Horne: Dealing with loss and generosity

The acronym of GRACE—Generosity, Resilience, Acceptance, Compassion and Engagement—keeps bringing me back to what is important

My husband and I have been dealing with our beloved dog Jake and his aging body suffering the decline that can come with aging.

A sudden rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee have had us going to the vet, working to deal with the pain of this development and wondering what is the best plan of action.

Selling our house in five days, learning I am expecting my first grandchild and dealing with the loss of a dear client have rounded out the week.

With such a mix of emotions, it is not surprising I have wanted to just take to my bed and let myself absorb it all.

Life’s changing horizons can leave many of us feeling like we want things to just stop for a while so we can catch up, get our breath and figure out what all to do.

As I ponder these happenings that seem so filled with a sense of loss, but also punctuated with an exclamation mark of great joy, I wonder how to allow my heart to embrace the precious moment I have been anticipating amidst the current pain of letting go.

This circle of life that is ever present, the ebb and flow of birth and death seemingly happening on a continuous basis, causes me to want to withdraw when it becomes overwhelming.

Loss can be an initiator of wanting to close your heart to further pain. Anticipatory change can do the same thing. Feeling the need to make a shift, a course adjustment often presents as life unfolds in unexpected ways. The gift of aging is making room for the joys of becoming a grandparent, taking in the beauty of a sunrise, giving the extra love and care to someone you love as they come to the end of their life.

Feeling the need to slow down to smell the roses is something I came face to face with when my Mom became very ill and I brought her into our home to live.  Having to face the fact that, of late I seem to have accelerated my life up to warp speed again and it is coming home to roost for some contemplation.

I listened to a wise teacher a couple of weeks ago share that a helpful phrase to repeat in such times of transition is “I consent to God’s plan for me.”

I have been saying that daily of late. Letting go of control is not easy for me.

Resistance for many of us kicks into full force when we are urged to surrender.

However, I usually eventually come to realize that I need to be quiet and listen. I need to open my heart to what is and what will be and look for the open path.

I am reminded of my own teaching about “GRACE” as we age.

The acronym of Generosity, Resilience, Acceptance, Compassion and Engagement keeps bringing me back to what is important as we travel these third chapter years.

•••

I opened my email this week to a request from an old high school friend to support her in the 2016 Parkinson’s SuperWalk.

This is a woman who can only inspire you to be better with her own giving nature.

Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s nine years ago while still very young, she is a living example of strength and courage.

The “heart center” is the place where sending and receiving happens. This is where the sensations of generosity —or its lack—touch us with a feeling of openness or tightness.

As I read her email and remembered her ability to give to others amidst her own challenges, I was reminded of my own self-absorption of late.

I send her a gift of support for her walk and invite you to do the same.

Please email me at marjorie@caresmart.ca and I will forward you the information for her donation page to support this incredibly brave and wonderful person to reach her goal of $2,000.

I know, together, we can help her achieve that.

•••

Generosity to yourself is equally as important as giving to others.  When we are treading on burnout, something I spoke of for caregivers a couple of columns back, taking time for yourself becomes imperative.

I have to look into my own mirror also and know when to take a break.

So booking a week off it is for me.

I begin my movement toward that by breathing into the overwhelm I feel this week and just receiving it, then sending generosity to my friend and to others as I breathe out from my heart.

I have to embrace my own aging and my need to rest more from time to time and send a generosity of white light from my own heart center to this “older me,”

I allow the feelings that surface about growing older and breathe them through. The whole mix of them: regret, sadness, curiosity, excitement, confusion and joy.

Letting all the emotions dissolve into consent fortifies resilience, encourages acceptance, nurtures compassion and when the time is right, returns you to engagement.

And I say softly to myself, “As I age, may I be kind to myself” and I begin again.

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