The Fifteen Minute Caregiver Vacation

Two years ago, when I first became a caregiver to my Mom, I was a real mess. As everyone knows, caregiving is a job that demands all the emotional strength you have. Most of us are not prepared to manage the waves of conflicting feelings that come with our duties. At first, the only tool I had for managing stress was a basic yoga practice that helped me get exercise and a fleeting sense of calm that got me through challenging moments.

Then in March of 2012, I decided to follow my interest in yoga to a higher plane. I attended a three-day retreat where I learned more about how the regular practice of meditation, along with yoga, could help you cultivate more energy and inner strength. Sue Neufeld facilitated the retreat, which introduced me to the ideas of Rod Stryker. His book, The Four Desires, described the central concepts we explored at the retreat.

When I returned home, I began using something Stryker calls the “Healing the Heart Meditation” to help me get through my daily emotional struggles. I created a video format for the meditation and found that using it helped me better appreciate my time with Mom, despite the cruel influence dementia had on our relationship. Today, I decided to share  an adapted video version with readers so you can try it in your own home. [If the link doesn’t work here, try the one on the Facebook page for Between the Pond and the Woods.]

You can use the meditation any way you like, but it’s best if you set aside at least fifteen minutes of quiet time in a comfortable spot where you will not be interrupted. My adapted version of the meditation video was taped near the creek that passes our house. The soundscape includes birdsong and noise from passing airplanes. I left them in because I thought they added some sweetness to the track.

One warning: When I first tried to practice this meditation, I cried a lot. Buckets. Rivers. Oceans. But after doing it several times a week for six months, I no longer cry. I just feel relaxed. I’m really interested to know if you find any value in using this. As always, I send you wishes for moments of peace during times of high tide.


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