CareGiver Guide

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

Archive for the category “Spirituality”

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 www.franciscantradition.org.
[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

The spiritual approach is practical: day 2.

Yesterday, I announced the book I am writing: “The Spirituality of Care Giving: A Practical Guide for a Care Giver. I promised that over the next 90 days, I would explore in this blog what I mean by “the spirituality of care giving.” Today, Day 2, I am going to expand upon why the spiritual approach is practical.

Anyone who is or has been a Care Giver knows there are a lot of things “to do.” Reflecting on my own experience as a Care Giver, I remembered the times there were tasks I didn’t know how to do or I didn’t want to do. There were tasks I did do that I did with an ‘attitude.’ I performed those tasks with different attitudes ranging from feeling obligated to feeling excitement.

If we center our approach to care giving around ‘doing,’ at some point we’ll reach a state of burn out. Burn out is the point we reach when we feel like we can’t do another thing for the person we are caring for.

I believe that to be a competent care giver we have to know who we are being as a care giver and the attitudes we have as we go about doing the tasks of care giving. Without understanding the ‘being’ and ‘having’ aspects of care giving, it will be difficult to execute the ‘doing’ of care giving without eventually burning out.

It is understanding the relationship among the ‘being’ , ‘doing, and ‘having’ of care giving that I call the “spirituality of care giving.” Without this understanding, the practical work of care giving will remain a problem without a solution.

The Spirituality of Care Giving: A Practical Guide for Care Givers

What comes to mind when hear the word ‘spirituality’?

Ceremonies and rituals? Theological and theoretical discussions about whether or not there is a God? Someone saying “I’m spiritual, not religious?”

Relax. The “Spirituality of Care Giving” is not about any of the above. It is the title of a book I am writing that I intend as a practical guide for Care Givers. You probably don’t connect being spiritual with being practical.  The book will show how practical the spirituality of care giving can be.

Spirituality recognizes that human beings are more than a body and a mind (the activity of the brain). That something more is our spirit. “The Spirituality of CareGiving” will show how that ‘something more’ is essential for being a care giver.

You don’t have to believe this as you might believe some spiritual dogma. My experience caring for my mother as she dealt with of terminal liver disease, my interaction with patients as a hospice volunteer, and my work as a home care worker have shown me the practical value of the spiritual dimension of care giving.

I contend that learning the spirituality of care giving will reduce the stress level typically experienced by care givers.

Over the next 90 days, I will be unfolding “the spirituality of care giving.”  Stay tuned.

P.S. Over these same 90 days, I am committing to putting these thoughts into a book The Spirituality of Care Giving: A Practical Guide for Care Givers.

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