Monday, July 18, 2011

Stuck in Caregiving, Part One - In a Stuck Relationship

How do you get movement in stuck relationships, when you're stuck in spirit, when you're stuck in limiting beliefs, or when you're simply stuck in fear.
What are the things that make us caregivers feel weighted down, or out of oomph? Feeling greater freedom and ability to cope with caregiving requires staying in motion emotionally and spiritually, moving forward so that you can rise to the occasion of each day. If, as chiropractors tell us, life is movement and movement is life, isn’t that even more true during caregiving? With all of the complexities of caregiving, and all that you have at stake, the last thing you need is to feel stuck. So how do we get stuck, and how can we free ourselves?


I’m not talking about being in a relationship you’d rather be out of. I mean are you stuck in a committed relationship that isn’t growing, so you don’t feel alive in it? You might be in a stuck place with the person you’re caring for, or a friend, or loved one. Being stuck in any relationship is going to effect your caregiving experience. How does it feel to you to be stuck? Like a tight space with no air to breathe? Like your energy is being sucked right out of you? What makes that happen?

Whatever our opinion of others, their choices and their actions, we may be wasting precious energy resisting who they simply Are. Judging others, trying to fix others, resenting others for not being who we would like them to be is a sure way to kill the life of in ourselves, let along the relationship. I remember feeling a rush of freedom when I learned that my mother had been who she was before I was even born! Maybe it wasn’t up to me to change who she was! How would it feel to not be phased by an other’s personality traits, or the choices they make in their lives? Stop for a minute to imagine that. Imagine yourself free of that concern or focus. We may get from being worked up over others, but does it outweigh the release and freedom if we were to let it go? A funny thing happens when you go to the other extreme and look for ways to make someone else Right—they all of a sudden get so much better.

Or perhaps you’ve been allowing someone else to tell you how you should be, think, or act, until you feel so very small and constricted. Self-confidence ebbs. Your intuition, one of the caregiver’s strongest allies, becomes muffled. How would your life feel if you were free of such restrictive forces? What might you say, think, or do differently? Stop for a minute to imagine the sense of power and freedom, and then what you would do with it. Whatever belief or fear caused you to sacrifice your self-confidence, does that thought or fear outweigh the exhilaration that you would feel living life on your own terms? There’s no need to start a war. You can start in small ways to draw lines, to stand up for yourself.

Finally, in caregiving we can feel stuck because we feel a limited ability to be straightforward. After all, we're here to help someone else, right? Aren't we meant to keep them calm, to be secondary to their needs? It turns out that by being present, by expressing what we see as true or necessary, telling our personal truth, your relationship may suddenly become alive and begin to grow again. What was draining can now be energizing and uplifting, to both you and your loved one. For more on this, check out "The Caregiver's Compass", chapter six, where you apply MindfulCaregiving principles to your effectiveness.
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