Have you ever had black days? Days when you wanted to see nobody and do nothing, even the things you like best? If this happens once in a while, you could call it sadness. But if it lasts for more than three or four days it is known as depression. Depression is not a weakness, but a medical malfunction that takes away your control, and there are two major types. One is triggered by specific events like a death in the family, loss of a job, an injury that affects your ability to function as you typically would.
It begins with the stripping away of all the holiday trappings, usually on the first day of the year, but sometimes the following weekend. Red and green are packed away to be replaced with calming pastels - tranquil blues and creams - punctuated with bursts of color (turquoise, lime green, orange) that are like visual bubbles of delight. They lack the audacity of Valentine reds, purple, and pink, and aren't quite as vivid as the colors of spring and summer, but they feel light and positive when compared to the muted light and bare trees outside.
Do you believe in magic? I do. The holiday and New Year seasons are lovely reminders of its importance; you can feel it in the air if you are still enough. Small acts of kindness, random gestures, or simple adventures can fill your heart and that of others with magic. Hope. Peace.
New Beginnings don’t happen all at once. They can be a soft accumulation of things that have been brewing for a long time. A New Beginning can be adjusting to the new role of a caregiver; a role that you might not have chosen, but it chose you.
In this second part we’ll look at the In-Between stage. For caregivers it is the space between what was and what will be. Suzanne Braun Levine calls this space the Fertile Void and describes it as, “the long, slow, deep breath -the gathering in of strength - that precedes a daring leap into the unknown.”
Much like a tornado, the storm of overwhelm can rage up from nowhere and blow you off your feet. Much like a hurricane the emotions and energy that occur when we are near our breaking point are powerful and chaotic. Becoming in tune with our feeling - emotional, physical, and spiritual - is a crucial balancing mechanism providing the early warning signal that tells us things are mounting up. As with intense weather systems, it is critical that we prepare: we must find that balance before the emotional storm takes over.
Are Your Emotions Spinning? It's Okay to Reach Out for Help Some days are more challenging than others, but we can find bright spots if we open ourselves to them. When we focus on events that bring us down, we tend to perpetuate a negative spiral, while stepping away can give way to light.
Remote caregiving was often spotlighted as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the early days when much of the world was in some sort of lockdown, but the reality is that those of us who don't live near our parents are often faced with providing care and support from afar, and while it may seem easy from outside, it's really very challenging in its own way.
There is more than one right way. Sometimes we get stuck following a method or practice for doing something because "we've always done it that way." But sometimes trying a new way of doing something helps give us a new perspective and better results. In my case, I knew one way of turning my boat, which was to paddle only on the side opposite of the direction I wanted to go. What my teacher showed me, was that I could also turn the boat by pushing the paddle forward on the same side I wanted to go.
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.