Paradox – something CareGivers will confront

Here’s a thought provoking reflection by one my favorite authors, Richard Rohr, OFM. on Paradox. As a CareGiver, you will live continually in the realm of Paradox.

Mystery Is Endless Knowability
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How do we live the contradictions? Live them—not just endure them or relieve ourselves from the tension by quickly resolving them. The times where we meet or reckon with our contradictions are often turning points, opportunities to enter into the deeper mystery of God or, alternatively, to evade the mystery of God. I’m deliberately using the word mystery to point to depth, an open future, immense freedom, a kind of beauty and truth that can’t be fully spoken or defined.

Many mystics speak of the God-experience as simultaneously falling into an abyss and being grounded. This sounds like a contradiction, but in fact, when you allow yourself to fall into the abyss—into hiddenness, limitlessness, unknowability, a void without boundaries—you discover it’s somehow a rich, supportive, embracing spaciousness where you don’t have to ask (or answer) the questions of whether you’re right or wrong. You’re being held and so you do not need to try to “hold” yourself together. Please reflect on that.

This might be the ultimate paradox of the God-experience: “falling into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). When you can lend yourself to it and not fight it or explain it, falling into the abyss is ironically an experience of ground, of the rock, of the foundation. This is totally counterintuitive. Your dualistic, logical mind can’t get you there. It can only be known experientially. That’s why the mystics use magnificent metaphors—none of them adequate or perfect—for this experience. “It’s like. . . . It’s like . . . ,” they love to say.

Mystery is not something you can’t know. Mystery is endless knowability. Living inside such endless knowability is finally a comfort, a foundation of ultimate support, security, unrestricted love, and eternal care. For all of us, it takes much of our life to get there; it is what we surely mean by “growing” in faith. I can’t prove this to you. Each soul must learn on its own, hopefully aided by observing other faith-filled people.
Gateway to Silence:
Welcome what is.

Reference:

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Holding the Tension: The Power of Paradox (CAC: 2007), disc 3 (CD, MP3 download).

“God didn’t leave anything out of the body necessary for healing.”

Most of us, when asked how did we know we are healthy, typically answer: “I look good and feel good.” This is not an adequate answer.

The World Health Organization defines health as: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”1 Health is about the ability of the body to heal. If we are healthy, we will be able to maintain our well-being.

If we maintain the body’s healing systems, such as the immune system, and eliminate anything that inhibits the efficiency of the body’s healing systems, it is likely that we will be able to avoid many diseases and overcome the diseases that do manifest in the body. As my doctor, often reminds me, “God didn’t leave anything out of the body necessary for healing. “We just have to eliminate anything that’s blocking the body’s ability to heal: toxins we ingest, breathe, or otherwise absorb; an excess of glucose and fat; a continued buildup of hormones released when we are under stress; inflammation; subluxations in the spinal column; lack of nutrients the body needs to function effectively; insufficient levels of oxygen in the bloodstream — to name just a few.

As I have written in Chapter 7 of my book, Become a Compassionate CareGiver. Reduce Stress. Avoid Burnout2 it is more useful to develop a health model that works on keeping the body healthy rather than on focusing on ‘curing disease’. Disease is a symptom of a body whose healing systems are compromised. Find out where the healing systems have broken down and why, restore them, and the body will heal the disease.

A poignant example of thise approach to healing can be found in the book, The Cancer Killers3.

In this book, Dr. Charlie Majors documents how he overcame stage 4 bone marrow cancer without chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. With his oncologist, he discovered that toxins that had built up over his lifetime compromised his body’s ability to destroy cancer cells. Once he rebuilt the capability of his immune system to destroy cancer cells, the massive tumors inside his brain cavity disappeared. He no longer has bone marrow cancer. Now he is a ‘Cancer Killer,” as we all are when we maintain the capability of our immune systems.

It is cheaper to maintain your body’s healing systems than to pay for the medicines or surgeries to cure a disease.

1 The World Health Organization  http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html

2 Become A Compassionate CareGiver.Avoid Burnout.  Reduce Stress.

3Majors, Dr. Charles, Lerner, Dr. Ben,  with Ji, Sayer, The Cancer Killers – The Cause is the Cure, Orlando, FL: Maximized Living™, 2013

Success

We define success in monetary terms

rather than as one who brings out the

best in another, one who reduces fear

and increases love.

 

Focus not so much on success but

becoming a human being.

Death Is Not A Problem To Fix

Death is not a problem to fix,
           Nor a puzzle to solve.
Death is not
          what you think
          death is.
Death is not the end
          of you,
          unless you think
          you are just your body.
Death marks the end
          of your mind,
          if the mind is merely
          the activity of your brain.
Death is the end
          of pain and pleasure,
          as both require a body to feel
          sensations and emotions.
No death, no fear.*
          No death, no tears.
If you fear death,
          you will fear
         for your life.
You will fear life.

*”No Death, No Fear” is the title of a book
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Richard Anastasi
August 2, 2014

Accept / Surrender Process

Find a quiet place. Sit comfortably. Then as you breathe in, say to yourself “I accept …” and repeat one of the phrases in blue. Then exhale, and say to yourself, “I surrender…” and repeat the corresponding phrase to the right that is in red. Do this for each row in the table.

