CareGiver Guide

You can't care for another until you care for yourself…first!

Compassionate CareGiver Training Series: First Event – Sunday February, 23 at 10:30 A.M.*

Your cell phone rings. You answer and learn a loved one has stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Recovering from the shock, you realize you are now the caregiver. You ask yourself, “What do I do now?”Welcome to the world of care giving!

In his talk, based on his research and over 10 years experience as a CareGiver, Richard Anastasi will explore strategies that make it possible for CareGivers to cope with the stress of care giving and the loss of a loved one.  In 2016, he compiled his research and experience into a book, Become a Compassionate CareGiver. Reduce Stress. Avoid Burnout. His web portal on care giving is

* Location: SMU Catholic Center, 3057 University Blvd, Dallas, TX 75205

In May, Richard will complete his Masters of Theological Studies with a concentration in pastoral care at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.  Prior to care giving, he spent over 25 years in the computer software industry. He has an MBA from The Wharton School (U of Penn) and a BA in Economics and Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Boston College. Richard, a native of New York City, is an amateur musician, composer, poet as well as a 1/2 marathoner.

Ask, Accept, Surrender All Judgment

“Ask to be a servant of the Lord,
A vehicle of Divine Love, a channel of God’s grace.
Ask for direction and divine assistance
and surrender all personal will through devotion.
Dedicate one’s life to the service of God.
Choose love and peace above all options.
Commit to the goal of unconditional love and acceptance of all life, in all its expression, and surrender all judgment to God.”

– David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D, I: Reality & Subjectivity

For The CareGiver:

Find Beauty in the Small Places of Your Life.

Is there a plant growing in crack? Did you stop to notice it? Did you take a look back?

Did you notice the play of color reflecting off  the mirror as you passed down the hall?

Did you see the sun peeking through the clouds of pink and grey?

Beauty surrounds us, each and every day, unnoticed in the small places in our lives.

Gather  beauty into your heart. Store it as a memory to draw upon when worries mount and hope fades.        

Find Beauty in the Small Places of Your Life. Greet the Present Moment!

Take a breath.

Take another — slowly. Inhale…Exhale.

Take a moment to notice what you are feeling.

Can you locate this feeling in a specific part of your body?

Have you felt this feeling before?

Notice what happens as you slowly inhale,  …and then exhale.

Notice your lungs and diaphragm as they inflate and deflate.

When you exhale, can you feel your breath as it passes over your upper lip?

Rejoice that you are alive, that you can breathe, that you can feel the air passing in and out of you.

Rejoice that you can feel the touch of those you love and who love you.

Greet the Present Moment, Find Beauty in the Small Places of Your Life.

Richard Anastasi Copyright © 2010

How to look death in the face and laugh

We are only afraid of death as long as we do not know who we are, but once we know ourselves objectively to be a child of God, we are already home and our inheritance is given to us ahead of time. Then we can begin living and enjoying instead of climbing, proving, or defending. Our false self, as all religions say in one way or another, must “die before we die.” Only then can we sincerely say with Francis, “Welcome, Sister Death” which he said on this day in 1226. Those who face this first death of dying to self lose nothing that is real. And so, “the second death can do them no harm,” as Francis says in his “Canticle of the Creatures.” [3] Death itself will only “keep opening, and opening, and opening,” which is what resurrection means. [4]

All of this creates a very different form and shape to our spiritual life. It is no longer elitist, separatist, or competitive, but changes our deepest imagination in the direction of simplicity. Our worldview will not normally change until we place ourselves, or are placed, in new and different lifestyle situations. Another of the Center’s core principles is: You do not think yourself into a new way of living, you live yourself into a new way of thinking. Francis and Clare displaced themselves into different worlds where their hearts could imagine very different things and they had to pay attention to something other than comfort or convenience.

[3] Francis wrote this song praising God through all creation during the last year of his life; the full text of the Canticle can be found at
[4] Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), xxi.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 200-202.
Image credit: Scenes from the life of Saint Francis: 2. Renunciat

Announcing Project Purple: Because Stress Kills

The 18th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11/2001 is an appropriate day to announce a project that I have been formulating for the past 21 days: “Project Purple: Because Stress Kills.”

