Letter-writing is often considered a lost art, but it shouldn't be. Texting is great for immediate information or a quick thought. Email is fantastic for exchanging timely thoughts. Letters, handwritten or typed, sealed into envelopes, and sent by mail are textual portraits, freeze-frames of specific moments in time that capture thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams and put them all down on paper.
Communication, the language that we choose, and the energy our bodies emit, is essential in what we speak, what we hear, and what our posture implies. A harsh reaction may be coming from someone's pain or fear, and your response to it can be a powerful hit or a supportive landing place.
What if I challenged you to try something new today? Disrupt the cycle. Pay extra attention to the tiny details: the flowers popping up seemingly out of nowhere, a smile on a child's face, the older man giving his wife a smooch. Noticing those simple moments can slow your racing heart and mind by creating a positive shift.
It is a great feeling to get things accomplished, but things can slip when you have put the pedal to the metal throughout your whole day. It is crucial, especially when you're going full speed or feeling run down, to become aware of the need to stop and check in with how you are mentally/emotionally feeling. Reacting negatively from a drained mind and body can happen quickly when you're worn down, and will likely cause you to say or do something you'll regret later.
As we engage in various situations in our home and work lives, there may be situations that occur that bring a sense of heaviness. Though our days as adults may not be filled with such simple moments, I wonder if we might be able to map out time to have similar ones? Whether it is the list of things that need to be done or the emotions that are circling us, clearing a path is important for our own energy and that of those we encounter.
Though often unrecognized, fear stands in our way like a brick wall. It blocks us from conversations and leads us to assume the worst possible outcome. Which fear is it? There are several: Fear of the unknown? Yes. Fear of becoming the same man himself later in life? Very likely. Fear of his father dying and then turning back later wishing he had done something differently? Absolutely.
What I've learned since then is that caregiving IS improv. Moods change, aging parents sometimes lose track of the here and now, young children resent it when they don't feel heard, and nobody likes hearing "no." Improv isn't a total cure-all, but its core is cooperation. Being a partner - a teammate - to the person you care for is infinitely preferable to being an authority figure or dictator, which is a role too many of us slip into.
Fall brings on a sense of change and is a time of year that I look forward to. I am in awe of the colors changing, and the temperatures getting cooler gives me a nudge to turn inwards. A time of reflection and the ability to clear out what is no longer serving me.
Instantly I'm ten years old, sitting on the ancient beige chintz sofa in my grandparents' den, racing with my grandfather to see which of us could answer first, while my grandmother made comments about which of us should know the answer. I didn't know, then, that their daily viewing of this television show was part of my grandmother's attempt to ensure that my grandfather's brain remained stimulated and active.
Let’s be real here. We all have days where a lot is piling up, and that one conversation takes you off guard and flips you into oblivion. It is easy enough to get swept up in an argument or misinterpret what is happening with someone else. I'm sure those situations have happened to all of us, and I'm equally certain that beating ourselves up afterward with "I should have…;" "I wish I had…;" has no benefits. Looking at the situation without judgment allows us to tune in to what else may be happening.