 

Accept:

Surrender:

The unconditional love of God. To the idea I am not worthy.
The gift of a breath. To receive the gift of a breath.
Being breathed into. To opening up to inhale what is being breathed into me.
The gift of being made in God’s image and likeness. To accepting God’s gifts; there is nothing to earn, nothing to do.
That all that I am is lovable. To seeing with the heart that this is true.
That I have chosen where I am now. To knowing I can, with grace, make other choices.
That nothing can ever separate me from the unconditional love of God. To being loved unconditionally.
That everything belongs. With consent, to the purification process of the Divine Healer.
Progress, growth, and expansion. The need for perfection.

Being.

Doing.

The Way of the CareGiver

The Way of the CareGiver

Find Beauty in the Small Places of Your Life!

Is there a plant growing in a crack in the sidewalk? Did you stop to notice it?

Did you hear the cooing of a morning dove as you backed your car out of the garage?

Did you notice the play of colors on the bedroom wall reflected from the mirror on top the cedar chest?

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 that beauty into your heart. Store it away to draw on when worries mount and hopes fail.

==========

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.
Feel your lungs and diaphragm as they inflate and deflate.

As 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.

================

Having: Expectations – Day 7

We all have expectations. Some of us tend to expect the best, others, the worst. What we might not have considered, is the affect of our expectations on those we care for.

Researchers conducted a simple experiment to show the power of expectations. Here’s how the experiment went.

Research was being done with laboratory rats. The rats were put in cages labeled either  ‘smart rat’ or ‘stupid rat.’ But the rats were really all the same. The sign designated their ‘intelligence.’

When the researchers (who were unaware that there really was no difference among the rats) performed their tests, the rats in the cages marked ‘smart’ always outperformed the rats in the other cages.

How the researchers interacted with the rats changed based on the label on the cages. Effectively, the ‘smart’ rats were expected to do better; those rats were treated differently and they wound up doing better than the rats labeled ‘stupid.’

The same holds true with people. Expectations affect the performance of children, students, soldiers and those with physical impairments such as blindness. Source: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/544/batman

Given this research, Care Givers have to be aware of their expectations as they interact with the person they care for.  If the Care Giver is worried and fearful, it will affect the mindset of the person being cared for. Guard against bringing your expectations into your care giving activities.

Having: Compassion – Day 6

As Care Givers, our focus is on getting the job done. We believe that doing the tasks of care giving is what counts most.

From my experience and research, I have to come to know that having compassion is more important than what we are doing.

Having compassion is the essential energy of care giving.
The root of the word ‘Compassion’ is a Latin verb that means ‘to suffer with.’ The definition is “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.”

Paradoxically, learning compassion begins with ‘being friendly towards yourself.’ The Zen Buddhist term for being friendly towards your self is ‘maitri.’ If we are not friendly toward ourselves, if we  don’t love ourselves, how we can begin to love and then care for another?

When we begin caring for another before we have learned compassion, our actions will come from a place of obligation, duty, and even guilt. It will be difficult to sustain care giving over a long period of time without compassion. For we will be attempting to give what we ourselves don’t have.

Performing the tasks of care giving without first having compassion leads to burn-out. Burn out is the feeling that I can no longer do another thing for the person I am caring for.

Learning to have compassion is the necessary first step of becoming a Care Giver.

Doing Without An Agenda – Day 5

As a Care Giver, your role is to serve the person you are caring for (the CaredFor). You are there for that person. You are not there to accomplish a goal that is on your agenda.

For example, if you only have one day available to take the CaredFor to see the doctor, and there is more than one doctor to see, you might think it’s a good idea to schedule appointments to see both doctors on the same day. It appears to be a good use of your time.

But would that be too much of strain on the CaredFor to have to spend a whole day in waiting rooms and being probed by doctors?

This might be an obvious case of fitting care giving into your own agenda. Yet, there are other more subtle ways we deliver care which are really done to meet our agenda rather than the needs of the CaredFor.

The pace at which we prepare and eat a meal with the CaredFor is a good example. We may not realize it, but we may be rushing through meal times in order to get to other tasks we want to accomplish that day. While the pace may not seemed rushed to us, it may be for the CaredFor.

As Care Givers, we have  to watch whether we are approaching our care giving tasks with our own agenda in mind or are we in tune with the needs of the CaredFor.

Doing: Letting Go of Results – Day 4

The struggle I experienced during the time I was caring for my mother came from feeling that I wasn’t sure I was doing the right things, or that I wasn’t doing enough, or that I didn’t know what to do. The combination of these feelings made it difficult for me to just be with my mother.

Had I been willing to let go of wanting a specific result (wanting her to get better), I would have been more at ease caring for my mother.

Toward the end of our time together, I did finally let go of wanting her to get better. I moved toward making memories, not misery. In other words, I shifted my attention to what would be fun for us to do together rather than what would ‘fix’ the situation.

Developing an attitude of letting go of expected results will lighten the load of being a care giver.