In April of 2012, I first heard that stress is the cause of more than 85% of all illnesses. Since then, my research has validated that claim with some claiming the percentage is even higher. As you can read elsewhere on this site, my mission has been ‘to reduce the stress level of caregivers, those caring for someone with a dis-sease.’ With Project Purple, I am extending my mission to include anyone experiencing stress from whatever cause.

The inspiration for Project Purple comes from the Cleveland Clinic which instituted a program called “Code Lavender.” Quoting from their website:

“A Code Lavender provides holistic rapid response to emotionally stressful events,” explains Barb Picciano, BSN, RN, HN-BC, Manager of Healing Services. “A trained team responds in the moment when something happens and supports folks emotionally.” The program has grown, with a Code Lavender team of four holistic nurses and 10 chaplains from Cleveland Clinic’s main campus helping more than 1,100 people so far this year. The team is part of the Spiritual Care Department led by the Reverend Amy Greene, DMin.

Stayed tuned to this website for more details on the roll-out of Project Purple.

Never ask to make it easier…Ask to make yourself stronger.

“For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.”– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Mercy & Grace


           Not getting what you deserve.


            Getting what you don’t deserve.

Why America Won’t Have an Affordable (or Unaffordable) Health Care System

Seven years ago, on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Regardless whether Congress repeals, replaces, or reforms the ACA, the end-result will not be a Health Care System (HCS). At least not an HCS that will empower Americans to become healthy.

What America has, and will continue to have, unless there is a radical change, is a Disease Care System (DCS). Satan himself couldn’t have conspired to put in place (or maybe he did) such a deadly system in the name of health.

The interplay among pharmaceutical companies, agribusiness, insurance companies, the medical establishment and the government continues to sustain the Disease Care System (DCS). Yes, there are islands of wellness care in the ocean of disease care, but the waves of a demand for a ‘magic pill,’ a quick fix, and a profitable bottom line are eroding the shores of these islands of wellness care.

A Disease Care System you say? Yes, that’s what I said. We go to the medical doctor (M.D.) when we have a ‘dis-ease.’ We go when are not at ease in either our body or mind or both.  To put us at ease, the medical doctor usually prescribes a medicine designed to treat the disease we present during our visit.

We typically don’t go to see the medical doctor to learn how to improve our health. Health is about the ability of our body to heal. The World Health Organization’s first principle in its constitution states that “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” [] No, we don’t go to the doctor to become healthy. We go to get treated for a disease.

I called the Disease Care System (DCS) deadly. Why? There is an article that reports that “the modern American medical system” is responsible for more deaths than heart disease and cancer combined. [see ]

Do I dare blame those stalwarts of the American medical industrial complex for developing this deadly system?  They were only responding to the needs and sometimes the demands of those to whom they sold their products (medicines/drugs) or delivered their services (operations/treatments).

Americans are notorious for wanting the quick fix, the simple solution, for wanting to have their cake and eat it, too. (The rise in obesity in America shows we are eating a lot more cake.) And so, Americans have what they asked for: a disease care system. They have said, “If I look and feel good, I must be healthy. Why should I eat wholesome food? Drink plenty of water? Move my body on regular basis? Think good thoughts?  Fortify my immune system?”

Until recently, I was a reluctant supporter of the American medical industrial complex. I had my annual check-ups. Otherwise, like many Americans, I didn’t step foot into a doctor’s office unless there was a problem. For many years I read about ‘preventive medicine’  and  the role of nutrition and exercise in avoiding issues like heart disease which ran in my family. I did my best to incorporate what I read into my lifestyle, but I was still a dependent of the DCS.

