When you’re helping others you need a self-care plan for yourself
It was a major storm. A lot of rain had fallen and I had witnessed flooding like I had never seen before. A few days later I was in a drain clearing some of the damage.
I was up and over my knees in silty mud. It wasn’t nice or comfortable as I waded in the mud for probably half an hour. The only thing that really kept me going was the thought of a hot shower and some clean clothes. That mud sure was sticky. Continue reading
Compassion moved my gut, then my heart, and then I received a notification from my mind.
Not every story creates gut moving compassion.
But as I listened it wrenched open my heart, soul and stomach till I was totally gutted and laid bare by what had happened to my friend. Being vulnerable to others can do this in you.
They open a door to what is really going on in their soul. They feel safe enough to share and then they vomit out tightly held stories of pain.
Compassion, the suffering together with someone, asks you to get in the ditch with the struggle. Messy as it is.
There is always that moment of decision. Will I listen deeply and groan, or be antiseptically clean and Teflon it away. Continue reading
You need a ‘but’ to enter your narrative of ‘and’s’.
The large leather strap slammed down on my primary school desk and made my 7-year-old body freeze with terror.
Mrs G was the one teacher every child in Wellsford Primary School did not want to have. I had been quietly writing some sentences out when the tyrant crept up behind me, strap in hand. She looked over my work and asked me ‘What’s the margin doing there?’ to which I innocently replied ‘It’s always been there’.
That strap came down so hard on my little desk that I think the whole class shook. I wasn’t being smart or cheeky, I was being honest.
I wonder now if that was my first experience of being shamed. Continue reading
We feel safe enough to heal when we experience a shared humanity.
I only went to see this doctor once. His personality, or lack of it, made me wonder whether under his smooth shaven skin was actually an android. No sense of empathy or human compassion for my sprained ankle could be seen.
He treated me, charged me, and then sent me on my way.
I’ve met others like this too (Yikes, I wonder if they are breeding) and sadly all too often in the helping professionals.
They are all professional and programmed up to the latest model of ‘care’.
The ones that I have found to be truly helpful are those Continue reading
We’ve been robbed in more ways than we know.
It wasn’t the usual snatch and grab. This was more a subtle insidious taking of life.
In the early stages of their depressive illness, they had been put on the new wonder drug Valium. With strong tranquillizing effects, life was muted.
Then after 30 years, Continue reading
Avoid wishing on a star at all costs. Instead, embrace the reality of a real life on a dangerous road.
As a kid, I always watched the ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’.
Sunday nights we would gather as a family and we would be swept away to some faraway magical place where there was always a happy ending. Then that memorable tune would creep into our lounge like a
Then that memorable tune would creep into our lounge like a warm cuddly blanket. Continue reading
Under the thin veneer of supposed ‘ordinary’ is a power of creativity and life. There are no ordinary people.
If you saw her in the mall you wouldn’t take a second look. This was probably intentional on her part.
Average height, weight, with modest clothes she would slip into the supermarket like a ghost, grab a few items then quietly take a bus home to her small two bedroom unit.
After packing away the milk and bread this ‘ordinary’ woman would rest herself into an old worn chair and embrace her world of creativity. She would begin to knit. Booties, cardigans, scarves, beanies. All beautifully handcrafted with stitches of love. Continue reading