A Poem about Love

I have been working with a client recently who has come to counselling to get help processing her emotions as she cares for her mother in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. As part of her healing, she has begun writing again and this week she brought in this beautiful poem; she has given me written consent to share it:

WHEN YOU MOTHERED ME

I go down for my visit with you every day, and we spend time alone, you and me

And I cuddle, and care for, and remind you you’re loved,

Just like you did, when you mothered me.

 

I rub cream on the fragile skin of your hands, and put cream on your face tenderly

And you look at me like I’m the light of your world,

Just like I did, when you mothered me.

 

I read fun little stories and we sing nursery rhymes,

And it has us both laughing with glee;

And I think of those Sunday night stories in bed

Do you remember when you mothered me?

 

I sit here and hide all my feelings of loss, since Alzheimer’s took you from me

And I yearn for your comforting words and advice,

But that was back then, when you mothered me.

 

And you cry when I tell you that I have to go, I say “I’ll be here tomorrow, you’ll see”

And you cling like a child, holding tight to my hand,

Just like I did, when you mothered me.

 

I sit home every night wishing I had you back, I could call you when I was in need

You’d be here in a flash and I’d lean on your strength

Oh, how I wish you could still mother me.

 

But I’ll go down tomorrow and the day after that, and I’ll nurture and see to your needs

And I’ll love you and treat you with all my respect

Because that was how you mothered me

Sue Diotte, Jan. 2019

An important aside: As this is an original writing, I had to give some thought as to whether or not to share it; I was concerned about identifying a client but also of risking that a poem be published without the true author’s name. I brought up my concerns to Sue and she noted that she wanted the poem published with her name and was aware that it would identify her as one of my clients, of which she felt comfortable. I feel grateful to her for the wisdom found in this poem and the ability it will carry in helping others who are experiencing a similar story. Thank you, Sue 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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A Poem About Worrying

What a gem to be found in this little poem about the perils of worrying:

I Worried by Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it, am I going to get rheumatism, lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang. 

Thanks to my friend Darlene for sharing this one with me 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Jacques LE HENAFF on Unsplash

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From Young to Old

A quote by Kristen Butler caught my eye:

“Sometimes you just need to talk to a four year old and an 84 year old

to understand life again.” 

There is no doubt about it, we get caught up in life. Deadlines at work, kid’s busy schedules, our volunteer duties; not to forget squeezing in some fun and self-care once in awhile. Although we may aim to remain grounded, and do so through thoughtful intent, there is nothing like the experiences we share with the little ones in our life as well as our elders. With the four year old, we are going to get the wide-eyed wonder of the way they view the world, and we are kept young ourselves by embracing their innocence. With the eighty-four year old, we are given wisdom beyond our years, drawing from their own experiences and how they navigated through their own time in history.

In either case, the perspective we gain is the same; an inherent feeling that our time on this earth is relative. It is a calling to place priority in our relationships, in building connection to our values and goals, all the while creating experiences for ourselves that bring into being both wonder and wisdom. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

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Marianne Williamson Quote; An All-Time Favourite

I am a quote person; I love jotting down little bits of wisdom from books or movies. My  favourite quote of all time (so far!) is one that I first heard on the movie “Akeelah and the Bee;” a scene in which Dr. Larabee (Lawrence Fishburn) is helping to coach a young girl (Keke Palmer) for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Although it was edited for the movie, I will quote it in its entirety:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

This quote for me encapsulates the very concept of movement and growth. It is about self-reflection; an inherent need to understand who we are and to allow our true nature to shine, regardless of the lessons we may have been taught about ourselves as a child.  It is a quote about giving ourselves permission to find our way; allowing humility and love for ourselves to create an avenue of growth for others.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

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On the Eve of a New Year

Typically sung when the clock strikes midnight, the traditional Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne,” literally means “old long since,” or in layman’s terms, “days gone by.” There is a particular line in the song that I especially resonate with:

“For auld lang syne my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindess yet, for auld lang syne.”

It is at this time of year that we often reflect upon the year past. It may have held memorable moments, ones that brought joy as well as ones that brought sadness. We may have achieved some important goals in our life, or struggled in feeling lost.  We may have felt fulfilled in our relationships, or contended at times with loneliness. Regardless of the type of year we had, the thought that we can take a cup of kindness for the year gone past is a gracious act. It is saying thank you; for both the gifts and the lessons that this year has brought; encompassing gratitude for the experience.

It is also at this time of year that we often put to mind resolutions for the year to come; it is a time to begin again. Perhaps in our reflection of what we wish to improve in the new year, we can take a second cup of kindness; this one as a reminder to be gentle to ourselves. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Sarthak Navjivan on Unsplash

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Building a Better Boat

Thanks to my partner Kurt for having introduced this song to me; I have come to appreciate Kenny Chesney’s “Better Boat” (feat. Mindy Smith). Although it was written to memorialize the devastation that occurred in the Virgin Islands during the 2017 Hurricane season, it speaks to me of a greater theme. One that touches on the challenges that we face in life; often not in our control, that we must navigate through. It is about allowing ourselves to ride the waves of our emotions, being mindful of the importance of taking some deep breaths in moments that overwhelm us, to lean on others for support, and to have the overall goal that we can rebuild. The main chorus touches on these themes:

I breathe in, I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t working, what’s still hurtin’
All the things I feel like cussing out
Now and then I let it go
I ride the waves I can’t control
I’m learning how to build a better boat

To listen to the audio version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwZfQSLxg3U

To listen to the story behind the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmslqIT68to

Photo credit: http://Photo by David Candreanu on Unsplash

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The Importance of Looking Inside

A little poem  by Krishnamurti that caught my eye:

In oneself lies the whole world

If you know how to look and learn,

The door is there and the key is in your hand. 

In many instances, we can lose the ability to self-reflect. Sometimes it is our emotions that get in the way; we get caught up in feeling sad or angry or guilty, and we lose the ability to access our rational brain. Other times it is our core beliefs that put up road blocks; if we land in an automatic thought about ourselves it can often override our courage. And sometimes the messages that we have internalized from others can lead us away from who we truly are. Perhaps the first step in moving towards greater self-reflection is to simply be curious. To give ourselves pause and ask the question “Wait, does it have to be this way?” The act of being inquisitive, of giving ourselves permission to look inside for the answer, has the potential to bring us towards a new door, one in which we now hold the key.

Photo credit: http://Photo by CMDR Shane on Unsplash