Finally, I decided to ‘unsubscribe’ from the Disease Care System (DCS). For the past 6 years, I have subscribed to a quintessential health model consisting of five essentials (‘quinte’ means five.):  nurture the heart-brain, keep the nervous system flowing, oxygenate the body, provide good nutritional inputs and eliminate toxins.  The wellness organization I subscribed to is called Maximized Living Doctors. ( These doctors show their patients how to live the “5 Essentials.”

Following the 5-essential health model, I became responsible for my well-being. I now had an approach to health and wellness that stood in contrast to the medical industrial complex. I no longer had to blindly place my faith in my medical doctor trusting that he, and sometimes she, knew best.

Confusion is probably the best excuse Americans have for their complicity in the disease care system. The medical industrial complex generates voluminous amounts of research which usually reaches consumers in the form of advertisements or articles in the media. At times the information is contradictory.

The other day I heard a report about how American cardiologists conflict with their peers in Europe as to whether salt should or should not be part of a ‘heart healthy diet.’ The American cardiologists say ‘no’ to salt while the European cardiologists take a more tolerant view of salt.

To add to the confusion, every advertisement for a drug must disclose the possible effects of the drug apart from the condition for which the drug was developed. As these effect lists get longer and longer, it’s no wonder consumers have tuned them out. All they want to know is if I take this pill, I’ll get better, right?

When was the last time you read the  disclosure document that comes with the prescribed medicines you picked up at the pharmacy? Don’t you just do what your medical doctor tells you to do?  The doctor’s name is followed by the initials “M.D’ which stands for Medical Doctor, someone trained about medicines among other things. They should know. They did graduate from a medical school, didn’t they?

However, there is something for which I will hold the medical community accountable. Generally, the medical community acts as though death is a problem to fix. This unstated belief permeates our treatment programs particularly when a disease has progressed to the point where death is imminent. Our health care professionals go to great lengths and expense to keep their patients alive. In hospitals, death is “a bad outcome.”  Death is a problem to fix.

Death is a natural and inevitable part of the cycle of life. Right this moment, in each of our bodies there are cells being born, growing, and dying with new cells replacing the dying cells. We see the same cycle of birth, growth, death, and renewal in nature as we move through the seasons. Yet, we continue to treat death as an anomaly, something to avoid – avoid talking about, avoid facing  truthfully, and ultimately to avoid happening to us.

Holding the belief that death is a problem to fix undermines our medical system. Treating death as problem causes us to spend a disproportionate amount of time and resources to extending life, regardless whether it is preserving quality of life.

The belief that death is a problem to fix leads to a related belief – that patients are problems to fix. The person becomes a patient identified by a disease. You are no longer a person that has a disease. You take on the identity of the disease. You are a diabetic, an obese person, a cancer patient, an alcoholic, a manic depressive.

The wise teach that what we focus on expands.

With our disease care system, we focus on the symptoms of disease. That’s is what is expanding – the treatment of the symptoms of diseases at an ever-rising cost. Treating symptoms provides a recurring revenue stream. Teaching how to maintain health to reduce the incidence and duration of disease is not as lucrative.

In a wellness or true health care system, the doctor and patient are working together to maintain health. The patient doesn’t wait for a symptom to show up before going to the see their partner in healing, the doctor. The patient is regularly visiting with the doctor to maintain wellness and to detect whether conditions exist which will lead to diseases. A wellness system teaches how to create an environment of health, not an environment of disease avoidance. It teaches steps to take to improve the body’s defense mechanisms, the immune system, to eliminate the diseased cells before they have a chance to overwhelm the body as is typical with the various forms of cancer.

The shift in the paradigm of a health care system from treating symptoms of disease to enabling wellness and healing not only leads to better patient outcomes but is also more economical. What is more cost effective in the long run: paying extra for eating organic food, buying supplements to provide nutrients that our foods can no longer supply, spending time to learn how to maximize the effectiveness of our immune system or 4 to 7 courses of chemotherapy at an average cost of $10,000 per treatment to treat a cancer? The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” surely applies.

