluctant.  I salute you all and vow to learn from you as I continue to travel my own Caregiving journey.

My (revised) guest blog begins it's journey scribbled on an old piece of paper.  My face is stained with tears and my chest and hands are covered with the smell of dirty sweat and blood from a stranger. Thirty minutes earlier I was happily driving home, jubilant to have just won a fiercely fought game of netball (similar to basketball).  My relaxed brain is in full blissful writers mode, already choreographing the heartwarming words about being a professional Caregiver, prepared to blog about my recent collaboration, connecting people through Dementia Cafe.  

In just 30 minutes after my elation, I had a different story about Caregiving.  It was an unexpected story about giving and being, without question or choice.  (Our instincts hopefully are on point in time of need, at a moment's notice.


So here’s what happened, just 30 minutes ago:

I’m driving on a familiar local road, journeying east, approaching the top of the undulating road. The traffic slows unexpectedly and I quickly see something is not right up ahead. Something….Someone!  A large black object is in the middle of the road blocking traffic.  I see a young man, waving his arm furiously at passing cars, visibly distraught while talking erratically on his cell phone.  

There is a motorbike, well half of a motorbike, in the middle of the road.  The rider of the bike, also in the middle of the road, appears to be laying star-shaped about 30 meters away from the bike.  The biker is in full protective gear, not moving.  There is a car involved.  Its been impacted, badly.  The car door is completely concave, but I see no blood on the shattered window.  A small woman is still in the car.  

Very slowly, from the opposite direction, two cars approached the scene, and then very slowly, drive off.  

WHAT!  No!

I take a deep breath.  God, I’m up. It’s my turn.  I have to do this.  Here I go ! 

I pull the car over, get out and run towards the scene.  First, I need to check the biker on the ground.  Another woman, very young, she’s running towards me determined to help.
 
“Traffic!” I yelled.

Without hesitation she stops the cars in both directions.  Literally, she runs in front of them.  “Stop!” she yells with stern authority!  Good girl.

The biker’s legs move deliberately.  Alive.  Back is not broken. Good.  
Second, check the small woman in the car, also moving.  Alive. Good.

Stay calm.  What’s next?

I run back to car, grab my first aid bag – all nurses have one in their car, right?  Band-Aids. Full of blasted Band-Aids.  Dear God, how can I help these people?

A middle-aged man is suddenly at the window of the impacted car.  He’s talking with the small woman inside and wants to help her.  I notice she is elderly.  

Ok, here we go.  The biker.  I wish I had better equipment.  A stethoscope?  A blood-pressure machine?  A limb splint?  I have blasted Band-Aids.

“Hello, what’s your name?”  Carefully pushing back the helmet visor.  It’s a man, mid 40’s and he’s still alive.  Eyes open, blinking but not focused.  Fixed.  Pinprick pupils.  He’s in shock and begins to shake.  Dear God, what do I do?

“Hello, I’m here.  My name is Kirsty, I’m here to help.”  The man on the phone is crying and talking to the emergency help operator.  He’s doing a great job.

Louder, “What’s your name?”
“John*” He throws his helmet off.  Great, his neck (and arms) don’t appear to be broken.

“Hi John, I’m Kirsty.  I’ve got you, it’s going to be ok.”  I hold his head steady between my hands.  

“Stay still John, we’re all here, stay still.  Ambulance is on its way.”

Someone else is now holding his hands and checking his limbs.  Now what.  Come on ambulance.

“It’s ok John, you’re going to be ok.  Stay calm John, it’s going to be ok.”

20 seconds? 1 minute? I don’t know.  I keep talking to John.  “You’ve been in an accident, we are all here helping you.  Stay calm, it’s going to be ok.”

I hear the sirens.  It’s going to be ok.

And so it was.  First the police, then the medics, and then two ambulances.  John was assessed. Physically at least, he was ok.  He was helped up onto his feet by two ambos, put in their ambulance and sent off to hospital, sirens blaring.  The small elderly woman was being comforted by another medic and was also sent to hospital, just in case.  Police directed traffic and a witness statement from the first responder was taken.  The tow trucks came and began to clean up the road.

