When You Need Peace To Be Still

www.bible.com/111/psa.4.8.niv

What a Blessed Assurance that when we lie down to sleep we can rest knowing we don’t have to control this act of pause from the hurried and busy activities of daily life and from the dialogue in our minds. Resting in the knowledge that God is in control is warm milk and honey. This verse tells us that the Lord will sustain us in this time of turning off, and, tuning out the day at hand, the sorrows of yesterday, and the anxiousness of tomorrow. It’s not easy but try if you will to turn it over and relinquish control. I will be joining you on this journey for I too am learning to let go and let God take the night as I journey to respite.

Good Night,

Barbara

"Right Thought is Mastery"

 “As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”

_ James Allen

The Menopause Reclamation

When I was a young girl I happened upon a book with companion cassettes on top of the stereo that sat in front of the picture window in our living room. The book was “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen the first copyright by the way was 1903. I was born in 1956 so around the time I read it during my middle school years the book had been in circulation 53 plus years. And yes you read it right my middle years; I was a bookworm and a nineteen sixties version of a nerd with pink cat-eyed glasses, no waist, long legs, and high-water jeans. Sitting here writing and reminiscing I am realizing it was really kinda cool that my mother purchased or was gifted a body of work such as this. A not so new age way of believing as Allen penned “dealt with the power of thought, and particularly with the use and application of thought.”

“I never asked my mother where the books or cassettes came from, and, I don’t remember the two of us ever discussing it. In fact now that I sit here celebrating this long ago memory I realize now that this type of book was oddly out of place in our home. And quite out of character for my mother to have in her possession let alone read and believe. But life as her carer has revealed much about her I never knew. I recollect reading the book and listening to the tapes often. I recall a feeling of fascination when I read this unfamiliar teaching. It was contrary to what I new about life up to this point in my life; but it also felt hip to have this knowing, as if I possessed a secret not everyone I knew was privy too. The power of thought could influence the trajectory of your life, go figure, it would not be long before I would abuse before embracing this idea.

I would grown on to experience lakes of tears, bitter disappointments, and occasional wins before I would be able to truly understand and practice the truth of what I had read as a girl on the edge of puberty and change. I do credit this early teaching with my ability to adapt to change. Throughout my adult version of life more young I dealt with a lot of dissatisfaction triggered by negative thinking. I didn’t think very highly of myself a series of events, and, things unspoken, buried but not forgotten led to some very tough self-taught lessons. Lessons I would return to time and time again before this grasshopper would finally have the courage to claim her own heart with all diligence and not relinquish control to someone else. “I have often placed the blame on my high tolerance for pain, the need to please, my insatiable curiosity, and, the vigorous blood coursing through my veins; so high the tolerance it became a obstacle to learn from the lessons always before me.” And as unfortunate luck would have it this led to a ten car pile-up of negative thinking. Of course no one knew except my mind, my heart, and God. For the most part no one was the wiser, I was funny, I made people laugh, but, those pesky “tears of a clown when there’s no one around.”

That was then this is now, let’s fast forward to somewhere around perimenopause the beginning of a different kind of change which felt a lot like puberty in reverse. By the way I am now in the evening of my life commonly referred to as post menopause. Menopause, aka “the change” was a battle for me. It was a season ripe for complaining and negative thinking. The battlefield was littered with pieces of me exhausted from the loss of life giving estrogen but I kept getting up. There were times it would have been easier to throw in the towel but I was too busy using it to mop up the night sweats and hot flashes. Now comes the part where I rise up like a phoenix, somewhere in the crossing over something changed, get it changed. My body and mind were under renovation a rebirth of sorts a maturation that demanded attention, and, nurturing. It was often traumatic this rising up an re-birthing; during this reverse puberty my body and mind under went an intense amount of stress however; I wanted to survive these new more hellish mental and physical metabolic changes that were occurring in my mind and body. The breaking down, the unraveling would not undo me. Acts one and two had produced a full life, but not an easy one.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” _ Ernest Hemingway. And so it is I became stronger at all the broken places, enter act three. Right thinking and ongoing positive affirmation practice produced healthy mind fruit. I am a miracle in the making. I stood on the truth of thought and the hard work of right thinking became my devotion to myself. James Allen’s truth was born from biblical truth found in the book of Proverbs 23:7 “As a man Thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Both books “that will help you help yourself.” During this passionate time of “life interrupted” try to remember “you really are what you think all the live long day.” Despite the upheaval of a mind always in motion remember they are only feelings (but the night sweats are real) and feelings are fickle mind games and cannot be trusted so resolve to think rightly this change in life is easier for some more than others, but, “Right thought is Mastery.” This is my story, I wish you peace and cool nights on your journey, be Blessed!

