Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths. — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
How do we appreciate our lives as a care partner when we’re worn, torn and forlorn? How do we feel our creative spark when we don’t have time or energy for our usual forms of renewal?
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing some leading creative caregivers for an article on Conscious Caregiving for Natural Awakenings. Click here to read this article.
I’ve also found inspiration on the blog Zenhabits.net, where Leo Babauta offers great ideas for making the most of life. Leo generously shares his wisdom with anyone who wants to learn from and with him. Here are two of my favorite shots of his inspiration.
Treat an activity like a sacred ritual
Every single thing we do can be done as an afterthought, or it can be elevated to something sacred.
Washing your hands? Take a moment to realize how much of a miracle this act is (many people don’t have water for basic hygiene), take a breath, and truly pay attention as you go through this sacred hand-washing ritual.
Do your dishes the same way: every dish a miracle, every sensation elevated to a new importance, every drop of water a gem worth paying attention to.
This applies to every activity: caregiving, writing, responding to an email, listening to a friend, playing with your child, taking a shower, going for a walk, paying bills. Worthy of your full attention, worthy of joy and appreciation.
Your Intention Creates Your Greatness
Start by admitting that greatness comes from making a difference in the world.
Being an example of compassion is one way you can make a difference.
It doesn’t matter if you achieve the result you set out to achieve — you can’t control the result, but you can control your intention. And you can show up, every day with that intention.
Carve out the time. Put aside everything else. Realize that life is limited and precious and amazing, and you shouldn’t waste a minute of it.
Pursue this compassionate work with single-minded devotion. This one thing matters, and all else can be put aside for now, unless it’s in support of your work. (Good health supports your work, including a whole-foods diet, exercise, and sleep.)
This compassionate work, with good-hearted intention, pursued with single-minded devotion: this is greatness.
Here’s to all those sacred acts of daily caring and to the intentional and loving care partners, bringing greatness into the lives of those living with dementia.
Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.