And so I leave.  I get in my car and I drive away.  I get 200 meters before I pull the car over and just sob.  Full shoulder action, head on the steering wheel sob.

In those moments I became the unexpected, under-resourced and even, somewhat reluctant Caregiver.  Armed with all my nursing experience, it was for nothing.  All I could give John was my support and reassurance.  I could only be there for him until more help came. Perhaps, that was enough.  Maybe, that’s enough in that role?

As a nurse, I’ve played the ambulance role a thousand times; taking over from the under-resourced Caregiver.  And what of the thousands of sons, daughters and partners who played me, the under-resourced reluctant Caregiver?  The thousands of men and women who reluctantly, and sometimes indefinitely, handover the reigns of this Caregiver role to care professionals?  What of their fears, tears and heartache?

And so this blog has changed from a story of a united community working towards a better dementia inclusive society, to one of humbled recognition.  

I want to humbly recognize the sons, daughters and partners who too become unexpected, under-resourced, and even reluctant Caregivers.  To the men and women who give their lives to care and to simply be there for loved ones when they are diagnosed with a terminal illness, such as Alzheimer’s.  To the men and women who are caught between generations directing traffic, providing physical and mental support, offering reassurance, navigating health care systems looking for help, all while being under-resourced and sadly, more often than not, isolated.  

I’ve learned today that courage is something called upon to get you through a journey that you have no idea where it will take you.  For that reason, Caregiving should not be done alone.  The Caregiving and care receiving relationship does not solely exist between two people, it’s more complex than that.  It’s a united team effort from an extended supportive family, from responsive care professionals and from an aware community all working together to prop up these two people piloting the best possible life outcomes under very difficult circumstances.  

Therein lies the importance of a connected network of people and community who understand and support that care relationship.  The courage, within this care relationship, believes that this support network exists and, thus being brave enough to seek it out.

That’s the unique complexity of care relationships, well, the artistry of it anyway.  

Thank you Carole for the opportunity to pour my heart out on your pages and be allowed to write such a vulnerable piece.

With love,
Kirsty Porter

You can reach out and connect to Kirsty here:

The Umbrella Dementia Café - Facebook
Email: Kirsty@theageofsenescence.com
Instagram: @theageofsenescence
Twitter: @theageofsenes
YouTube: The Age of Senescence
LinkedIn: Kirsty Porter

*John is not his real name and changed to protect his privacy.






Thank you so much for being my guest blogger today Kirsty. You certainly made me pause and you painted a clear picture: when we're called to action and responsible in a life or death situation, we must act fast. 

We are designed to care for others from the time we are born. We are created to love others, be of service to others and our instincts are our best friend. In time of crisis or daily living, we connect to those around us. 

Kirsty Porter, you really showcased your best self, no matter the circumstances, you were present. Thank you for sharing from your heart, our most vulnerable space, and shedding light on responding quickly, when the Call comes in. You are a shining example of living your best life. Thank you for being on board with SanGenWoman Blog and keeping it real. My best to you from me and my readers who relish your testimony! 


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Best wishes,
Carole
cbrecht4@gmail.com

www.SanGenWoman.com
www.TangledArtBoutique.com


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

~Riding the Wave~


Riding the Wave by Jan Steinle

"Sometimes you go along for the (bumpy) ride and still find Joy"

~Riding the Wave~

On any given day, there is a light, even if it's just peeking out from the cracks. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, even while we're in a dark tunnel, seen or not. 

When we're in the thick of change or loss or we're experiencing a dim light, hope will always carry us. Hope is our lifeline. We are instilled with infinite possibilities in our thoughts and we are given free will, our greatest gift of all. We are multi-layered humans that have an emotional aspect to our life as well as a logical aspect to our life. There is a meeting of the minds somewhere in that mix, hopefully creating stability. 