While we wait to see what happens to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I would recommend taking responsibility for your health care. Learn how to develop the healing capability of your body and mind. Take small steps in the direction of wellness each day rather than waiting for a symptom to manifest that is so painful you finally decide to go see your doctor. By the time you experience pain symptoms, as much as 40% of an organ’s functionality has already been lost.

The choice is up to you. Do you want to maintain the Disease Care System or do you want to participate in a Health and Wellness Care System? The choice is yours.



A Valentine’s Gift for Your Self: Visualization

Visualization: The Gift for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the holiday which celebrates love. Love has many dimensions: romantic and sensual love (eros), familial love (philia), friendship love (storge) and divine or unconditional love (agape). These are the types of love we experience in our relationships.

This Valentine’s Day why not go beyond having relationships you love to having a life you love?  One way to design a life you love is to visualize it. Usually on Valentine’s Day, we give gifts to others. This Valentine’s Day, include yourself when giving out gifts. Give yourself the gift of visualizing a life you love.

Open your visualization gift by finding a quiet place free of distractions. Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Using your imagination, begin to visualize your ideal life. Remember, when you visualize, you have no limitations of time, talent, or treasure. Know that everything is available to you.

Use all your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

Imagine a time three (or five or ten) years from now. You just woke up and are ready to get out of bed. What do you see? What do you hear?  What do you smell? With whom are you or are you by yourself? Where are you? Answering these questions is how you begin to create your idealized future – your inspired life. 

Visualization is the link between inspiration and manifestation. Belief powers the link. 

As you answer these questions, visualize your idealized future in as much detail as possible. The more details the better. As you allow your imagination to run free, you will feel more inspired. The more inspired you become, the easier it will be for you to step into the world you are imagining. You can begin to see and feel yourself in this new world.  It may take several rounds of visualization to form a detailed image of your idealized future. Give yourself the time to continue visualizing. Be generous with your gift to your Self.

As you visualize, don’t entertain any limiting thoughts. Don’t let doubt seep in. Don’t say to yourself, “This is a just a dream. It will never actually happen like this for me.” The truth is that when you visualize something, it just did happen. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between imagination and what we call reality – the manifestation of our imagined thoughts.

Do you find it hard to believe that the mind doesn’t know the difference between what you imagine and what is in physical form? Haven’t you ever noticed that when you smell the scent of your favorite food you begin to salivate whether that food is available for you to eat or not? The mind recognizes the scent. It then does what the mind always does. It reacts to that stimulus and sets in motion a reaction in the body. It doesn’t matter whether the food is on the table ready to eat or not.

Believe in what you are imagining. Without a strong belief in what you are visualizing, it cannot come into reality. Doubt can prevent it from coming into being.

Feelings fuel belief. If you can feel the feelings associated with what you are visualizing, the vibrational energy of the feelings will attract the conditions necessary for what you are visualizing to manifest.

Experience the feelings first. Then wait for the manifestation. If you depend on the manifestation to occur before you can feel the feelings, you are living a conditional life. You are living life backwards. Imagine first. Believe it. Feel it. Then allow for your inspired visualization to manifest. (Of course, there are actions you will take along the way, but that is the subject for another time.)

When you live a conditional life, your happiness is dependent on conditions outside of you.

When you live your life from inspiration, you are living an unconditional life. You are joyful because of who you are being. Your joy is not dependent on conditions outside of your Self. You don’t need certain conditions to be present to feel happy. Instead, your inspiration generates joy.

Do you now understand more fully what unconditional love is really all about?

This Valentine’s Day you can be in love regardless of what conditions exist – whether you are alone, with your ‘valentine,’ at home, or on a vacation. Conditions don’t determine whether you are in love.

For this Valentine’s Day, give yourself the gift of visualization and share it with those you love.

Mindset more important than medicine.

I believe that a person’s mindset in dealing with a disease is more important than what medicines the person does or doesn’t not take. Based on what I have read, the patient’s belief in the treatment plan is a significant determining factor in whether the plan will succeed.

That said, you should still take the time to learn about your treatment options and how well you feel they will work for you. Some options may be better than others.

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