Best,

Barbra

The Alchemy of Aging Mindfully

“Turn within slow your heart’s spin listen in hear it tell you to begin.” __ Colleen Kavanaugh

Modern day alchemy is the art of transformation, Paulo Coelho author of The Alchemist writes that “real alchemy is the ability to manifest personal change.” The ability to change is necessary to survival and good mental health. Meditation is a means by which transformation/change can occur to create a more grounded life as you navigate life less young. And really sometimes you just need to give your mind and mouth a rest and just be.

Move into a quite space, focus on your breathing, allow your breath to flow like a slow slow dance. Concentrating on a word, a short phase, or a stationary object are a few techniques I use to make my practice more grounded. Yes your mind will wander, after all the mind will do pretty much whatever it wants to do. Be careful not to judge your thoughts, practice bringing your wandering mind back to your breath start over as many times as necessary. Be gentle with yourself, practice really does make perfect…

Easy ways to start the practice of mindfulness:

·  Memorize a scripture repeat repeat repeat

·  Make peace with aging; aging is as necessary as breathing

·  Pause before acting

·  Respond don’t react

·  Pay attention listen to others

·  Be available in your here and now

·  Tune out and tune inward

·  Be grateful for enough “Enough is a feast.”

·  Exercise the mind with positive affirmations “I am getting stronger every day.”

·  Take the journey be your own alchemist

Best Barbra

The Alchemy of Caring Mindfully

According to a post on Aging Today by Lucia McBee “Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) offers family caregivers a mind-body approach toward their personal health and healing. MBI coaches caregivers by giving them coping skills for conditions that affect older adults dealing with chronic illness.” “Mindfulness in caring allows carers of older family members to live with what cannot be changed, and improve their mental health.” Hurley, Patterson and Cooley, published in Aging & Mental Health (18:3, 2014).

Where do you go for ?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.”Galatians 5:22-23

A Good starting place is to practice the fruits of the Spirit:

  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • forbearance
  • gentleness
  • faith
  • self-control

Meditating on the “fruits of the spirit” brings peace and quite to the soul as you go about taking care of the activities of daily living yours, and, theirs. Caring for an elder parent is both rewarding and challenging. The role reversal is uncomfortable it will make you both feel strange and often times will put a strain on the closest relationship. I lean heavily on scripture and faith and even heavier in times of seemly hopelessness. Everyone is having a hard time dealing with this new relationship dynamic.

The “fruits of the spirit” listed above are my waking walking meditation focus words. Meditation does not always involve sitting in a criss-cross applesauce position. There will be times when the demands of life and exhaustion will not allow you to rise early enough to engage in a quite practice and ground yourself before the activities of caring begins for the day. Focusing on one or several of the fruits as you go about the business of caring will help to keep you calm and grounded. Take this practice for a spin my hope is that this practice will help you to respond fruitfully instead of reacting in frustration.

Best Barbra!

Caring for older Parents

“Caregiving is the art of living in the moment, the ability to improvise in a split second. Improvisation in caregiving is a skill that requires a spontaneous honest work of the heart. Enter stage right give it your best efforts until the final curtain call.” Barbra Miller

Parenting your aging mother or father is a delicate balancing act. It is ever changing. It requires tapping into your creative side in order to maintain trust and nurture your relationship. Forget winning arguments, you are not 16 and they are not your once younger parent trying to guide you to safe adulthood.

Their journey is filled with so many things to fear, they are afraid of losing their independence, becoming a burden on loved ones, being taken advantage of and relinquishing control over their lives.

Be patient with yourself. Caring for an older parent will both empty you and fill you up all at once. Everyone can’t do it, no judgement here, it is tougher than you can possibly imagine. Be flexible tap into the creative you it will help to relieve the stresses of which there will be many.

Best, Barbra