At a moment's notice, we can chose a different path physically or in thought. It's easy to look outside of ourselves to find joy and happiness, but like all the gurus tell us - happiness comes from within, that is if you want to live a consistently happy life during your lifetime. If joy is tied to our circumstances - that means we could be up and down constantly because life is not a smooth ride ever, and certainly not in midlife. 

Transforming one's life to be a more fulfilling, purpose-driven life, is seeking and finding the sweet spot, daily. Daydreaming can be a lifesaver, by focusing on the positive. A major blessing when it comes to seeking and finding the silver lining.

The ups and downs of the slippery slope never cease. We have seasons of life that are calmer and/or more joyful than others. No matter what season we're in, we need to keep our voice of reason in tact so we can maintain our stability, even in chaotic circumstances. Our emotions have the ability to run wild and can lead us astray. If you've ever been told 'you wear your heart on your sleeve', you will relate to being a victim of your emotions. Our voice of reason is our best friend. The heart will help to guide us, but if it's the ruler of life, we will have many pitfalls because our emotional life is driven by the heart, not logic.

Do whatever you have to do to find your peace of mind while you are riding the wave of life. Feel confident that you are making strides, no matter the circumstances. You have everything it takes to meet the demands of the day. I believe in you!

Best wishes for the week ahead,
Carole


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

~Run Towards What Scares You~


Magic Mist by Jan Steinle

"When I look at this tangle, I feel like I am looking at some kind of magical land off in the distance, beckoning me."


~Run Towards What Scares You~

I read this statement recently: Run towards what scares you. It was like a bell ringing in my head. A good bell. A call to action bell. In fact, I was compelled to write a blog about this concept.

Life is riddled with so many ups and downs. We go in and out of seasons, some good, some not so good. Our life circumstances are out of our control, but our response to those circumstances are not. Our outlook, perception and attitude can turn on a dime. We have the ability to choose how we respond to all of the circumstances in our life. This is great news!

I'm sure when I'm not feeling so chipper or I have to go through the motions 'acting as if' I'm feeling good on the outside, it's always worthwhile to 'pretend' until my emotions catch up with my logic. That's not so bad. The alternative is worse. 

Our emotions play a very large part in our life. Our voice of reason is hopefully ruling, but at times I'm pretty sure not, atleast, not 100% 24/7, 365. We are designed to have a heart's view on what's happening in our lives. We are multi-dimensional and we have every right to feel a million different feelings. It's the ones that rule that we may consider scrutinizing. Following your heart is a popular concept today. That's fine as long as there is logic, on some level, in that mix. All heart and no logic can easily mislead us. 

Just like Jan's Zentangle quotes - we're being beckoned to answer a calling... do you hear the whisper?

Perspective, perception, truth (your truth, my truth, their truth, the truth), our memories and experiences in life, our outlook, our attitude and every single 'thing' under the sun impacts how we look at life, how we behave in life and how we embrace life. Never forget, at any given moment we can choose our response, keeping in mind, there are circumstances out of our control. 

As you run towards what scares you, be assured you have everything it takes to answer the calling. You are strong and smart, intuitive and calculating. I bet you save the day!

Go for it!

Boldly,
Carole
cbrecht4@gmail.com

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Copyright March 2017



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Leslie Cottrell Simonds ~ Special Guest



"I created a colorful abstract for the pure joy of it."

by, Jan Steinle, Certified Zentangle Teacher

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Special Guest: Leslie Cottrell Simonds 
~Author, Caregiver, Creator of The Visionary Passage~


~The Visionary Passage~

I always find it interesting to hear people say they were shaped by the experiences they found themselves in as either children, or young adults. Could it not be the reverse?  Perhaps we become immersed in certain circumstances solely to help us remain on a path that was ours to travel.  Like the gutter lanes we set up to help our little one feel successful as a new bowler, becoming comfortable with experiences that are a bit out of the norm for others can nudge us forward to be different people than we may have been otherwise.  Different people, only because we are journeying our divine paths.


