Last month’s focus on practicing patience has been very helpful and has provided me with helpful reminders when facing the challenges of caring for and being around my mother. But in truth, the lessons for patience are all around us every day. Learning and growing never ceases, and as our metamorphosis continues, here is the prompt for the seventh month:
We’ve all grown over the past half-year. We’ve come to understand ourselves better by looking deep within. From this depth of understanding, we can now begin to grow outwards into our personal environment and into the global environment. We have learned from our growth process the challenges, pains, and struggles that others might also be suffering with. Our empathic understanding of others’ suffering opens our hearts to compassion.
For the seventh month, meditate on opening up your heart and look for ways, in your interactions with others or with how you live your life, where you can bring in compassion and understanding. How does that affect or change things? It’s time to start breaking out of the cocoon and connect on a deeper level to the world.
Besides my personal patience practices, such as breathing, chanting, and yoga, reminding myself of the struggles and suffering my mother has and is experiencing helps me to deal with the challenges and frustrations of her becoming violent and defiant at times. Most of her adult life she has suffered from depression, anxiety, and insecurity issues. As an empath and even as a small child, I have been fully aware of all her emotional struggles, stress, and fears. As a child I did not know what to do or how to deal with this, but as an adult I see that she is suffering deeply emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and that by understanding this my heart’s compassion is able to push aside the mind’s frustration and irritations. She was not then nor now willing or able to ask for help with these issues, and with the Alzheimer’s it’s hard to tell if she remembers her inner struggles at all.
I have come to realize that the biggest challenge for me in this situation is not being able to really help my mother with her suffering. We can’t help, guide, teach, or help heal someone on any level – physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually – if they do not want it, are not open to receive it, or have never acknowledged that they need it. For my mother, acknowledging any such need would have been too difficult, so she chose to hide her suffering which only contributed to her sociopathic behaviors. Many of you may think, “how sad”, but I feel it is better to transform any pity into compassion. There’s a fine line, sometimes a very blurry line, but pity comes from the mind/ego. Compassion comes from the heart; it is the love of the soul. Beyond the basic care, the greatest thing I can do for my mother is to have compassion for her, and pray that her soul feels it.
This week my father asked me to start researching homes for my mother. We visited a couple with openings, and have all but make an official decision. This will be a big transition for my mother, for she has lived in the same house her entire life. However, her Alzheimer’s has progressed so much, she doesn’t seem to recognize the house sometimes. After the transition, she may not even know she has moved. She may not understand anything that will be going on. Will she feel hurt, angry, or sad? Will she think she is on vacation? Will she think anything? Whatever her level of awareness, compassion for her will be the best thing I can do for her.
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