I love this theme. It is from the Mindful Creators Course which is a six week training in physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual principals in order to get in touch with and manifest the life one joyfully desires. I have been a part of the Life Advance International Academy for nearly four years now, and attribute my ability to navigate the circumstances of life that are challenging with a greater ease and joy in my heart.
If you have been following my story over the last few years you know that I have been assisting my sister on her health journey and how that has been the catalyst for Healing Heart™ TV. I have not written much about how I have also been an advocate and part of the support system for my father as well. Over the last four years I have travelled back to my home town of Cleveland Ohio numerous times to assist him with rehabilitation from severe vertigo, several UTI’s, heart failure, and most recently a forced retirement at the age of 91.
In the next few weeks, my stepmom, Liz (who is 18 years his junior) is now dealing with her third cancer and will be having an extensive surgery to remove part of her lung. While my dad has always been the strength of our family, and the role model in how life is not about what happens to us but how we deal with it, he is having a very difficult time with putting that belief into action right now. As of January he has retired from his own kitchen and bath design business which he founded over 60 years ago, bought a new home to downsize in to, experienced the loss of most of his mobility due to severe knee issues, and is now feeling the stress and concern for his wife’s health deterioration.
During this time I have been working hard at exploring different avenues for Healing Heart™ TV, working on my video production and photography business, staying very present in my new marriage, and just living my own life out here in California. This week it has become apparent that my dad is suffering form depression and really can’t be left on his own for too long. My family and I have been concerned about who will take care of him while my stepmom is in the hospital and recovering from her surgery. I was already planning on being in Cleveland for the later part of May to be a guest speaker at the Patient Experience Summit hosted by the Cleveland Clinic on May 22nd. It was going to work out perfectly, or so I thought. I would arrive on May 17th and spend about ten days there and visit my dad, my sisters and the rest of my family. Then I spoke with my sister and my stepmom the other day and they both asked if there was anyway I could come sooner to be with dad. “He always does better when you are here”, they said. “I’ve never seen him like this. All he wants to do is sleep. If you could come sooner it would ease my mind”. My immediate thought was, here we go again…I’m being pulled back to Cleveland for much longer than I would like. I can never seem to get a momentum going with working on my own stuff…if I don’t work I won’t earn enough money for my household. And then, I immediately felt a sense of calm and tuned into my heart, and I thought there is a reason I am often the one to be called. I have a lifestyle that allows for flexibility. I am healthy. I have a very supportive spouse. I have an ability to help people feel calm and safe, and I feel a joy in my heart when I help. Ok, I will make the changes to my trip and go on May 9th and stay with my dad and help him through this very challenging time. I will be there to help my stepmom with the hospital stay, and hopefully provide some help with relieving her own anxiety and pain with Healing Heart™ TV videos and some relaxation techniques I have learned. My trip is now extended from ten days to three weeks.
“I hope I didn’t make you feel guilty”, said my sister when I told her of my plans. “I don’t act out of guilt”, (or at least I work at not doing that) I replied. It was then that I remembered I AM MOTIVATED FROM LOVE. I chose to go to Cleveland early because it makes me feel good inside to know that I can have an impact on my parent’s experience. It is the primary reason for the work I am doing now with transforming the patient experience. If I am not doing it for those I am closest to and hold near and dear in my heart then I have no business doing it for others.
It is through these very personal experiences that we learn to transform not only the experiences of others but life itself. Yesterday I heard Pope Francis do a TED talk, and he spoke of how life is made up of interactions with others and how we must act from our hearts in order to create a beautiful future for ourselves and for the world. How we must use our power for good and to be the good samaritan who gives to another when they are in need. I am learning that my greatest joy comes not from the work I do, or from how much I earned this month, but from the moments when I realize I am motivated from love. I know I am acting from love when I feel energized about my choices. When I feel a warmth in my heart and and a relief in my mind. I even feel a little bit excited to go and help.
I also reflect on my role in my family. I don’t live with any of them and I am not called upon daily to assist. I kind of think of myself as the relief team that comes in when the really intense stuff happens. I go in with fresh eyes and a clear mind ready to deal with decision making and physical and emotional support. I am well aware that many people are dealing with aging parents or a sick child or spouse 24/7 . If you are a caregiver and are suffering from the loss of self, which is a valid feeling from all that is happening around you, then being motivated from love might look like choosing to do something for yourself and finding a relief team. Self love is so important when helping others. It is probably why I am successful when dealing with others in times of distress. I love myself and my life. I know I must choose to do things that make me feel good on a regular basis like living on my small ranch in California, creating beautiful films, writing my blogs, and sharing new thoughts and ideas with the health care community.
I encourage you to look at your actions today, and ask yourself if you are choosing to act from love or guilt. You will know the answer by how you feel. If you feel a lightness an aliveness, a joy, then you are acting from love. If you feel a heaviness, lethargy, or sadness then it is from guilt or FOR love instead of FROM love. When we are motivated from love then we are in alignment with the sweetness of life even in times of sorrow. My mom use to say, “Embrace life with all it’s joys and its sorrows”. It is in this embrace that real love flows. I hope you too get to experience this feeling of being motivated from love.