After finding myself in the presence of several people as they prepared to transition from this life, I began to wonder just why it was that I experienced this event multiple times.  What was most interesting to me was that I found the experience of holding space for someone actively dying as an honor.  It was beautiful, peaceful and transcendent.  It was such a pure feeling that I had no idea others did not feel the same!


After hearing some recollections of fear, uneasiness and even disgust, I began to embrace the idea that I felt the way I did because it is my journey to see beauty in the tender last moments, to see strength in the peaceful transition, and to see the face of God in the “in between.”


After being present for the last five days of my Father’s life I began to really understand the need for end of life support.  The dying need the support of someone who can set their grief aside and immerse themselves in the journey unfolding before them.  This is the key to holding space for the loved one who is nearing their last earthly breaths.  It is the simplest of concepts and perhaps the most challenging of all tasks.


How does one being to prepare for an end of life vigil?  The question itself opens a flurry of emotions.  I had a friend who refused to talk about what was ahead for her Mother.  She had a head knowledge that her Mother’s last days were approaching, but wouldn’t talk about preparing to support her Mother at her end of life because she felt it was a disloyalty.


I received a frantic and tearful call from her one mid morning after being met outside her Mother’s Nursing Home door by her Mother’s Primary Care Physician.  He attempted to tell her that her Mother had entered the stage of active dying and would probably be alive no longer than two or three more days.  Suddenly struck with the realizations that could no longer be avoided, she was desperate to gain enough knowledge to really be there for her Mom.


I did what I could to support her from the lengthy distance between us.  Several weeks after her Mother’s funeral, she admitted to me that she felt like a Mother giving birth with no labor classes.  She never felt like she could “catch up” to what was unfolding before her eyes.  Another call some months later ended with these words, “If you ever want a testimonial for why we need to prepare for death vigils, just have people call me.”


One thing we can do to support our loved ones is to ask them well in advance about their end of life choices.  I speak about this in great length in my book, “I Want You to Know.”  This book is a straight from the heart guide to walk you through all the necessary information for expressing your wishes, or documenting the wishes of a family member for all of life’s eventualities.


I always invite families to talk early and talk often about their wishes.  It’s never an easy subject, but the benefits of having the answers will serve you well in fragile times ahead.


Just remember that the most important thing you can do during an end of life vigil is just be there.  Be present, be aware and be an open conduit to support your loved one’s journey.  Much of caregiving is about action.  Holding vigil is less about doing and much more about being.


Quiet music that was their favorite in their younger years, soft lighting, subtle aromas of essential oils, reading passages from Scripture or their favorite book, a light massage, a cool cloth to the lips; these are all simple acts that set the tone for peaceful energy in the vigil space.  Just remember to be aware of intuitive nudges.  I clearly felt led to change the music in my Dad’s room from Hymns, to string music and finally felt clearly that it was no longer the time for any music.  Allow your loved one the freedom to choose their moment of passing.  Many times, they will wait from someone to leave the room because they want to spare them.  Sometimes a person clearly is waiting to see a loved one for the last time.  Much of these last days is just about going with the flow.


Allow yourself to drift in the river of the passage.  Don’t fight the current for your sake, or for your loved one’s sake.  This is as precious as birth and as unpredictable.  It will unfold, just as it is meant to be.

For more information visit TheVisionaryPassage.com  


Amazon: “I Want You to Know” at: http://amzn.to/2g0ygez




Thank you for being my guest today Leslie and for sharing from the heart. You've made a lasting impression. Thank you for creating your book!

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Sending best wishes for the week ahead. Thank you to Leslie for sharing from her heart, advising us on one of the most important, precious moments in our life - the end of life decisions. Embrace them. That's the heartbeat that keeps us going, loving the ones we care most about. 

All in the name of love,
Carole
cbrecht4@gmail.com

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Copyright March 2017